London's best Italian restaurants

From rustic plates of pasta to finely crafted regional specialities

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From crusty sourdough pizzas to Venetian small-plates and more, tap into London’s vibrant Italian restaurant scene. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

A Cena

  • Rated as: 3/5

Just south of Richmond Bridge, this traditional Italian local was half full with a mix of families and dowdyish couples on our Sunday lunchtime visit. It isn’t a particularly romantic spot – our booth table was too wide for intimate banter, the dark decor a little gloomy – but the generous, mostly reliable food makes up for it. A Cena’s owners, Tim and Camilla Healy, are spreading their net and are now co-owners of Orso and Joe Allen in Covent Garden.

  1. 418 Richmond Road, TW1 2EB
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Assaggi

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Opened in 1997, Assaggi was in its early years a modish spot; although the fashionistas have moved on since, the first-floor dining room remains busy, with many customers greeted like long-lost relatives. The style is relaxed and informal, but there’s nothing frivolous about the cooking. Soft gnocchi served with an intensely flavoured venison and tomato ragu made us sigh with pleasure.

  1. 1st floor, 39 Chepstow Place, W2 4TS
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Bocca di Lupo

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The buzz is as important as the food at Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo’s enduringly popular Soho restaurant. Dine at the bar and you’re in for a fun night, or afternoon – especially if you’re by the window. It’s the perfect perch from which to watch favourite actresses swan in. Staff reassuringly affirm, ‘It’s sooo good,’ to virtually everything you suggest – and sometimes they’re right. We have fond memories of buttery brown shrimp on soft, silky white polenta

  1. 12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
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Enoteca Turi

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

In keeping with its name, Enoteca Turi has a particularly strong all-Italian wine list packed with treasures – our recommendation, an elegant pecorino, was spot-on. The decor feels a little dated, but the restaurant’s plus points – a convivial atmosphere, great wines, faultless service and a warm heart – are proving a winning formula in a neighbourhood overrun with soulless chains.

  1. 28 Putney High Street, SW15 1SQ
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Lardo

  • Rated as: 4/5

If a restaurant is named after the cured back fat of a pig, you can expect that charcuterie is among its specialities – and so it is here. But lardo itself isn’t on the menu at Lardo, except as a pizza topping, so our charming, clued-up waiter bought a plate specially. It was excellent, as was the paper-thin fennel pollen salame. Other small plates on the short menu are divided into ‘cold’ (simple but satisfying puréed cannellini beans with black olives), ‘warm’ (an

  1. 197 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ
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Locanda Locatelli

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

One of London’s most highly regarded Italian chefs, Giorgio Locatelli was recently seen on BBC2’s Italy Unpacked communicating a deep connection to his country’s food and drink with engaging brio. It shows in the menu here, which ranges voraciously through styles, regions and ingredients (some little known). There’s technique aplenty, but it’s food made to be relished as well as admired.

  1. 8 Seymour Street, W1H 7JZ
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Sardo

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The clue’s in the name: Sardo excels at Sardinian specialities. To come here for eat-anywhere dishes, such as grilled tuna steak, misses the point. But it’s largely thanks to the popularity of Romolo Mudu’s relaxed, welcoming ristorante that characteristic Sardinian ingredients such as fregola and malloreddus are finding their way on to other restaurants’ menus. 

  1. 45 Grafton Way, W1T 5DQ
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Tinello

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Federico and Max Sali opened Tinello in 2010, after a firm grounding at Locanda Locatelli, where the former was head chef and his brother the sommelier. Here, great produce is treated with skill and respect for tradition, but dishes still have the capacity to surprise. The pared-back elegance of the place – bare brick, dark wood, metal and mirrored tiles – reflects the simple perfection of the food and wine on offer.

  1. 87 Pimlico Road, SW1W 8PH
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Trullo

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

While evenings are still busy-to-frantic in this two-floored contemporary trattoria, lunchtime finds Trullo calm and the cooking relaxed and assured. Pappardelle with beef shin ragu has been a staple since Trullo’s early days and remains a silky, substantial delight. In opting for the set menu you miss out on the roasts and grills, but as a giant Black Hampshire pork chop and generous cod with cannellini beans and mussels whisked by our table, we weren’t sorry to have missed

  1. 300-302 St Paul's Road, N1 2LH
More info

Zucca

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A couple of pumpkins on the open kitchen counter reference the restaurant’s name and provide a touch of warmth to Zucca’s super-sleek interior. Gentle refurbishment has seen hard surfaces softened and, with light streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, the room has a sophisticated Sydney vibe. Eat at the bar and you’ll look awkwardly conspicuous to the roomful of people behind; it’s best to book a table in advance. 

  1. 184 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
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Users say

3 comments
chris
chris

Very disappointing sub-standard Italian food.Has the patron learned nothing, offering parmesan already ground up, decanted from a small supermarket container to top an uninspiring soupy bolognese sauce?. Why were my wife's prawns cooked in a mix of olive oil and water then no bread offered for mopping up? Why were the calamari rings leaking grease? A shame, it reminded me of English Italian food 30 or more years ago, but today there's no excuse.The restaurant was empty; taste travels fast, and unless a new chef is brought in, and a patron who takes more pride in what he is offering, this place is doomed.

mario rossi
mario rossi

17 Air Street restaurant Been eating at this,apparently new Italian cute little restaurant in Soho and i was surprised that is not mentioned anywhere on internet. We had such an authentic dinner .The staff made us feel part of the team even if the place was so busy.Lovely italian jazz was playing on cd . I had fritto misto and tasted like i was in the Amalfi coast.My wife had the gnocchi with fresh truffle.Simply delicious ....hope this will help this people and this place to be a little bit famous. Mario

Duncan
Duncan

Also great italian food to be had in the alternative dining scene in London. The 7th floor suppers are the mastgers on Melba. http://melba.co/feasts/217