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397 King's Road
Known for its down-home atmosphere and unthreatening Italian food, Frantoio has been ploughing its furrow on the World’s End stretch of King’s Road for years, but still manages to pull in a motley crew of Chelsea senior citizens, footie fans and families – even though it’s starting to look a tad provincial and “shabby”. Most locals value the place for its quaint, quirky charms, competitive prices and honest trattoria grub – from grilled baby squid or beef carpaccio with rocket and Parmesan to spinach and Ricotta ravioli, veal milanese or grilled halibut with olive oil and lemon. On a summer’s day, with the windows flung open, it can feel like being in Italy. The wine list is packed with Chiantis and other potable goodies from the homeland, while set menus are very popular at lunchtime.
397 King's Road
Fulham Broadway Station 1km
Fulham Broadway Tube Station 1km
Chelsea Theatre 148m
Kings Road 389m
Mon-Sun 12.30-3pm 6.30-11.15pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
We went with our teenage children on recommendation of friends and this did not disappoint. Very friendly staff and the evening was catapulted to a new level by the in-house magician who performs on Thursdays and was enormous fun and we were staggered by his tricks. Straightforward and generous Italian fare with generous helpings and a classic authentic Italian atmosphere. No pretensions, and no music thank goodness just professional and attentive. Good value and will be added as a restaurant to return to.
Food + drink: 5
I adore my 18-year old niece. Yesterday, I spent a few hours looking at life through her lens, when I tried to book a restaurant with access suitable for her motorised (i.e. very heavy) wheelchair.
I discovered that only 37 restaurants on Square Meal - IN THE WHOLE OF LONDON - have both wheelchair access and a disabled loo. Most of them are either at the very top end of the price/quality range, or they are in East London (or, indeed, both).
All I wanted was to be able to get through the door, and to be able to have an enjoyable meal with friends and family. Doing this in Chelsea / South Kensington was actually unbelievably hard. Everywhere has at least one step into their entrance. Very, very few have tried to actually make themselves accessible for wheelchairs.
So this is one big reason why I now love Frantoio. It is one of the very few restaurants with genuinely step-free access from the street, and enough space to easily accommodate a large wheelchair at the table.
On top of that, the staff are great, and the menu offers some extremely well cooked Italian staples. The atmosphere is relaxed and convivial, and we all had a great time.
As for SM's description of the clientele as "a motley crew of Chelsea senior citizens, footie fans and families" - while we were there, they also included the Prime Minister and his wife, dining quietly with friends. Not too motley!
NB. Frantoio does not have a disabled loo. Which may be a problem for some. But is was fine for us.
Food + drink: 4
So it exists. An Italian restaurant in Chelsea, with zero pose factor, friendly service and most importantly of all excellent renderings of the kind of trattoria classics that will normally have one rushing to the nearest discount flight site to eat the real thing in Italy. Frantoio delivers on all fronts and is definitely been added to my must-gos.
A family run affair, my friend and I arrived with no booking, but like that unexpected guest who is welcomed and immediately greeted with a feast we were seated at the bar area, and whilst a table was found, enjoyed a selection of Parma Ham, Salami Milano, Paramagiano and a glass of Prosecco to get the proverbial ball rolling. Looking around, our fellow diners all had the ‘repeat visitor’ vibe about them: ordering without looking at the menu, laughing, smiling and seemingly oblivious to the fact that it was a week night and work beckoned the following day. Unlike many of the other eating establishments in Chelsea, there was no overly thought out interior design concept, paps at the door or strange mood-lighting more akin to a nightclub than a restaurant. This was a space without pretention and where food and ambience were the main order of the day.
It was late so we just had mains: I only had a mouthful of my companion’s lamb cutlets, but they were beautifully pink, succulent and not ruined by some ‘voguey’ sauce. What I can rhapsody about is my two pasta dishes: The first, spaghetti with crab; literally tasted like the sea. In a good way. The spaghetti hadn’t been boiled to oblivion, the sauce light and tomato based, operated almost like a dressing, allowing the crab, the hero on the plate to sing loudly and not be obscured by a din of other ingredients. My second pasta plate was pappardelle with venison . Whoever had cooked this had clearly treated it as a labour of love: slow braised venison with a ragu that was intense and almost smokey in flavour. In short the perfect late Autumnal treat.
As I am always on the look-out for restaurants that are doing things excellently, I was rather perplexed to find mixed reviews for Frantoio: my advice to anyone who is a fan of delicious Italian regional fare that is served with a smile and will not break the bank is simply this: mission it down to the bottom of the Kings Road for this neighbourly treat.
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