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Restaurants, Italian Clerkenwell
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
Special Offers

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A restaurant from Stevie Parle focussing on the food of Rome.

Like an Italian suit, Palatino is minimalist and modish, with a distinctly masculine edge. But, on my Saturday night visit, eight weeks after opening – as in, there should really be no excuses – it was frustrating. Frustrating because this is a restaurant from Stevie Parle (Dock Kitchen, Rotorino etc), whose team should know better. Know better than to oversalt the dishes, or serve ‘secondi’ well over an hour after ‘primi’, say.

Because when the ‘Roman-inspired’ food shines, it dazzles. The pasta, in particular, was a delight. A simple dish of little-seen tonnarelli (‘guitar spaghetti’) was served with one of my all-time favourite sauces: cacio e pepe. As in, cheese (a nicely sharp pecorino) and pepper. It allowed the beautifully al dente pasta to sing. Then came rigatoni – the short, fat tubes – topped with veal ‘pajata’, a classic from the capital city. What’s that? Oh yes, intestine. The taste and texture is a little like kidney, set against a mellow, celery-studded sauce.

Later (much, much later), a slab of crackling-edged pork appeared, followed by smoky onglet steak, cut into butch, ruby-middled chunks. Both beautifully cooked but painfully oversalted. As was the swiss chard salad, with its bitter leaves and glistening pomegranate seeds. Please, for chrissakes, lay off the salt.

Palatino has potential: a knockout dish of tangy cherries, artful streaks of sweet whipped cream and a chocolate sphere with a bitter, semi-freddo centre, was further proof of that. But it needs to sharpen up its game, and pronto.


Address: 71 Central Street
Transport: Tube: Old St
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £100.
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Special offers

Bottomless Pasta: £25

Enjoy unlimited plates of pasta at Palatino for £25 per person. T&Cs for groups: £10 deposit for all groups 8+. All deposits are non-refundable. If cancelled within 48 hours full set menu price will be charged. The restaurant will contact the diner directly to obtain the deposit, the restaurant has the right to cancel any reservation where the deposit has not been received. Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 6 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service. Valid For: 1 - 6 People Sat 12:00PM-3:00PM

Offer valid until Apr 30 2020

Pre-Theatre, 2 Courses & a cocktail £16

...from a set menu (3 courses £20). £10 deposit for all groups 8+. All deposits are non-refundable. If cancelled within 48 hours full set menu price will be charged. The restaurant will contact the diner directly to obtain the deposit, the restaurant has the right to cancel any reservation where the deposit has not been received. Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 20 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service. Valid For: 1 - 20 People Mon-Wed 12:00PM-3:00PM 5:30PM-10:00PM,Thu-Sat 12:00PM-3:00PM 5:30PM-6:45PM

Offer valid until Apr 30 2020

Unlimited Prosecco: £14pp

Enjoy unlimited Prosecco at Palatino on Saturday lunchtimes for £14 per person. T&Cs for groups: £10 deposit for all groups 8+. All deposits are non-refundable. If cancelled within 48 hours full set menu price will be charged. The restaurant will contact the diner directly to obtain the deposit, the restaurant has the right to cancel any reservation where the deposit has not been received. Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 12 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service. Valid For: 1 - 12 People Sat 12:00PM-3:00PM

Offer valid until Apr 30 2020

Users say (6)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

Cool New York style decor, lovely clean Italian dishes and great service. Cacio e pepe is a must try alongside the chicken meatballs and polenta. Prices are fitting for the quality of the food. A great destination for a celebratory dinner. 

Fantastic italian food, with a different take on the classics. The Nettle Agnolotti is a must as is the deliciously crispy Fried Gnocchi. The service was impeccable and the red wine list as is good as the food. Reasonably priced if you share dishes


The best way to describe Palatino: less is more.  Simple, clean dishes that let the ingredients speak for themselves.  We decided to share small plates between us to be sure to get a taste of as much as possible.  The vegetarian option was not quite as strong but not unsatisfactory.  The waitstaff were friendly.  I would definitely go back!


The food here is really lovely, but the service unfortunately lets it down. 

We had a delicious meal opting for the Pork chop with salsa rossa picante, Rib-eye, mustard salsa verde and Saltimbocca; veal, prosciutto, spinach. sage  and marsala which were all superb. However when we came to order and pay, it took 20 plus minutes to get anyone's attention. If a waiter isn't covering your table they literally couldn't care less about you. Our server was very nice when she was there, but considering the restaurant was by no means busy we were really surprised at the lack of attention. If they manage to sort this out it will be a great Italian dinner destination.

I wanted to love Palatino. I live in the neighborhood, and was excited about the prospect of a great local restaurant to frequent, which the neighborhood desperately needs.

The meal started well, the server was helpful and friendly. We started with 3 aperitivi, the best of which was the Anchovy, stracciatella, toast, absolutely delicious. The fried courgette flowers were overly fried and bready, the asparagus was ok, but not worth £10. Of the two mains, the Romana courgette pacceri was delicious, as was the Vignarola (vegetable stew), very light and fresh. We also received a wonderful wine recommendation, the Pinot Grigio, Orsogna, Abruzzo, 2014. Delightful.

Unfortunately, things then took a turn for the worst. We ordered dessert, then waited at least 15 minutes until it arrived. We tried to order an after dinner cocktail when we were served the dessert, but were only then told that we had just 10 minutes left for the table! We had no idea there was a time limit, and to give us 10 minutes to scarf down dessert we were just served and pay the bill is quite pushy.

We offered to move to the bar, but were told there were no free spots. After a few minutes we were told there were now spots open at the bar, but instead were moved to this weird large table "near" the bar, directly across from a half-eaten plate of pasta, empty beer bottle, and stack of dirty cups, that the staff had obviously forgotten about.

The staff then proceeded to forget about us. No water, no bill, nothing. Out of sight, out of mind. We finally managed to beg the bill from a passing waiter who gave us a flustered "it's not my problem" look, and surprise, there was a service charge already included in the total. Sorry, being sat next to a stack of dirty dishes for 40 minutes does not merit a service charge and we had to ask them to remove it. They then came back with the revised bill, but still we sat there, again, next to the dirty dishes, waiting to pay it.

At this point we probably should have walked out, they seemed so disinterested in collecting our money. After finally having to go to the bar to pay the bill we were free to leave (no easy task it seems).

I feel this is a generous 3 stars because the first 75% was great, and I would like to return and give it another chance, but management really needs to sort the service and generally how they treat customers. Rule #1, don't serve dessert with a 10 minute countdown, we should have been given more notice and dessert should have been served in a more timely fashion, and rule #2, don't seat customers next to a stack of dirty dishes. Watching cold pasta congeal on a plate is not pleasant.

Oh, and when we left the restaurant there were at least 2 empty tables, so unclear why they were in such a rush to get rid of us.


Palatino is the kind of place you want to make your local. You wanna be able to stroll there from your own front door and be greeted with a warm welcome, a plate of something delicious and a glass of something sparkling…well after just one visit, this is my dinner daydream anyway and a gorgeously Italian one it is too, heavily laden with the fragrance of sage and the flavours of Rome.

Going there for dinner on the recent soft launch was one of the loveliest dining experiences I’ve had in a while. It’s not just that the food is fabulous or that the décor is gorgeous or that the staff are charming; it’s that it’s all of those things and that’s what makes it frankly brilliant.

Palatino is located near Old St and is a barn of a building mixing long, wooden, communal tables with mustard yellow leather booths, tall tables for two and beautifully stylish fixtures. The menu here is a tricky beast to tame because you’re going to want to order everything on it. Two of us devoured two starters, two pastas, two meat courses and a shared dessert before finishing off our dessert wine and rolling ourselves companionably out of the door.

The fried sage with apple & honey vinegar is an absolute treat. Crispy, light and ridiculously moreish, this was one of my favourite dishes of the night. An accompanying salt cod crudo with blood orange and olive oil arrived fresh & light enough to have just strolled out of the ocean but it was those brittle leaves that kept us dipping back for more.

Bombolotti ragu Marcella introduced me to the sweetest baby pasta I’ve ever cooed over before wolfing down, one greedy, meaty spoonful at a time while gnocchi alla Romana came slick with brown butter and has haunted my every waking moment since this visit. Charred on the outside and oozing like fudgy, treacly velvet on the inside, it has forever changed what gnocchi means to me. Chicken, pancetta & pistachio meatballs on a bed of polenta were light & savoury and Onglet steak was tender, juicy, cheekily pink and painted with sunset hued salsa rossa piccante.

I foresee myself swinging past one day for a slice of quince, almond & rosemary tart for breakfast because I’m a grown up and that’s what we do but dessert on this occasion was chocolate & sour cherry tartuffi ice-cream with whipped cream. Dark, sweet, creamy, pretty as a picture and every bit as lick-the-plate-clean delicious as you’d expect, it was like the humble choc ice had finally – splendidly – come of age.

When I mentioned this place to a colleague on the hunt for somewhere to take his wife, he said that he never really considered Italian food for an evening out and there are enough places in the capital that have disgraced the name of all that is deliciously Italian for me to understand why this might be but I’ll say to you what I said to him; this place is different. This is the food of Italy that Italians would want to eat and I can absolutely understand why. It’s creative and intelligent and uses wonderful ingredients with care and thoughtfulness and that’s definitely worth making a beeline for on your next evening out.

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