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.
39 William IV Street, London WC2N 4DD
Bancone opened and immediately 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
12 Archer Street W1D 7BB
Having been open for over 10 years now, Jacob Kennedy’s Bocca di Lupo qualifies as a Soho institution. It’s still as fantastic as ever, with the pasta 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
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
Ivory House, St Katherine Docks, London E1W 1AT (also in Aldgate)
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
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.
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
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
152 Old Street, EC1V 9BW
Relatively new at the time of writing, this has already caught the attention of Marina O Loughlin who said "there’s serious industry at play here". While pasta is at the centre of the menu, they also make their own freshly baked sourdough and Italian pastries.
Pasta to go for: Their huge filled Occhi filled with braised pork Genovese, sour parsley and aged provolone
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 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.
197 Richmond Rd, London E8 3NJ
There are many reasons to love Pophams (those maple bacon croissants for one) but they've added another element at their Hackney bakery - some of the best pasta in town. Pophams baker Phil King already had a pasta supperclub and now he's in Hackney for their evening pasta dishes, which have received nothing but raves.
Pasta to go for: It seasonally changes - at the time of writing, we'd have to say the "Cappellacci dei Briganti, Isle of Wight Tomatoes, Lovage".
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 recently, 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.
Intercontinental Hotel, 1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7QY
Theo Randall has been running the restaurant at the Intercontinental Park Lane for 13 years and before that, he was the head chef of The River Cafe. Even better than having his name over the door, in practice, Theo is in the kitchen for most of the services here - which is something you can't always expect in other big-name chef restaurants. Expect a traditional Italian menu with excellent pasta at this Michelin-starred restaurant.
Pasta to go for: Cappelletti di Vitello - stuffed with slow-cooked veal and pancetta with porcini mushrooms = one of his signature dishes
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
Also worth trying:
- Just opened (at the time of writing) near Tower Bridge, Legare looks promising, with an ex Trullo chef in charge.
- Ben Tish's excellent Sicilian restaurant Norma in Fitzrovia also does a mean pasta course.
- If you like your pasta big and unrestrained, then head to either of the Big Mamma restaurants - Gloria or Circolo Popolare.
- On Holloway Road, the people who brought us Zia Lucia Pizza have also opened Berto, a fresh pasta bar next door.
- Peckham’s Artusi writes up its daily-changing menu on a big chalkboard, featuring fresh pasta such as pappardelle 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.
- 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.
- In Bethnal Green, Campania has very reasonably-priced fresh pasta, 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 Ox cheek and n’duja ragu pappardelle.
- 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.
- Kentish Town’s Anima e Cuore is tiny, with only 22 covers, so book well in advance for a taste of their famed ravioli.
Best Pasta, mapped
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