Italian Restaurants in Kensington
1. Clarke’s British, Modern restaurant in Kensington 124 Kensington Church Street - W8
“Never failing to excel, even after years and years…” – Sally Clarke’s Kensington HQ (opened in 1984) is nowadays a “classic”; and even those who say “it’s a bit of a time warp nowadays”, concede that her California-inspired cuisine is nigh-on as “modern and fresh” as ever. “The moment you step in, often to be welcomed by Sally herself, you know you are in for a wonderful evening, with imaginative but unpretentious dishes that are impeccably prepared – with great ingredients that are allowed to stand out – while service is always professional and present-without-hovering”. The atmosphere here has always been slightly divisive: for a few “dull” or “formal”, but to most diners – “with its artwork, soothing colors, and low noise level to allow plenty of engaging conversation” – romantic and “always a delight”.
2. Pino Italian restaurant in Kensington 267 Kensington High Street - W8
Formerly Pizzicotto (RIP) – the Chiavarini family (who have run nearby Il Portico since the '60's) have revamped their six-year-old spin-off and in June 2021 are taking it in a slightly more serious culinary direction. The wood-burning pizza oven is still in operation, but there’s more of an emphasis on trattoria style dishes, cured meats and pasta.
3. Il Portico Italian restaurant in Kensington 277 Kensington High St - W8
This “proper, family-run Italian trattoria” in Kensington pre-dates the new Design Museum on the other side of the road by decades, and exudes “cosy”, “olde world charm”. That it’s “family-owned and family-friendly” is key to its longevity, and has made it a “go-to restaurant” for its many long-term regulars. But “after decades, the business has passed down a generation, and young and old alike agree it’s brought an improvement, with an approach that’s more energetic”. Its strengths are “a charming atmosphere”, “authentic Emilia-Romana cuisine, instead of the usual floods of red sauce” and the “unfailing and unflappable care of owner James Chiavarini and his well-trained staff”.
4. Enoteca Rosso Italian restaurant in Kensington 276-280 Kensington High Street - W8
“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. San Pietro Italian restaurant in Kensington 7 Stratford Road - W8
“Expertly prepared fresh fish” (“magnificent scallops, large and with the coral attached: so rare!”) makes it worth truffling out this “slightly expensive but useful local” – the Italian successor to the quiet Kensington site that was for aeons Chez Patrick (RIP), and which nowadays is in a more stylish guise, with the main dining room upstairs, and a counter downstairs.
6. Locanda Ottomezzo Mediterranean restaurant in Kensington 2-4 Thackeray Street - W8
2018 Review: “Excellent, genuine Italian cuisine” helps makes this an “atmospheric” local in a backstreet near Kensington Square Garden. “Everything is homemade from the grissini to the pasta”, and they also do a “great breakfast and top pizzas”.
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