Zaima Lalmahomed — a journalism student at London College of Communication — takes us on a trip around five of the finest Italian delicatessens in London.
I spent almost two years travelling across Italy from north to south, and feel there's no greater teleportation device we have here in London than a deli, delivering authentic Italian goods, and the atmosphere to go with them. Here are some of my favourite of those delis, where you can find the perfect products to cater like a true Italian.
Antonio Delicatessen, Lewisham
Head to Antonio Delicatessen for a warm and welcoming shopping experience; their beautiful selection of charcuterie (some of it available in huge hunks hanging from the ceiling) hails from Abruzzo, Modena, Tuscany, Milan, Naples and Venice — and will have your mouth watering. If you're looking to concoct a cheese board with serious character, Antonio's selection of pecorino with pistachio, sheep's cheese with truffle, and spicy gorgonzola does the trick nicely. It's hard to emphasise enough just how extensive their selection of Italian products is; from juicy olives and artichokes, to pretty panettone boxes (again, dangling from above). Antonio — who set up his shop in 2004 — will even go out of his way to find products you're looking for if they're not currently in stock.
Antonio Delicatessen, 23 Lewis Grove, Lewisham, SE13 6BG
Salvino, Kentish Town
Open since 1981, Salvino is run by the Sicilian Salvino brothers, offering an extensive selection of imported goods and freshly prepared goodies to take home. One of the star attractions here is the handmade ravioli (stuffed with the likes of crab, lemon & saffron; and pea & fresh mint). Carnivores should order a selection of their skilfully sliced meats or homemade sausages (choose from classic, fennel, garlic and chilli varieties). Oh, and do ask for wine recommendations; they stock a range of 50 labels from all Italian regions.
Salvino, 47 Brecknock Road, Kentish Town, N7 0BT
Giacobazzi's Delicatessen, Hampstead Heath
Giacobazzi's Delicatessen enchants you from the moment you step through the door, as the smell of fresh pizzas, meats, cheeses and herbs hit your nose. This is another winner for homemade pasta, with some truly exciting fillings (duck & chestnut; venison & choc). A delicious line in ready-made meals (think saffron risotto and crespelle pancakes stuffed with ricotta & spinach) can be found in their freezer (pre-order if you want them fresh). Elsewhere, Giacobazzi's delights with a unique selection of sauces to bring zing to your pasta dishes — plus stuffed chilli peppers, chargrilled carrots and cous cous, to fulfil all your antipasti needs. Rest assured, you can count on fresh products, quality service and a genuine family atmosphere.
Giacobazzi's Delicatessen, 150 Fleet Road, Hampstead, NW3 2QX
Mari Deli & Dining, Chiswick
As the name suggests, Mari Deli & Dining is part deli, part authentic Italian dining experience. It's run by mamma Maria and her son Mario, from Naples — and my, do they know what they're doing. The restaurant end of things features an eye-bulging menu of antipasti (bruschetta, Italian cheeses) and primi (vegan gnocci, beef carpaccio) — not to mention a comprehensive Italian wine menu. The top seller is Maria's parmigiana; why not pair it with a full-bodied Brunello di Montalcino. Deli-wise, from sandwiches to fresh pastries (try the Cannoli Siciliana), a lot of the food here is also available to pre-order (check out the e-shop). You can also stock up your kitchen with the likes of anchovies, truffle butter and organic veggies.
Mari Deli & Dining, 1A Eyot Gardens, Chiswick, W6 9TN
Plough Way Deli, Surrey Quays
Newer than the other delis on this list (it opened in 2018), Plough Way Deli has the kind of cosy atmosphere that makes you want to linger for hours with a coffee, a pistachio croissant and a good book. Sticking around for lunch and dinner is a tempting prospect too, what with their selection of fresh sandwiches, soups, antipasti and aperitivo. When you need to get going, grab some authentic Italian products; they have marvellously fresh artichokes and tomatoes on the vine; tangy D'Amico sardines, and plenty of pasta — fresh and dried. And their ready-made sauces are spot on for those days where you can't bring yourself to cook but still want a hearty meal.
Plough Way Deli, Seafarer Way, Surrey Quays SE16 7DW
This article was written as part of a collaborative project between Londonist and London College of Communication.