Welcome to Bon Vivant’s guide to the best Italian restaurants in London.
Café Murano, St James’s
Café Murano on St James’s Street offers a more casual version of Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Mayfair, Murano. The atmosphere is bustling but relaxed.
The menu has a Northern Italian focus – some of our favourite dishes have included a fantastic fettuccini with wild boar and gnocchi with sautéed ceps.
Harry’s Dolce Vita
Harry’s Dolce Vita, located next to Harrods in Knightsbridge, offer all-day Italian dining. With stylish décor, Harry’s embodies a warm, long-lived, sultry and brilliant 1950s and ‘60s nostalgia.
With a menu of seasonal Italian plates, highlights include tuna tartare and warm, delicious truffle-grazed, creamy bocconcini di bufala; fried zucchini flowers and Harry’s Tagliolini – gratinated tagliolini pasta, served at the table from its own copper saucepan; truffled albese chicken, and crab and scallop ravioli.
This is a restaurant that imbues a classy casualness often difficult to achieve.
Bocca di Lupo, Soho
Bocca di Lupo showcases the best of Italy with a menu highlighting the area from which each dish originates. The buzz and the glamour of the restaurant is the perfect pre-theatre dinner location.
The menu changes daily offering ‘one-dish’ meals – a small number of dishes all sharing the same main ingredient. This is one of my favourite Italian restaurants in London where I love sitting at the counter pictured above.
Since its first appearance in Soho in 2009, Polpo has launched several restaurants across London, including Polpo Covent Garden, Polpo Smithfield and, most recently, Polpo Chelsea. Polpo restaurants fuse the Venetian bacaro (wine-bar-cum-café) with hip New York West Village eateries.
The small plates offered include dishes such as white anchovy and smoked mozzarella pizzette, octopus and fennel carpaccio and pork belly, radicchio and hazelnuts. While reservations can be made for lunch, there is a no booking policy for dinner.
Striking a good balance between finesse, intricate detailing and hearty portions, L’Anima is an excellent high-end Italian restaurant.
Located behind Liverpool Street station, the all-white design of the room feels stark and bare until the food arrives and takes over. The courgettes fries are fantastic!
Cecconi’s is a chic restaurant and bar in Mayfair, with wraparound windows and striped marble floors.
Serving fine Italian food from the morning until the early hours, Cecconi’s is also a perfect spot for alfresco dining in the sun, with a few sought after tables lining the street on the corner of Saville Row and Burlington Gardens.
The River Café
The River Café is regarded by many as London’s best Italian restaurant. With its minimalist, sleek design and light colour scheme that blend effortlessly with the riverside setting, it is an unforgettable dining experience.
The large outdoor terrace makes the River Café an excellent alfresco dining option in West London.
Keep reading our guide to the best Italian restaurants in London…
Locanda Locatelli, Marylebone
Locanda Locatelli is one of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in London, noted as much for its conviviality as the quality of its food.
The menu is wide-ranging and includes little-known dishes and ingredients from Italy’s regions. With the exception of one or two world wines, the wine list is exclusively Italian and is extensive.
Locanda Locatelli features in our guide to the best restaurants in Marylebone.
Union Street Café
Union Street Café has an industrial look à la New York with exposed ventilation shafts and steel shutters, unpolished concrete pillars and no tablecloths.
The restaurant’s Italian born-and-bred head chef, Davide Degiovanni, creates a daily-changing menu influenced by seasonal ingredients, family recipes and his experience at Michelin-starred restaurants.
Some of our other favourite Italian restaurants in London include Toto’s in Knightsbridge, 2 Veneti in Marylebone and Quattro Passi in Mayfair.
The Best Italian Restaurants in London
If you enjoyed this feature on the best Italian restaurants in London, read some of our other London guides including the best spas in London, where to find the city’s best rooftop bars and where to enjoy weekend brunch.
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Note: none of the venues have paid to be featured in the article.