Food review: Franco Manca, Upper Street

PUBLISHED: 15:21 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:02 04 August 2017

Franco Manca has opened in Upper Street. Picture: Alessandra Spairani

Franco Manca has opened in Upper Street. Picture: Alessandra Spairani

alessandra spairani

Remember Cãnas y Tapas in Upper Street? It was that bar where people used to have massive brawls all the time. With its licence under review, it suddenly shut in January. In June, Franco Manca took over the premises. From now on, it’s safe to say Islington’s cops will be paying fewer visits.

Franco Manca, which specialises in sourdough pizzas, opened its first restaurant in Brixton in 2008 and now has 39 across the south.

It’s incredibly popular, with good reason. It achieves that rare combination: delicious, classy and cheap. Two chorizo pizzas and two glasses of organic red wine, for example, will set you back just £23.60. Good luck finding that anywhere else in Upper Street.

Part of that is down to its brutally simple menu: a choice of seven pizzas with a few starters and desserts shunted to the side, almost in small print. The focus has always been on pizza, but as someone taking a night off veganism, I am targeting all three courses.

I start with baked old spot sausage (£4.10): tender meat in a rich tomato sauce. My friend’s sourdough garlic bread (£4.05) is perfect for dipping the remnants.

Our waiter goes out of his way to keep us watered in between courses. He gives us the delicious Francesco Cirelli red wine (£18.50 a bottle). It’s so fruity and juicy that we can’t help but slurp it at an alarming pace.

For the main pizza course, my friend is in no mood to betray the vegan movement. But that’s no problem at Franco Manca, where half the appeal is the tasty sourdough base anyway.

Her basic tomato, garlic and oregano pizza (£4.95) – with added veggie toppings (ranging from 50p to £1.75) – satisfies as much as my chorizo pizza (£7.55). The meat slices are small, but they are packed with juicy, salty goodness (badness). Importantly, there are not too many slices, which would overpower the base.

Our excellent waiter insists I try tiramisu for dessert, new to the menu at £3.95. It feels unnecessary until I take a bite. The creamy sweet sponge offsets the intense chorizo from earlier.

Even by the time we finish at 9.30pm - on a Wednesday a month after opening – it’s still packed. You can see why.

Franco Manca: 72, Upper Street. Call 020 3026 1180. No bookings taken.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Mon, 16:25

Any body who is anybody will soon walk through the door of The Blues Kitchen’s new basement venue, opening at the end of March

Mon, 15:49

Through the show “we examine how the four walls of the hospitals where people were locked away from society are now being replaced with the four walls of people’s bedrooms, as they have a lack of opportunities for engagement or support.”

Mon, 11:04

Running at L’etrangere in Shoreditch until April 21, CANAN, Paula Chambers, Malgorzata Markiewicz and Su Richardson consider the impact of 1970s feminism on intersectional conversations around class, gender and global inequality

Mon, 10:43

Bridget Galton finds a chilling version of The Scottish play lacks poetry and the supernatural

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now