As simple as Italian ingredients are, their dishes and restaurants can be pretty damn swanky! After all, we all have our preferred recipe for good old pasta. And don’t we look forward to the cheesiest pizza on our cheat days? Whatever your tastes, there’s a chef nearby waiting to mesmerise you with their distinct culinary talents. From award-winning menus offering fresh seasonal produce and the best ingredients, to Michelin-starred spots which often top ‘best of’ lists around the globe. No matter where you are in the British capital, if you have the taste buds for Italian food, here’s a roundup of 8 of the best Italian restaurants in London:
If you follow some well-known food critics in the city, you will have heard of Bancone. It is known considered one of the best Italian restaurants in London, having won over many rather strict food critics in the past. The menu showcases dishes from almost every region of Italy, and as a result, received the esteemed Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2022.
They carefully make their pasta fresh here every day, and this is one of the main reasons they bring in such a regular crowd of returning visitors. Heading there already? Make sure you try their ‘silk handkerchief pasta’ with tasty confit egg yolk and walnut butter or the burrata served in basil oil and topped off with heritage tomatoes.
You’ll find Bancone at 39 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DD and at 8-10 Lower James Street, London, W1F 9EL. Nearest stations are Charing Cross and Piccadilly Circus.
Artusi is a Peckham-based spot that whips up classic, traditional dishes with a tasty twist. Designed in the vein of a simple neighbourhood restaurant, they scribble their daily menu on the chalkboard outside, and were recently given a Michelin-star.
If you are a Londoner, you might already know about their amazing seasonal menu that changes frequently. But if not, get yourself south of the river and head to Peckham to try their delectable dishes like ox tongue pastrami and mouthwatering beef rump.
You’ll find Artusi at 161 Bellenden Road Peckham, London SE15 4DH. Nearest station is Peckham Rye.
3. The River Café
This brilliant Italian restaurant in London has been wooing food-lovers for over three decades. The River Café serves seasonal spring, summer, autumn and winter menus. However, this dream of Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray has always had one particularly delectable dessert served throughout the year – the ‘chocolate nemesis dolci’ – a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake served with creme fraîche.
Another Italian joint that’s earned itself a Michelin Star, they only allow up to eight people at a time to wine and dine here and are open for lunch and dinner every day of the week. While they’re not exactly cheap, they do justice to every dish served, and stick to seasonal vegetables. Don’t miss the gorgeous seafood risotto served with clams, zucchini flowers, and winter-specific greens during the Winter months.
You’ll find The River Café at Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London, W6 9HA. Nearest station is Hammersmith.
If you follow their Instagram account, you might count them amongst the best Italian restaurants in London. And probably just for their massive slice of lemon meringue pie! But don’t go just by their swanky website or the chic ambience. Their food is even better than it looks, and will keep drawing you back again, again and again!
A part of the esteemed ‘Big Mamma Group’, Gloria offers a different menu every month! Their food is outstanding and easy on the pocket. If you’re heading there now, then the black molise truffle pasta, homemade spaghetti and creamy tiramisu are really must-try dishes.
You’ll find Gloria at 54-56 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3QR. Nearest station is Old Street.
5. Locanda Locatelli
Run by one of the UK’s and probably the world’s most famous Italian chefs, Giorgio Locatelli, Locanda Locatelli takes you on a journey to experience real, authentic Italian cuisine. This Michelin-starred spot is utter heaven for foodies, and entices people to come back time and time again due to the quality of its food and its lively ambience.
Celebrating 20 years since they first opened back in 2002 in Marylebone, Giorgio and his wife Plaxy serve you their creative take on all the usual Italian dishes. Combined with an exquisite wine menu and some pretty tasty breads, you have got yourself a hell a good meal here. Their ‘fagottini di borragine’ with walnut sauce and ‘tagliatelle’ with a kid goat sauce is as mouth-watering as it looks, and all of this is garnished with a decent side of salad.
You’ll find Locanda Locatelli at 8 Seymour St, Marylebone, London,W1H 7JZ. Nearest station is Marble Arch.
Another Italian restaurant in London that has received recognition in the Michelin Guide, Luca offers a lively atmosphere and classic Italian cuisine with quality British ingredients. Moreover, they offer a seasonal menu and some banging pasta dishes too.
There’s more than enough here to keep you happy, but we’d personally recommend their parmesan fries, and their scallops and Scottish halibut with spring minestrone. If you are up for something a bit different, go for their ‘prix fixe’ menu, where the chef sends something from the menu without letting you know!
You’ll find Luca at 88 St John Street, London EC1M 4EH. Nearest station is Farringdon.
This celebrated spot is another restaurant that focuses on the best seasonal produce, specifically from British farmers using fresh produce. Trullo promises a new menu daily, and they hand-make their pasta for each and every order, and use a charcoal grill to cook their fish and meat.
If you happen to go at a time when ‘pappardelle with beef shin ragu’, ‘ming tang-evans’, or baby lettuce salad is being served, then order them all right away!
You’ll find Trullo at 300-302 St Paul’s Road, Highbury East, London, N1 2LH. Nearest station is Highbury and Islington.
Did you know Officina 00 is the flour used to make pasta? The name captures the foundation of Italian cooking and serves delectable dishes loved by all. Here, the friendly and knowledgeable staff give you a good view of the fresh pasta being rolled and pinched in their open kitchen while you sit sipping their wine on tap – sounds a pretty good deal if you ask us!
Their ‘corzetti’ with wild mushroom and house pork sausage, ‘gnocchi alla romana’ with giudia artichokes and croquettes are absolutely unmissable. Top all this off with a twisted negroni and you’ve got yourself one hell of a night here. They even do pasta-making too!
You will find Officina 00 at 156 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BW. Nearest station is Old Street.
So there you have it! Even though Italian cuisine often needs few ingredients, it takes a unique set of hands to create something that’s pretty out-of-this-world. Each place in this list of the best Italian restaurants in London has certainly earned the accolades we say.