Most restaurants can make a decent pasta dish…
…but only a handful can properly gnocchi it out of the park.
We’re talking hand-crafted ribbons of pappardelle that’ve been kneaded, stretched, and sliced fresh that morning, ready to be bathed in an 8-hour beef shin ragu. There’s squid ink spaghetti with crab, chilli & lemon; bucatini with mussels & white wine; and – well – everything else listed below; all tried & tested…
…and worth every penne.
Lina Stores | Soho
Lina Stores is an Italian deli that first opened in 1944. Then, 75 years later, they suddenly realised that they should probably be selling fresh pasta as well as the dried stuff. And thus they opened one of Soho’s best casual restaurants, where, alongside a short menu of classic Italian antipasti, they sell small plates of fresh pasta topped with everything from black summer truffle to crab. You can either get a couple to yourself, or order the whole set and share. Although make sure to keep room for dessert – particularly their rich dark chocolate cake and whipped cream – washed down by a Negroni or a glass of Italian wine. READ MORE.
Address: 51 Greek St Soho, London, W1D 4EH | Opening: Mon-Thurs, 12-2.30pm and 5-11pm; Fri-Sat, 12-11pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Padella | London Bridge
It’s been over a year and a half and you still can’t avoid queuing for Padella. Which is sort of unsurprising seeing as it comes to us from the folks behind Bib Gourmand-winner Trullo (also on this list). It’s a two-floor, art-deco-dressed space in Borough, where – alongside small selection of classic cocktails (with a little creative twist) – you can tuck into the likes of Westcombe ricotta and sage ravioli; cacio e pepe; and tagliarini with Dorset crab; all for a tenner or under. Well…nearly. Of course if you’re hungry you’re probably going to want to kick things off with a couple of antipasti which, here, have been hand-picked from Trullo’s best performing dishes. Otherwise there’s lemon or almond & fig tart for dessert, not to mention salted caramel ice cream. READ MORE.
Address: 6 Southwark Street, Borough, South London, SE1 1TQ | Opening: Mon-Sat, 12-3.45pm and 5-10pm; Sun, 12-3.45pm and 5-9pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Pastaio | Soho
This one comes to us, in part, from Stevie Parle, the home-grown chef behind everything from Sardine to Craft London. Along with a couple of his mates, he wanted to create a relaxed, friendly space where people could enjoy simple but original pasta dishes, for affordable prices. And that’s exactly what he’s done. The restaurant itself has been styled by British designer Tom Dixon who – alongside a big, open kitchen – has covered one wall in a bright, street-art-meets-futurism mural; the pasta’s delicious whilst also being relatively inexpensive; andddddd they do cocktails, including a Prosecco slushy; which is helped along by a reliably upbeat playlist. READ MORE.
Address: 19 Ganton Street, Soho, Central London, W1F 7BU | Opening: Mon-Thurs, 12-10.30pm; Fri-Sat, 12-11pm; Sun, 12-10.30pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Bancone | Charing Cross, Soho
It’s another fresh pasta joint you can – ahem – Bancone being great; and we’re not the only one’s who think that either. Michelin awarded the original Charing Cross site a Bib Gourmand last last year, and would probably have give their Soho younger sister one too except, well, it wasn’t open yet. The pasta’s made in-house at both sites each day: bucatini; ditalini, silk handkerchief…ini; before being topped with everything from walnut butter & confit egg yolk, to lobster with semi-dried tomato, garlic & chilli. It’s delicious, but it isn’t going to break the bank either. And – as if that’s all not exciting enough – you can also book, all week, every week, like the good old days.
Address: Charing Cross: 39 William IV St, Charing Cross, London, WC2N 4DD; Soho: 8-10 Lower James Street, Soho, W1F 9EL | Opening: Mon-Sat, 12-11pm; Sun, 1-10pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Emilia’s Crafted Pasta | St Katherine Docks
Emilia’s Craft Pasta is owned by Andrew. Andrew who studied maths at university before a long trip travelling around Italy resulted in him falling in love. With pasta. In particular Andrew took a fancy for the science behind the pairings – how the individual geometry determined which sauce suited it best. It’s a marriage between maths and pasta, and Emilia’s is the bright-eyed baby girl. You’ll find by St Katherine’s Dock, near Wapping. A mostly wooden space with a little exposed brick and some brushed concrete here and there. Best seats in the house however are at the marble counter-tops, with stools facing-out through floor-to-ceiling windows, over-looking the water. Here you can kick back, crack open a bottle of wine, and watch the sunset, a plate of 4-hour slow-cooked béchamel bolognese in tow. If you’re veggie go for the tomato and buffalo mozzarella (sounds simple, tastes delicious), followed either by a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with honey, crushed amaretti, and cantuccini biscuits, or maybe just a couple of shots of Grappa, in true post-dinner Italian style.
Address: C3, Ivory House, St Katharine Docks Wapping, London E1W 1AT | Opening: Mon-Thurs, 12-9.30pm; Fri-Sat, 12-10pm; Sun, 12-9.30pm| For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Officina 00 | Old Street
Sating the appetite for fresh pasta in Shoreditch is Officiana 00. Dressed-up in the standard industrial-style Shoredtich uniform, we’d say their USP is slightly unusual pasta dishes – things like cavatelli (small, shell-like pasta) with patron peppers, almond pesto, and crispy coppa; or corzetti (big disc like pasta) with wild mushroom, fennel, sausage, and parsley. For starters they’ve got canio & pepe ravioli (a definite must have) whilst sweets take the form of both lemon and chocolate profiteroles, again, difficult to turn down. READ MORE.
Address: 156 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BW | Opening: Mon-Sat, 12-3pm and 5-10pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
BONUS: Ok, so they’re not pasta exclusive, but what they do have is still fresh, and some of the best in town…
Artusi | Peckham
Whilst it’s not pasta-exclusive, Italian-inspired Artusi does guarantee fresh pasta on the menu. Which, seeing as it changes monthly, is definitely something. They also make it fresh every day, before topping it with sustainable seasonal produce from the likes of Natoora, or Flock & Herd. This means, alongside a large glass of exclusively Italian wine, you can tuck into a bowl of bucatini with mussels and white wine, or rigatoni with Datterini tomatoes, pine nuts, ricotta; all from the comfort of their low-key, slightly-scandi neighbourhood restaurant of wooden panelled floors, white-washed walls, and big blackboards chalked with the daily specials. READ MORE.
Address: 161 Bellenden Road, Peckham, SE15 4DH | Opening: Mon, 6-10pm; Tues-Thurs, 12-2.30pm and 6-10pm; Fri-Sat, 12-2.30pm and 12-6.30pm; Sun, 12.30-8pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Campania & Jones | Bethnal Green
Hidden down a cobbled side street, off Hackney’s Columbia Road, it’s an authentically rustic Italian joint, fit with its very own nonna, hand-rolling pasta the way her nonna taught her. Chances are you’ve probably already seen it splashed all over Instagram. A former dairy, it still wears the original dark wooden front, adorned with a faded ‘S Jones’. Inside too is just as charming; wooden slatted walls and a concrete floor are offset by hanging filament lights and glass jars stuffed full of flowers. It also boasts a little cobbled patio in the middle which is definitely where we’d suggest you sit if you’re able. Here, tucked away from the outside bustle, you can feast on the likes of gnudi dressed in butter, parmesan, and crispy sage leaves; or big plates of of seafood spaghetti; as well as a whole range of other Italian fare. The portions are generous, and the price-tag isn’t crippling, although it’s without a doubt the atmosphere – alive and buzzy – that keeps people coming back. READ MORE.
Address: 23 Ezra St, Bethnal Green, London E2 7RH | Opening: Tues- Fri, 8.30am-4pm and 6.30-10.30pm; Sat, 10-5pm and 6.30-10.30pm; Sun, 9.30am-5pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Manteca | Soho
Manteca comes to us courtesy of Smokestak founder David Carter and the previous Head Chef of Kitty’s Fisher’s Chris Leach. They’ve joined forces, combining Leach’s passion for Italian cooking (strengthened by months traveling Napoli and Rome) with Carter’s deep-rooted knowledge of nose-to-tail, butchery, and charcuterie. The result is big bowls of fresh pappardelle with ox cheek ragu; or agnolotti dal plin (a sort of frilly ravioli) with pork and hazelnuts. There’s also a number of other non-pasta dishes, like pork lamb neck with charred cauliflower and Sicilian pomegranates, all eased down by a drinks menu of Amaro cocktails and wine. READ MORE.
Address: 58-59 Great Marlborough Street, Soho, W1F 7JY | Opening: Mon-Sat, 12-3pm and 5.30-10.30pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Palatino | Clerkenwell
It’s a sleek, industrial-styled space in Clerkenwell – another one of the slightly newer additions to chef and restaurateur Stevie Parle’s mini empire. Here the focus is Roman-inspired dishes, alongside exclusively Italian wines. Antipasti like fried sage with honey vinegar is followed by a Primi course packed full of pasta dishes. Made-fresh on site, you’ll find everything from tonnarelli cacio e pepe (our definite favourite with it’s rich cheese sauce, cracked in black pepper) to Casarecce al pesto (short twists of pasta with freshly-made pasta pistachio & datterini tomatoes). From here you can move on to the Secondi course, skip straight to dessert. Either way, you want to make sure you save room for a portion of their chocolate cake. More mouse than cake, it’s topped with a crunchy slab of honeycomb, before being sprinkled with pistachios; all of which is washed down nicely with a small glass of sweet dessert wine. READ MORE.
Address: 71 Central Street, Clerkenwell, Clerkenwell, EC1V 8AB | Opening: Mon-Sat, 12-3pm and 5.30-10.30pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Trullo | Highbury & Islington
It’s Padella’s older sister. A handsome two-floored Italian in North London, boasting scuffed wooden floors, dark leather booths, and 360 windows flooding it with light. However, whilst much of what Padella is started here at Trullo, you can still tuck into large knots of fettucine cacio e pepe ,or pappardelle with beef shin ragu without having to worry about a queue. They take reservations, all days of the week, not to mention everyone is seated at a proper table and chairs, meaning you can comfortably kick back and relax – with or without a bottle of their all-Italian wines – for as long as you please.READ MORE.
Address: 300-302 St. Pauls Road, North London, N1 2LH | Opening: Mon-Sat, 12.30-2.45pm and 6-10.15pm; Sun 12.30-2.45pm and 6-9.15pm | For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Gloria | Old Street
Currently one of London’s most talked about restaurants, it’s a kitschy Italian trattoria just off Old Street roundabout. It comes to us courtesy of the Big Mama Group, who are also behind the equally as popular Circolo Popolare. Here the focus is indulgent Italian fare, as well as cocktails, served until 2am. Pasta wise, this means a ten-layer lasagne, as well as carbonara made right in front of your eyes in a giant wheel of pecorino cheese…READ MORE.
Address: 54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3QR | Opening: Mon-Fri, 8-11am and 11.45am-2.45pm and 5.45-10.45pm; Sat, 9am-3.45pm and 5.45-10.45pm; Sun, 9am-3.45pm and 5.45-10.30pm| For more information or to book, visit their website here.
Main Image: Lina Stores | Last updated: 27th of January 2020
You know what goes nicely with Pasta? Wine. Take a look at our guide to the best wine bars in London here.