I’m delighted to hear that Raffaele’s Trattoria in Sydenham high street has been voted best restaurant in London on Trip Advisor. Ever since moving to Sydenham, I’ve always loved going to Raffaele’s.
When you walk in, it’s like being transported to some small Italian village. On the walls are old Italian film posters, photos of the restaurant in the 1970s when it first opened, an early menu, along with a map of Italy with towns and cities marked by corks from wine bottles. With a capacity for only around 40 diners, it has a warm, intimate feel.
And it goes without saying that the food is fantastic. The pizzas and pasta dishes are classic Italian, bursting with flavour and made with fresh ingredients. On Sunday when my wife and I went, I had the Antonio pizza (chorizo, peppered peppers, and red onions) and she had pork belly from the daily specials list. Both dishes were absolutely fantastic.
But it’s not just the food that draws me to Raffaele’s. It’s the atmosphere and hospitality, which is largely down to Raffaele himself, a former professional golfer who took over the restaurant from his father in 2008. Nothing is ever too much trouble for him or his obliging staff. He even had his chef make my son a pizza in the shape of Batman.
Every time I go to Raffaele’s I always remark to my wife how at home I feel. When it comes to running a restaurant, Raffaele definitely has all the right ingredients.