We’re partial to a bit of Italian on a Saturday for lunch. Isn’t everyone? Whilst Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world (or THE best if you’re speaking to my Italian husband) there can be bad or ‘meh’ Italian restaurants. Believe me, there is nothing more disappointing than over cooked, bland pasta or pasta drowning in sauce! So, as I’m often asked which ones are our favourites I thought I’d put them in a handy blog post. So here they are, in alphabetical order.
Bocca di Lupo
Situated right in the heart of Soho, Bocca di Lupo (wolf’s mouth, with the wolf being the symbol of Rome) is a family business and offers a trattoria feel with a touch of glamour. It’s popular so definitely book in advance and specify whether you’d like a counter seat or a table. We enjoy sitting at the counter so we can see the chefs cook. Despite the reference to Rome, it offers dishes from across Italy’s 20 regions. It’s fairly pricey but is a real treat from time to time.
Translated, Briciole means breadcrumbs which explains their pretty old-fashioned sign and logo. But don’t let that put you off as inside, the restaurant is charming. They also have a semi-open kitchen so you can see the chefs at work as well as a deli at the front. Their menu is seasonal and it’s the first place I ever tried bottarga, which is an Italian delicacy of salted, cured fish roe grated over spaghetti. Delicious! Price-wise it’s affordable and the portions are quite big by London standards and Marylebone, where they’re situated.
To be honest, we’ve only been once so far but we really liked it. Situated just off busy Regent Street, it’s tucked away down a quiet street. In Summer, they open all the French sliding doors and there are tables outside giving it a very European feel. The food was delicious – it’s described as ‘Tuscany on a plate’ – and we’re always appreciative of a good bread basket! Also, after the meal they bring you jars of sweets and biscuits, which is a lovely touch. It’s pricey but definitely worth it.
Fucina near Baker Street has been open for only a year but we’ve been quite a few times already for lunch and dinner. The little pizzetes are so yummy and their bellini is divine. The restaurant is very stylish and they have a gorgeous bar area too. Their menu is seasonal and they’ve just launched a bottomless brunch. Next door they also have a cafe and deli.
This is another recent addition to our list. We discovered it while watching Celebrity Masterchef and have been twice now. Situated in Covent Garden, it’s a very elegant restaurant with counter and table seating. There is also an open kitchen (I’m sensing a theme here!). Downstairs, there is a gorgeous 1930s art deco room with tables and a fabulous bar. The food is great and there’s always specials on the menu. It is pricey though but well worth it. And if you’re an interior décor fan, you’ll love this restaurant.
Mele e Pere
Just down the road from Bocca di Lupo, you’ll find Mele e Pere (apples and pears). They describe themselves as a trattoria and the food is quite simple but delicious. The restaurant itself is in a basement but you can sit upstairs too in the bar area where there is natural light and you can watch the world go by whilst being surrounded by giant Parma hams.
This has been our local favourite for nine years and it’s where my husband orders his pizza takeout from. No open kitchen though! The menu is pretty much always the same, however there is always a weekly specials menu. The food is great, the bread is divine, portions are big and prices are reasonable. On warm days they open up the sliding windows, which is always nice. Whenever we go we often see familiar faces, giving testament to their status as a local favourite.
Which Italian restaurants in London would you recommend? I’d love to know so we can check them out!