Nothing beats Italian cuisine from the country itself – from the ristorantes of Rome, the osterias of Milan, the pizzerias of Naples and everywhere in between. But while we eagerly await the right time to visit again, here’s our guide to the best Italian restaurants that London has to offer. Italy, they'll never top you but they can try to make you proud.
Will there be a queue? Yes. Will the queue be worth it? 100% yes. Padella is to London’s pasta scene what the Queen is to London’s Royal Family – the reign of it. You’ll want to try the whole menu, so we’d recommend visiting with a big group or a big appetite. Or both to be on the safe side.
Menu highlights: Everything. But if we have to choose, the cacio e pepe is a plate of dreams. 📷 : @foodfeels
Coming from the acclaimed Parisian restaurant group, Big Mamma, this loud, proud Capri-inspired eatery landed in Shoreditch last summer and has been creating a stir ever since. The restaurant sits across two flamboyantly-designed floors, offering a taste of Italy wherever you look. And that’s before you’ve even glanced at the menu…
Menu highlights: La Gran Carbonara, which is literally served in a wheel of cheese and the ‘incomparable’ lemon pie (their words, not ours). 📷 : @bigmamma.uk (and header image)
We’re not sure what’s more iconic – the Lina Stores pasta or the Lina Stores mint-coloured signage. Either way, it’s an icon of Italian produce. Although it may be small, their Soho restaurant is a buzzing space with a menu bursting with flavour. It’s also just a short walk away from their original Brewer Street delicatessen if you fancy cooking up some of their comfort food from the comfort of your own home instead.
Menu highlights: Get the slow-roasted pork belly sandwich to whet the appetite and follow with the oxtail pappardelle. (Sorry, herbivores.) 📷 : @linastores
This neighbourhood eatery might be one of the lesser known on our list, but to in-the-know locals, it’s a firm favourite. The warm Italian atmosphere spills out onto the outdoor terrace tables whatever the day, whatever the weather. Go on a Friday evening when their piano player really brings la dolce vita.
Menu highlights: The pear and gorgonzola pizza. Every. Time.
📷 : @_samhillman
If you’re in the heart of Highbury, then pay a visit to Trullo, also known as Padella’s bigger sister. It’s a more grown up setting and the menu follows suit. Look around and you'll see happy, relaxed fellow diners (in London, could this be real?) because for the length of one's meal at Trullo, it’s nigh on impossible not to be.
Menu highlights: Their offering is seasonal so trust in the expertise of your waiter to advise on the day’s best plates. Whatever you decide though, you can’t go wrong.📷 : @guan_chua
Bocca di Lupo
Looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion? Whether it’s a big birthday or just the end of a long week, then book a table at Bocca di Lupo. It’s won many an award since opening its doors in 2008 and has since become somewhat of a classic amongst London’s Italian eateries.
Menu highlights: There's a B.Y.O. Truffle menu. Get involved. 📷 : @boccadilupo / @frankcereda
Flour & Grape
A charmingly decorated restaurant along Bermondsey High Street which is just the right balance between casual and quality. Flour & Grape serves fresh pastas and small plates within a convivial atmosphere. You might have to wait for a table (yes, another Padella-type situation we’re afraid), but there’s a cocktail bar downstairs where you can grab a drink and gear up for your feast.
Menu highlights: The burrata to start (how original of us), the sausage and fennel pasta as a main and if you’re going to twist our arm, the tiramisu gelato for dessert too.📷 : @mondomulia
Right, that's it from us – we're off to join the Padella queue for some lunch. If you want to see more of our London insider tips, take a look at our favourite homes in the city here.