From the satisfying slurp of spaghetti to the comfort-blanket loveliness of a homemade lasagne, we’ve rolled our way across London to find the best of what’s got to be the nation’s favourite carb: pasta. We’ve got you covered from London’s finest cheap eats, to orzo fancy fine dining spots: browse our 10 favourites below.
1. Passo Book Passo
Mixing the buzz of LA with Italian rusticity and a passion for produce, Passo is an all-day eatery specialising in both hand-rolled pasta and clay-fired pizzas. Every table offers a view of the expansive open kitchen: watch the chefs work against a backdrop of super-sleek Scandinavian-style design pieces, crafting dishes including truffle tagliatelle, and wild boar pappardelle with taleggio cheese & port sauce.
2. Café Murano Book Café Murano
Little sister of Angela Hartnett’s fine dining restaurant, Murano, Café Murano brings rustic north Italian cuisine to the heart of St James’s, and also boasts an adjoining pasta and wine shop. Offsetting the chic continental-style counter is a charming farmhouse-kitchen display of artisan produce: think cured meats, mismatched ceramics and Kilner pickling jars. A regularly changing menu includes the likes of spaghettini with squid & mussels, and pumpkin tortelli with sage & pine nuts.
3. Luca Book Luca
From the team behind Michelin-starred restaurant, The Clove Club, Luca brings a warm, Mediterranean hideaway to trendy Clerkenwell. The rich yet simple menu is headed by signature pasta dishes, spanning from pork sausage rigatoni with tomato & anchovy, or linguine with clams, white wine & chilli. The dining room is understated Art Deco, with an open kitchen for views of top-notch pasta rolling.
4. Terra Terra Book Terra Terra
Found just across from Finchley Road Station, Terra Terra’s minimalist interior with its accents of wood and orange should draw you in, but this Hampstead Italian’s sophisticated interior also is remarkably relaxed. Serving rustic pizzas, handmade pasta and other sublime Italian dishes inspired by Florence and Bologna marketplaces, dine in an easygoing setting with a cocktail in hand. Savour the fettucine with tomato, basil and chilli or casarecce pasta with lamb ragu and pangratatto while looking out over Finchley Road.
The undisputed king of cheap eats in London, never mind the pasta circuit, Padella is a ragingly popular pasta restaurant on the edge of Borough Market. Be prepared to queue at this no-bookings joint: worth-the-wait dishes include the now-famous pappardelle with 8-hour beef shin ragu, gnocchi with sage and nutmeg butter, and spinach ravioli with Neal’s Yard ricotta.
6. Mele e Pere Book Mele e Pere
Voted Bookatable’s ‘Best Italian in London’ in 2018, Mele e Pere is a cool Soho trattoria, with a kitchen manned by acclaimed chef, Andrea Mantovani. Dine in the quirky basement space filled with chunky wood tables and anglepoise lamps, or perch at the copper-topped bar. The menu takes a trip through Italy’s culinary regions, with speciality pasta dishes including Umbrian black truffle with taglierini, and wild mushroom pappardelle.
7. The River Cafe Book The River Cafe
Undoubtedly London’s most established Italian restaurants, The River Cafe is a Hammersmith institution, serving up a daily changing menu of simple-yet-indulgent, artisan dishes. Another open kitchen and wood-fired oven can be found and this leafy London oasis: a perfect setting for watching the chefs craft the likes of fresh taglierini with slow-cooked tomatoes, and tagliatelle with veal, rabbit and pancetta.
Crafting simple, fuss-free Italian dishes, artusi is a charming neighbourhood restaurant on Bellenden Road in Peckham. The regularly wiped chalk board sees the menu change on a pretty much daily basis, based on the best available produce, and there are family-style sharing menus for celebratory visits. Lovingly rolled on site, pasta dishes might include bucatini with chard, raisins and tellagio cheese, and fusilli with sausage and nduja ragu.
9. Theo Randall at The InterContinental Book Theo Randall at The InterContinental
An ‘Italian Restaurant of the Year’ winner, Theo Randall at The InterContinental brings simple, rustic Italian cuisine to an exclusive Mayfair postcode. The much-loved TV chef showcases dishes inspired by his trips to Italy, with signature pasta creations including squash & ricotta ravioli, Dorset Blue lobster linguine, and shrimp & artichoke taglierini.
10. Sartoria Book Sartoria
Set on London’s tailor-haven, Savile Row, Sartoria presents Italian fine dining in a fittingly well-heeled setting that evokes the romance of 20th-century Italy. The menu is inspired by chef patron Francesco Mazzei’s Calabria origins, with time-honoured recipes being given a refined twist. Served alongside an Italian wine list, perfectly crafted pasta dishes include classics like spaghetti carbonara, fettucine with venison & pistachio, and Francesco’s mum’s version of lasagna.