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Review of Notto Pasta Bar in Covent Garden

Linguine with Devon crab

With an Italian husband, of course we often go out to eat at Italian restaurants and we love finding new ones to try. Notto Pasta Bar opened in April 2023, so is relatively new to the London food scene.

They have two locations – one in Covent Garden and one in Piccadilly. We’ve been to the one in Covent Garden a few times and have had a great meal each time. With so many Italian restaurants in London to choose from, hopefully my review of Notto will tempt you to add it to your list.

Drinking Prosecco at Notto Pasta Bar

The concept at Notto

Notto is the brainchild of renowned chef Phil Howard who always has pasta on the menu at his Michelin starred restaurant Elystan Street in London’s trendy Chelsea. He’s also keeping it in the family as his son Ali is the head chef at Notto. Their executive chef, Louis Korovilas, used to work at top Italian restaurants Locanda Locatelli (which holds a Michelin star) and Bancone – so you know the food is going to be good!

They make their pasta and sauces in-house daily (fatti in casa as the Italians say) and you can definitely tell the pasta is homemade. They pride themselves on using quality ingredients. They source their meat from small British farms, work with foragers who supply wild mushrooms and other foraged items from the UK, and they import the finest Italian ingredients from Italy, such as burrata, Parmesan and 00 flour, to name a few.

Whilst the food is very definitely Italian, what is slightly baffling is why it’s called ‘Notto’ as that is not a word that exists in Italian!

Upstairs dining area at Notto in Covent Garden

The food at Notto

The menu at Notto is seasonal and instead of focusing on a particular region, it features dishes from around Italy. The menu is divided into breads and dips, starters, pasta and dessert.

The focaccia is absolutely delicious, served with garlic, rosemary, tomatoes and olive oil drizzled over. I dare you not to order a second portion!

Focaccia from Notto

The dishes at Notto are innovative, such as the Gazpacho with watermelon and ricotta salata starter. Even the more traditional Italian dishes have a creative twist, such as the asparagus and gorgonzola arancino with a wild garlic emulsion.

Asparagus and gorgonzola arancino with a wild garlic emulsion from Notto

The arancino regularly changes. The first time we went it was a wild mushroom and truffle one and it was absolutely fabulous! My husband isn’t a massive fan of mushrooms and he thought it was incredible. Trust me… whatever filling the arancino is – order it! You won’t be disappointed.

Wild mushroom and truffle arancino from Notto

On our last visit in May, we chose three starters to share – the beef carpaccio with rocket and shaved Parmesan, the thinly sliced courgette salad with ricotta, lemon zest and oregano, as well as the asparagus and Gorgonzola arancino. You can tell the seasonality of the menu by the dishes, all of which were excellent. The quality of the beef in the carpaccio was superb.

Beef Carpaccio with rocket and shaved parmesan from Notto

It’s recommended that you order three pasta dishes between two people, however make a judgement call depending on how many starters (and focaccia!) you order.

Both times we visited they had Pappardelle with slow cooked aged beef short rib with field mushrooms and red wine. Absolutely delicious!

Pappardelle with slow cooked short rib of aged beef, field mushrooms and red wine from Notto

We’ve also tried the bucatini with courgettes, basil and lemon zest and the linguine with Devon crab. Honestly, we couldn’t fault any of the pastas. They were really tasty and cooked perfectly. And the portion sizes are really good – not too big but not small either.

Linguine with Devon crab

We don’t often order dessert at lunch so sadly I can’t say what the desserts are like but I can vouch for the coffee (via my husband)!

What we love about Notto

The design of the restaurant is modern with neutral colours and natural light. If you sit upstairs, you can see the chefs at work, which we love. And of course the food is fab!

The staff are really lovely and service was great. We booked for our wedding anniversary and not only did they actually wish us a ‘happy anniversary’ when we arrived, they gave us each a glass of Prosecco to celebrate. Such a lovely touch!

Price-wise it’s pretty reasonable, with pasta dishes starting at £9. They also have a good value, three-course set menu for lunch, priced at £19.50, which includes vegetarian options.

We’ve really enjoyed our meals at Notto and will be returning as regulars.

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Notto in Covent Garden

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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