“Still a top restaurant providing true Italian food and style at its best”, Giorgio Locatelli’s “sexy” Michelin-starred Marylebone flagship is the very essence of la dolce vita – a perennially glamorous masterclass in design, complete with gauzy drapes, cream leather and dramatic fish-eye mirrors, plus some capacious but discreet booths for those who have romance on their minds. There’s even a special lining in the ceiling, “so you never need to talk loudly to hear one another”.
Meanwhile, Locatelli’s kitchen delivers value, authenticity and culinary cred as it rings the seasonal changes with an array of clear-flavoured dishes inspired by provenance-led cucina rustica.
Incomparable hand-crafted pasta is the undisputed star turn (lobster linguine, tagliatelle with kid goat ragù, cod ravioli with chickpea purée and rosemary oil, for example), but everything is imbued with earthy freshness – from a flavour-burst green bean salad with potato, rocket, shallot dressing and black truffle to roast monkfish with walnut and caper sauce or char-grilled spring lamb partnered by stewed peppers and aubergine caviar.
To finish, try the crema limone or the ‘bunet’ (chocolate and amaretti budino with Amaretto caramel and fresh whipped cream); otherwise, indulge in some artisan cheeses, offered lovingly with Italian honey. Service is “terrific, not flashy, just very slick and professional” – a bit like the food itself.
On the drinks front there are some “amazing cocktails” to be had, while the “rich” wine list never fails impress with its line-up of “brilliant” gems from top Italian producers – although you’ll need to be seriously well-off to fully appreciate its breadth and depth. Nevertheless, dining here is still a “thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable experience”.