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Lina Stores restaurant

Restaurants, Italian Soho
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A restaurant proper from the celebrated Italian deli.

Only 75 years after opening its food store and delicatessen, Soho’s Lina Stores has launched this restaurant proper. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the iconic status of the deli, or because of the capital’s ongoing obsession with ‘small pasta plates’, it’s become an instant cult hit. And it’s walk-ins only: expect to queue.

Also expect buzz: bags of it. At street level, it’s a cramped counter-only room, hosted by possibly the most charismatic man in Soho. The more trattoria-esque downstairs smelled distinctly of damp, but if you can get over that it’s jolly and flatteringly lit. Staff were friendly but inattentive.

You’ll need to order carefully. The pasta (what the deli’s best known for) is Lina’s strongest suit. There was nicely al dente pici (hand-rolled, worm-like) in a creamy porcini mushroom and Umbrian sausage sauce, pappardelle with rabbit ragù, or my favourite: a cosseting plate of herb gnudi (ricotta and semolina dumplings). But the lumache (shell) had been overwhelmed by ’nduja, turning it all into a sticky, one-note mess.

As for antipasti and puds, they were cheap, but pedestrian and forgettable. So stick to the pasta (most of it, anyway) and sit at the counter.


Address: 51 Greek Street
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Rd
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £85.
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