VICO

Restaurants, Italian Covent Garden
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(37user reviews)
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VICO
Venue says VICO has just won a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide 2017 for restaurants with 'exceptional good food at moderate prices.'

A new restaurant from the people behind Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo, offering low-priced Italian dishes inspired by street food.

‘Ugh! Can’t think of anything worse than eating a meal on a plastic stool that doesn’t have a back!’ This WhatsApp from a 23-year-old gal-about-town lays bare part of the challenge that Jacob Kenedy has set himself in Vico, his new fast-food restaurant (an outpost of Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo) in Cambridge Circus. The stools are indeed plastic, and backless. 

Other challenges include a site next door to a Polpo, easy-to-dislike decor and an ordering system so unconventional it has to be explained to first-timers. Most food (pre-cooked) sits on the counter awaiting your choice, though there’s also raw fish and shellfish deep-fried to order and brought to your table by the waiting staff. Everything else you carry to the table yourself. It’s not all that different from a deli counter or buffet, but in a place like this, the idea takes time to get used to. And I give full credit to Mr Kenedy and Co for making numerous changes to food and setting (some in response to customer feedback) during the course of an unusually lengthy soft launch. 

So: what about the food? I have been to Vico five times now, first in soft launch (which doesn’t really count) and more recently after proper opening. One part of a single dish was an out-and-out dud. The rest has ranged from good to pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming fabulous. Deep-frying is a particular strength, both in dishes cooked to order and in arancini and polpette, deep-fried balls with daily-changing fillings. Pizzas feature thick but feather-light bases. Salads are dressed with care. Look out for tiella, a filled flat pastry with fishy stuffings based on tuna or salt cod.

Another unconventional feature is that you order by weight. In some restaurants, that can lead to bill-shock – especially if you’re serving yourself and just like the look of everything. At Vico, the staff serve you – and they do not over-fill the plates (actually small steel platters, by the way). I never spent more than £12 a head, before drinks, for a lightish but deeply satisfying lunch. At dinner, with drinks from the very basic list (wines in carafe or beer), you could get yourself pretty well stuffed for £25 a head.

Would you want to do it while sitting on a plastic stool? Well, Vico is never going to win any awards for comfortable seating. But the stools are perfectly tolerable for a 30-minute lunch. And some evenings, we were informed, the place is so rammed that not only is every stool taken but some people literally vote with their feet: they eat standing up. So Jacob Kenedy’s multiple challenges may pay off, whatever the ‘ugh’ brigade thinks. 

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VICO says
VICO is a contemporary Italian restaurant

We serve uplifting, zingy Italian cuisine, cooked with the finest ingredients in a dramatic urban setting – Italian food for the future.

We serve small plates – tapas style – and are a go-to restaurant for anyone enjoying Covent Garden, Seven Dials, Leicester Square or Theatreland.

We pour an innovative selection of Italian wines – select choices from Alpine, Apennine and island regions, as well as Italian grapes that have emigrated abroad.

Many of our dishes are suitable for vegetarians, or people seeking a fresh and lighter meal. Our meats and seafood are sourced from the UK and the Mediterranean.

The show-stopping centrepiece of this impressive Cambridge Circus restaurant is an indoor fountain, hand-crafted in lapis-like terrazzo, which truly brings the indoor piazza to life.

To make a reservation call 020 7379 0303. We always accommodate walk-ins.
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By: Richard Ehrlich

Posted:

Venue name: VICO
Contact:
Address: 1
Cambridge Circus
London
WC2H 8HD
Opening hours: Mon-Tue noon-3pm & 5-9.30pm; Wed-Fri noon-3pm & 5-11pm; Sat non-11pm; Sun noon-9.30pm
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £50
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:18
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|37
3 people listening
Babs - Working Girl London
1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

I love Bocca di Lupo so jumped at the chance to attend an intimate lunch at Chef Jacob's newer venture, Vico, with a select group of friends and industry peeps. The lunch was a celebration of life, and apparently life is all about steak and wine! We had five different types of steak, each paired with a wine courtesy of Liberty wines, with a side of the best beans I've ever had in my life! 


Each steak was to die for - perfectly cooked, lightly seasoned, melt in the mouth beef. The wines were perfectly paired, and the dessert wine was amazing! To finish, we had strawberries and gelato - you can see from the picture how happy I was about that ;)

The food, wine and company were complimented by the surroundings. Vico is a light, bustling restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and beautiful decor. The staff match the vibe of the restaurant - I felt as if they were welcoming me into their home! Overall, I cannot recommend Vico enough - lunch, dinner, or a quick stop for gelato, it's a central London gem.

Lisa S
1 of 1 found helpful
moderator

If you're sick of sandwiches from chains for lunch, give Vico a try. Delicious Italian food unlike any other lunch option, and great for pre-theatre dinner. Worth a trip if you're in and around Soho.

Scott
1 of 1 found helpful
Staff Writer

What a gem in Leicester Square! This place is going to get a lot of walk in because of its location but if you get the chance to book, it is really worth a visit.


The service was earth-shatteringly quick and efficient, with starters arriving almost immediately and all of our group getting their mains at the same time, which is a rarity these days, particularly in London.


All the food was delicious, especially the Arancinis and Lasagnancino (deep fried lasagna!) which are worth going back for alone! I forgot to ask what was the house red wine they served but it was amazing, really fruity and full bodied, without being acidic.


My only negligible disappointment was that the spicy "Devil" pizza, though marked as very spicy, didn't live up to the towering inferno I was warned against, hut it was still beautifully prepared and very filling.


Again, negligible and not enough to stop this being one of the most fun and enjoyable dining experiences of the year so far. Well done Vico, we'll be back again and again!

Angela L

This place is BUSY because of its location opposite (sort of) to Palace Theatre (currently showing Harry Potter & the Cursed Child) so they have guaranteed customers for AGES! Although I was seated straight away I was not asked to order for a good 10min as it's just rammed with pre-theatre crowd (myself included) and tourists... ugh. Anyway the menu for me really lacked good veggie options... I really struggled to order and I'm not even that fussy! Worst thing is what I ordered turned out not to be vegetarian- double ugh!

Andrew H

Relaxed and friendly but the food here is AMAZING! Plus a very reasonable pre theatre.

Brulio Juno

MAMA MIA! what a pizza, not to mention an uplifting musical. This was almost as good as Pizza Hut, but, as with Harvester, the unlimited salad bar just edges it. 

Tez F

I've only had pizza from Vico and I must say each flavour I have tried I have liked...a lot! The crust is the right thickness fro me and the topping selection is great also.I recommend the pizza's very much :) 

MandyGo
Tastemaker

There’s not much Jacob Kenedy can get wrong. So if you’re a fan of Bocca Di Lupo, Vico will certainly get your tastebuds going. Situated in the hustle and bustle of Cambridge Circus where the edges of Soho, Shaftesbury Avenue and theatres collide, this little gem isn’t shy of being noticed. Add word of mouth into the mix and it’s no surprise Vico is growing in popularity. I for one am now responsible for the word of mouth recommendations after my recent visit. And when you go, I’m sure you’ll follow suit.


I was lucky enough to attend a special spring tasting, celebrating foods that fuel life. With five different cuts of beef ready to satisfy guests, this was a celebration like no other. For a few hours I was transported to what felt like a boutique plaza in the heart of Tuscany. I’m not sure any other London restaurant has the power to do that. The lovely staff and wonderful host, Matt, ensure you’re well looked after too – well, it wouldn’t be a true Italian establishment otherwise, would it?


Only the finest produce hits the Vico kitchen, each cooked to absolute perfection. I’m a firm believer that every great meat needs a wine sidekick. And luckily for me, Vico share the same ideology. Their selection of red, white and dessert wines are truly sensational. Vico are, without doubt, absolute masters of vino matchmaking, so don’t let their expert advice go to waste when you visit.


Ultimately, if you're after an uplifting atmosphere, a passion for taste and an understanding of what it is to create a truly authentic sitting, this is your place. Finish your meal with a scoop or 4 of adjoining Gelupo’s creamy, sensational gelato and you can expect to be hungry again in about five and a half days time.

Jane G.
Tastemaker

Looking for some great service, atmosphere and excellent Italian food? Give Vico in Covent Garden a try! I think I walked past it many times without noticing, which was my loss! My meal was fabulous and I watched as other meals went by, everything looked absolutely amazing. I recieved top notch service I felt like I was in an Italian family home being pampered. The Fontodi olive oil was the best I have ever tried. And if you like red wine, I would recommend the Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve. If you aren't in the mood for a meal check out their gelato bar opposite of the seating area. The gelato I had was amazing and there are so many other things to try. The hot chocolate is next on my list!

GP
Staff Writertastemaker

Absolute gem of a restaurant in central London that gives me faith along the Charing Cross Road strip (too many horrid chains, its time to move on guys).

The pizza has a great chewy base and charred crust, perfect red sauce and really high quality toppings. The sausage pasta is a real comfort treat if you need a bowl of hug I would highly recommend. There is a range of fresh and seasonal salads dressed to perfection... basically I love everything I have tried so far!


The service is friendly and its a lovely atmosphere, being in theatre land they are conscious of quick turn around on post work tables so its super convenient if you are out in soho/convent garden and hitting the town.

SJB
Staff WriterStaff Comp

We had a Vico delivery in the office recently and it was great quality Italian food, great pasta and salads with authentic Italian tastes. The lemon Polenta cake was really lovely. Located on Cambridge circus, ideal for a low key mid week meal or lunch.

Javier M

When Italians like food from a restaurant claiming itself as "Italian" you can trust it's a good one. That's the case with VICO.

The pasta al pesto (both rosso and green) is just amazing. I specially like the one with pine nuts.

The parmesano and mozzarella cheeses are incredibly good. Same thing with the cherry tomatoes and the olives. 

I tried tiramisu for the desert and was excellent.

By far the best Italian place to eat in the centre.

Lauren P

Having walked past this place a number of times I was very excited to hear we were having a meeting with the lunch catered by Vico. To our great excitement lots of fresh salads, tasty pasta dishes, and gorgeous pizzas with generous toppings were delivered then to top it all off we had a divine tiramisu among other delicious goodies to stuff our faces with.  I am feeling very full and very spoiled and will definitely be taking my friends to Vico for pre-theater meal or maybe sneak out a tasty takeaway for lunch! Given 4 stars 16 Mar 2016


Have since been to eat in the restaurant itself, I can say this restaurant has poor choice and is crazy over-priced! We spent around £54 each for a shared starter, 3 glasses of wine and 2 mains and 1 side, this was also with a 30% discount off the total menu. 


The shared starter was lackluster and underwhelming, only the tuna tartare was worth mentioning. My main was sea bream and arrived under-cooked and even though I'd specified grilled it came out as soggy, oily and baked. The side of garlic potatoes was very obviously reheated/re-fried potatoes, the other side salad was just chopped romaine lettuce and was refunded seeing as both our main's came on a huge bed of romaine lettuce. 


The staff were warm and friendly and happy to offer advice on the menu, but this isn't enough to make a worthwhile visit. In summary this is a great place for catering, but I would not recommend going there to sit in and eat.

bowertron

Yum - great Italian fayre. Perfectly positioned in the heart of theatreland. A great choice for a pre-theatre spot of dining or lunch. I tried the Pesto Pasta and Tiramasu. Really good value

Simon C
Staff Writer

We were very lucky to have Vico deliver food to our office. Incredibly tasty, full of flavour, Italian inspired food. The food oozes freshness, everything about the food is great. Now I'm looking forward to visiting a restaurant. They have a set a very high standard, can't wait.

Daniele T
moderatorStaff Writer

Very good food, although you might end up paying more than you expect as some of the items go by weight. Their gelato is outstanding, eg rice flavour and ricotta and coffee flavour.

I <3 Movies

Delicious italian style munchies here great for lunch time if you fancy something different from your usual pret sandwich. also their pizza's are one of the best around soft crispy and light i could happily eat a whole one to myself. althought a bit pricey for an everyday treat it is well worth the money to make your belly happy.

Thamena  M
Staff Writer

The food and drink was very tasty, I ordered the tuna steak which just melted in my mouth. The menu is interestingly different from a lot of Italians. The service was friendly, and I will definitely be returning.
There is also a large ice-cream counter.

Jon D

You have got to try the Lasagnancino at Vico. A dish that catches your eye on the menu, after all what is not appealing about deep fried lasagna that you can ignore. Great service, fast and tasty hot food. You will go back for more.

Teddy H

Great food, the gelato cake is amazing !! Lovely team. I recommend that place.

Lucy H

There is nothing not to like about Vico, great food, great atmosphere and a great team in place that keep things running like clockwork and the mood vibrant. I cannot recommend the deep fried lasagne balls and the gelato cake was the perfect way to end a sumptuous meal, not to heavy and full of flavour! Thank you Vico x

Tamsin V
Staff Comp

Whilst serving very good Italian food, Vico also manages to stay original with other indulgent delights such as their deep fried Lasagna balls, or 'Lasagnacino' - it would simply be rude not to order these on your visit.


The restaurant is perfect for a first class and decently priced lunch or pre-theatre meal, or an evening aperitif with a selection of antipasti. Burrata is always a winner, and so are their arancini balls. Pizzas are also perfectly thin and crispy, italian style - one of that chain rubbish!


Staff are consistently lovely and welcoming, and the location of the restaurant means it's always buzzing with a great atmosphere.


Lila R

Very good selection of food (especially the soft shell crab) and they have created a great ambience in the middle of a busy intersection.

Carmen
Staff Writer

If you have already been to Vico and not enjoyed the experience of eating Italian food on a cardboard plat while sitting on a plastic tool without a back, then you must go back! Indeed, this place which initially opened and offered an Italian fast food experience has totally revamped its space and turned into a classic Italian sitting restaurant over-viewing Cambridge Circus. The food is simple and delicious and the restaurant sets in a modern laid back atmosphere. You must try the pizza, arancini and antipasti! This is a very good and affordable option to dine after theatre or lunch if you are around this part of London to take a break from the constant mad crow of Soho!


Went back to Vico for diner, and I must say the food is outstanding! the pizza dough is light and fine, cooked to perfection in their oveen fire, its even burnt on the edge which gives a special taste. I tried the Devil (fiery!!) and the rucola (delicious!). On the pasta front, I recommend the orecchiette and pesto gnocci. Go prosecco all the way, try their original cocktails and dont forget deserts, Gelupo is behind the ice cream making and they are one of the best in London!


So I am back on my favourite website to post again about VICO which is probably my favourite italian restaurant in town at the moment! The menu changes on a regular basis so there is no way you will get bored with the traditional margarita pizza and the appian cuisine is packed with flavours and tasty ingredients. The staff is so nice you feel always very welcomed, it makes you feel very special. I totally recommend this place if you have not tried it yet! Go the appian way!


Vico Vico Vico... I love your delicious food! Autumn menu is now available in your plates...you should rush to Vico and try their new delicious pumpkin salad! I organised my husband's birthday party, a party of 12, staff was amazing as usual, food delicious, atmosphere buzzing... this place totally delivers price/food qualify on both count!


Vico follows the seasons and pumpkin delica is now on the menu beautifully dressed in a salad or in a tasty pasta dish...delicious!

Sheens86
Tastemaker

I don’t really know how to sum this place up but I guess it’s kinda like an Italian … buffet type fast food joint? Been a couple of times now and the second time round was not as great as the first. The food is priced by weight instead of by item which was really odd, so you can’t really budget for eating here!

I’ve tried the squid, truffle and famous lasagne arancini with the mint courgette salad. When I first went, the arancini were delicious; huge, warm and oozing with cheese when you cut into them but the second time they were tepid and bland and the salad was smothered in mint and olive oil.

The restaurant (can you call it a restaurant?) itself was nice, massive so you’re bound to always get a seat and chilled atmosphere.

I’d probably pop in to try the arancini again but the “cooked to order” food was very expensive. Give it a look before the theatre maybe!

Maurice M

Now with table service! Vico is the ideal place to discover Italian food from across the "comuni" re-inventing the Italian kitchen - The Secondi Tiella Barese from Bari, a mix of mussels & rice is inspiring, the fried squid is plain so opt for Fried Lasagnancino invented in the London "comune" of Cambride Circus. Prosecco all the way.

Angela L
Tastemaker

What can I say... All the drinks including the prosecco were on draught which was highly suspect and provided the worst headaches ever! I liked that there were hot snacks to graze on and they were tasty but they had stupid rules like you must buy two of the arancini or three of the other type of arancini but u can buy one of another kind of arancini! Why? I wanted one of everything! Ughhhhhhhh! Then the lighting - it's just sooooooo bright u think they are closing up. If they could just relax the rules, slightly dim the lights it would be awesome.

stephen j

So overpriced and so confusing...I don't know if they've changed the format but when I went everything was priced by weight so there was no indication of the cost of what you were buying until you get to the till. That's about the point at which you find that it's really expensive. Don't get me wrong the food was pretty good but for a street food "format" which means there's no formal seating/table area (just stools and standing) it's over priced in my opinion. 

Sylvia K
Staff Writer

Nice space and great location. The drinks are cheap, however cannot be purchased without food which isn't entirely clear from the outset. Beware: the food is priced according to weight so it adds up very quickly, but it is tasty; I’d definitely recommend the arancini. Vico is perfect for a post-work bite.

Nadia G

Fun venue and concept, cheap drinks, but overall I felt a bit unsatisfied. The table/bench we where sitting at was awkward, the pizza was cold (I know this was the idea, but somehow it didn't work), the salad was a bit sloppy, slimy and tiny with too much dressing.The arancini balls where ok, but nothing mind-blowing. Still I know I will probably end up going back as its a fun place for a quick bite.

Jason James

This takes a few visits to get used to as it's a little befuddling. Persevere though, as the food is really very good indeed and the prices can make a cheap lunch here easy. Make sure you nip (kind of) next door for some of the best ice cream in London! 

A-Dog
Staff Writer

The whole experience of visiting this place was infuriating. Odd pricing structure, cold pizza, withering "fresh" fish and a dining area supposedly resembling an Italian piazza. If the staff don't understand the process what chance do customers have. £3 for a sliver of pizza, £4.50 for a small box of salad. Other items paid for by the gram. Whilst the arancini wasn't bad the rest of my visit to Vico was as painful as it gets. Apparently the ice cream is good but no doubt they'll have gone bust by the time next summer rolls around. Still, it's Cambridge Circus location should ensure they trap a few clueless tourists for a short while yet. Spare yourself and go 20 yards down the road to Polpo instead.

Samantha H
Tastemaker

Love it!  Super casual and relaxed.  It isnt the fancy surroundings of Bocca di Lupo but it never claimed to be.  The food is fantastic quality and generous portions!  The salads are always unusual and delicious, not a dry chicken Caesar in sight! The lasagne arancini balls are to die for and to finish it off you can pop over to the Gelupo stand!  Perfect for a quick bite to eat pre- or post- theatre, when you want to meet a friend for lunch or on the way home from a night out when dodgy McDonald's just isn't quite what you are after! 

Daniel L
Tastemaker

with all the hype that this new restaurant got as the new venture from the owners of Bocca di Lupo, we were left severely disappointed. This is a far cry from the excellent Bocca di Lupo, which is sad because there are so many good things going for it like the location and the concept. However, many of the dishes came cold, the meats were dry and tough and the staff was not the most attentive. 


P.S. we went during the soft opening phase so maybe not everything was nailed down yet. I sincerely hope that it improves after the official opening.

Hong-Anh
0 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

This review only really requires three words. Those three words will, without fail, entice you over to Vico. There are other things that will pique your interest about Vico. That it's run by the same restaurateur who runs one of the best Italian restaurants in London, Bocca di Lupo. That it aims to invoke the same relaxed charm of sitting outside in an Italian piazza with a negroni and a few delicious morsels. That it has rid Cambridge Circus of that particularly unlovely behemoth branch of Pizza Hut. That it provides the pre- and post-theatre crowd with an affordable and quick place to eat before shows. This is all by-the-by: the thing that will make you want to go to Vico is what I'm about to utter now. Deep-fried lasagne. Imagine a little hemisphere of the most perfect lasagne, rolled up and coated in a crispy golden jacket. If that's not going to persuade you to go to Vico then what will? (Maybe the little squid ink arancini that are mouthfuls of summer, all lemon and fennel. Or a slice of the octopus, cherry tomato and olive pie that will make you feel like you're basking in Italian sunshine, even on the dreariest of London days?)