Silver Award
London, SW1X 9EY ·Website ·Call0207 2355 5800

SquareMeal Review of Zafferano

Silver Award

For more than 20 years Zafferano has managed to maintain the highest reputation despite changes of chef and the vagaries of London’s restaurant scene, so it’s safe to say that this Belgravia sophisticate is now very much part of the capital’s gastronomic establishment. No wonder it’s a go-to for a smart international crowd, who come here in search of reliable, precise Italian cooking with one foot the classical camp. Our all-time favourites include their signature lobster linguine, chargrilled rib of beef with roast potatoes and veal Milanese with saffron risotto, but in keeping with the seasons, there’s a sprinkling of white truffles in the autumn and black truffles in summer. Meanwhile, those looking for more innovative dishes should peruse the daily specials. Zafferano also scores highly when it comes to creature comforts (in the luxurious well-upholstered dining room and on the attractive pavement terrace), while top-notch service and a patrician regional Italian wine list add to its metropolitan kudos.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cosy, Quiet conversation
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Wheelchair access
Child friendly, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


15 Lowndes Street, London, SW1X 9EY

0207 2355 5800


Opening Times

Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -10.30pm)


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17 Reviews 


28 June 2019  
Great great food.

David W

16 July 2018  
Immaculate Italian cooking and atmosphere.

Cesare D

23 October 2017  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Great Italian restaurant!
For my birthday I decided to celebrate at Zafferano, We were 20 people so I arranged a special menu. The manager was very professional and left nothing to chance. The party was a great success, the service was impeccable the food really delicious. Thank you zafferano for making my birthday a memorable day!

Jan T

28 May 2017  
Divine Italian food at its best. Has remained consistent for many years, it never fails to please. Try the lobster spaghetti delicious.

Wendy M

14 July 2013  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Back on Form
This place dipped for a while since I wrote in 2009 below. Now with a familiar chef at the helm (whose food, for many years I adored at Aubergine in Marlow), we try to dine at Zafferano whenever we are within striking distance. A few weeks ago, I had halibut with a walnut pesto and capers – so simple but faultless and the sort of food you could eat again and again. The other day we popped in rather late in the afternoon thinking we may have missed service. We ordered a bowl of pasta before moving on for an appointment, but not before, my partner had ordered a second bowl of the same veal ravioli with gremolada, which just about says it all. Overall, I'd say my score should be 8.5. Z was pretty busy before and after we left on Sunday evening which speaks volumes. Not enamoured by the menu at first glance and disappointed that lobster wasn’t available, I didn’t expect great things. Oh, did my mood lift as we went for 3 savoury courses plus a shared pud which had been prepped & cooked to perfection throughout. Not a revolutionary experience but just scrummy yummy. Impressed by Maitre d’hôtel’s recommendation for my main plus a Sicilian wine – the name I’m still trying to recall. Naturally an Italian leaning was expected but with astounding choice and some reasonably priced bottles exactly as SqM states et al. Venue was chosen on the basis of easy walk from hotel and my partner fancying Italian fare that evening – glad he did as we’d return without hesitation.

Tim Z

26 January 2013  
Food & Drink 4
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
An Italian classic that has been around for ages. A slight decline over recent past but still a top notch Italian offering. For a treat (but very pricy) go there during truffle season.

David H

21 November 2012  
Food & Drink 2.5
Service 2.5
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 1.5
Dinner with two courses was £310 which included 2 bottles house champagne for which they charged £132 + service [£152]. Told the head waiter that Square Meals had listed the champagne at £50 per bottle and would he adjust the bill. He said he wasn't interested and wouldn't make any adjustment. We were appalled by this attitude and the overall indifference of the manager…The food was very. poor value and very disappointing and many of the dishes had a supplementary charge over and above the extremely expensive price for the set menu. No a la carte menu .

Helen L

13 November 2012  
Food & Drink 4
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 3
Pasta can strike me as incongruous in a dolled-up setting, what with its humble roots and emphasis on provenance over pomp. But given spectacular reviews, we gave Zafferano a whirl when wandering through sunny Belgravia one Friday evening. We rang ahead and were told that only space in the bar was available, which suited us fine. (The main-restaurant embargo struck me as odd when we arrived though, as several tables remained untouched right up until the end of the night). When offered a glass of champagne – a standard upsell in these moneyed parts – I was too busy swooning over the waiters to protest. Each one was unnervingly dashing and sharply turned out – just the right side of flirtatious, utterly charming and almost exclusively Italian – thus coaxing me into a £20 splurge before my jacket was in the cloak room. The now-ubiquitous burrata is a regular on the menu, but you’d be wrong to yawn. (I’m pretty sure Locatelli was one of the first chefs to unveil this delicacy’s oozing, creamy loveliness to the nation, and for this reason I harbour a major crush on both man and cheese). Heavenly starters included an elegant, seasonal salad brimming with squeaky garden peas and teeny broad beans. This sweet medley was made all the more decadent when garnished with nutty, rich slivers of San Daniele ham, pilfered from my other half. The wheels fell off the service wagon when our second course arrived, as we were still sharing our starters. There was a bit of an awkward fumble when the waiter seemed to expect us to either gobble the remainder at speed or to simply welcome the dishes as the swiftest mains ever. As a result, I fear we may have rocketed from 0-£180 (including wine) in less than an hour. Fresh pasta with lamb ragú and pecorino was moreish and toothsome: a good, honest plateful of totally unfussy comfort and joy. So too was my arrabiata with its fat, tubular pasta, a peppy sauce and al dente bite. But chef or no chef, I’m guessing a seasoned Italian can whip up a pasta dough in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Even if Zafferano’s olive oil is the most exquisite extra virgin from a single estate, and the San Marzano tomatoes are imported with the level of care usually reserved to vintage cars or diamonds, how do you conjure up a price structure where even the simplest pasta dish is nudging 20 good English pounds? Maybe prices are routine for the postcode, given it’s not uncommon to see punters at neighbouring ‘deli’ Ottolenghi dropping a ton on a picnic for four. But two courses for £36.50? Going the whole hog with four courses – your primi, secondi and all that business – will give you scant change from a £50 note. Cripes. There’s no respite when it comes to wine either: the list is vastly dominated by magnificent Italian grapes, and – if you’re a novice like me – you’ll be grateful for the steer when it comes to ordering something other than the Super Tuscans (because you've heard of them, which must make them good). Our Barolo was amazing, but the pricetag was massive. The décor is smart and ripe with explosive sprays of blooms, but each time I recalled the prohibitive cash assault awaiting us, it took the shine off somewhat. While I was wowed by Locanda Locatelli’s five-star service and finesse when I visited a couple of years ago, Zafferano seems to be masquerading as more of a neighbourhood restaurant (albeit to seriously upmarket locals). In all fairness, why shouldn’t it?! And is it reasonable for me to pooh-pooh a restaurant on the basis that it’s too pricey for me? Lovely though Zafferano is, I’d struggle to say that dinner here represents value, or that I can justify coming back. I realise Italian restaurants are ten-a-penny across London and that a beauty is a serious find, but it’s simply not in my budget and I can't really get my head around the numbers. Zucca’s a more realistic (and ulimately more satisfying) destination for shallower pockets, with fab food, wine and atmosphere at a fraction of the price.

08 November 2012  
Food & Drink 2.5
Service 2.5
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 3
I took clients here for lunch a couple of weeks ago and I'm afraid to say I was really underwhelmed. I wasn't expecting great things, I just wasn't expecting there to be anything not to like. It strikes me as being a kind of ‘meh’ restaurant. Pop in for a pasta type place, minimal fuss and service such that you don't notice it, and that's usually a really good thing. Unfortunately we had to wait just a bit too long for the menus and for our drinks. I had the Brill which was just fine, my client had the crab spaghetti, which at £17 didn't quite sit well. No frills, small portion, but I'm told really tasty in any case. We also had to wait for the bill which drives me loopy. So it wasn't bad, I'd just choose to spend lunchtime somewhere else if I had the choice again. The flower arrangements were nice.

Amanda F

08 May 2012  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
We had dinner at Zafferano last week and it was once again an outstanding experience. I am an Italian food lover and Zafferano still is, after all these years,my number one choice. I had ossobuco ravioli, which were at their best, and shared an amazingly tender and juicy fiorentina steak with my girlfriend. We ended the meal with the best tiramisu in town. Outstanding meal and excellent attentive service.
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