Mistaken Margherita: We Tried 'The World's Best Pizza', But Did It Live Up To The Hype?

The 'world's best pizza' is a big claim that many restaurants have made over the years. And while I usually take this statement with a pinch of salt, talented chef Franco Pepe has held the title of World's Best Pizza Chef for three consecutive years, so when I found out that his famous dish was coming to Fatto A Mano, I had to go and see for myself what all the hype was about.

You can't help but be attracted to their Covent Garden venue, just opposite Charing Cross, which spills out onto the street with alfresco tables and huge floor-to-ceiling windows that were opened up to make the most of a (rare) spell of sunny weather. Upon entry, we were met with scents of baking dough and the sound of laughter, as the bustling space was absolutely packed with people. This traditional Italian eatery maintained simple but stylish decor throughout, from its checkered floors to the black and white portraits lining the walls, with touches of greenery here and there. Met by a friendly waiter, we were led upstairs to the slightly quieter - but still vibrant - mezzanine section.

Fatto A Mano Interiors | DesignMyNight

Fatto a Mano Covent Garden reviews promise big things, but did it meet our expectations?

As any good night does, this one kicked off with cocktails. Getting into the Mediterranean spirit of the destination, I decided on a Hugo (£9), the classic blend of elderflower liqueur, spumante, mint and lime, topped off with soda water. While these drinks are often quite sweet, this was slightly more on the bitter side, providing a refreshing start to the meal. My dinner date chose a Sicilian lemonade spritz (£5) instead, a non-alcoholic concoction of bubbles and citrussy goodness.

Although we were here primarily for the main event, it would've been rude not to sample some of the other highlights of the menu. To start, we shared two small plates, the first of which was the parmigiana di melanzane (£9.50). The thin, melt-in-the-mouth slices of aubergine were coated in a rich tomato sauce, loaded up with mozzarella and shavings of parmesan. This was served with toasted sourdough bread, perfect for dipping in the piping hot dish. Our second starter was the bruschetta burrata (£11), a cheesy twist on the classic dish that was drizzled in pesto and topped with dried black olives. Yes, I know this is basically just a mini pizza before eating a real one, but we couldn't resist the oozing, creamy burrata, sat on top of olive oil-drenched slow-dried tomatoes and crisp sourdough.

Fatto A Mano Drinks | DesignMyNight

Spritzes and sun-dried tomatoes: this place really transports you to Italy.

After we devoured our starters, it was time to see what the 'world's best pizza' was all about. The Franco Pepe special is known as the margherita sbagliata (£16), literally translating to 'the mistaken margherita'. This makes a lot of sense when you see it, as this dish fronts a stretchy base of buffalo mozzarella and fior di latte, topped with bright red lines of passata and Sicilian olive oil mixed with pesto. This really elevated the usual margherita experience, with an extra kick of basil and copious amounts of cheese. I would definitely say it's a step up from most pizzerias' offerings; but while it was absolutely delicious I wouldn't necessarily say it's the very best I've ever had, as there was a little too much oil for our taste.

Alongside this beauty, we also ordered a norma (£13.50). Sharing the same Neapolitan base of fluffy crusts and soft, floppy dough as our first choice, this pizza certainly didn't disappoint either. It was loaded with a smooth, flavourful tomato sauce and sprinklings of fried aubergine, smoked ricotta, mozzarella and basil. This had a rich, tangy taste that contrasted nicely with the more mild margherita, and we paired both with a smoked garlic mayo and a spicy chilli dip (£2 each). Be warned though, these are definitely pizzas that you need to fold over to eat, as the toppings were prone to sliding off.

Fatto A Mano Pizza | DesignMyNight

Get stuck into layers of oozing cheese and tomato on this famous pizza.

Though we were pretty stuffed by this point, we didn't feel that Fatto a Mano's London menu was complete without sampling some dessert. We shared two scoops of gelato (£6): one vanilla and the other chocolate sorbet. This was a sweet, not too heavy end to our dinner, which we paired with another round of drinks. We both opted for the white peach bellini (£9 each), a refreshing glass of spumante mixed with a fruity peach puree and finished off by a touch of mint.

The DesignMyNight Digest

For a welcoming Italian feel right in the heart of the city, you can't go wrong with a trip to this restaurant. Their food is filling, beautifully presented and, most importantly, delicious, and while I'm not 100% convinced that the Franco Pepe special is the best pizza in the entire world, it's a pretty strong contender. The rest of their menu was a win for us too, with friendly and attentive staff making it it an enjoyable evening all round. And at roughly £15 for a pizza, Fatto a Mano's London prices aren't too bad either.

  💰 The damage: £92 for three courses each, dips and four drinks.

  📍  The location: 30 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ER

  👌 Perfect for: A casual date night or group meal.

 ⭐ Need to know: They've also got venues in King's Cross and Brighton.


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