Perhaps the most popular cuisine in the country, you’d be hard-pressed to walk down any city street without passing at least a couple of Italian restaurants on your travels.
Whether you’re after a sumptuous spaghetti special to celebrate the upcoming season in style, the perfect personal pizza covered in pepperoni, pine nuts, peppers, pesto and Parmesan, or you just plan on passing the time with a glass of sparkling Prosecco and an antipasti platter, it can be difficult to know which Italian restaurant to choose from due to the extensive selection on offer.
If you’re a Londoner looking for a lovely Italian lunch, a tourist searching for a superb Sicilian supper after a summer’s day spent sightseeing, or a business person looking to knock back a few Italian beverages, here at Fed Up and Drunk, we have made your life a lot easier with our selection of the best Italian restaurants in the city.
Meridionale invites diners to relax in rustic, warm surrounds and celebrate all things Italian. With its pared back interior and casual atmosphere, customers are drawn back to Meridionale time and time again. Covering much of southern Italy’s culinary output, what you see here is the real deal.
Fresh, quality ingredients are blended to create genuine Italian fare, taking diners on a culinary journey through the Southern regions. Think homemade pasta and Neapolitan pizzas alongside fresh fish and seafood dishes. Starters include deep-fried baby octopus and creamy mozzarella served with caponata. Main dishes of Sardinian gnocchetti with free-range sausage and Parmesan, pan-fried cod fillet, and oven-baked chicken all boast mouth-watering flavours. A stand-out dessert of cannolo Siciliano – a traditional Sicilian tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with sweet and creamy ricotta cheese – is a must-try.
Former Young Chef of the Year and owner of the Palatino, Steve Parle, believes that dining out isn’t just about the food, but the whole experience.
This casual eatery, named after one of the seven ancient hills of Rome, is as great a spot for a four-course Italian feast as it is for a simple plate of pasta and glass of Italian wine. Palatino celebrates the food of Rome, so expect to find simple, elegant and tasty dishes, from classic creations to more contemporary delights. Pasta-lovers are in for a treat at Palatino, as it’s freshly made on-site each day.
The pared-back yet elegant interior ensures the ambience is as comforting as the food and service. A large communal table and formal booths allow Palatino to move seamlessly from a buzzing daytime eatery to a more formal, but no less vibrant, restaurant in the evening.
For 19 years, Il Bordello has been delighting London gastronomes with its hearty Italian cooking and warm, cheerful atmosphere. Large Lempicka prints adorn the walls and a gleaming copper bar acts as the restaurant’s centrepiece.
You’ll find the menu is simply overflowing with beautifully fresh fish and seafood, succulent meat, hand-thrown pizzas and plenty of pasta. We recommend you try the insalata di piovra, a tasty octopus salad, and the bresaola della casa with olive oil, Parmesan and a dash of lemon. Mains include cotoletta Milanese, tender veal coated in golden breadcrumbs, and a spectacular pizza Il Bordello with plenty of homemade passata, lashings of creamy mozzarella, artichoke, red peppers and Parma ham.
Unlike so many London pizzerias, Il Bordello sidesteps pretentiousness and instead focuses on delivering deliciously authentic Italian cuisine.
Owned by Tuscany’s Avignonesi winery, Negozio Classica showcases a fabulous array of wine and boasts an enviable setting in the capital. Combining a wine bar, speciality foods store and a little eatery, Negozio Classica is a paradise for Italian food fans; diners can expect a select menu of Tuscan-inspired options.
The flagship venue can be found on the corner of Portobello Road in fashionable Notting Hill. The decor is that of a sophisticated yet understated Italian trattoria and the ambience is convivial and lively, setting the scene for an evening of fine food and wine. The menu includes delights such as tortino di melanzane – a rustic Tuscan speciality comprising a warm layered cake of bread, tomato, Parmesan, mozzarella and basil, surrounded by grilled aubergine – and organic beef, matured on the bone for a minimum of three weeks and served alongside rocket salad, Parmesan shavings and balsamic vinegar.
Vicino pays homage to Italian cooking and so authentic, unpretentious Italian dishes come as standard here. Blooming hydrangea flower pots entice visitors to head inside, where vintage Italian posters adorn the walls and garlic hangs from the ceiling at this light and airy spot.
Head chef Marco Moscoloni values seasonal flavours, fresh ingredients and brings traditional Tuscan cooking to this corner of the city. With produce carefully hand-picked from suppliers in Italy and the UK, you can rest assured that what you see on your plate is the best of the bunch.
Marco’s favourites of classic beef lasagne and pasta with veal strips, fontina cheese and rosemary sauce prove he is a chef who cooks from the heart. Signature recipes from his Italian hometown Marche include seafood stew, porcino mushroom and truffle lasagne, and pappardelle with veal straccetti and staples such as classic spaghetti carbonara are always available here.
Sale e Pepe serves some of the best Italian cuisine around and it’s not difficult to see the appeal of this intimate, cosy restaurant.
This elegant Italian trattoria has been a firm fixture on Pavilion Road for over 40 years and has gained a loyal following. With a menu that includes beautiful soft octopus Carpaccio with avocado, mozzarella salads, crispy skinned stone bass complemented by piquant capers, and veal escalopes cooked in cream, brandy and mushrooms, you’ll be charmed by choice of authentic Italian cuisine on the menu.
If it’s sweet food you’re after, try the creamy panna cotta with berry coulis and Mario’s recommendation of sublime chocolate and coconut cheesecake followed by a classic cappuccino.
To find a full range of the best Italian restaurants in London, pick up your free copy of the London Food and Drink Guide.