Lina Stores started as a deli on Brewer Street in Soho in 1944 and is now a London institution. In 2018 they opened their first restaurant in Greek Street, around the corner from the deli, and in just a few years they now have several restaurants across London.
I’ve been to all of them – some, several times – and here’s what I think of the Lina Stores experience.
Which Lina Stores is best?
Currently there are four Lina Stores restaurants in London. One in Greek Street in Soho, one in Marylebone, one in King’s Cross and a city branch in Bloomberg Arcade. They all have the same look and feel, which plays homage to the 1940s when the deli was founded.
My personal favourite is the King’s Cross branch, in Coal Drops Yard. I love that it has a sizable deli, a large counter for dining as well as booths. In the summer they usually have a fairly large outdoor area too. This is the Lina Stores I have been to the most and have always had a good experience.
My second favourite has to be the one in the city in Bloomberg Arcade. This branch has both downstairs and upstairs dining. Next I’d say is Lina Stores in Greek Street – but only if I can get counter seating upstairs (the downstairs is a bit too small and there are no windows). The Maylebone Lane restaurant has lots of natural light and decent counter seating and is the newest of the branches.
One of the great things about Lina Stores is that no matter which restaurant you dine at, the food is consistently good. For example, I’ve ordered the fried artichoke at every single one of their restaurants and it’s always delicious. If you spot it on the menu, order it!
Another starter to definitely order if it’s on the menu, is the Polpette di Melanzane – aubergine meatballs with a tomato sauce, using tomatoes from San Marzano. They are utterly moreish!
Their pasta is also consistent in terms of portion size, quality of ingredients, taste, and in presentation – no matter which restaurant you’re dining at.
The menu does have a seasonal influence and if you visit fairly regularly you will notice new dishes on the menu. There are also dedicated vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menus, making it a great choice for all diners. And of course they make most of their pasta themselves, which is a lovely touch.
The pasta portions are not huge but not small either. We tend to order around three starters, followed by two to three pasta dishes to share, which is plenty of food for the two of us.
The pasta is also very decently priced. The Tagliolini al Tartufo e Parmigiano is only £13, which is a lot less than other Italian restaurants charge for pasta with truffle. An honest price, as my Italian husband would say!
The pasta dishes start at around £7.50 up to about £14, so if you’re on a budget then Lina Stores is a good option for great Italian food at a reasonable price. The drinks aren’t too expensive either, with a glass of Prosecco costing £8, an Aperol Spitz at £9, and a glass of red or white wine starting at £6 a glass. They also have a good selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, starting at £6.
Lina Stores is a great option for delicious Italian food, using quality ingredients and priced honestly. All the restaurants are beautifully decorated and there is the option to sit at a table or the counter – where you can watch the chefs at work. Booking is highly recommended though as they are popular and walk-ins are limited.
We really love Lina Stores, and have been many times over the years, which is why I named it one of the best Italian restaurants in London.