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Italian London with Martina Melli
Andy Parsons

Gelato, stringozzi and the Clerkenwell Procession: it’s the best of Italian London

By Time Out London contributor

In the nineteenth century, the generation of Italians who came to London turned Clerkenwell and Soho into Little Italys and established themselves mainly through the ice cream trade. Nowadays, with more than 75,000 Italians coming to the capital between 2011 and 2016, the Italian community has diversified, so you’re as likely to bump into us working in tech or finance as you are in a restaurant or wine bar.

Our cultures have shared a special bond for hundreds of years, and I like to compare us Italian millennial expats to the young British aristocrats on their grand tours of the bel paese back in the 1700s and 1800s. For our part, we’re here for the exciting vibe and the international personality of this amazing city. And London has always given us a warm welcome, valuing our quintessentially Italian creative flair, quick thinking and fine taste! Martina Melli

Did you know? We Italians would never, ever say ‘spaghetti bolognese’. It’s ‘spaghetti alla bolognese’, and we hate it when you
say it wrong!

Martina’s favourite Italian spots in London

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Campania is a lovely little southern Italian resto in Columbia Road. I still dream of their stringozzi pasta with speck, aubergine and ricotta.

Italian artisan traditions meet contemporary street food at Mercato Metropolitano. Its massive indoor and outdoor spaces make it a must-visit!

If I crave proper Italian gelato, I head to Borough Market and treat myself to a smooth and creamy ice cream at 3Bis. It’s the best in London.

I’m from Rome, so I can’t help but be crazy about Said: London’s branch of the Roman chocolate factory founded in 1923. They make hot chocolate the way it’s meant to be: thick and rich.

This Sunday (July 16) it’s the annual Italian parade in Clerkenwell. Since the 1880s the procession has celebrated the heritage of the local church and community with music, religious statues and floats plus food stalls, lots of flags and Italian being spoken – loudly!

The best of Italian London, according to you

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Anima e Cuore in Camden: the pasta is made in front of you and it’s the real deal.’ Karen d’A via Facebook

Fumo, in St Martin’s Lane: it’s where I feel at home, where I believe London meets Italy perfectly.’ Natália B via

Princi in Soho is a proper Milanese joint. Stylish and decadent.’ Gesù B via Facebook

Now here’s our pick of London’s best Italian restaurants.

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