Bocca di Lupo
Time Out says
The buzz is as important as the food at this enduringly popular Soho restaurant, but the food can be pretty memorable too.
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 into the clamorous and less atmospheric rear dining room. The menu is a slightly confusing mix of small and large plates to share and, amid the noise, it can be unclear what you think you’ve ordered and at what point it might arrive. 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 (the Venetian preference), and a deep-fried mix of calamari, soft-shell crab and lemon. The radish, celeriac, pomegranate and pecorino salad with truffle dressing is a much-imitated Bocca di Lupo signature – far better, we found, than the spartan raw fennel salad. The brioche in our gelati dessert was also too dry to thrill, irrespective of the quality of the own-made ices. To drink, there’s an enticing selection of cocktails and an impressive all-Italian wine list, but it isn’t as fairly priced as the hype suggests.
12 Archer Street
|Transport:||Tube: Piccadilly Circus tube|
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Users say (31)
Average User Rating
4 / 5
- 5 star:16
- 4 star:7
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:4
Bocca di Lupo is not as hard to get a booking at as it used to be so give it a go! I've gone here for dinner and for a quick late night pasta.
While, their meat and fish dishes are fab; the best dishes for me are the arancini (get whatever flavour they have that day, you won't be disappointed) and the orecchiette with onions and 'nduja. This is one of my favourite pastas in London, it has such a meaty flavour with a good amount of spice. You won't be able to stop eating it, you won't want to share.
Weirdly enough, Italian food seems to be my preferred comfort food. Something about homemade, fresh pasta and sourdough pizza warms my heart (and my stomach!). I mean who doesn’t like a good, hearty bowl of pasta or a cheesy pizza, right?
I’ve heard so much about Bocca di Lupo from friends and from reading Time Out London. It’s consistently recommended as a top Italian restaurant in London and even comes in near the top for the best restaurants in town. Having had to reschedule a meal with my friend last week, I thought this would be an apt place to catch up.
I called a day before to make a booking and got seats at the ‘chef’s table’, which is essentially bar seating in front of their open kitchen. Admittedly, it is slightly cramped as many stools are placed close together but it’s a nice atmosphere being able to watch the chefs prepare your food in front of you. Upon arrival, I was immediately served a bread basket, which included 3 slices of herbed focaccia and 3 slices of sourdough bread. I asked for a bottle of sparkling water, as it was a really humid evening and I needed something to quench my thirst right away.
Between my friend and I, we shared the following dishes:
- Spider Crab & Samphire Bruschetta – A serving of this is only one slice so our waitress obviously recommended that we get two. To be honest, I’m a fan of anything with crab so this was pretty good! I liked that it was paired with a type of vegetable that I’ve not come across before but worked well together. It was a little bitter and crunchy, which contrasted well against the soft and tender crabmeat. I also liked that it was drizzled with olive oil to give the bread some added flavour and moisture.
- Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Rocket & Basil – A classic Italian starter dish and perfect to share. The ball of mozzarella was huge! It was easy to split in two, as the knife cut through it smoothly. It was so soft and creamy, a lovely match with the fresh and juicy tomatoes, the fresh basil leaves and the rocket leaves for some bitterness.
- Trofie w/ Potato, Green Beans & Wild Garlic Pesto – Now this was some good comfort food! It reminds me of my childhood in Paris, where my mum would always make us pesto pasta at least once a week to eat with some chipolata sausages. I liked that this version was pretty traditional, where it was served with thinly sliced potatoes, green beans, and a homemade pesto sauce. The pasta was cooked al dente, as it should be and that was exactly what I wanted! The pesto sauce was very flavourful and I liked that I could still see chunks of pine nuts, adding some crunch and texture to the dish.
- Crab Linguine – This had to be the best pasta I’ve eaten in a long time! It was such a simply dish and really felt home-y. There was a good amount of crab chunks, large tomato pieces too, and just the right amount of fresh basil. Again, the pasta was cooked al dente, which made it even more authentic and delicious! I’d definitely come back to have this as a main dish!
- Chicken Scallopine w/ Marsala & Girolles – Chicken has never tasted so good! The slices of chicken were so tender and moist on their own but when paired with that lovely mushroom sauce on top, it was even more so! The sauce was really flavourful on its own and nice to dip the leftover bread into from the bread basket we were given at the beginning.
An absolute treat dining here and I’ll definitely be back, whether that’s to eat on my own at the chef’s table, to introduce more friends to this place, or even to bring my family here when they’re in town! Thank you Bocca di Lupo for such a satisfying and much needed meal. It was only a Tuesday evening but I’d already had such a bad week with issues carrying forward from the previous week.
We enjoyed our meal here - but thought most of the dishes we had were very average compared to other Italian restaurants in town. We preferred Trullo's wild boar ragu to Bocca's for example.
I'd always known about Bocca di Lupo, from walking past it a thousand times when I worked in Soho, but it was only recently that I tried it for the first time before going to the theatre to see a show. I must say it was one of the best meals we've ever had in London.
We sat up at the bar, and it felt like a luxurious experience from start to finish. Every dish was extremely delicious, and the wine was equally so. The menu is tapas style, but Italian, and the portions were generous!
We'll definitely be back very soon.
Ottimo cibo ma prezzi alti. Sui vini attenzione, chiedi una bottiglia di vino da 20 euro e te ne portano una che costa il doppio. Attenzione! Sono superficiali nel servizio in sala.
This is without doubt my favourite London restaurant - Radish salad, fritto misto, orecchiette with nduja and roast suckling pig were my favourites. Only been at late lunch on Saturday (kitchen closes at 15:00) - would love to go back, but due to the size you are usually lucky to get a table. Planning my next trip now... - http://wp.me/p6r9tz-T
Great quick meal before theatre - sorry we were in such a rush we didn't leave a tip but staff were LOVELY
Expensive. Small plates. Good if you're loaded and you don't care if you have to spend £100 on four slices of ham and a glass of wine. If not, you'll be underwhelmed.
I love the fact that you can see them cooking in front of you, great Italian food, sort of like tapas!
Think we got the last table last Sunday but sitting at the "Chefs counter" was really an experience. Not only were we served fantastic food, one dish more voluptuous than the other. Oh, did I mention absolutely wicked cocktails to start with. We were also served something of a show from the kitchen. I don't think I have ever heard that many "Yes, chefs!" before, not even on Gordon Ramsey's programs. Service was excellent, we could have made a "this is the way you should treat your costumers" video that evening as EVERYBODY in the staff did a great job in making us feel pampered and well looked after. We did end the evening a cross the street at Gelupo where they were also very friendly but the Gelato was a bit too main stream. Never the less, we had a great evening and can really recommend an evening at Bocca di lupo. We did have a full evening dinner with cocktails and several courses plus a great bottle of wine and the bill was quite reasonable.
Sat at the bar on Saturday afternoon and it was fantastic. Staff friendly, attentive & helpful and the food was simply wonderful. The scallops in butter and thyme + Sheeps Ricotta Tortellini with walnut pesto were my favourites. Can't wait to go back Can't wait to go back.
I have to admit the food was spectacular. However, a very average level of service from staff and horrendously rude attitude from the maitre d... ruined an otherwise lovely evening. Not sure I'd bother going back, as plenty of other places in London where the service matches up to the quality of the food.
Great food terrible service. Sat for dinner was then told they needed their table back because we d been there more than two hours having ordered a hefty amount. Unpleasant management who appear more concerned with turning tables than service
Food lovely, imaginative, creative Italian Cuisine. However service was appalling, no warmth friendliness, proclaimed at the end of the night how exhausted he was. Had run out of several ingredients, no apologies. Coffee machine broken, no offer of an alternative - great food, ruined by dreadful service
This is the first time I write a restaurant review and feel compelled to say that my experience at Bocca di Lupo was very very poor. Having booked a table for 21:30, my wife and i duly arrived and were told that our table wasn't ready. While I understand that table handovers don't always run smoothly, we were told that we could not wait in the restaurant and had to go away and come back in 15 - 20 min... we were told there was "a bar across the road". After coming back, we were "allowed" to wait in the restaurant for another 20 - 25 min and conspicuously ignored by the space cadet of a maitre d'... Food nice, deplorable service. Don't recommend going through the hassle, there are plenty more good italian restaurants in town...
I've dropped in twice in the past two months (the last being yesterday) without reservations; the trick is to go very early or quite late. Staff are very courteous and attentive, but a waiter was so aggressive (in an oddly polite way) with pushing the drinks! Bocca, this makes you look desperate and into fleecing customers, please stop him. Food is fantastic, and the fresh menus make it fun to come back. Salads are fresh, flavourful and piled high; pastas are definitely home-made. They triumph at pillowy gnudi in ragout, their pumpkin tortelloni generously buttered and scattered w rustic breadcrumbs. This place makes Italian food really sparkle, and while The prices tend to the ritzier side, it's important that I as a customer felt that it was so worth it.
I can't believe the review by "Pau"l below - can only imagine it's a rival restaurant trying to destroy a reputation. Bocca di Lupo is bloody marvellous. Accusations of tinned or somehow not fresh food served are ludicrous. Everything I've ever eaten there has been spectacular. Go!
Totally agree with TO review. Great staff, fantastic food, buzzing atmosphere. The crab linguine was delicious, and the guy next to me was raving about his courgette flowers. We turned up at door and just had to wait 20 mins for a seat at the bar (the best place to sit). Loved watching the kitchen in action. Ignore all the moaners below – I'm with Frank! this is a great place to eat and I've recommended it to loads of people.
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