ITALIAN RESTAURANTS

Pasta, pizza, gelato? We’ve rounded up the best Italian restaurants in London that will leave you screaming MAMA MIA.

Italian Restaurants in London Highlights

Bocca Di Lupo might be an oldie but it’s a goodie. The Soho restaurant serves up a mix of small and large plates with menus changing everyday, and a banging selection of homemade gelati. With a solid wine list and buzzy atmosphere, it’s always a good night at Bocca Di Lupo.

Margot is relatively new, but it has the feeling of a proper classic. Serving up classic Italian fare, from cured meats, carpaccio and tartare dishes to salads, homemade pasta and a range of meat and fish main courses, it really ticks all the boxes. Grub doesn’t come in cheap, but it’s SO worth it.

Theo Randall has been at The Intercontinental for over ten years, but we’re still not bored of their incredible pasta dishes. Their slow cooked pigeon agnolotti and the beef tagliatelle are defo worth digging in to and don’t miss out on THAT lemon tart for dessert.

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THE RIVER CAFE

Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA, UK

Opened in 1987, The River Cafe is one of London’s most influential restaurants, launching the careers of Jamie Oliver and Theo Randall to name a few. Still as relevant as ever, The River Cafe is the model that a lot of the other restaurants on this map are based on: fresh, seasonal Italian ingredients, treated with the lightest of touches. The River Cafe changes its menu twice a day (yes TWICE) depending on what’s available and in season, but you can always be sure that it will deliver the goods. There’s anitpasti such as Roman artichokes with Amalfi lemon, and sea bass carpaccio; pasta dishes like ravioli stuffed with buffalo ricotta, garden herbs & lemon zest with marjoram butter; and secondi of whole wood-roasted pigeon, and chargrilled Scottish scallops with zucchini fritti, chilli and mint. For dessert there is one thing that is always on the menu – the classic, unbelievably gooey and rich chocolate nemesis cake. A meal at The River Cafe doesn’t come cheap, but it’s well worth a splurge at least once to experience one of London’s most iconic restaurants.

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BOCCA DI LUPO

£££
12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:00 – 9:30 PM

Bocca di Lupo has quickly become a Soho classic since opening in 2008, with its buzzy vibe, ever-changing and ever-crowd pleasing menu and impressive wine list. The beautifully designed dining rooms and the comfortable, convivial vibes consistently draw mixed crowds of Londoners night after night to dine on some choice Italian food. The menu changes every day, but you can be sure to get plates of delicious fresh pasta, grilled meats and fish and handmade gelati from Gelupo. We definitely recommend getting a seat at the counter, if you can, for a chef’s table experience right at the heart of the action.

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TRULLO

300-302 St Paul's Rd, London N1 2LH, UK

Even though Padella is the spin-off restaurant, it’s arguably more famous than its big sis Trullo (low prices and long queues will always attract attention). Not only can you get the very same pasta (admittedly the selection is smaller) including the famous beef shin pappardelle and the pici cacio e pepe, but at Trullo you’ve got some knockout seasonal Italian dishes on offer too, from rustic antipasti to fish and meat cooked over charcoal.

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GLORIA

54-56 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3QR, UK

Gloria is Parisian restaurant group Big Mamma’s first foray into London and they certainly arrived with a bang. It’s full on, both outside and in with bright colours, plants, a central bar with hundreds of glowing bottles, and every inch of space decorated with pictures and mirrors. The menu is just as OTT with massive sharing pastas, carbonara served at the table in a cheese wheel, pizzas with names like Regina Instagram and Robert De Nitro, and lemon meringue pies the size of your head.

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THEO RANDALL

££££
InterContinental, 1 Hamilton Pl, London W1J 7QY, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:30 – 2:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:30 – 2:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:30 – 2:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:30 – 2:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:30 – 2:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:30 – 4:00 PM

Top chef Theo Randall has been at The InterContinental Park Lane since it opened in 2006, having spent the majority of his career at The River Cafe with the legendary Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray MBE, as well as a stint at The Berkeley, California. Theo’s cooking is deeply rooted in rustic Italian food and has been given numerous nods from notable critics. The pappardelle con ragú di manzo, fresh pasta with slow cooked beef in Chianti and San Marzano tomatoes, is exceptional, as is the risotto di mare with clams, seabass, mussels, prawns, tomatoes, chilli and parsley. When Italian food is this impressive it’s a meal you will be talking about for a while.

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CIRCOLO POPOLARE

40-41 Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1HX, UK

If you like your restaurants OTT then you won’t find anywhere better than Circolo Popolare. The second London restaurant from the Big Mamma group, after the equally extra Gloria, is massive and every inch of the interiors are decked out, from thousands of spirit bottles lining the walls to ceilings covered in plants. As you’d expect, nothing is subtle here and that includes the food – carbonara is served tableside inside a giant wheel of cheese, there are sharing size giant open lasagne and the mushroom pasta comes blanketed in truffles and a rich mascarpone sauce.

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MARGOT

45 Great Queen Street, London, UK

The warm and inviting space of Margot has been designed beautifully with classic green leather banquettes, elegant decorative tiles, and a long zinc bar in front of an open kitchen. It serves classic Italian fare, from cured meats, carpaccio and tartare dishes to salads, homemade pasta and a range of meat and fish main courses. You’ll defo be wanting a least a couple of those fresh pasta plates.

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CAMPANIA & JONES

££
23 Ezra St, London E2 7RH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 5:00 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00 PM

Just off the end of Columbia Road is where you’ll find some of the best southern Italian food in one of the most romantic restaurants in town. Campania & Jones wins you over immediately with its beautifully rustic decor and convivial atmosphere, and then it makes you fall in love with it as the food comes out – plump gnudi with sage butter, bowls of homemade pappardelle and tortelli, rich fish stew, and the best tiramisu in London. Simple, flavourful cooking, generous portions just like nonna would dish up, and a gorge setting, you really can’t ask for much more.

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LOCANDA LOCATELLI

££££
8 Seymour St, London W1H 7JZ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Opened by Giorgio Locatelli in 2002, Michelin-starred Locanda Locatelli is known for smart Italian food, and though it’s a high-end place, it’s got a great convivial atmosphere too. You can expect dishes like artichoke salad with Parmigiano Reggiano, roast rabbit leg with polenta & grilled radicchio, basil-crusted plaice with potato & black olives and the pasta is top-notch too. It is on the spenny side, so save this place for a special occasion – although there’s nothing stopping you from coming in for a plate of pasta and a glass of wine. Treat yo’self.

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MARCELLA

165A Deptford High St, Deptford, London SE8 3NU

Coming from the people behind the much-loved Artusi in Peckham, Marcella is serving up bangin’ Italian food in SE8. The look and feel is very similar to Artusi, all stripped back wooden furniture, white walls, bare wood, and an open kitchen at the back of the room. The short menu is chalked up on the wall and it’s one of those ones where you just want EVERYTHING. The fried artichokes and saffron arancini are mega, the fresh pasta is up there with the best of them and you’ll wanna leave room for the puds too.

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LUCA

88 St John St, London EC1M 4EH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Luca, from the team behind The Clove Club, serves modern Italian food using British ingredients, so there are traditional-with-a-twist pasta dishes like agnolotti cacio e pepe with short rib and spaghettini with Morecambe Bay shrimps & mace butter alongside plates like Orkney scallops with jerusalem artichoke & nduja, Cornish halibut with porcini & pancetta, and salt-baked celeriac with chanterelles. Whether you for a plate of pasta or the whole antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci route, don’t under any circumstances skip the parmesan fries. The bar at Luca is a separate and distinct space and people are encouraged to drop in and have a drink and snack, so you can still get a flavour of the place if you’re short on time.

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LINA STORES

££ - £££
51 Greek St, London W1D 4EH, UK

Lina Stores, which has been supplying Londoners with the best Italian ingredients for over 75 years, is a Soho institution, has a pasta restaurant on Greek Street just around the corner from the Brewer Street deli, as well as a site in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. The restaurant has the same mint green exterior, with counter dining on the ground floor and tables in the basement. Pasta is the star of the show here – it’s all handmade daily in the deli, just like it has been since 1944, and head chef Masha Rener has created a menu that features Lina Stores classics as well as regional Italian specialities. The pici with porcini and Umbrian sausage is a standout with the gnocchi with new season peas and salted ricotta running it a close second though. Thankfully the portion sizes allow for you to try a few and, yes, you will be wanting all of them.

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MAREMMA

36 Brixton Water Lane, London SW2 1PE, UK

Housed in the former Montego Inn in Brixton, Maremma is all about showcasing produce, particularly game and seafood, and wine from the Maremma part of Tuscany (it’s the southwestern portion by the coast FYI). Much of the wine list hasn’t been seen in the UK before so you really are getting something new. The menu is tight, with only a handful of antipasti, primi and secondi – definitely don’t miss the signature tortelli Maremmani, fat parcels stuffed spinach and ricotta, and swimming in sage butter.

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MANTECA

49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:45 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:45 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:45 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:45 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:45 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:45 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM

Manteca in Shoreditch is the third iteration of a restaurant that started at 10 Heddon Street before moving to Soho, and now finally settling here in on Curtain Road. Of all these, the new place is the one that really feels like their home. If you’ve been to Manteca before and loved it then you will definitely be a fan of the Shoreditch restaurant. All the elements are there – the in-house charcuterie, the nose-to-tail menu, and the fresh pasta – and now it’s all wrapped up in a beautiful new space and a bold menu that combines some of their classic dishes with several new ones. Don’t miss the incredible mortadella, made fresh in house; the crisp, rich pig head fritti; the clam flatbread; the n’duja mussels; and the tonnarelli with a brown crab cacio e pepe sauce.

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LEGARE

Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, London SE1 2YB

Jay Patel (former Barrafina and Koya City GM) and chef Matt Beardmore (ex-Trullo) are the dynamic duo behind Legare in Shad Thames, which is all about seasonal produce, fresh pasta and low-intervention wine. It’s a simple understated space with white walls, an open kitchen and plain wooden furniture and benches. Keeping it simple is the order of the day in the kitchen too – think stracciatella with sobrasada, gnocco fritto, orecchiette with fennel sausage & cavolo nero ragu, and stracci with crab, chilli & pangrattato. All of this is complemented by a tight wine list of natural and low intervention bottles, mainly coming from Italy.

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OMBRA

££
1 Vyner St, Bethnal Green, London E2 9DG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 6:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 6:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 5:30 PM

An Italian restaurant in Hackney, Ombra has been around for a while but has gone up significantly in the estimations of London foodies in recent years. Although its roots were originally set in Venetian cuisine (it takes its name ‘ombra’ from the Venetian slang for a small glass of wine), Head Chef Mitshel Ibrahim has expanded Ombra’s reach and branched out into a variety of Italian regions. Expect the likes of gnocco fritto & wild boar mortadella; smoked ricotta & anchovy ravioli, tonnarelli pasta with ceps; and tiramisu but bear in mind that the seasonal menu changes regularly. The drinks list features low-intervention wines from Italy and across Europe alongside classic Italian cocktails – grab a spot on the terrace for the ultimate Italian holiday feeling.

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