£30 - £49
£50 - £79
13 St. Mary's Road, London, W5 5RA
Perennially popular, feted Neapolitan pizzeria Santa Maria has quadrupled the table space at its Ealing branch by annexing The Red Lion pub next door. Thankfully, new landlords Angelo and Pasquale have left the boozer’s handsome old dark-wood interior unchanged. So walls still display posters for the likes of The Ladykillers, many of whose stars drank here in the 1950s (Ealing Studios is opposite). These days, ales from owners Fuller’s provide the lubrication, alongside European Pilsners and inexpensive fizzes and wines (over a dozen by the glass). The southern Italian menu kicks off with starters such as aubergine parmigiana, caponata, and big-boy meatballs with ’nduja and ricotta. Sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes is key to the 16 saintly pizza toppings: Maria (with garlic and oregano), Francesco (mozzarella, artichokes, courgette, aubergine and Parmesan) and salami-fest Caterina among them. For a summer finale, enjoy Pimm’s and tiramisu in the pub’s courtyard garden.
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£30 - £49
8 Station Parade, Uxbridge Road, London, W5 3LD
Bright-orange paper lampshades in the window cheer up Kiraku’s plate-glass frontage – and there’s plenty more to cheer about once you’re inside this small, utilitarian izakaya. Expect to find groups of suited Japanese salarymen, young local couples or single sushi fans watching football on TV as they nibble at the bar. The menu covers much of the classic repertoire, so pick your way through ‘toro’ tuna nigiri and scallop sashimi, nibble on a boiled prawn and cucumber maki roll or go off-piste with flying fish roe and sea urchin. There are also several hot ‘bowl’ dishes such as chicken and egg on rice, king prawn tempura or pork katsu curry, plus some more esoteric specials – perhaps monkfish liver with ponzu or deep-fried fishcake with cheese to go with a shot of saké or shochu. ‘Kiraku’ means ‘relax and enjoy’: a pithy summation of its appeal. Takeaways available.
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£30 - £49
222 South Ealing Road, W5 4RL
A splendidly renovated old coaching inn and brewery in South Ealing, this spacious neighbourhood gastropub offers an adventurous seasonal British menu alongside an exceptional Sunday roast. We enjoyed a starter of crispy rabbit croquette with an oozing confit egg yolk, smoked eel and tarragon, along with a Dorset crab salad accompanied by brown crab mayonnaise, kohlrabi, apricots and almonds. A 45-day aged Dexter rib of beef for two made for a convivial Sunday lunch, the tender, flavoursome meat cooked perfectly pink and served with duck-fat roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings and roasted root vegetables. A garden menu provides a choice of barbecued meats, fish and pizzas to eat in the large beer garden. To drink, there’s a laudable by-the-glass selection on the European and New World wine list, or bitters, pale ales and seasonal specials from the pub’s microbrewery. A rightly popular spot for locals and punters from further afield.
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£30 - £49
16 St Matthew's Road, Ealing Common, W5 3JT
Situated on the edge of picturesque Ealing Common, Charlotte’s Place has been a local favourite for a while. The big sister of the Charlotte group (there is the Bistro in Chiswick and W5 in Ealing) has a light and airy upstairs dining area, which boasts a splendid bird’s eye view of the Common, to compliment the restaurant’s cosy ground-floor. The seasonal modern European menu changes monthly and there is a refined style to the cooking. Starters of artfully arranged fresh-tasting goat’s milk yoghurt, beetroot and sesame, and the soft and delicate flavours of cured mackerel and cod cheeks sitting proudly on a creamy smooth vichyssoise with potato salad hit the mark nicely. Meanwhile, a chicken and mushroom terrine had plenty of depth and flavour and a crispy coated chicken wing with mouth-watering wild garlic butter lifted it to another level. A main of succulent pork with a potato and brawn terrine, cabbage and earthy blood pudding was a flavoursome, well-balanced dish. For dessert, a rich dark chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream and honeycomb rounded things off nicely. Lunch and dinner menus are keenly priced and a five-course tasting menu represents good value, while wines are taken very seriously, at a restaurant with a view worth dining out on.
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Dickens Yard, Ealing, London, W5 2BF
What a fabulous space” exclaims a fan of Charlotte’s W5 – a big venue offering the good folk of Ealing a flexible space for socialising, snacks and drinks. Housed in what was a grand Victorian stable block, complete with a smart conservatory, “gorgeous” marble-topped bar and outdoor terrace, it provides ample opportunities for business breakfasts, blow-out dinners and everything in between. The “usual” does not apply here, with most dishes on the inventive contemporary menu advertised as tasters, small or large plates designed for sharing – veal carpaccio with cornichons and mustard mayonnaise, perhaps, or home-made ricotta with summer beets and cashews. To finish, groups can assemble luscious bespoke platters from desserts such as cherry sorbet with summer fruits or set Guernsey cream with peach and lemon thyme. Drinks are a serious business too, from single-origin coffee to craft cocktails, decent wines and an enticing gin selection “as long as your arm”.
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15 St Mary's Road, London, W5 5RA
Opened on Valentine’s Day 2010, Santa Maria is the real deal for lovers of pizza – complete with congenial young Neapolitan owners and a traditional Italian wood-fired oven. It’s a tiny place
and queues are common (there’s a no-bookings policy), but provenance is important here – from the Caputo flour used for making the crisp pizza bases to the La Donzelletta mozzarella in the
toppings, and the Gelati Oddono ices for afters. Perhaps start with some garlicky focaccia or aubergine parmigiana, before deliberating on the choice of nine pizzas: the San Mattia with mushrooms
and truffle oil is particularly alluring, or you might fancy a calzone stuffed with salame and ricotta. The drinks list is also a concise read, with wine limited to ‘red’ or ‘white’ by the
glass, bottle or carafe, plus beer from Peroni.
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