When we’re asked where the best pasta in London is, we can’t help but feel our hearts skip a beat. Thinking of pasta (as with pizza and most Italian food) often leads to daydreaming, professions of love, and lengthy discussions. This love of pasta means we could probably write a whole book about it. But instead, we thought we'd show you where to find the best pasta in London.
Since Italian cuisine is so popular in the UK, it may come as no surprise that there are hundreds of great pasta dishes in London to try. From cheap and cheerful, canteen-style pasta kitchens like Padella to upscale ristoranti like Legare, there is a huge range. Some are brand new, while others have been staples of the London pasta scene since 1939. And that's just the places.
Once you arrive, you'll be greeted by a second, arguably even harder choice - what to order. First off, there are over 600 pasta shapes, from the humble penne to the lesser-known radiatore. Then you have sauces, from the three-ingredient cacio pepe, to the deeply rich 12-hour wild boar ragu. Finally, what goes on top? Grated Parmesan is a standard, but things often get more adventurous with toppings like roasted hazelnuts or porcini butter.
While this list of pasta restaurants in London might seem daunting, we've split it up by area so you can jump to your ends if you so choose. Alternatively (and we prefer this option), use this list as a kind of pasta treasure hunt, crossing restaurants off as you go. To find out more about each one, you can click 'Book now' which will take you to the full review of the restaurant. There you can get some more info and book a table if you're happy with your choice. So, without further ado, happy browsing!
Best pasta in central London
If you're ever somewhere around central London and craving a bowl of pasta, you never have far to turn to find something good! Whether you're in the market for a speedy lunch, a leisurely dinner or even a 4pm snack, these guys have your back.
Café Murano, Various locations
What: Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano has remained the restaurant of the moment since it opened and with pasta dishes this good, we can see why. The tortellini with pumpkin and sage is definitely worth a try. On the days when you don’t fancy a pasta dish, the chicken Milanese, risotto and venison are worth a try too.
Where: 33 St James Street, SW1A 1HD
Book now: Café Murano
Bardo St James’s, St James's
What: Swanky Bardo St James's is unequivocally high-end, a fact that sinks in as soon as you see the glamorous dining room and open kitchen. Entrepreneur Luca Maggiora has a background in glitzy Mayfair clubs, and Bardo has a similar sophisticated feel. The pasta matches the vibe perfectly - sumptuous beef rib agnolotti in rich meat sauce, lobster tagliatelle with amalfi lemon, and silky ravioli cacio e pepe with leeks and brown butter.
Where: 4 Suffolk Place, SW1Y 4HX
Book now: Bardo St James’s
Lina Stores, Various locations
What: With an unmissable green and white colour scheme, iconic Lina Stores has spread all over the capital and knocks out some solid, no-nonsense pasta and classic Italian food at reasonable prices. Staff recommend you order three dishes for two diners which is ideal if you want to try a range of items from the menu. The agnolotti verdi is a must-try but other dishes worth noting are the crab spaghetti, ricotta gnudi with sage and brown butter and pappardelle with slow-cooked veal ragu, rosemary and sage.
Where: 51 Greek Street, W1D 4EH; 20 Stable Street, N1C 4DR; 19 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR; 13-15 Lane, W1U 2NE
Book now: Lina Stores Soho; Lina Stores King's Cross; Lina Stores Bloomberg Arcade; Lina Stores Marylebone
What: The Big Mamma Group (the eccentric owners of Gloria, Circolo Popolare and more) know how to show guests a good time. Carlotta is allegedly their most low-key opening to date, but you wouldn't know it from the rich, red leather banquettes and dining room, which feels straight out of a Scorcese movie. Staff are typically jovial and the menu specialises in pasta and risotto, including a truffle alfredo mixed tableside, and a creamy tomato and vodka pasta with Cornish crab and clams.
Where: 77-78 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5JX
Book now: Carlotta
Pastaio, Oxford Circus
What: Another to add to the list of cheap and fun pasta places, Pastaio's communal tables and laid back atmosphere are just a part of why it's such a hit in Soho. As with the previous restaurants on the list, almost everything is under £20. Go for the spaghetti with red prawns and tomatoes if you fancy indulging a little, but other great dishes include the carbonara bucatini and the mozzarella ravioli.
Where: 19 Ganton Street, W1F 9BN
Book now: Pastaio
What: Pasta may be best known as a comforting and homey dish, but sometimes it’s fun to enjoy it in plush surroundings. At the chic restaurant (a New York import of the Scarpetta group), you’ll find that the signature Scarpetta spaghetti is the star of the show. Deceptively simple, the pasta is served al dente in a rich tomato sauce and it’s worth savouring every bite. Don't miss the Good Life Brunch on Sundays, which includes beef short rib and bone marrow agnolotti (which we are obsessed with). If you're searching for an Italian restaurant in Knightsbridge, Sette should be top of your list.
Where: 4 Knightsbridge Green, SW1X 7QA
Book now: Sette
Bocca di Lupo, Soho
What: When you’re about to go to the theatre, sometimes all you really want is a dish that is great and feels special, but can be eaten quickly. Pasta is the ideal thing for this and as Bocca di Lupo is located in the theatre district, it makes sense to give it a visit before you head to your show. On the Bocca di Lupo menu, try classics like tajarin with raw duck egg and Parmesan, with a shaving of white truffle on top to bring it up a notch. Other dishes you could try are the tagliatelle with ragu Bolognese or the pumpkin and amaretti cappellacci with butter and sage.
Where: 12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
Book now: Bocca di Lupo
What: They just don't make 'em like Brutto anymore. This bustling trattoria offers up generous portions of rough-and-ready rustic dishes, all at reasonable prices. Order the perfectly al dente ribbons of tagliatelle with melty ragu, or tortellini in brodo (broth) for a good time. As if you needed more encouragement, the drinks are seriously affordable too, so kick off with a negroni before moving to the house wine.
Where: 35-37 Greenhill Rents, EC1M 6BN
Book now: Brutto
Vasco's & Piero's Pavilion Restaurant, Soho
What: This Soho old-timer isn't interested in gimmicky dishes or photo opportunities, it has one drive and that is creating properly authentic plates of Italian food. The prawn spaghetti dish is one of the restaurant's most popular serves thanks to the sweet combination of the shellfish with a classic tang of tomato. With both starter and main sizes, you can choose to enjoy a plate of fresh pasta to kick off your evening, or go all in and indulge in a hearty portion.
Where: 11 D'Arblay Street, W1F 8DT
Book now: Vasco's & Piero's
Bancone, Various locations
What: Translating to ‘bar’ or ‘counter’ in Italian, Bancone has three different dining bars you can sit at to watch the chefs work while they cook up your dishes. Talk about dinner time entertainment. Its pasta is made fresh daily and with so many exciting dishes to try, you’ll find it difficult to pick just one. Thankfully we’ve done the hard bit. Give the bucatini with brown shrimp and seaweed butter a try. It may not be your first choice when ordering at an Italian restaurant, but given Bancone cooks up dishes from over 20 different regions in Italy, why not expand your horizons and try something new. It's a special one.
Where: 39 William IV Street, Covent Garden, WC2N 4DD; 10 Lower James Street, Soho, W1F 9EL; 18 Stoney Street, Borough, SE1 9AD
Book now: Bancone Covent Garden, Bancone Soho, Bancone Borough
What: Residing on Burlington Gardens, this modern Italian restaurant in Mayfair screams luxury and elegance. With dark wood finishings, velvet chesterfields and white tablecloths, this is a special occasion restaurant. Since it’s an Italian restaurant and the pasta is made fresh daily, it would be silly not to order some. We suggest you keep things classic and go for the tonnarelli cacio and pepe because you can’t beat a cheesy pasta dish, but other dishes that are also definitely worth a try include veal cannelloni and crab ravioli.
Where: 5A Burlington Gardens, W1S 3EP
Book now: Ceccino's
What: Certainly one of the most stylish settings on the list, Luca is as chic as they come without veering into stuffiness, despite holding a Michelin star. While this isn’t purely a pasta restaurant, the hand-made yellow silk spun here is famous in its own right. There are typically four pasta dishes available at a given time here, so we recommend you take three friends to make sure you get a bite of all four. You might see Cornish crab taglierini with smoked datterini tomatoes, tarragon and chilli, or cardinali filled with spinach with sheep’s milk ricotta tossed in wild garlic, pistachio and lemon.
Where: 88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH
Book now: Luca
Best pasta in north London
North Londoners aren't spoilt for choice when it comes to great pasta, but there are a handful of excellent groups that have extended upwards into the northern boroughs, as well as some beloved family-run favourites.
Spagnoletti Pasta Lab, King's Cross
What: Two floors of innovative pasta creations await you at Spagnoletti Pasta Lab, which, as the name suggests, does away with traditional pasta combinations in favour of more interesting dishes. Spagnoletti is far from avant garde but dishes are taken a step beyond what you’d normally expect, for example, beautiful handmade fresh spaghetti with red prawn tartare, shellfish bisque, mint and chilli.
Where: 23 Euston Road, NW1 2SD
Book now: Spagnoletti Pasta Lab
Rossella, Kentish Town
What: Rossella chef and owner Luca Meola started his kitchen career young - he worked with his father Luigi in his restaurant in London, after the pair moved from Naples in the 60s. Now Luca runs his own restaurant - Rossella - and his menus celebrate his family’s love for real Italian cooking. Proudly family run, Rossella serves genuine, authentic Italian pasta dishes.
Where: 103 Highgate Road, NW5 1TR
Book now: Rossella
Noci, Various locations
What: Having blazed a trail of pasta across London via Locatelli, Bancone and Tavolino, Louis Korovilas then opened something a little different. Noci is a relaxed space ideal for a negroni and some fritti to snack on. But, pasta is the main event here, with modern twists on classic dishes. Highlights include mafaldine with ‘nduja, mascarpone, red onion and wild rocket, ricotta gnocchetti (mini gnocchi) with confit datterini tomato or even lamb shoulder open ravioli with chive oil.
Where: 4-6 Islington Green; N1 2XA; Battersea Power Station, SW11 8AL; 211 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
Book now: Noci Islington, Noci Battersea, Noci Shoreditch
Best pasta in south London
In magnificent Legare and affordable pasta powerhouse Padella, south London boasts two of the finest pasta restaurants anywhere in the capital. Brixton and Battersea also have plenty to offer.
Legare, Tower Bridge
What: Legare, we think, is somewhat of a hidden gem. Well worth the stroll out past London Bridge and along the Shad Thames riverside, Legare is found in renovated industrial arches and has a pared-back, cool aesthetic. Add to the buzzy ambience a few plates of some of the best pasta in town from an ex-Trullo chef and you’ve got a guaranteed enjoyable evening. The menu changes regularly, but we can’t say no to anything topped with golden pangrattato. The open kitchen allows you to watch the theatre of the team at work, and with perfectly made dough each day pared with simple but satisfying sauces, this is a pasta pilgrimage worth making time and time again.
Where: 31G Shad Thames, SE1 2YR
Book now: Legare
Padella, Borough and Shoreditch
What: As the original cheap and cheerful pasta restaurant, Padella's freshly made pasta attracts flocks of people daily. The best part is every dish is under £20. We recommend going for the buttery gnocchi but other dishes that are worth a try include the pappardelle with beef shin ragu, ravioli with squash, ricotta, sage and olive oil, and of course the famous cacio e pepe. If you’re planning on paying Padella a visit get there early because there are always queues (but you can book at the Shoreditch restaurant).
Where: 6 Southwark Street, SE1 1TQ; 1 Phipp Street, EC2A 4PS
Book now: Padella Borough, Padella Shoreditch
La Nonna Pasta Fresca, Brixton
What: New kid on the block La Nonna has yet to become an institution like some others on this list, but it’s well on its way. A true Roman outpost, this casual eatery boasts exemplary service and, of course, excellent pasta. The carbonara here is as good as it gets, while the wild mushroom and truffle tagliatelle was a surprising delight. Don’t miss the smoked stracciatella with Sardinian music paper bread to start.
Where: 7 Market Row, SW9 8LB
Book now: La Nonna Pasta Fresca
What: The goal of Maremma is to bring true Tuscan flavours to south London. So far, this goal is certainly being met. Expect hearty favourites like duck ragu pappardelle, wild garlic tagliatelle with confit tomatoes and lemon pangrattato or mushroom and mascarpone cappellacci with porcini butter and pecorino crisp. The non-pasta options here are also excellent, so best to go the whole nine yards (or rather whole four courses).
Where: 36 Brixton Water Lane, SW2 1PE
Book now: Maremma
Flour & Grape, Bermondsey
What: With all dishes under £20 plus plush leather seating, Flour & Grape is almost like a kind of pasta-gastropub. But don’t be fooled by the affordable menu, this restaurant knows its stuff. It even has gluten-free pasta too. Try the monkfish linguine with tomato, chilli and garlic, the pork shoulder tortelloni or the ravioli with caramelised leek, potato, sage butter and parmesan. There are also small plates like salumi, bruschetta and beetroot with whipped goat’s curd and walnut to kick things off.
Where: 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
Book now: Flour & Grape
Best pasta in east London
East London's reputation as a new-school foodie hotspot is alive and well thanks in large part to some excellent trendy pasta restaurants, which mix solid cooking with wabi-sabi chic interiors.
What: Eyebrows were raised when Pophams - one of East London's trendier bakeries, beloved for its aesthetically-pleasing pastry treats - started moonlighting as a pasta restaurant. But, the results can't be argued with - Pophams serves some of the most interesting pasta dishes in London with a handful of mains that feature beautifully made pasta and filled pasta alongside seasonal accompaniments. There's predictably excellent pastry work on the dessert section as well.
Where: 197 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ
Book now: Pophams
Officina 00, Shoreditch
What: Neapolitan co-owners Elia Sebregondi and Enzo Mirto spent time at Kiln and Roka before joining forces to create Officina 00 - a pasta restaurant that rips up the rulebook. Here, pasta is merely a canvas for throwing together more experimental, innovative flavour combinations. You can see pasta being handmade in the restaurant, before it goes into delicious dishes like fried ravioli and ink tagliolini with mussels.
Where: 156 Old Street, EC1V 9BW
Book now: Officina 00
What: Manteca is quite unusual in that it offers nose-to-tail Italian-inspired dishes. While there are plenty of other options, it’s the hand-rolled pasta people keep coming back for. Choose from punchy dishes like rigatoni with kale sausage and chilli, brown crab tonnarelli cacio e pepe, fazzoletti with duck ragu and strozzapreti with house sausage, cream and black truffle.
Where: 49-51 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
Book now: Manteca
What: This 70s inspired trattoria in Shoreditch not only does great pasta dishes but the over the top décor transports you back into the 70s in the best way possible. From loud and kitschy carpet to old school drapes it somehow manages to make dated décor look cool. Aesthetics aside, however, the food is spectacular at Gloria. The carbonara is best for two people and cooked the traditional Italian way with egg, parmesan and served in a wheel of cheese of course. Other dishes worth noting are the pappardelle with sautéed chicken livers and the potato gnocchi with semi-dried tomato.
Where: 54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR
Book now: Gloria
Emilia’s Crafted Pasta, Various locations
What: Emilia’s Craft Pasta has a few locations across London, but the Canary Wharf site is the flagship, and boasts lovely views of Wood Wharf as well as an open kitchen where chefs make and cook fresh pasta. Favourite dishes include a truffled cacio e pepe, and a gorgeous slow-cooked bechamel Bolognese with long, flat strings of pappardelle.
Where: 12 George Street, E14 9QG; 77 Alie Street, E1 8NH; Unit C3 Ivory House, E1W 1AT
Book now: Emilia’s Crafted Pasta Canary Wharf, Emilia’s Crafted Pasta Aldgate, Emilia’s Crafted Pasta Tower Bridge
Best pasta in west London
Whether it's a bowl of pasta on the iconic terrace at The River Cafe, or in the courtyard of new-school Insta-friendly hangout Jacuzzi, West London has you covered with typically glamorous options.
What: This glorious, plant-filled West London townhouse turned palazzo is objectively a very beautiful space, especially in the summer when the retractable roof opens up, casting sun across the leaves of the lemon tree that sits proudly in the centre of the courtyard. The food is excellent too - this is the place to go for that Insta-famous pasta in a cheese wheel, as well as other indulgent creations.
Where: 94 Kensington High Street, W8 4SH
Book now: Jacuzzi
La Mia Mamma, Chelsea
What: No one knows how to make pasta like Italian mammas (and nonnas!), and that’s exactly who’s at the helm of this pasta joint on the King’s Road. The dishes here are often homestyle, comfort food but that’s not to say they’re any less interesting or delicious. Try what has been called the best cacio e pepe in town, or branch out with oxtail ragu or pistachio pesto and salty ricotta. There are often deals to be had here, such as a free Aperol spritz, espresso and dessert!
Where: 257 King’s Road, SW3 5EL
Book now: La Mia Mamma
The River Café, Hammersmith
What: This Michelin-starred restaurant is a must-visit for any foodie. Specialising in Italian cuisine and having trained a number of celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, it is safe to say it may be one of the best restaurants in the city. Using the highest quality ingredients and complex cooking methods, the tagliatelle al Pomodoro may be a simple pasta choice to go for, but made with fresh pasta and cooked by expert chefs, it may be the tastiest pasta dish on this list. Other dishes worth mentioning include the tagliatelle al ragu and linguine con Granchio.
Where: Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 9HA
Book now: The River Cafe
Can’t get enough of Italian food? Check out our list of the best Italian restaurants in London.