Italian Restaurants in Bloomsbury
. Café Deco
British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia
43 Store Street - WC1E
Bloomsbury greasy spoon that’s been artfully transformed into a simple bar and modern bistro by the team behind 40 Maltby Street, with Anna Tobias (P Franco, Rochelle Canteen) at the stoves. It was launched in December 2020 and won a big thumbs-up from Guardian reviewer Grace Dent, who – while noting that it “looks a bit like a sandwich shop with lofty aspirations” – found “finely judged, nicely eccentric cooking with a strong undercurrent of country-house living”. Our early feedback is limited but similarly upbeat.
. Ciao Bella
Italian restaurant in Bloomsbury
86-90 Lamb’s Conduit St - WC1
This “robust and lively” Bloomsbury fixture, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, “feels like you’re really in Italy” with its “great food and atmosphere” – and it “can’t be beaten for cheap and cheerful”. “I had my 40th here just before lockdown – a long table for 30 people – and it was wonderful”. It’s a “fun, noisy place, ideal for a group of friends, not a date” – although nobody told Boris Johnson, who wooed Jennifer Arcuri here over chips and red wine when he was mayor of London.
. Circolo Popolare
Italian restaurant in Westminster
40-41 Rathbone Square - W1T
“More fun per pound (£) than anywhere else in London”. Big Mamma group’s “completely mad” Fitzrovian is long on ambience and – so long as you don’t mind consuming a week’s worth of cream in one sitting – “so much the better for it”, especially if you want to record the outsize plates of simple Italian scoff on Instagram. Even spoilsports who feel “the food doesn’t really warrant the queue or the hype” feel that “the overall experience is pleasant and it’s not bad value for money given the location”.
. Icco Pizza
Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia
46 Goodge St - W1
“Not just cheap and cheerful but good, cheap and cheerful” – “you can’t fault the pizza, thin-crust, well made to order, and tasty” at this veteran Goodge Street pizzeria, est. 1999, where a basic marinara costs just £3.95. There’s now a branch in Camden, as well as delivery-only outlets in Wood Green, Wandsworth and Croydon.
. Da Mario
Italian restaurant in Covent Garden
63 Endell St - WC2
This “nice, intimate, friendly Italian restaurant” in Covent Garden makes you feel “as if you were in Italy”. The retirement of the family that ran it for years seems to have had little effect on the menu of basic trattoria classics, “reasonably priced wines and smiling welcome”.
. Rossopomodoro, John Lewis
Italian restaurant in Oxford Circus
300 Oxford St - W1
2021 Review: “Neapolitan influences are evident in the choice of ingredients, and the wood-burning oven makes for good, chewy, charred crusts, unlike most high-street pizzas” – so say fans of this global chain, whose HQ is indeed in Naples. Not everyone is impressed, though, and ratings are dragged down by those who feel it’s merely an “everyday” choice: “OK for a bog-standard group, but not great”.
. In Parma
Italian restaurant in Camden
10 Charlotte Place - W1T
2019 Review: “I hate to admit it, but the cappelletti in brodo” (“pasta filled with Parmesan cheese and beef, slowly cooked for a couple of days and served in a rich capon broth, all of which really is exceptional”) “might even be better than my mother’s!!” – This Fitzrovia Italian (run by the Food Roots company, and sibling to Hoxton’s Via Emilia) offers “authentic Parmesan dishes, prepared by authentic Parmesans”, with an emphasis on charcuterie and cheeses from Parma, and with “good Lambrusco served in traditional crockery” (by the bowl) being something of a hallmark. “The restaurant itself is long and narrow and would be a bit of a squeeze when busy, but service is pleasant and prices reasonable. Recommended.”
. Salt Yard
Spanish restaurant in Fitzrovia
54 Goodge St - W1
With its quality mix of Spanish and Italian tapas, this cosy bar/restaurant near Goodge Street was a foodie trailblazer when it opened in 2005. The buzz has moved on over the years, but it’s still a worthwhile, well-run venue with interesting food.
. Sycamore Vino Cucina, Middle Eight Hotel
Italian restaurant in Holborn
Middle Eight Hotel, 66 Great Queen Street - WC2B
If it hadn’t originally launched on 28 October 2020, days before the UK’s second national lockdown, this expensively designed Covent Garden hotel would have attracted more attention. In its all-day bar and restaurant occupying much of the ground floor (there’s also a mezzanine), executive chef Paul Robinson (ex-Temper and The Coal Shed) serves food from Northern Italy using British produce. Pizza and cicchetti feature alongside small plates, pasta and secondi. Early reports praise the “excellent food and service”, although there‘s some dispute as to whether the setting is “a bit too much like an hotel” or “lovely and chic”.
. 10 Greek Street
British, Modern restaurant in Soho
10 Greek St - W1
“The food is one star turn” (the wine is the other) at this “small and spartan” Soho wine bar, frequented by wine-trade insiders. There’s an “interesting menu, short but imaginative”, with “beautiful combinations of textures and flavours that make a very special meal”. Ask the “knowledgeable front-of-house staff” for tips on the day’s handwritten ‘Black Book’ list of fine wines.
Italian restaurant in Covent Garden
45 Great Queen Street - WC2
Near the Freemasons’ Hall, this “classy” and “traditional”-looking Italian brasserie in Covent Garden is a “perfect business lunch place”, thanks to its classic cuisine and “well-paced” service (which is fitting for a place founded by two front-of-house specialists). Co-founder Paulo de Tarso has left, leaving Nicolas Jaouën (ex-La Petite Maison and Rivea) in charge. A small minority of reporters complained this year that, for all its qualities, the offering “lacks personality”.
. Casa Tua
Italian restaurant in King's Cross
106 Cromer Street - WC1H
2021 Review: “Delicious, fresh pasta” is a particular highlight of the “reasonably-priced homemade food” at this “cosy corner-Italian in the atmospheric backstreets of Bloomsbury” (within walking distance of King’s Cross).
. Lina Stores
Italian restaurant in Soho
51 Greek Street - W1D
“Small plates but big flavours” from “a lovely short menu of top-quality antipasti and pasta dishes” win numerous “cheap ’n’ cheerful” nominations for this small chain, which consists of the “busy, lovely but very crammed” Soho original (for 75 years a deli, but since 2018 and its relaunch by Private Equity firm White Rabbit, in this new guise) and a newer, bigger but less commented-on King’s Cross spin-off. “We need more branches of this great restaurant” plead fans… whose prayers are soon to be answered with a 90-seater outlet in Marylebone (in Wigmore Street, on the former Sourced Market site) plus in Bloomberg Arcade and Clapham, as well as one in Tokyo!
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