When you ask the average Stoke Newington resident (if such a thing exists) what their favourite pizza restaurant in Stokey is, chances are that they’ll pick Il Bacio. But then Booth’s seems to win a lot of awards recently, and I personally prefer their pizza. In fact, this was one of the dividing factors between me and my ex girlfriend… she rated Il Bacio, I always preferred Booth’s. Of course we would always go for take-away only, and that seems to be the crux of the matter.
There is no denying the fact that the Il Bacio restaurants (apart from the slightly garish Bacio Mare) are way more pleasant places than either Booth’s bar or restaurant. They are proper Italian restaurants, complete with Italian waiters and a cozy/bustling atmosphere. I don’t know what Booth’s do wrong, the bar is not a bad place in itself, but it seems to attract a very unattractive, loud and unpleasant crowd. Whenever I go there to pick up a pizza I can’t wait to leave. It makes one wonder…
When it comes to pizza, Il Bacio’s tastes great and authentic. Ingredients and toppings are fresh and plentiful, but for some reason they manage to always make the centre so soggy that it’s hard to pick a slice up without making a big bloody mess… so knife and fork it is. They also tend to create little piles of toppings rather than spreading them out over the whole pizza. Why, oh why?
Booth’s on the other side deliver a more solid and balanced affair, again with good, fresh ingredients. Apart from the fact that they sometimes slightly overcook or even (rarely) burn the whole thing, I can’t find a fault with their pizzas. The dough is somewhat more tough, making it perfect for pick-up and fold. They do use goats cheese in their Quattro Formaggi, which is weird but bearable. All in all, nothing to complain.
Regarding the rest of the food, both Il Bacio and Booth’s have something going for them. Il Bacio offers a great selection of pasta and other dishes, all of which I have liked so far. Booth’s offers a decent enough breakfast selection, making them more versatile for the average hungover punter, but then again a lot of their other dishes are best avoided.
So there you go… Coke and Pepsi. I’d love to hear what you think of either restaurant. And I’m aware that there are other options further afield, my favourite still being La Porchetta in Finsbury Park, so feel free to mention them but in the end we’re Stereo Stokey, you know. As in N16 and all.
||Il Bacio Express