The Handbook
The Handbook

Nothing beats a hearty bowl of freshly made pasta, peridot. Sure you could rustle up your own version of your favourite Italian dish at home, but you know for a fact that it can’t compete with a delicious homemade portion from one of London’s leading Italian restaurants. 

From rich ragus and creamy cacio e pepe to indulgent cheese loaded pizzas, nothing quite compares to an authentic Italian experience, made by some of the finest chefs in the business. While the restaurants prepare to reopen in April and May, get your bookings in pronto to experience the best Italian cuisine in the city as soon as their doors swing open.

Norma

One of the prettiest restaurants we’ve laid eyes on, it’s easy to admit that Norma London is a firm of ours. 

Located on Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, Norma is a contemporary Italian, inspired by the food, culture and vibrancy of Sicily. Brought to you by talented chef, Ben Tish, the restaurant is spread across three floors of an old London townhouse. On the first two floors, expect immaculate dining booths, tables and spreads, while upstairs dedicates itself to a luscious private dining space.

The menu is just as stunning as the interiors, drawing influences from southern Italy and northern Africa.

Where: 8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2LS
Website: www.normalondon.com

Tavolino

Meaning ‘small table’ in Italian, Tavolino are the newbies on the block, having opened during the height of the pandemic last July. 

Split over two floors, the neighbourhood Italian restaurant and bar boasts breathtaking views overlooking Tower Bridge – you could literally spend all day just gazing out onto the riverside views of the City. Meanwhile the menu is just as sensational; expect freshly made breads, pasta and gnocchi made upstairs in the kitchen every single day. 

Pull up a pew at the bar and enjoy a tipple or two, before sinking into the banquette seats for a meal to remember.

Where: 2 More London Riverside, SE1 2DB
Website: www.tavolino.co.uk 

Theo Randall at the InterContinental 

If you haven’t visited Theo Randall’s stunning Mayfair restaurant hidden inside the InterContinental London Park Lane, stop what you’re doing and book a table for their mammoth reopening come 17th May. 

The renowned chef launched the restaurant back in 2006 and since then, his commitment to delivering rustic produce-driven Italian food continues to flourish. With a menu changing daily, inspired by none other than Theo’s road trips around Italy, you know you’re in good hands. It’s Italian fare at its finest.

Where: InterContinental, 1 Hamilton Place, Mayfair,  W1J 7QY
Website: www.theorandall.com

Trullo 

Londoners favourite since opening its doors in 2010, Trullo is home to the finest seasonally focused, Italian inspired menu. With dishes changing daily, the menu always boasts something new, different and vibrant. 

Located in Highbury East, Trullo’s interiors are simple, with a mix of industrial thrown in. Handmade fresh pasta is a menu staple, whatever the season, alongside heroes changing dishes freshly prepared from their very own charcoal grill. 

Trullo, 300 - 302 St Paul's Road, London N1 2LH, tel 020 7226 2733; www.trullorestaurant.com

Where: 300-302 St Paul’s Road, Highbury East, N1 2LH
Website: www.trullorestaurant.com

Passo 

You only need to step foot into Old Street’s Passo to know that it’s a gem of a restaurant. Passo is a rustic modern Italian, priding itself on seasonal and convivial dining. 

Expect immaculate, modern interiors – the sort that’ll leave you wanting to replicate every inch in your own home – alongside delicious dishes.

Where: 80 City Road, Old Street, EC1Y 2BJ
Website: www,passorestaurant.com

Bocconcino 

Slotted in the beating heart of Mayfair, you’ll quickly find your carby desires catered for thanks to Bocconcino and their bountiful menu of Italian favourites. 

Home to traditional Italian cuisine, expect all of the classics from moreish antipastis to indulgently rich mozzarella loaded pizzas. Make sure you save space for a Cannolo Siciliano Con Gelato Al Pistacchio – think homemade Sicilian cannolo with creamy pistachio ice cream.

Where: 19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, W1J 8ED
Website: www.bocconcinorestaurant.co.uk

Padella 

Grabbing yourself a table at London’s favourite pasta restaurant, Padella, is near impossible. 

We’ve previously waxed lyrical about the allure of this place, maybe it’s the infamous queuing system or just the dreamy, yet affordable pasta that’s piled high on plates. Once you’ve secured your stall, order in the house favourite: Pici Cacio & Pepe. Trust us, you won’t regret it. 

Where: Shoreditch & Borough Market
Website: www.padella.co

Legare 

Bermondsey favourite, Legare is the neighbourhood Italian you’ll want to tick off your Italian resto bucket list. 

Located just a short stroll from Tower Bridge, Legare’s menu is regularly changing, boasting seasonal antipasti and pasta that’s made daily by hand. Expect catch of the day, carby pasta and more.

Where: Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, Bermondsey, SE1 2YR
Website: www.legarelondon.com

Gloria 

From the brilliant Parisian bar and restaurant group, Big Mamma Group’s Gloria is home to granny chic interiors and stunning food. Pro tip: make sure you try the pasta dipped in a melted cheese wheel at the table – you will not regret it. 

Big Mamma Group is also home to the floral favourite, Circolo Popolare too. The Fitzrovia restaurant came onto the scene back in 2019, bringing with it 20,000 bottles of spirits lining the walls, as well as floral vines draped from corner to corner and a whopping 280 covers

Where: 54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3QR
Website: www.bigmammagroup.com

Palatino

Brought to you by the creative culinary mind of Stevie Parle, Palatino is a cosy Italian restaurant that’s dedicated to bringing Londoners an authentic slice of Rome. 

Home to fresh, vibrant interiors and booth seating, Palatino is renowned for its authenticity. Start off with a selection of antipasti, from Coppa, finocchiona and pane carasau to Salt cod crocchette, agretti and camone tomatoe, before making your way to the house favourite: Cacio e Pepe.

Where: 71 Central Street, EC1V 8AB
Website: www.palatino.london

Monmouth Kitchen 

Bridging the gap between Italian and contemporary Pervuian tapas, Monmouth Kitchen is a gorgeous restaurant slotted in the heart of our favourite London spot, Seven Dials. 

Boasting 106 covers, the restaurant can be found serving up the best of Peruvian cuisine, mixed alongside Italian flavours. Fall in love with dishes from their set menu, such as Burrata Pegliese; Beef Carpaccio; Pan-Fried Salmon with Calabrian Chilli Salsa; and Pecorino and Truffle Tortellini. 

Where: 20 Mercer Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9HD
Website: www.thekitchensrestaurants.co.uk

Lina Stores

Another day, another pasta restaurant. This time we’re headed to Lina Stores for an afternoon of fine food, authentic flavours and aesthetically pleasing interiors. 

It’s no secret that London has fallen in love with Lina Stores’ story since arriving way back in 1944, and years later we’re all still intoxicated with their authenticity and charm. You’ll find us tucking into their polpette de melanzane (aubergine polpette with San Marzano tomato) and slurping up their 30-egg tagliolini with vacca brunca, butter and black truffle. Indulgent and delicious.

Where: Various Locations
Website: www.linastores.co.uk

Terra Terra 

Since opening in 2019, Terra Terra has become a neighbourhood favourite amongst Hampstead dwellers. Focusing on rural simplicity, they are committed to bringing their diners an authentic Italian experience, using seasonal British ingredients.

Our favourites from the menu are the pizzas, obviously. We’d recommend trying the Calabra. It’s a spicy pork ‘nduja, ricotta and spinach topped pizza that’s slathered in rich tomato sauce. Or make your own with a margherita and add your favourite toppings from their choice of toppings. You won’t regret it.

They also boast a beautiful outdoor terrace too, perfect for wining and dining your summer’s evening away.

Where: 120 Finchley Road, Hampstead, NW3 5JB
Website: www.terraterra.co.uk

Bancone 

On a mission to bring Londoners high quality, yet affordable pasta is Bancone, the Italian favourite with branches in the heart of Soho and Covent Garden. 

Working alongside Claudio Melis, as Culinary Director at Bancone, the restaurant serves up modern classics predominantly from Italy, but they also grab inspiration from Europe and a little further afield, adding a modern twist on your typical Italian classics.

Where: Soho & Covent Garden
Website: www.bancone.co.uk

Cafe Murano 

Located in the heart of St James’s, Bermondsey, and Covent Garden, you’ll find Angela Hartnett’s foodie empire, Cafe Murano. 

The menus pride themselves on being small, but well thought-out to really bring you the best of Italian culture. You’ll soon be munching through Italian favourites, including Chicken Milanese and Osso Bucco Risotto, as well as tucking into mouth watering homemade pasta with rich, buttery sauces.

Where: Various Locations
Website: www.cafemurano.co.uk

Cecconi’s

As if you needed any more of an excuse to visit The Ned, Cecconi’s is one of the finest Italian restaurants in the city. Home to rouge velvet interiors and a stunning bar lining the centre of the restaurant, Cecconi’s is an all-day Venetian brasserie, celebrating northern Italian dishes. 

If you’re a fan, they also boast sister restaurants in Mayfair, Berlin, Barcelona, Istanbul, Miami and West Hollywood.

Where: The Ned, 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
Website: www.thened.com

Bocca Di Lupo 

For a stripped back, honest approach to Italian dining, look to Bocco Di Lupo, the Soho favourite created by Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo. 

Despite being a Soho haunt, the restaurant prides itself on being a family business and a small trattoria at heart. Each dish on the menu shows which region of Italy it stems from, as well as usually offering a small or large option. Choose a few of the smaller plates and share the experience with your fellow diners or go it alone and order in a hero main dish.

Where: 12 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7BB
Website: www.boccadilupo.com

Sartori

Bringing Southern Italy to the heart of London is Sartori. Having first opened their doors in 2010, Sartori quickly became the place to go for authenticity. Nowadays you’ll find them rustling up freshly prepared pizzas and pasta daily. 

Even they admit their star of the menu is their pizza offerings. Think stone baked, lashing of fresh tomato sauce and moreish mozzarella.

Where: 15 Great Newport Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 7JE
Website: www.sartorirestaurant.com


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