Artusi can be credited with being the place that made pasta trendy again. It may be hard to believe, but back in the noughties, you only ate pasta if you were a tourist, a student, a student tourist or occasionally an ageing Italian businessman (RIP Latium: I’ll always remember your fish ravioli). Then, in 2014, came Artusi. A minimalist dining room, serving a daily changing blackboard menu of artisanal pasta (plus equally excellent grills and salads). Since then, other players – most notably Padella, Pastaio, Lina Stores and Bancone – have joined the pasta party, while Italian restaurants across the capital have dialled up their carb count.
As for Artusi, it’s completely unchanged, in the very best way: friendly staff, a chilled-out crowd, pared-back interiors (school chairs, white walls) and terrific cooking. On a recent visit, we were dazzled by the cavatelli (humble twists of no-egg semolina-based pasta), strung through with pancetta and peas, then a bowl of perfectly al dente ravioli stuffed with asparagus and trout. Away from the carbs, a plate of cured bream with grapefruit, shaved fennel and dill was every bit as special. But still, you’re here for the pasta. Got it?