The area used to be a popular domicile of Foreign Office Diplomats, but these days enjoys a more Bohemian population from theater, Hollywood movie and music scenes.
As a result the restaurant occasionally entertains artists such as David Bowie and George Michael. A short distance from here are a number of famous music venues such as the Forum, Mean Fiddler and the Church.
Belsize Terrace is a charming village off-street of only;y 4 or 5 shops. But it does offer metered street parking. Do park legally, since the traffic wardens are fastidious.
As usual Enzo & Piero Quaradeghini have created an attractively decorated, quality appointed venue. In this case on a 2-level ground floor layout. I felt quite lucky eating in such fine surroundings with my delightful guest, Isobel. They have done well to appoint Danillo Barbagallo as Head Chef. The menu, is extensive, varied and exciting, incorporating a traditional Sunday Roast (£9.50). I'd especially like to try the Chef's Sunday Special - I feel another visit coming on.
From the set menu I chose Carpaccio di Manzo con Carciofi Marinati e Scaglie di Pecorino. This thin sliced raw beef, served with marinated artichoke and delicious pecorino cheese shavings was superb. My guest tried the Pate di Merluzzo con Tortino di Peperoni e Caprino - a pleasant code pate served on a sweet, juicy red pepper with goat's cheese. Another fine dish.
This was followed by Bistecca di Manzo alla Griglia e Pepe Nero, a sirloin steak cooked perfectly to my taste with a superb sauce and delicious horseradish mash.I was going to avoid a desert until I saw the what was on offer. But I couldn't resist the chocolate dish. This was a warm chocolate centre that oozed like Ambrosia from a slightly crusty casing.
Finally, and rounding off our misplaced Greek analogies, I have to compliment Max, the restaurant manager for not only his and his staffs' courteous service, but also for choosing a superb wine that like Nectar, complimented the food, perfectly.
Our Americans readers, travelling to London, and wishing to enjoy some of the real town, I'd happily suggest staying in neighbouring Hampstead or Swiss Cottage's Marriott, but making sure you try this wonderful restaurant. With summer on its way, and Artigiano's sidewalk seating, you've a real treat to look forward to.
Wally Robertson, April 2004
Artigiano on the Web
Restaurant Hours: Lunch Tues - Sun Dinner Mon - Sun
Price per head: £30.00 (excluding wine)
Set Lunch: £15.00 2 courses - £18.00 (3 courses)
Set Dinner: £16.00 2 courses
Restaurant Capacity: 85
All major credit cards
Nearest Tube: Belsize Park, Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage
Artigiano on the Web