Named for the ‘formidable’ Italian woman ‘Lina’ who opened it in 1944, Lina Stores quickly became the spot for finding lip-smackingly good Italian produce in the capital, and after over 75 years of perfecting their authentic pasta recipe, the store branched out in a restaurant on nearby Greek Street. After opening their city branch in 2021, they’ve just opened their latest restaurant – their fifth – in the fashionable area of Marylebone Village, and Secret London was lucky enough to pop along and try it out – and boy, was it good…
Set over two floors, it features a spacious all-day restaurant, a fully-stocked delicatessen and a cosy, downstairs bar, which also can double as a private dining room for up to 60 guests. The interior follows the signature Lina Stores’ decor of mint green walls and chairs with white stripes, and when we visited, the place was full to the brim with winers and diners – so it’s certainly proving popular.
Now onto the food. Well, what can we say? It was absolutely delicious. Starters included the grilled focaccia doused in cultured butter and salty anchovies, and the toasted sourdough panzanella with heritage tomatoes and tropea onions. But the real winners for me here were the ‘carciofi fritti’ – a delicious sharing plate of fried artichokes, aioli and pangrattato – and the ‘crudo di orata’ – a melt-in-the-mouth sea bream crudo dusted with basil and pine nuts.
Continuing onto the mains – and yep, you guessed it – we went for the pasta. The ‘stracciatella ravioli’ with datterini tomatoes, pine nuts and basil was a sheer delight, but if you’ve got more of a refined palette, go for the ‘tagliolini al tartufo’. A heavenly mix of 30-egg yolk tagliolini, black truffle, creamy butter and rich parmigiano reggiano, it really was impressive and would be my go to on the menu! There are also plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options here too, so there should be something to satisfy everyone – whatever your taste!
To finish up, we went for the chocolate mousse with salted caramel – and what a way to finish. A rich and smooth dessert, it really hit the spot – as did the Aperol Spritz and the fruity bottle of primitivo from Terre Di Montelusa in Apulia. Head Chef Masha Rener has really hit it out of the park here, so if ever you’re in this part of town, make sure you pay them a visit!