Franco’s – review

9 meatballs out of 10 possible. (9/10)

Might as well be honest from the start, this is an endorsement rather than a review. I first discovered Franco’s as a 19 year old confused intern lost in Shoreditch, falling into its welcoming spaghetti arms like a soft-boiled egg (pardon the food analogy). Back in 2007 interns were paid (shocking, eh?), so I used to get lunch from here as often as I could. Neither the menu nor the prices have changed since. The former is of course a sign of quality, the latter is just… lucky for us poor diners. Food is incredibly good value. If you stick to the pasta dishes and avoid going during their incredibly hectic lunch time, it’s worth the journey from other parts of London.

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On our last visit, I had vongole, which is spaghetti with a creamy sauce of baby clams, white wine, tomato, parsley and a bit of chili. Bathed in parmesan (you get a large bowl on the table) it is sublime. In fact, vongole is so moorish and creamy and baby-clammy that I’ve never ordered any other dish in Franco’s. Mr Meatball had arrabbiata, a tomato and chili sauce with penne. Whilst that sounds plain, its smokey, garlicky aftertaste and fiery kick makes it very tasty. The portions are massive (inducing severe food coma afterwards) and the chefs work behind the counter so you can see them make your food. With a drink each and proper coffee afterwards, the bill came to £13,80 which is very reasonable. Service is nice, and the atmosphere is friendly and unpretentious (a relief given the area). Really, you should go. Right away.

Franco’s, 67 Rivington Street, EC2A 3DU. Old Street or Shoreditch High Street are the closest tube stops.