Italian Restaurants in Shoreditch
1. Popolo Italian restaurant in Shoreditch 26 Rivington Street - EC2
“One of the best meals I had all year” – this “noisy, little spot in Shoreditch” showcases “simply great cooking” from kickboxer-turned-chef Jon Lawson, who prepares “awesome sharing-style Italian plates” with Spanish and North African touches. “Perfect for a date night if you want to impress, while still keeping it hip and intimate”. The occasional duff note concerns the low-intervention wines: “interesting” to some, to others “expensive” or “an acquired taste”. Top Tip – “grab a seat at the counter for the best ambience/experience”.
2. Passo Italian restaurant in Shoreditch 80 City Rd - EC1Y
2019 Review: Mixed reviews for this big, all-day Italian newcomer by Old Street tube – a large, modern unit where they’ve spent a packet on the design. Some do praise its “imaginative” fare and say it’s a good place to take business associates, but there’s also a feeling that “the food doesn’t live up to the prices and comes in small portions”: “this is expense account grub for global biz travellers who truly believe ‘Silicon Roundabout’ is a really cool place”.
3. Gloria Italian restaurant in Hackney 54-56 Great Eastern Street - EC2A
“It’s such a lot of fun” (whether you eat “upstairs – think explosion in a china/flower shop; or downstairs – sexy booths”) at the Big Mamma Group’s “kitsch-but-in-a-great-way” Italian, which imports the brio of an imagined Amalfi coast, circa 1972, to this Shoreditch corner site. “You need to love a party” though – the filling cod-Italian cuisine is “not bad” but “doesn’t match the buzz or the queues”.
4. Padella Shoreditch Italian restaurant in Shoreditch 1 Phipp Street - EC2A
“Still some of the very best pasta in London at half the price of most places” continues to inspire rave reviews for these genius pit stops, where “pound for pound the great value for money is always good” (“and extends to the drinks”). “For an unplanned midweek supper there’s nothing better”, although at the mega-popular Borough Market original it can feel “like a conveyor belt” at busier times. At “the funky newish premises in Shoreditch” there’s “rather more space than in SE1, with proper booking… what’s not to like?”. Top Menu Tip – “just go for the cacio e pepe… but everything else is good as well”.
5. Mamarosa Italian restaurant in Shoreditch Holywell Lane - EC2
2019 Review: A London version of Barcelona’s Italian celeb-magnet is slated to open at the Shoreditch Village development this year. It will open adjacent to the citizenM boutique hotel just off Shoreditch High Street (the original is part of Barcelona’s 5-star W hotel).
6. Via Emilia Italian restaurant in Hackney 37a Hoxton Square - N1
“Exemplary small-plates and pasta” is the focus at this small Hoxton showcase for the marvellous cuisine of Emilia-Romagna (think Bologna, Modena, Parma, etc). The dishes are even named in the local dialect.
7. Cecconi's Shoreditch Italian restaurant in Tower Hamlets 58-60 Redchurch Street - E2
“The original location is by far the best” – “almost Continental in feel, and opposite the back entrance of the Royal Academy in Burlington Arcade”: “a regular haunt” for Mayfair types where “a seat at the bar is the best possible place in the world”. “Always buzzy and with exceptional Bellinis, it’s best for breakfast or brunch”. On the downside, “the high prices of the food reflect the area and locale”. Its simpler spin-offs (most notably pizza joints in Soho and Shoreditch) capture a fragment of this “fun and upmarket” style.
8. Eataly Italian restaurant in City 135 Bishopsgate - EC2M
Entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti’s glam food mall concept was a late arrival in London when it opened near Liverpool Street station in May 2021, given that he now has 42 scattered around the world. It offers a “fabulous selection of food and wine”, alongside three restaurants (headed by the flagship Terra, where the dramatic centrepiece grill is apparently fired by wood shipped in from Calabria). Immediately very busy, the offerings include “super pizza”, but, for a sceptical minority, “the whole place looks great but is merely a trap for wealthy, bored customers”.
9. Barbican Brasserie, Barbican Centre (fka Osteria) Italian restaurant in Barbican Level 2 Silk Street - EC2
It’s pleasing that this monolithic arts centre boasts a respectable restaurant, in the form of this Searcy’s-run operation, which is ideally situated for a meal around a performance, and uniformly well-rated. There are niggles though – even those who applaud “very decent Italian cuisine” can note “the odd lapse” in execution, or say the overall meal “lacked finesse”.
10. Canto Corvino Italian restaurant in City 21 Artillery Lane - E1
By Spitalfields, this modern Italian makes a feature of fairly straightforward dishes – pasta is a speciality as are grills from the Josper oven. Feedback this year was up-and-down, with some resistance to their current pricing.
11. Manteca Italian restaurant in Shoreditch 49-51 Curtain Road - EC2A
“A fabulous range of super-tasty Italian small plates with some very memorable flavours (that pig skin ragu!!!!)” and incorporating “terrific homemade pasta” are making a smash hit of Chris Leach and David Carter’s “absolutely rammed” venture, which relocated from Heddon Street to Shoreditch in October 2021. It wins nothing but praise and many nominations as “the top food experience of the last 12 months”. “Enthusiastic” service can suffer under the weight of custom and – with its “deafening noise” – the setting does “slightly reek of (the former) PizzaExpress the site used to be” – but “given that it’s exceptional, you’ll get by… they can polish any rough edges later”.
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