Polpo Smithfield

2-3 Cowcross Street , London, EC1M 6DR

  • Polpo Smithfield
  • Polpo Smithfield
  • Polpo Smithfield 2012 - polpo-smithfield-1700

SquareMeal Review of Polpo Smithfield

Polpo’s Smithfield branch is a ‘near replica’ of Russell Norman’s original Venetian-style bácaro in Soho – and that’s a good thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it seems to be the thinking behind the trendy brick-and-tile interiors, the downstairs Negroni bar and hip ‘small plates’ menu scrawled on rough paper. The result is a ‘kooky’ hangout that’s always jammed and ‘great for a date’. Sharing is the way to go, which means you can give the menu a decent workout: start with ‘cicheti’ (small snacks) and an Aperol spritz before dipping into super-delicious cuttlefish and ink risotto, subtle rabbit and chicory tonnata salad or whole mozzarella with a heap of perfect broad beans. To finish, order the flourless orange cake or Nutella pizzette, plus another carafe of Italian wine (it’s that kind of place). You can book for lunch, but after 5pm it’s first come, first served.

Polpo Smithfield is recommended for

Buzzy | Dates

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Barbican Station 149m

Farringdon Station 261m


Address: 2-3 Cowcross Street , London EC1M 6DR

Area: Clerkenwell Barbican

Opening times

Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -4pm)

Nearby Landmarks

Smithfield 176m

Worshipful Company of Haberdashers 228m


Telephone: 020 7250 0034


Cuisine: Italian

Private Dining: 25


Food & Drink: 9.0

Service: 9.3

Atmosphere: 9.0

Value: 8.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Tibor G. 31 January 2017

Tempting menu, easy to over-order. Bill mounts up if you are too hungry. Great grilled vegetables, unimpressive meatballs in an impressive spicy sauce, good fennel salad. Not necessarily a place for a tête-à-tête as it's a bit noisy for that but I guess prefer it that way.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Dean A. 15 August 2016

The food tasted very good and the service was great. It was not cheap if you got three portions each (which is what they said to do if you were hungry but I am a heavy eater and I could not quite finish). But I felt the quality justified the prices.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 03 March 2013

This branch of Polpo isn't just inspired by the original, it's a near replica. The mix of tables and bar stool eating is the same; the exposed brickwork meets reclaimed white Victorian toilet tiles are the same; there's even the same bijou downstairs bar room. Normally such cloning would have me sighing over the inevitable lust to which every successful restauranteur seems to succumb, to turn their little one-off independent gem into a branded chain. Gah. But for once, I won't complain, because Polpo has got it so right it would be wrong to prevent it offering its pleasures to the maximum number of people possible and its location at Smithfield, where butcher boys rub shoulders with Clerkenwell gents, is inspired. I was at this branch for lunch and, woopeedoo, you can book! Having said that, they weren't very flexible on the booking times despite being curiously half empty on a Friday lunch time at 1pm. Despite this the atmosphere maintains its usual hum with laid back rustic charm. The menu is on its usual rough recycled type paper (presumably designed to give the impression that its disposable and changes every day but it never changes much as far as I can tell). The food is its usual quality: actually the cuttlefish in ink risotto if anything has got even more delicious; the bruschetta, which I hadn't tried before, turned out to be substantial hunks of bread with creamy cheese; I loved the flourless orange cake. Service is friendly as ever (well, I find it to be friendly, others may demur). For £40 a head it's not the cheapest lunch you could have, but it's worth it. I'd probably pass on the house white another time, but other than that this is an experience I would happily repeat again and again and again.

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