Italian Restaurants in Kensington
1. Clarke’s British, Modern restaurant in Kensington 124 Kensington Church Street - W8
“Sally Clarke remains very present” at her “sophisticated” and “welcoming” Kensington HQ, which she established in 1984 at the bleeding edge of a trend to a more seasonal, ingredient-led style of dining that’s nowadays become an accepted norm. Consequently, for some fans, this has been “a ‘go-to’ for decades” owing to its “consistently superb cuisine”, creating dishes “with fantastic attention to detail” that “are imaginative without seeming ‘tricked up’”. The décor has always divided opinions here: “quite formal” for some tastes, but to others “romantic” and “perfect for a relaxed evening with grown-up conversation”. Ratings slipped a little this year across the board, though, as even those hailing it as “excellent” may note that “prices seem to have jumped here even more than most post-Covid”.
2. Il Portico Italian restaurant in Kensington 277 Kensington High St - W8
This “old favourite” opposite the Design Museum, now in its sixth decade, is “always buzzing, with great Italian food and a sense that every patron is ‘family’”. It’s family-run, too, with James Chiavarini having taken over from his father, Pino. “James has introduced some modernising touches but I love the feeling that you’re in Italy when you walk in the door – there’s nothing minimal or characterless about it”.
3. San Pietro Italian restaurant in Kensington 7 Stratford Road - W8
“Really excellent Italian local” that occupies a smart, if tightly packed, two-floor site in an off-the-beaten-track Kensington backwater. It’s a “cheerful place” with lovely fresh fish, “beautifully displayed packed in ice”.
4. Enoteca Rosso Italian restaurant in Kensington 276-280 Kensington High Street - W8
2021 Review: “Go for the wine: there’s a great selection” focused solely on Italy at this Kensington yearling, with bottles lining many of the walls. Even fans can note that the food (pasta, cheese and meat boards, salads) “is not as good”, but it avoids any harsh critiques. Brunch here is also a possibility.
5. Da Mario Italian restaurant in South Kensington 15 Gloucester Rd - SW7
Family-owned Italian near the Albert Hall that’s “a good option for getting away from the chains”. Open for five decades, it was apparently a favourite lunch haunt of Princess Diana, who would bring Princes Wills and Harry for pizza.
6. Jacuzzi Italian restaurant in Kensington 94 Kensington High Street - W8
The latest offering from the Big Mamma group (Gloria, Circolo Popolare, etc) is this oddly-named four-floor behemoth on Ken High Street, with a Sicilian-styled mezzanine with retractable roof and glitter-ball disco toilets. We'd expect nothing less.
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