From humble dishes of pasta to exquisite dining, check out our list of the best Italian restaurants in London. Read our guide to the top locations for superb Italian food, whether you’re looking for classic pizzerias, fine-dining Mayfair restaurants, or buzzy Soho diners. These are the best Italian restaurants in London.
Manteca is the best for fresh pasta.
When Smokestak creator David Carter and former Kitty Fisher’s chef Chris Leach started a residency at 10 Heddon Street, reviewers lauded the restaurant’s exceptional fresh pasta, and with good reason. Thankfully, the couple has found a permanent home in the shape of Manteca in Soho, which offers some of the same items from the pop-previous up’s menu, including the delectable nduja steamed mussels with cream and parsley. Know more about foods with our food related articles.
Order the tonnarelli with brown crab and cacio e Pepe or the rigatoni with kale sauce and parmesan from the pasta menu. Porchetta with lemon and rosemary is a must-try for meat lovers. Manteca is a notable cheap classic in a city where Italian restaurants are springing up at a breakneck pace. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in London.
Best for shopping and eating: Eataly
Eataly, a large 42,000 square-foot Italian market and dining concept next to Liverpool Street station, has received a lot of attention, and rightly so. Every weekend, lines of Italians and Italy aficionados develop around the building as they clamor to peruse the astonishing selection of gourmet delights on sale, including excellent pasta sauces, tomatoes the size of your palm, and delectable cannoli. Eataly previously had one restaurant, which was located outdoors on its covered patio, but it has recently added another eating option: Pasta e Pizza, which serves exactly what its name implies.
A lunch here demonstrates why these two culinary classics are the most renowned Italian exports: the food is of the highest quality, and the recipes are simple; picture colorful caprese salads, creamy burrata paired with artichoke, and big cheese and salami platters. Pasta is either freshly cooked in the kitchen or imported from Gragnano in Campania, which is known for its bronze-extruded air-dried pasta. You won’t be sorry if you order the handcrafted tagliolini with butter, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, and seasonal, fresh black truffle.
Best for group dinners: Ave Mario
Ave Mario is the Big Mamma Group’s newest export, after their two enormous London success stories, Gloria and Circolo Popolare (more on those later). With colourful decor, amusing fruit- and vegetable-themed dinnerware, and neon-lit restrooms that were clearly created with Instagram in mind, the lively location in Covent Garden is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach.
While the atmosphere is lighthearted, the cuisine is serious; you won’t regret choosing the burrata with fresh truffle, melting aubergine parmigiana, creamy potato crocchettes with caviar, or the massive carbonara ravioli. Wash it down with a beverage from the menu, which changes monthly, and a dolci slice from the 60-inch gelato tower. This is one of the best Italian restaurants London.
The Big Mamma Group is using a new unique payment technology called ‘Sunday’ across all three of its restaurants to keep its clients secure. Sunday was built by the Big Mamma founders themselves. Customers can pay the bill directly from their phones and divide it effortlessly among guests, which is ideal for group meals (Ave Mario can accommodate up to 20 people). There is no need for debate or calculating.
Best for riverside views: Tavolino
Tavolino has a picture-perfect location near City Hall, with views of Tower Bridge and the Thames. Sitting outdoors on its large terrace on a warm evening feels like being on vacation, capturing London at its finest as the sun sets over the river. Aside from the views, the restaurant employs the freshest ingredients from Italy and the United Kingdom to create a menu so tempting that you’ll be unsure what to choose. Louis Korovilas, previously of famed Bancone, is in charge of the kitchen, so customers are in good hands.
Furthermore, order the burrata, which comes with excellently seasoned zucchine alla scapece, as well as the bombolini, which is packed with parmesan and lardo ham. The silk handkerchiefs with walnut butter and confit Burford Brown yolk – a nice twist on a Bancone staple – and the tagliatelle with nduja sausage and pig ragu are two of our favorites among the pasta alternatives. Tavolino’s twist on traditional limoncello, a little refreshing cocktail made with the legendary Sorrento liqueur, tonic, and a touch of mint, is a great way to wash it down.
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Best for intimate neighbourhood energy: Cin Cin
Cin Cin began as a street food stand in Brighton, operating out of a 1972 Fiat 850 van. As the restaurant’s popularity developed, creator David Toscano left his day job as a lawyer to build his own restaurant alongside Chef Jamie Halsall. Following that, the couple established their second restaurant, this time in Hove, in 2018, to critical acclaim and a cult following. Cin Cin has been known for its superb food, good service, and ability to create an intimate local restaurant atmosphere in both colonies since then. Everyone’s favorite location in Brighton to sink a great meal of spaghetti washed down with a Cin Cin Bellini.
This popular eating destination has made its way to London’s Fitzrovia for summer 2021, where it has managed to reproduce the same cozy, neighborly ambiance that made it a smash on the south coast. The service is kind and inviting, and the cuisine is excellent. Even the tiny appetizers, such as olives and tomatoes, are wonderful, taste just like they should, rather than bland and flavorless as they often do in the UK. Order the cacio e pepe gnocchi as a favor to yourself; it’s a flawlessly prepared dish that will undoubtedly draw return customers.
Best for business lunches: Franco’s
For nearly 70 years, Franco’s on Jermyn Street has been feeding Londoners bowls of creamy pasta and superb wine. One of the city’s original premium Italian restaurants, it has a delectably classic feel to it, with white tablecloths, crimson banquettes, and immaculately dressed staff who can’t do enough for you.
This is a great place to host business clients since it is open for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Its creamy burrata, as well as the linguine with lobster, garlic, tomato, and chilli, are sure to please. Its meat specialties, such as honey-glazed duck and pan-fried venison, are also excellent. Franco’s is a landmark — a distinction it well merits. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in London.
Best for Tuscan dishes: Maremma
Maremma, a small restaurant named after a little-known Tuscan seaside area, is tucked away on a side street around 10 minutes’ walk from Brixton’s main strip. This two-story facility, decorated in Maremma tones of olive, terracotta, and sea blue, serves Tuscan cuisine co-created by two Brits who fell in love with the cuisine and decided to build a restaurant. As an antipasti, start with the fresh and simple Battuta with aioli mustard, then choose between the cheese and ricotta packed Tortelli Maremmani or the delightfully thick wild boar ragu.
The entire grilled branzino, served with peperonata and aioli, is a good alternative for those looking for a lighter entrée. The wine list is mostly comprised of Maremma wines, which is a rare occurrence in the wine market. Brixton is a better place because of this ideal local eatery, which is dedicated to promoting one of Italy’s tourist underdogs.
Best for burrata: Gloria
Gloria epitomizes what a true Italian should be. Every member of the staff is Italian, so the moment you walk through the doors, you’re already enjoying la dolce Vida. The trattoria is located in the heart of Shoreditch, yet once inside, it’s easy to forget about the bustling London streets. Their menu features a combination of traditional Italian classics and new interesting meals with a twist, all made using Italian ingredients.
Start with the creamy burrata and crunchy roasted artichoke, followed by fluffy fresh bread as a snack between meals. Gloria is all about burrata, with four dishes using the creamy cheese on their supper menu. It’s never simple to choose between pasta and pizza, but we went for the latter, topped with pesto and rocket. Go all out with the carbonara cooked in a wheel of cheese if you’re feeling particularly cheesy.
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Best for good times: Circolo Popolare
The companion restaurant of the ever-popular Gloria is Circolo Popolare. Circolo, which focuses on Sicilian cuisine rather than generic Italian fare, is just as cheerful as its predecessor and maybe even more photogenic, with shelf after shelf of backlit bottles of booze and a ceiling draped in hanging plant and fairylights. Because it’s difficult to acquire a table here, the atmosphere is lively once you’re inside; this is a place to come for a good time rather than a peaceful supper.
The burrata, which is just as creamy as you’d hope; the truffle pasta decadantly made with mascarpone; the Elizabeth Regina pizza – a delicious combination of mushrooms, ricotta, and prosciutto – and the Carmina burrata, linguine served with aubergine, juicy sweet tomatoes, and burrata, because frankly, you can’t have too much of the latter – are all highlights on the menu. Circolo Popolare is a tummy embrace that is worth the wait.
Best for affordability: Lina Stores
Lina Stores, the Soho deli that has been serving the greatest Italian food outside of Italy since the 1940s, is well-known among Londoners. Its restaurant, a small two-story facility on Greek Street, serves superb handcrafted fresh pasta, simple but delectable flavors, and the nicest chocolate torte you’ll ever have.
The plates are small, so order a few to share (we recommend the nduja and ricotta dish, as well as the prosciutto to start, followed by the schiaffoni pasta served with datterini tomato, the caviar of the tomato world) and take advantage of the excellent service, which embodies the best of Italian hospitality – warmth, character, and a passion for good food. Great cuisine, a friendly greeting, and a vibrant environment are all to be expected. You’ll want to come back to this restaurant again and again.
Best for seafood: Baccalà
Baccalà is a little Bermondsey Street Italian restaurant that celebrates the best in fish, wine, and olive oil. With a seasonal and availability-based menu – the delightfully homespun chalk-board kind – the restaurant also hosts a fish market every Saturday, providing locals with the best produce from trusted local suppliers and independent fisheries in Cornwall – which is also where they source the fish for their restaurant menu. Regular catches including Cornish turbot, hand-dived scallops, Dorset clams, and Scottish salmon, as well as monthly rotating specialties, are on the menu.