Like a hug in a bowl, is there anything more comforting than a big plate of mama’s kitchen-style pasta? Thankfully London is packed like a plump ravioli with pasta restaurants, from the affordable that wows with its small plates to Michelin-worthy spaghetti, here are our top picks for getting your pasta on in the capital.
Handmade pasta pros, Pastaio, are Soho’s carb connoisseurs. Their fresh, handmade pasta dishes are intended to be shared – the seafood paccheri is a winner. If you’re not into the whole sharing thing, order your own prawn spaghetti, spinach and chilli pasta or wild mushroom tagliatelle. Don’t leave before trying their epic tiramisu, too.
Fancy a Lady and The Tramp spaghetti moment? Look no further than Sette. Their sister restaurant in NYC Scarpetta carved its name into pasta history books for its iconic tomato and basil spaghetti. Our friends over the pond have opened a London outpost and we couldn’t be happier.
Having dedicated years to pairing the right pasta types with the right sauces, Founder of Emilia’s Crafted Pasta, Andrew Macleod, is a bona fide pasta aficionado. The trattoria-style restaurant serves up hearty helpings of al-dente pasta and fresh sauce daily in its two London locations. The menu includes options like rigatoni with tomato and basil sauce, homemade lamb ravioli and smoked salmon or pancetta carbonara. Delizioso!
Not only is this an insta-lover’s dream – Gloria’s interiors are seriously out of this world, it’s also the place to go if you’ve a penchant for pecorino. If cheesy parmesan pasta wheels are what you dream about at night, head to the East London hotspot pronto. Served in front of you at your table, your carbonara will be swirled into a whole pecorino romano wheel, finished off with crispy Italian cured meat and a sprinkle of black pepper. Wash your carby dish down with a custom Gloria cocktail including the signature ‘Colada me Later.’
Splashing the cash on pasta might seem a little lavish but Luca is one of the capital’s finest pasta restaurants. Be prepared to drool over the rich white truffle taglierini or feast your senses on the pork sausage ragu paired with fresh rigatoni.
The cooler little sister to Angela Hartnett’s Michelin star Murano, Café Murano does unfussy, decent pasta daily. Menu highlights include spaghetti Pomodoro and pumpkin tortellini with mouth-watering sage butter.
Chef Alvaro Maccioni and his family’s restaurant has become somewhat of a Chelsea institution. Delve into their famous truffle pasta or rich lobster spaghetti, amongst the blue and white interiors that could be mistaken for the Amalfi Coast.
Known for its notoriously long queues, Padella might be a casual dining pasta bar but it’s carby magic really packs a punch. With pasta dishes like gnocchi in nutmeg butter, nduja fettuccine and rabbit ragu pappardelle at affordable prices, it is no wonder Londoners continue to rush back to this pasta gem. Top tip: their sage butter ravioli is one of those London dishes everyone should have tried at least once.
Lina Stores first opened its doors as an Italian delicatessen back in 1944, and more recently has launched a sister restaurant a few streets down – its trademark green exterior makes it unmissable. Our favourites this season include the minted courgette ravioli and the crab and chilli spaghetti. Save some room for cannoli – they’re the best you’ll find in Soho.
Diners at Osteria Wolf are encouraged to indulge in lazy lunches and long dinners just like the Italians do. Their menu changes with the season – great excuse for return visits. Hits include the beef shin ragu and watercress pesto tagliatelle. Yum.
Sandwiched between an old railway arch, Sager and Wilde offers guests a unique dining experience with mouth-watering pasta options. If the weather permits, dine alfresco on their terrace but if it is too dreary then the indoor restaurant offers a lively atmosphere for pasta-lovers. The beef ragu bolognese and penne puttanesca have been some of the seasonal delights on offer this year.
Translating as ‘the mouth of the wolf,’ Bocca Di Lupo has become one of London’s best-established luxury pasta venues. Its elegant dining room might have you fooled, but aside from its luxurious exterior, at its heart, Bocca Di Lupo serves honest Italian food. Challenging traditional concepts of food, the restaurant has produced some obscure and wacky creations over the years including a pig’s blood dessert. If that makes you feel a bit queasy, don’t worry, you can find tasty pasta staples like clam spaghetti and parpadelle ragú on the main menu.
If you’re looking for an authentic Italian experience from the food down to the staff and the decor, Sergio’s hits the mark. Nestled in the heart of Fitzrovia, this charming no-frills and family-run restaurant captures the spirit of Italy with its hearty plates of mama’s kitchen-style pasta. Our favourites include the king prawn spaghetti, penne all’ Arrabiatta and paccheri calabresi. Take a glimpse at their picture-framed walls to see the abundance of celebs who have popped in for a bowl of Sergio’s famous pasta.
Order your pasta with a side of glamour at Il Pampero, where the interiors are seriously chic – they’re designed by top interiors guru Tara Bernard. The restaurant sits inside the equally as chic Hari hotel – make a night of it and roll into bed no matter how much spaghetti vongole you’ve consumed.
Not technically a pasta restaurant (but they do damn good pizzas and small plates), Lardo also offer a daily pasta or two and they are so delicious we couldn’t miss them out of this guide. Fresh, simply and honest ingredients, make this Hackney hotspot one of our favourites.
This newly opened neighbourhood restaurant offers the hearty home-style Italian food that your grandma would be proud of. Treat yourself to the beef carpaccio to start, followed by the mouthwatering casarecce with lamb ragú. Wash your pasta down with a peach Old Fashioned cocktail and you’re onto a winning dinner combo!