500 Restaurant

Leaving London has made me realise how much I only scratched the surface of the city in five years.  My waist band can attest to the fact that I tried vainly to eat my way around as many restaurants as possible but still there were areas of London I never made it to or only managed to visit occasionally.  Holloway Road is one of those places and a few final days in London spent with our friends Pete and Thea in Kentish town meant the perfect opportunity to discover a new restaurant without having to resort to a tube journey.

A bargain board of cured meats and cheeses for £12

The restaurant we found, the strangely named 500 Restaurant, is the sort of place any Londoner would love to have around the corner from them.  The name comes from the car the Fiat 500 and the restaurant is a tiny little Italian joint, but the fare is more sophisticated than typical red sauce places.  There are no twee checked tablecloths or dripping candles at 500 Restaurant, the look is modern and unadorned with rough brick walls and bare wooden tables.

The amazing veal ragu

 Chef Mario Magli knows what he is doing having worked with Antonio Carluccio, Gennaro Contaldo and Jamie Oliver over the years before leaving to set up this intimate and unpretentious Italian restaurant.  The menu lists all the Italian classic dishes from prosciutto with peaches to gnocchi.  We started with one of the specials, a board of cured meats and cheeses (£12).  The selection was supposed to serve two but was more than enough for four of us with heaped slices of mortadella, pancetta and wedges of cheese.   It even came with its own platter of bread, which like the pasta is all made on site by Magli.

Desserts were a bit of a let down

Slow cooked veal ragu (£10.20) was a text book pasta dish with rich, tender meat and perfect toothsome pasta.  It was Italian slow cooking at its best.

You have to love a restaurant where the goblet on the right is what you get when you order a “large” glass of wine

Desserts were not as strong, the tiramisu (£3.90) was overly boozy while the poached pears with cinnamon ice-cream (£4.90) could have done with being served warm.  Still, as a local restaurant 500 Restaurant does a good job of honestly cooked, simple food at ungrasping prices.  As a sign of the generosity of spirit here if you order wine by the glass and you will literally get a half bottle in one large glass.  Yet another example of London making it hard for me to leave.

Details: 500 Restaurant, 782 Holloway Road N19 3JH (Ph 020 7272 3406) Tube: Archway
Damage: Reasonable

500 on Urbanspoon


  1. That ragu looks fantastic. Hope the travels are going well. x

  2. Ah, we’ve planned to eat here with friends (who also live locally to it) but we didn’t make a booking and it was already full even early on a weekday night, so we went elsewhere. Must try again soon!

  3. Looks great. Nice to see some variety on the Italian front.

  4. Ooh…..when I initially read the title, I thought that this was your no. 500 London restaurant that you ate at! LOL!!

  5. i think it makes more sense when you call it “cinquecento”, as 500 is said in italian!

    that’s literally just up the road from me and i’ve never been so i think i’ll be making a trip there shortly, if nothing else for a tankard of wine.

  6. looks great – wow, the Holloway Road must be a bit more upmarket than when I lived there about 14 years ago! Love real ragu, and the plate of bits and bobs of charcuterie looks wonderful and just my cuppa tea.

  7. 500 looks great, I love the look of the sharing plate, something I think I will try for our next supper with friends. GG

  8. Holloway Rd offers so many take-away options, it’s nice to see some good sit-down restaurants in the mix. Another one to try is Tbilisi – the cheesy bread is a must!

  9. Hey Gourmet-Dhick

    Great Blog Post and the photos are lovely. I might have to keep this on the must do list for one of the times I head back to London for a visit. I am heading back for a few weeks in Dec / Jan so will hti you up for a few places you think are worthy of a visit. I came back at the start of the year after ineing based in London for 5 years as well So will be interesting if you have noticed any big differences back in Aus…

    Where abouts will you be living in Aus I am sure I will bump into you sometime in the Melbourne food scene.
    I am going to keep an eye on your blog from now on for any other interesting articles.



    Twitter: twitter.com/shark4chipdrink

  10. Wow that veal ragu looks so good I could eat it right now (and it’s 8.15am!). I’ve been wondering whether to try 500 as a friend lives nearby – might give it a go but head home for dessert!

  11. That picture of the veal ragu has my mouth watering! Stunning!!!
    *kisses* HH

  12. Greedy Diva – It was and they are thanks GD.

    Kavey – Yes worth a visit for sure. We just walked in but it was early in the week and I noticed it filled up quickly.

    The Perfect Trough – The more the merrier for Italian restaurants as far as I am concerned.

    Kay – To be honest it is probably not that far off!

    Grania – Yes that sounds much nicer, let me know what you think

    Grazing Kate – I think the area is gentrifying. This would be a welcome addition in any neighbourhood though.

    GG – Yes it would be perfect for a supper party. Hope it works out.

    Amy – Thanks for the tip – cheese bread sound s great

    The Little Loaf – Nothing wrong with a little veal ragu at 8.15am!

    HH – It was delicious I must admit.

  13. Wow, the cured meats and cheeses look divine. And yes at just about $19, not bad value for money at all. The veal ragu looks rustic and delicious too!

  14. How weird – I was just there for the first time in October. : ) Loved my pastas; disappointed in the starters and decor. It’s an easy bus ride from Highbury & Islington station, and yet it’s taken me six years to finally drop in, and here you are, blogging about it. Quelle coincidence!

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