Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Luca

Gold Award

Occupying a striking multi-room space that gives the touchstones of 1950s design a contemporary facelift, this second venture from Clove Club maestro Isaac McHale and his ‘Young Turk’ chums is an unrelentingly style-conscious venue that looks the part with its bare tables, fabulous lighting, leather upholstery and mirrors.

Luca is also billed as a ‘Britalian’ restaurant, and the kitchen makes its mark by fusing seasonal British ingredients with the vigorous traditions of Italian cuisine: “sublime” handmade pasta is an unmissable highlight (perhaps bucatini with kale pesto, Calabrian chilli and Castelmagno cheese), but we wouldn’t ignore bigger plates such as best end of Hebridean lamb with crisp sweetbreads and spiced carrots or Cornish monkfish with Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnuts and butter.   

Bookending the traditional four-course menu are moreish antipasti and cleverly crafted desserts – from whipped salted cod with mussels and peperonata or burrata with winter panzanella to freshly churned ice creams, affogato or pannetone bread-and-butter pudding with Solerno custard. We also adore the Parmesan fries that are offered as a warm-up.   

Luca’s beautifully designed bar is handy for drinks, express lunches and pre-theatre, while its two private rooms are “great spaces” for a celebratory bash: readers particularly like the dedicated Pasta Room (a working space for the chefs during the day), although the Italian-style Garden Room also has a special allure all its own.

A cluster of tip-top Champagnes and a brace of Sussex sparklers add variety to the “exceptional” Italian regional wine list, while ever-attentive, exceedingly helpful staff get top marks all round.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Eat at Home
Home delivery
Cool, Fine dining, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury, Quiet conversation
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Counter dining, Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Luca

Luca is an Italian restaurant located in Farringdon serving high-quality ingredients from around the British Isles and Italy. With a restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace, it’s a multi-faceted dining destination where you can stay, eat and relax for a sit-down dinner, pop in for some drinks and snacks at the bar or enjoy a plate of pasta bathed in sunshine in the stunning courtyard.  

The main dining area offers bright and spacious interiors that marries Italian-meets-art deco design, with red leather banquette seating, wooden floors, exposed brick walls and large light fixtures to illuminate the space. It is here where guests can indulge in Luca’s modern Italian plates all year long. Kick off with a plate of Italian salumi with pickled giardiniera vegetables to nibble on while you decide what to order. Starters include tempting combinations such as burrata with winter tomatoes, tropea onions, taggiasca olives and schiacciata, while the ‘primi’ course includes many impressive pasta dishes including agnolotti carbonara with speck and puffed quinoa and red wine paccheri with braised octopus, Italian courgettes and black olive. For ‘secondi’, opt for the likes of Hereford beef fillet and braised cheek, smoked potato, calcot and salsa al pepe verde.  

When the sun is shining, guests can also reserve a table alfresco in the secluded, foliage-adorned terrace surrounded by olive trees and jasmine. There is even an open fire for when it gets chilly in the evenings. Or, plump for a meal at the bar for an occasion that’s a little more relaxed, where you can order classic Italian cocktails or a glass of wine from one of its many wine-making regions. A range of aperitifs and digestifs are also available, and food can be ordered from the bar's ‘express menu’ for lunch if you want to taste the food but can't stick around for long. 


Are there gluten-free options on the menu at Luca?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu at Luca.

Helpful? 0

This venue also offers

Luca Restaurant
Private Group Dining

Luca Restaurant


88 St John Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 4EH

020 3859 3000


Opening Times

Mon 12:00-14:45
Tue 12:00-14:45
Wed 12:00-14:45
Thu 12:00-14:45
Fri 12:00-14:45
Sat 12:00-14:45
Sun Closed
Mon 18:00-21:45
Tue 18:00-21:45
Wed 18:00-21:45
Thu 18:00-21:45
Fri 18:00-21:45
Sat 18:00-21:45
Sun Closed


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8 Reviews 


01 June 2021  
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 0.5
Ruined a special night

8 days before my wife’s 52 birthday, and a long planned special dinner, the restaurant writes to say “sorry, we’ve decided to close Tuesdays so we’re cancelling your booking. Hope to see you some other time.” Not likely.

Lynette H

06 August 2019  
Lovely good and atmosphere and very easy booking system for their private dining.


28 June 2019  
Original food beautifully cooked.

David H

20 January 2019  
Food & Drink 4
Service 3
Atmosphere 3
Value 3
Good cooking here .
Our first visit on a Saturday lunchtime; I mentioned on the phone that we may try the set lunch, for which we were banished to the bar rather than the restaurant proper. A bit strange in that we ended up with 4 courses, and they were on the phone initially keen that we sit on bar stools rather than at a table or booth- which we've decided isn't the way we like to eat a restaurant meal, but sensibly they relented and we got a perfectly comfortable booth. Still don't really understand why we couldn't get in a half empty restaurant though? Anyway the meal we had today was delightful- tasty spicy lamb arancini snack; followed by a small course of Gnocchi with cacio e pepe. This was to both of us the highlight , the sauce emulsified perfectly and strongly flavoured as it should be, the gnocchi bearing no relation at all to anything you might buy at a supermarket. They were light, almost floaty , with a supremely delicate flavour. Frankly just give me 3-4 courses of that and forget the rest! Not that the rest was in any way poor. We both picked the duck confit from the 4 mains on offer, and whilst this is something I'd tend to associate with a gastropub rather than an Italian restaurant, it was cooked and presented very nicely with green lentils and a side of wonderful roast potatoes with fennel seeds . Dessert was an intensely flavoured lemon tart with a little fennel ice cream. We enjoyed our bottle of a Puglian Primitivo too. Service was pleasant and decently paced throughout. The 3 course set meal is £23 and we thought this was extremely fair for food of this quality, albeit that portions tend to be small. With service and a bottle of wine , we left with a bill for £92. Go again- I'm sure we will, just so long as they don't refuse to give us comfortable to sit!

Chris H

12 September 2018  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Garden Room
We had another great celebration lunch in the Garden Room last week. The staff were very efficient. The food as good as ever. Their wine list is exceptional. Well worth a visit.


01 August 2018  
Staff very attentive and can't do enough to help, food sublime, atrium and outdoor space make the best dining areas. Private rooms (esp the Pasta Room) are great spaces.

Chris H

29 June 2018  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Private Dining
As a result of seeing a recommendation by Square Meal last year regarding private dining rooms, we booked the Pasta Room at Luca for our 2017 Christmas celebration for 10 people and then booked the Garden Room in June 2018 for 8 people to celebrate a 60th birthday. We selected the £55 per head set menu and the restaurant accommodated all the various dietary requirements we have. They have an excellent wine and drink list. We plan on returning to Garden Room in September 2018 for another celebration.

Sue Y

15 June 2017  
Inventive menu, good quality ingredients, friendly service. Been a couple of times and enjoyed the ambience at the bar.
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