We’ve currently got more than 800 Italian restaurants listed on Visit London: there are probably more. London has long been enamoured with the delicious cuisine that comes from Italy: according to the History of Italian Restaurants in Britain, the first Italian Eating House appeared just off Leicester Square in 1803.
We’ve ventured a little further from Central London to gather a set of recommendations for local Italian restaurants in London. Here are our suggestions; we’d love you to add yours to the comments below.
Laura Haggett, Camberwell
Caravaggio in Camberwell Church Street is a real find. The waiters are welcoming and always happy to recommend the specials of the day. The plates of pasta on offer are for those with hearty appetites and there is always a good range of quality meat and fish options. They don’t do pizza, but you won’t miss it. Most dinners are under a tenner, with pasta around the £5 mark, so you’re still smiling when you pay the bill and leave, even if your stomach is so full that they have to roll you out the door!
Foamy, Dartmouth Park
Nuraghe in Dartmouth Park serves up genuine (I think!) Sardininan dishes with a smile. Try the venison tortellini – amazing.
Chris Wareham, Hampstead
My favourite Italian restaurant is L’Artista in Golders Green. The portions are enormous, the prices very reasonable and the food genuinely Italian, including thin-based pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven. The staff are friendly, boisterous and loud, so it may not suit those looking for a quiet, romantic meal, but for a less intimate evening of Italian food, it’s unbeatable.
Lisa Williams, Fulham
For someone with an allergy to wheat, mention of Italian usually fills me with dread as pizza and pasta are massive no goes. However my local Italian, Pappa & Ciccia in Munster Road always puts a massive smile on my face as they serve the most amazing wheat-free pasta dishes. I always know I can head in there with my wheat-eating friends, and not feel left out and have the most amazing food.
Charlotte Thomas, Brixton
J’s in Primrose Hill is a perennial favourite with my work colleagues and me. Cheap and cheerful and great for lunch after a big night the evening before!
John Craig, Peckham Rye
I’ve been enjoying the wood-fired pizzas and lovingly made pasta at San Marco Pizzeria on Clapham High Street with my girlfriend for years. The staff are always so friendly. When our favourite waitress told us she was moving back to Italy we were gutted. But she gave us her address and phone number, and told us to visit her anytime. We haven’t yet, but that’s probably because we can get a proper, authentic taste of Italy with a short trip to Clapham!
Jose Adams, Mortlake
Il Portico on Kensington High Street. Family run (in fact London’s oldest family run restaurant), terrific service, very friendly, delicious food, perfect for special occasions. Reassuringly traditional menu (like escalopes of veal layered with Parma ham and sage with a white wine sauce) and very comfortable seating – so my boyfriend is happy. I’m a veggie and they will always do something delicious for me.
Abby Penlington, Tulse Hill
Il Porcini, West Dulwich is a great little place has an inventive menu with a great black squid ink spaghetti, prawn and chilli pasta.
Coralie Grassin, Farnborough
My favourite haunt would be Ecco. This pizza place does not look like much from the outside but wow! Those are gorgeous – very fresh ingredients, as if the tomatoes and basil have just been picked from the plant. The staff are always doing that little bit extra too and cheer me up on bad days. From £3.50 for pizza, this is the best deal in town!
Kat O’Donnel, Seven Sisters
Il Bacio in Stoke Newington has quickly become a regular haunt. Traditional Italian with changing specials as well as all the usual favourites – pizza, pasta, carne, pesce. Plus tasty Italian wines and very genuine staff. And it’s on the Taste Card, bonus!
Peter Spring, Morden
Al Forno in Wimbledon is superb. The portions are huge and the food is excellent but it’s the staff that make this cosy, wood-paneled restaurant special. For a friend’s surprise birthday bash the staff dished out free shots of Italian liqueur and shoveled spoonfuls of cake into the guy’s mouth! Al Forno’s staff always seem to be in a good mood and they are expert at ensuring this vibe permeates to each and every guest. My top tip (and theirs!) is to order a small pizza because the medium is massive.
Please add your favourite local Italian restaurants to the comments below