La Polenteria

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
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In the spirit of London’s trendy single-item menus, this Italian café serves only cornmeal – either as polenta with savoury toppings, or in cakes and biscuits.

This café-restaurant specialises in savoury and sweet dishes based on polenta - the cornmeal grain that is a staple of Italian cuisine.  The more orthodox savoury toppings include Tuscan sausages with borlotti beans, chicken alla Romana or goulash, all costing under a tenner. The vegan and vegetarian dishes are cheaper still, such as the Sicilian caponata for £7. There is a surprising diversity in the offerings, and may convince you even if you don't count yourself among the fans of the golden grains.

The bill can creep up if you’re tempted by the vegan desserts – chocolate coconut squares, perhaps, or cornmeal almond cookies. There are even polenta-based breakfast dishes, for example with fresh fruits. A simple idea and a simple place, with well-executed dishes.


Venue name: La Polenteria
Address: 64 Old Compton Street
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
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Laura G

Self advertised as a gluten free italian option, La Polenteria gets creative with the corn flour that is the base for the polenta. You can have it creamy, as in most places, but also on the shape of a pie, gnocchi, and pasta filling. The place is simple but nice, but the food is a bit average, with limited wine selection.

Chesca R

Who knew the polenta was so very versatile. A super choice for a place to eat if you have a vegan buddy, they cater for veggies and meat eaters too. The polenta gnocchi with truffle cheese is rich and silky. They do a great value set lunch menu which I have had a couple of times which included polenta bruschetta, grilled polenta with blue cheese and walnut sauce and absolutely delicious coffee (from a coffee machine shipped over from Italy) served with lemon polenta biscuits. If polenta isn't your thing then pop in for a coffee and a chat with the staff they are super lovely. 

Michelle v

I love this place; the staff is very friendly and the food yummie and fresh. All the dishes I've tried so far were excellent for the price.

Javier S
Staff Writer

Have tried polenta in Italy a few years ago, and wanted to go to a restaurant focused on it.

They create cool and "sophisticated" dished with polenta. Food is really good. I recommended because polenta is a different meal, it's cheap and well located!


The only good thing about this restaurant is the location.Over priced microwaved meals.No thanks.

I'm surprised is even on this list, come on time out, I`m sure you know better....

Díana B

It's ok, but quite stodgy. Polenta is probably one of the cheapest things you can buy and in Italy is considered "poor food" so I think the prices are extortionate when you bare this in mind. Also my food was very obviously microwaved, there was one waiting staff and when I walked past the kitchen the lights were off & no chef in sight... so I can't say I was at all impressed.


I too can't believe that TimeOut rated it 3 stars! I just returned from London from a 2 week vacation and had to stick to a gluten-free / milk-free diet, and finding places that cater to those dietary restrictions is difficult. Most restaurants in London did an okay job at having gluten-free / milk-free options but this place by far served one of the most tasty meals during my two weeks. I had the Pollo alla Romana and the Rocket with fennel, green beans, oranges and olives, and topped it off with a brownie. They also had a lot of vegan options. The owners very friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere was bright and comfortable. Having been spoiled by New York City and San Francisco cuisine, this measured right up to what you would find in either of those cities. Again, not so of a lot of places I ate in London, living up to the American stereotype that British food is often not very good and completely over-priced. 

Also, Time Out has them listed under Chinatown area but it's really much closer to Covent Garden and Soho, one block from Shaftesbury Avenue. 


I can't believe time out has rated 3 stars! The food was delicious and comforting... Perfect in this cold weather! I had the caponata and my partner the goulash. 100% recommend. Lovely friendly atmosphere, good prices especially for soho n the staff are very pleasant! Make sure u try the vegan Cupcakes- yummy!!!