Polpo is a stalwart of Soho, having stood on Beak Street since 2009 where it has continued to serve up sell-out Venetian cuisine. Inspired by the traditional bàcaris of Venice, the menu features a mix of small, sharing plates which nod to classic cicheti. These dishes are complemented by larger plates of pasta and pizzettes, always created using fresh, seasonal produce.
Step inside, and the design is intentionally transportive, with clay-coloured walls, vintage-style seating and charming pendant lamps, accessorised with linen napkin-like shades. Together, the vibe feels authentically Italian and very atmospheric, making it a gorgeous place for a date or get together with close friends.
The menu changes but four times a year, although certain ingredients may be updated due to the season. The chefs make a concerted effort to use only organic meat and eggs, with fish that has been sustainably sourced, to deliver food to your table that is conscious of the environment.
Any Italian meal should start with an aperitivi, and the gang at Polpo recommend an Aperol or Campari Spritz, or a peach Bellini. Next up, it's time to order a range of small plates and snacks for the table, such as burrata, samphire and chilli, alongside chicken liver and sage crostino, plus 'nduja arancini and truffle and potato crochette.
Larger plates look like flank steak with parmesan and spinach, and whole mackerel with citrus vinaigrette. Or, you could go for pizzettes like coppa and spicy pickled pepper, or soft egg, spinach and parmesan.
Make sure you load up on sides, too. We like the sound of the zucchini fries, roasted asparagus with anchovy and parmesan, and chickpea, spinach and ricotta balls. For afters, the affogato is a no brainer, as is the Nutella pizza which promises to get your hands dirty.