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Karolina Wiercigroch

Anima e Cuore

Karolina Wiercigroch

Anima may not look like much from the outside, and it’s well down the ‘wrong’ end of Kentish Town Road. Don’t let that fool you: this is easily the best restaurant in Kentish Town.

There’s always lots of fresh pasta on the daily-changing Italian menu, often put together with slow-cooked meat or exceptional seafood sauces. If you like pasta and you like shellfish, eating them on a single plate at Anima will yield happy results. The homemade ice cream is among the best in London, but tarts and cakes are just as good - and each comes with ice cream, killing two birds with one stone.

If you want to come here, book well in advance: there are only 22 covers, and it’s not unusual for the place to get booked up as long as two or three months ahead for a weekend dinner. And it’s not only the dining room that’s small here. So is the kitchen, barely bigger than a walk-in closet, and when the place is rammed - basically, all the time - you might have a slightly longer wait for your food than you would hope for. No one ever minds. This is a KT institution, and most of the customers are regulars. One dude has booked table for every Friday night until England wins the World Cup or Armageddon, whichever comes first.

Anima is BYOB, so bring something special to drink: the Oddbins just up Kentish Town Road is the nearest choice for superior vino. Which is nothing less than what the food deserves. Anima may be just a local Italian, but its cooking can compete with the best in the city. For Kentish Town’s best night out - and we’ve done it a few times - have a cocktail at Knowhere Special followed by dinner here. With a stop-off at Oddbins on the way down.

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