Review: Veronica Blake
LIKE many a London landmark, Casa Manzi has
a special affection in the hearts of Londoners.
Situated opposite another London landmark, The Roundhouse, the
much loved ice cream parlour was opened in 1930 by Aldo Manzi
who left his native Ravello in 1919.
His father, who had eight other children to support, thought
he might have a better chance of creating a future here.
Growing up in Sicily, Aldo was familiar with good ice cream.
He opened a fruit shop, and at the end of the day would make
sorbets with the left over fruit.
Word spread and his sorbets were soon the talk of the town and
orders soon flooded in from restaurants and hotels.
In 1930, he established Casa Manzi, also known as Marine
Ices, at 8 Haverstock Hill and it’s become a mecca
for Londoners in search of good ice cream ever since.
Aldo built the shop to resemble the bridge of a ship, and an
original ‘porthole’ can still be seen in the central
part of the restaurant.
Aldo was joined by his younger brother, Anacleto, and they used
their father’s principle that only the finest ingredients
Fresh fruit water ices have always been Manzi’s speciality.
Only the freshest of fruit is used. There are no artificial colourings.
Fruit is bought at Covent Garden Market and fresh berries are
pulped and frozen for year round use.
Camden locals have a special affection for Casa Manzi.
Today’s customers have been coming here for years, like
their grandparents before them.
I remember the joy on the faces of my young nieces and nephews
at the arrival of the colourful Rasberry Sundae or Knickerbocker
Glory in a tall galss topped with swirls of cream and wafer thin
It’s very much a family restaurant. Even the staff like
Gasparo, Giulio and Tim, have been here for decades and feel part
of the Manzi family.
Photos of favourite customers line
the walls. You don’t have to be famous to be part of the
Manzi Gallery, but I spotted a smiling Ted Danson, Les Dennis
and Bob Hoskins among the Manzi regulars.
These days, Marine Ices has a trendier young clientele. Gwyneth
Paltrow has been in, she was tempted away from her strict macrobiotic
diet for one of the delicious sorbets.
During summer months, you can see a long queue stretching down
Chalk Farm Road outside the window with it’s enormous vats
of the many delicious flavours.
Like a good wine, Casa Manzi improves with age. On a visit last
week, the smell of garlic and freshly baked pizza provided a warm
welcome on a wet, windy Wednesday night.
The restaurant was packed to capacity, despite the recent events
Families were enjoying the delicious home made pastas, pizzas
and specialitia della casa.
I chose my favourite, Linguini al Scoglio, or pasta with mussels,
clams, squid and prawns in wine garlic and chill sauce.
There’s a variety of meat, chicken and fish dishes, all
prepared with love, care and the freshest of ingredients.
Hence the continued popularity. The wine selection is equally
good and value for money.
If you can, however, leave room for one of the delicious ice
creams. The Anacleto is sublime. Coffee ice cream with sauce and
Smoking is not permitted, which is another good reason to visit
this much loved Italian restaurant.
8, Haverstock Hill,
0207 482 9003