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Bancone
Photo: Andy Parsons

Where to find (and eat) the best pasta in London

Ogling agnolotti? Panting for pappardelle? Join the club. Here are the London restaurants and delis that are perfect for pasta-lovers

Leonie Cooper
Edited by
Leonie Cooper
Written by
Emma Hughes
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Ever since Padella opened in Borough Market, and queues started to snake outside for its simple, affordable pasta small plates, London has become a city of pasta-fiends, lusting after linguine and Instagramming anelli. More and more hip Italian restaurants have opened across the capital serving up stylish, saucy, cheesy and downright-delicious strands of dough and we're stocking up on perfect fresh pasta from delis like Lina Stores and diving into the grand likes of Gloria – the most made-for-Instagram trattoria you'll ever see – in Shoreditch, which serves up double-portion carbonara from a giant cheese wheel. Here are the finest pasta places in town. 

RECOMMENDED: London's best Italian restaurants

Places to eat pasta in London

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Borough
  • price 2 of 4

This legend’s note-perfect, well-priced pastas are as raved-about now as they were the week it opened. Like tripping over massive suitcases on the tube at rush hour, standing in the ever-present queue is an irritating fact of London life. But there are things you can do to make it less of a drag. Get there very early (11.30am on a Sunday), very late (9pm on a Monday) or – like one hero Time Out spotted – bring a folding chair. Once you’re inside go classic with pappardelle and beef shin ragù. There's also a branch in Shoreditch. 

  • Restaurants
  • London Fields
  • price 2 of 4

The Insta-infamous east London bakery turns into a sit-down pasta restaurant in the evenings, offering the likes of lamb cannelloni lounging provocatively on a bed of bagna cauda, draped with soft, slow cooked friggatelli peppers like some kind of reclining Modigliani nude. The perfect lowkey neighbourhood joint. 

 

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  • Shopping
  • Bakeries
  • Soho

Opened in 1944, the pastel-painted Brewer Street shop is stuffed to the rafters with the best pasta this side of the Dolomites. Browse the whole wall of superior dried stuff (Lina stocks the cheffy Rummo brand) or park up next to the homemade fresh-pasta counter, take it home and cook up a storm. If you can't be bothered to DIY your dinner, then there are Lina Stores restaurants on nearby Greek Street, as well as in Marylebone, Bloomberg Arcade and King's Cross. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Peckham
  • price 2 of 4

Pasta for your starter and your main? Peckham’s premier purveyor actively encourages it. There’s always a choice of two different ones, and they’re always available in little and large sizes, so you could start with something lilke mushroom tortellini in a deeply savoury porcini broth then move on to a jumbo portion of perfectly chewy bucatini with confit cherry tomatoes and wild garlic. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Covent Garden
  • price 2 of 4

Bancone has one dish you simply must devour - ‘silk handkerchiefs’. The delicate rectangles (call them fazzoletti if you’re feeling fancy) are dressed with walnut butter and topped with a gorgeously golden confit egg yolk. It’s officially the restaurant’s most ’Grammed dish. And, unofficially, it’s got to be one of London’s too. Heaven.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Tower Bridge
  • price 2 of 4

Dinner at this waterside Italian isn’t just a chance to scoff some of the city’s most skilfully made pasta, it’s a (delicious) science lesson. The clever bods behind Emilia’s Crafted Pasta have spent years working out exactly which pasta goes best with which sauce. So their bolognese is paired with wide silky ribbons of fresh egg pappardelle, while their carbonara (made in the northern Italian style, using the whole egg) is complemented by the rougher texture of dried semolina pasta. Sit back and let the staff guide you – they seriously know their stuff.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bloomsbury

Back in the pre-decimal days, if you wanted to eat pasta in London, you had to go to a trattoria – a checked-tablecloth kind of place where the pepper mills were the size of scaffolding poles and the wine came in straw-covered bottles. Today these places are a dying breed, but this Bloomsbury institution still does a roaring trade in spaghetti vongole, meatballs in tomato sauce and old-school carbonara. Small-plates-haters take note: the ones here are massive.  

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Old Street
  • price 2 of 4

Head to the carb paradise that’s also known as Officina 00. This oh-so cool Italian-inspired industrial-looking spot might be a relatively newcomer to the scene, but it serves some damn fine pasta. They offer a short, changing menu packed with some interesting regional Italian pastas. One thing that’s a permenant fixture (and for good reason) is the stupendously rich deep-fried cacio e pepe-stuffed raviolo snack. A golden brown crispy exterior with a soft, cheesy filling. Pure joy. 

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The Cheese Wheel
Photograph: Andy Parsons

9. The Cheese Wheel

Imagine forking into ribbons of perfectly tender fettuccine that have been swirled inside a huge, hollowed-out grana padano cheese wheel before being served to you with a flourish (and bacon bits). Well, as luck would have it, you don’t need to imagine – you can get your mitts on a bowl of the stuff thanks to the Cheese Wheel at Camden Market. The stall douses fresh pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce before taking it for a trip around the inside of the 40kg beast it takes its name from. What’s not to love?

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Shoreditch

Fancy becoming a pasta maestro, but not sure where to start? Roll up your sleeves and head to this tiny Italian-owned café-deli in Shoreditch. Burro e Salvia (it means ‘butter and sage’ – yum) runs classes, during which its team of sfogline (‘sheet-makers’) share their know-how. You can learn how to make your own fresh egg-and-flour pasta from scratch, before turning it into everything from lasagne to farfalle (bows) and mezzelune (filled half-moons). 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Shoreditch
  • price 2 of 4

Freshly hand-rolled at the start of every service, the pasta at this low-lit Shoreditch spot is seriously sexy (think crab taglierini or pork-cheek agnolotti with porcini butter) and everything is made for sharing. Bag two stools at the window bar overlooking Rivington Street and get ready to re-enact Disney’s most famous romantic (dogs’) dinner scene; unless you order the ravioli – in which case, it’s going to be more like the suck-and-blow beer mat game, sorry.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bermondsey

Forget cardboardy lasagne sheets and gritty fusilli – the future of gluten-free pasta is here, and it’s every bit as delicious as the wheaty OG. The vast majority of this bustling Bermondsey joint’s dishes can be made with gluten-free penne on request; and sauce-wise, the sky’s the limit. Whether you’re in the mood for slow-cooked beef-shin ragù or a fancy preserved truffle and butter emulsion, it’s got you covered. 

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