Offering up cicchetti, antipasti, pasta, pizza, meat, fish and, of course, dolci, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to the best Italian restaurants in London. That being said, there are some that stand out from the crowd. These restaurants hit the nail on the head, providing excellent, authentic food each and every time you visit.
Italy is arguably the home of comfort food, with filling portions and rich flavours characterising the nation’s cuisine. Luckily for Londoners, there’s no need to hop on a flight to taste some of the finest Italian dishes.
Italian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisine types in the world and can either be brilliantly rustic, beautifully refined or simply elegant. With a focus on the finest ingredients, it is only natural that Italian food is so full of colour and flavour. There are so many regions with different delicacies, from Tuscan ragus to Neopolitan pizza, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The only problem is that there is almost too much choice when it comes to Italian restaurants in London. That's why we've distilled our favourites, taking into account price, setting, service, food, location and more. We've also included the address and a link to the restaurant's page. That way, once you find one you're interested in, you can jump straight to our full review and book a table.
From pasta canteens in London Bridge to nose-to-tail dining in Shoreditch, from quick pizza to lavish three-course feats, whatever you're after, we've covered all the bases. Without further ado, here they are.
The best Italian restaurants in central London
Mr White's Leicester Square, Leicester Square
This friendly yet chic restaurant is an Italian food lover's paradise. Kick off with pillowy focaccia, paired with olive oil and balsamic to mop up, before arancini filled with ragu and risotto arrive to wow you further. The steaks and chocolate truffle torte are also not to be missed.
Where: 20-21 Leicester Square, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7LH
Book now: Mr White's Leicester Square
Margot, Covent Garden
Margot is a classy Italian off Drury lane that turns out elegant dishes in equally as sophisticated surroundings. Diners can enjoy unusual starters like uovo in camicia (a soft-poached duck egg over parmesan polenta with fresh watercress) or scallops spiked with nduja, resting on cauliflower purée. Don't miss the ossobuco and salted caramel semifreddo to finish.
Where: 45 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5AA
Book now: Margot
Mercante, Picadilly Circus
Housed in the Sheraton Grand on Park Lane, Mercante celebrates Italian staples with a modern twist. Start off with a delica pumpkin croquette with provolone, before moving on to beef carpaccio with rocket; linguine vongole; and finally a lamb rump with rosemary sauce. Don’t miss the highly affordable three-course weekend brunch, featuring avocado toast with poached egg, chicken Milanese and gelato with an optional bottle of prosecco.
Where: Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London, W1J 7BX
Book now: Mercante
Locanda Locatelli, Marylebone
Michelin-starred London restaurant Locanda Locatelli deals in old-school glamour and confident dishes from the Italian cannon. Handmade pasta is the star of the show, but everything on the menu here is the product of hyper-seasonal produce – the wine list is worth exploring too.
Where: 8 Seymour Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 7JZ
Book now: Locanda Locatelli
Chef Francesco Mazzei heads up this smart Italian on Savile Row, which pairs the simple with the luxurious to great effect. Make sure to stop by the late-licence bar on your way out for a Negroni and some light bites.
Where: 20 Savile Row, Mayfair, London, W1S 3PR
Book now: Sartoria
Vasco & Piero's Pavilion, Soho
A fixture of the Soho scene since 1971 and one of the few remaining family-run restaurants in Soho, this charming dining room serves Italian classics with a focus on the specialities of the owners’ native Umbria.
Where:11 D'Arblay Street, London, W1F 8DT
Book now: Vasco & Piero's Pavilion
Theo Randall at the InterContinental Park Lane, Park Lane
A five-star hotel requires a five-star dining experience, and Theo Randall delivers with this Park Lane flagship. A stylish, yet unpretentious dining room is matched with a menu of hearty food that includes superb pasta dishes and heavenly Italian desserts.
Where: InterContinental Park Lane, 1 Hamilton Place, London, W1J 7QY
Book now: Theo Randall at the InterContinental Park Lane
Bocca di Lupo, Soho
Serving some of the best regional Italian food in London, Bocca di Lupo is suited to both quick meals at its counter or lingering dinners on the tables at the back. The menu changes with the seasons, but always delivers.
Where: 12 Archer Street, Soho, London, W1D 7BB
Book now: Bocca di Lupo
This smart Mayfair joint backs up its stylish looks (think plush seating and glittering chandeliers) with some serious substance. Perfect for date night, dishes such as oozing burrata and pasta spun in a wheel of cheese are guaranteed to ignite romance.
Where: 19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 8ED
Book now: Bocconcino
Bancone, Covent Garden
Fresh pasta joints are no longer the novelty they once were in London, but this casual Covent Garden restaurant will win you over with its buzzy atmosphere and pocket-friendly prices. Our advice? Order the intensely buttery potato and sage gnocchi.
Where: 39 William IV Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4DD
Book now: Bancone
IT London, Mayfair
With a predecessor venue in Ibiza, Michelin chef Gennaro Esposito has since brought his signature Italian style to Mayfair. Interiors are glitzy, the mood is upbeat with a party spirit and the food is pricy – but it is also delicious. If you’re willing to splash the cash to eat in one of London’s most glamorous locations, this one’s for you.
Where: 28-29 Dover Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4LX
Book now: IT London
Angela Hartnett’s Mayfair flagship is a fine diner like they used to make them, combining an exquisite ‘Britalian’ menu with slick, unobtrusive service. Prices can be high, but the excellent value set lunch menu offers a budget-minded way around them.
Where: 20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PP
Book now: Murano
Franco's, St James's
Open all day, Franco’s has had a place in Londoners' hearts for over 60 years. Grab an alfresco table if you can, while the considered Italian menu is versatile enough to work for both business breakfasts and late-night dates.
Where: 61 Jermyn Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6LX
Book now: Franco's
From the team behind Old Street’s Clove Club comes this ‘Britalian’ restaurant which takes style inspo from the 1950s. Classic, freshly made pasta is the unequivocal highlight, but the likes of gooey Parmesan fries also put on a good show.
Where: 88 St John Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 4EH
Book now: Luca
Monochromatic floors and emerald green chairs are instantly recognisable as belonging to Cecconi’s, a concept which has now been shipped all over the world. The Mayfair original still holds its own though with a simple menu championing comfort food classics.
Where: 5a Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, London, W1S 3EP
Book now: Cecconi's Mayfair
The best Italian restaurants in north London
This trattoria-style eatery in the heart of Islington, overseen by Francesco Mazzei, focuses on relaxed, family-friendly dishes. Start off with nduja meatballs or burrata with radicchio and hazelnuts, before moving on to pasta, meat or fish. You can also book out Radici for events and parties.
Where: 30 Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1AD
Book now: Radici
This Islington mainstay (which is also responsible for much-feted Padella) has hordes of fans and it’s easy to see why. A lively atmosphere, relaxed interiors and an excellent regional wine list all contribute to Trullo’s success, as does the hyper-seasonal menu.
Where: 300-302 St Paul's Road, Islington, London, N1 2LH
Book now: Trullo
The best Italian restaurants in east London
People primarily come to Gloria to have fun, but the food is still better than it needs to be. Soak up the electric atmosphere while tucking into loaded pizzas, pasta showered with truffle and the now-legendary lemon meringue pie.
Where: 54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3QR
Book now: Gloria
Manteca offers something a little different. This is an Italian take on nose-to-tail dining, so expect the likes of pigskin ragu and even pig’s head fritti. Dishes here are punchy and simple. Think nduja steamed mussels, tonnarelli with brown crab and wood oven-roasted John Dory. House cocktails at Manteca are similarly gutsy and heavily feature amaro and montenegro alongside a variety of spirits and juices.
Where: 49-51 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3PT
Book now: Manteca
The best Italian restaurants in south London
Fiume, overseen by Francesco Mazzei, is located near Battersea Power Station. Expect classic Italian dishes, executed perfectly. Highlights include scialatelli with clams and bottarga, rack of lamb with fondant potatoes and salsa verde and a gorgonzola, nduja and honey pinsa (a lighter, Roman-style pizza).
Where: Circus West Village, Sopwith Way, Battersea, London, SW8 5BN
Book now: Fiume
Cantina del Ponte, Tower Bridge
A truly traditional trattoria by the river, Cantina del Ponte has a welcomingly rustic feel. The menu celebrates classic Italian dishes like calamari, carpaccio, arancini, lasagne, carbonara and mushroom risotto. Enjoy views of the river and Tower Bridge from the front terrace, or step inside the modern yet rustic space for an indoor meal.
Where: 36c Shad Thames, Tower Bridge, London, SE1 2YE
Book now: Cantina del Ponte
Tavolino, London Bridge
Tavolino is another Italian restaurant on the bank of the Thames, also with a beautiful front terrace with views of Tower Bridge. Choose from three different types of negroni alongside a range of spritz, fizz and cocktails, before heading inside for the likes of burrata with fig and hibiscus dressing, pork and nduja ragu and a chocolate balsamic mousse to finish.
Where: 2 More London Riverside, London Bridge, London, SE1 2DB
Book now: Tavolino
La Nonna - Pasta Fresca, Brixton
This homely pasta joint meets the sky-high standards of its neighbours in Brixton’s Market Row. The attentive and intuitive staff know their stuff, delivering to your table rustic dishes such as smoked stracciatella with shards of Sardinian music paper bread for dipping; aubergine parmigiana; arancini; top-tier carbonara; and wild mushroom and truffle tagliatelle. This is a true Roman pasta restaurant and we love it.
Where: 7 Market Row, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LB
Book now: La Nonna - Pasta Fresca
Chef Robin Gill and Dean Parker transformed what was once experimental restaurant The Manor into a rustic Italian joint. Come for the heavenly Semolina sourdough, and stay for the charming service, Italian-accented drinks and deliciously moreish pasta, including veal ragu pappardelle.
Where: 148 Clapham Manor Street, Clapham, London, SW4 6BX
Book now: Sorella
Legare, Tower Bridge
Housed in an old dockyard archway, this tiny restaurant in Shad Thames punches above its weight when it comes to pasta. Silky, fresh plates of pure comfort food joy are bookended by simple antipasti and homemade desserts.
Where: Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, Tower Bridge, London, SE1 2YR
Book now: Legare
Padella, London Bridge
Arguably responsible for London’s spate of no-bookings restaurants, Padella has spawned a thousand imitators but is still yet to be beaten. Its whirlwind success can be put down to its unassuming simplicity – an uncomplicated menu of affordable and superb pasta.
Where: 6 Southwark Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 1TQ
Book now: Padella
Artusi is confident in its own ability, offering a concise menu that allows the quality of the ingredients to shine through. You could easily eat here for under £30, but the ice cream and all-Italian wines are worth splurging for.
Where: 161 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London, SE15 4DH
Book now: Artusi
The best Italian restaurants in west London
Refined Daphne’s is one of the jewels in the ever-expanding Caprice Holdings portfolio, with flawless and friendly service a given. The kitchen serves delicious regional Italian food, while tempting desserts and an extensive Italian wine list round out the experience.
Where: 112 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, London, SW3 3AE
Read the full review: Daphne's
The River Cafe, Hammersmith
A true classic, River Café still pulls in the crowds more than 30 years after its debut. Eye-watering prices may be off-putting, but that seductive riverside terrace and the decadent likes of the chocolate nemesis make it all worth it.
Where: Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9HA
Book now: The River Café
If you can’t get enough of all things Italian, check out our pick of the best pizza restaurants in London.