London's pasta scene could not be hotter right now - with everywhere from no-reservation spots to fine dining restaurants packing them in. We pick out the best pasta to be had in the city.
6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ
There’s only one downside to Padella – the permanent queue that snakes out the door, down the street, and sometimes even around the corner into Borough Market. Everything else about the place is just perfect, from the design to the plates of beautiful fresh pasta, made every day by the team in-house. Service is friendly and fast, the prices are very reasonable and, if you needed any more reasons to visit, it's also won a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide.
Pasta to go for: It’s an impossible choice between the pici cacio & pepe and the parpadelle with beef shin ragu - so we’d advise just getting both.
19 Ganton Street, London W1F 9BN
A dedicated pasta restaurant from Stevie Parle, the man behind Rotorino and Palatino, was always going to be a winner. The Tom Dixon-designed space just off Carnaby Street delivers the goods in spades, with a tightly-focused menu of freshly-made pasta dishes. If there’s anything better than a summer evening sat outside here with a glass of wine and and a plate of ravioli, we haven’t found it.
Pasta to go for: If you’re dining solo, we’re big fans of the meaty wild boar, rabbit, and pork agnoli. but if there are two of you, it’d be silly to pass up sharing the paccheri with langoustines, prawns, mussels, and clams.
Thames Wharf Studio, Rainville Road, London W6 9HA
Without the River Cafe, a lot of the other restaurants on this list might not exist. This hugely influential spot by the Thames in Hammersmith has had everyone from Stevie Parle to Jamie Oliver pass through its kitchen and even though it celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, it remains one of London’s absolute best, for pasta and almost everything else. It’s not cheap though, so it’s even better if someone else is paying.
Pasta to go for: Menus change twice a day at the River Cafe so there are no guarantees, but the fresh nettle tagliatelle with butter and parmesan is a simple, knockout winner.
51 Greek St Soho, London W1D 4EH
The cherished Soho institution has been making fresh pasta for customers to take home since 1944. Quite why it took them so long to open a dedicated restaurant we don’t know but boy are we glad they did. The little restaurant which opened in 2017 on Greek Street, not far from the original deli, has a simple menu of freshly made pasta dishes, as well as some classic Italian desserts and cocktails.
Pasta to go for: Lumache, ’Nduja, and wild fennel.
8 Seymour St, Marylebone, London W1H 7JZ
At Giorgio Locatelli’s Michelin-starred spot in Mayfair, the humble pasta dish is taken up a few levels. It’s smart, sophisticated fine-dining so instead of beef or pork, you’re more likely to find lobster and quail with the expertly-made fresh pasta.
Pasta to go for: Spaghetti with stewed octopus and chilli
12 Archer Street W1D 7BB
Having been open for 10 years now, Jacob Kennedy’s Bocca di Lupo qualifies as a Soho institution. It’s still as fantastic as ever, with the pastas obviously being a particular highlight. All are freshly made in-house and are offered in small or large sizes meaning you can have it as part of a bigger meal or just pop in for a quick pasta and a glass of wine before the theatre.
Pasta to go for: Pappardelle with wild boar ragu
214 Bermondsey St, SE1 3TQ
Taking advantage of London’s pasta craze, the owners of Antico turned it into Flour & Grape in 2017, and dedicated nearly the whole menu to pasta – there are only eight pasta dishes on offer and a handful of starters and desserts. If you can’t brave the queue at nearby Padella, then this is a very worthy alternative.
Pasta to go for: Tortellini with roast pork shoulder and sage butter.
52 Redchurch Street London E2 7DP
Part shop/part restaurant, Shoreditch’s Burro e Salvia makes incredible pasta on site every day. You can take it away to cook yourself at home or take a seat up at the pasta counter and let them do the work for you. There’s a small menu of fresh pasta and antipasti that changes regularly, and if you fancy learning the secrets of great pasta making for yourself, they also run regular workshops.
Pasta to go for: Pappardelle with slow-cooked duck ragu
15 Poland Street, Soho, London W1F 8QE
Having been in Soho for 50 years, it’s fair to say Vasco & Piero's has stood the test of time. It’s still packed to the rafters, offering a proper old-school feel, and a menu focused on the Umbria region of Italy. The pastas are made in-house daily of course, just as they always have been, and are still amongst the very best in London.
Pasta to go for: Spaghettini with prawns and cherry tomatoes
Ivory House, St Katherine Docks, London E1W 1AT
Head Chef Simone and Founder Andrew spent eighteen months studying the science and geometry of pasta to ensure they were bringing Londoner’s the absolute best. All that effort certainly shows in the beautifully crafted fresh pasta that’s on display in the open kitchen – and it tastes every bit as good as it looks too.
Pasta to go for: Pappardelle with 4-hour slow cooked béchamel bolognese
39 William IV Street, London WC2N 4DD
The newest restaurant in this list, Bancone opened in May 2018 and received a very glowing review from Grace Dent, who called it ‘casually orgasmic'. With the head chef Louis Korovilas having worked at Locanda Locatelli for five years, the praise being heaped on Bancone is no surprise however, and the hype is certainly justified. The pastas here are every bit as masterful as those found at Locatelli but with one crucial and welcome difference - they’re a fraction of the price.
Pasta to go for: Brown shrimp tagliolini with seaweed butter
88 St John Street, London EC1M 4EH
Not many people were expecting The Clove Club team to follow up their debut restaurant with a laid-back Italian joint but we’re glad they did. Italian in style but using British ingredients – they call it ‘Britalian’ – Luca is a very worthy point on London’s pasta map, with seasonally-changing creations made fresh in-house every day.
Pasta to go for: Rigatoni with pork sausage ragu, tomato, anchovy and mint
Also worth trying:
- Peckham’s Artusi writes up its daily-changing menu on a big chalkboard, featuring fresh pasta such as parpadelle with beef shin ragu.
- Sartoria is the only restaurant on Saville Row, specialising in dishes from chef patron Francesco Mazzei’s home region of Calabria, such as fettuccine with wild boar ragu.
- River Cafe alumna Anna Tobias is currently in charge of the hobs at Clapton’s P Franco, with fresh pasta featuring among the menu of small plates.
- Deptford's Marcella is the sister restaurant to Artusi, with a similar approach of simply prepared seasonal dishes, that’s somehow even better than the original.
- Pork cheek agnolotti with porcini butter is the standout pasta dish at Shoreditch’s Popolo.
- Located just off Columbia Road in an old brick dairy building, Campania and Jones has very reasonably-priced fresh pastas, and Instagram-ready interior design.
- Passo is a huge restaurant on Old St roundabout from the ream behind Foley’s, and features fresh pasta such as orecchiette with octopus and green olive ragout.
- Just off Oxford Street, Bernadis is an absolute haven from the crowds with fresh pastas like parmesan gnocchi with ox cheek ragu among the seasonal Italian menu.
- Cafe Murano is the casual offshoot of Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Murano – it may not have white tablecloths but the pasta is every bit as good.
- The crab linguine is legendary at Highbury’s Trullo, the restaurant that gave birth to Padella.
- Theo Randall is yet another graduate of the River Cafe who left to set up his own place at The Intercontinental Hotel, winning a Michelin star in the process.
- Kentish Town’s Anima e Cuore is tiny, with only 22 covers, so book well in advance for a taste of their famed ravioli.
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