Villa Toscana, 179 Brockley Road

Having previously noted the relative lack of old-school restaurants in the area, it's time BC celebrated one under our noses - a turnaround story led by a team of genuinely passionate foodies - Villa Toscana.

Under its previous owners the restaurant had fallen on hard times but just over a year ago a new team took over, led by Leo, formerly a General Manager for Marco Pierre White and someone with six years of running Conran restaurants under his belt.
Hidden behind a front window which gives little away, Villa Toscana has been steadily building a local fan-base, thanks to its focus on simple, high-quality Italian cooking by chef duo Daniella and Francesco.

In addition to their pastas and pizzas, Leo's most proud of their scaloppine, steaks, veal, sea bass and fresh, hand-made breads. The wine list is all-Italian and they are generous with the limoncello.

Now, with their reputation established, they are doing more to attract new audiences. From this weekend, a pianist will be performing on Friday and Saturday evenings, while that un-alluring frontage will eventually get a makeover.

Like Meze Mangal, this is a restaurant that trades on its food first, but Leo stresses that they pride themselves on their service too.

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