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  • Restaurants
  • Fitzrovia
  • price 3 of 4
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  1. Norma
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Celebrate the festive season with us and enjoy our family-style feasting menus!
- Norma

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A contemporary Sicilian-inspired restaurant with Moorish influences by the team behind The Stafford London hotel.

In spite of its bracingly central location, Fitzrovia has always been one for the heads. Soho too brassy for your evening out? Then trample past the soulless 1960s office blocks and seek solace in one of Fitzrovia’s perfect boozers. Be like Dylan Thomas – or even occultist Aleister Crowley, depending on your predilection for ceremonial satanic magic – and snuggle up in The Fitzroy Tavern; settle in for a proper session by the jukebox at Bradley’s; or be like George Orwell and wrap yourself up in the Newman Arms while considering the plight of the workers.

Restaurants too, are built into the very bones of this central London location, though there’s a fickleness to Fitzrovia’s food scene, which seems more susceptible than most to constant comings and goings. Even big names such as Bao seem to struggle here, with their Fitzrovia branch closing at the end of 2022.

The focaccia was as thick and buoyant as a 15 tog duvet

However, the sturdy Norma has made itself something of a culinary destination since opening in 2019. Arriving a couple of months after the nearby Circolo Popolare, both offer big ticket Italian dishes, matched by equally ostentatious interiors. Norma, mercifully, is more restrained than its neighbour (though both seem immune to the charms of a bumper burrata). Situated in a skinny Charlotte Street townhouse, it’s Marrakesh by way of Palermo, with blue tiles and plush velvet booths reflecting the Moorish-slash-Sicillian menu. 

The first dish to arrive was, without question, the finest we ate all night. Spaghettini fritters with parmesan sauce were crunchy angels, consisting of soft twists of deep-fried spaghetti, topped with a halo of grated cheese. We have long searched London to find a worthy rival to the astounding Isle of Mull cheese puffs at Elliot’s in Borough Market, and these might just be they.

A perky crab linguine, served in the shell, trilled with zingy lemon butter, while the focaccia was as thick and buoyant as a 15 tog duvet, and a side of fried potatoes a carby, crispy delight. But alas, nothing else quite matched the heady heights of the fritters.  

A £45 octopus and nduja stew with chickpeas, parsley, tomato and garlic was plagued by an overly chewy mollusk – could this finally be my octopus teacher’s revenge for being hoisted from the ocean and plonked on a plate? The chickpeas were a touch mealy too, and Norma’s unnerving commitment to al dente was present in the house Pasta alla Norma, where pillowy puffs of aubergine were overshadowed by resolutely chewy pasta. 

That’s not to say that Norma doesn’t deserve its place amongst the hallowed residents of Fitzrovia, but that some fine-tuning might just be in order.  

The vibe Understated glamour and Italianate dishes in a central London townhouse. 

The food Scillian dishes that embrace the Moorish influence on the picturesque Italian island.

The drink Wine and spritzes keep the crowds happy, as well as four different kinds of Negroni and a Sicilian beer menu.  

Time Out tip The spaghettini fritters with parmesan sauce might change your life.

Leonie Cooper
Written by
Leonie Cooper
Norma says
Norma is a contemporary and vibrant restaurant, inspired by the food and culture of Sicily, with particular emphasis on the Moorish influences of the island's cuisine.

Norma embodies the celebrated old-school Italian hospitality and charm, taking inspiration form the grand café culture found in Sicily. Set across three floors of a characterful townhouse on Charlotte Street in London's Fitzrovia, the first two floors are dedicated to the restaurant, with the top floor a private dining space.

The main menu features modern Sicilian-inspired dishes using seasonal Italian and British produce, from a selection of anti-pasti and pastas, to larger grilled meat and fish dishes. Upstairs in the private dining room, guests can order large family-style sharing dishes.


8 Charlotte St
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat 12pm-10:30pm; Sun – closed
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