Looking for the best pasta in London? Pasta is having a moment in London. From Padella in Borough Market to Emilia’s Crafted Pasta in St Katherine Docks and Burro e Salvia in Shoreditch, the last five years has seen a crop of new openings that specialise in freshly made plates of the stuff – carb loading has never been so cool. Here’s our pick of the best pasta restaurants in London…
Padella, Borough Market
Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, the duo behind Trullo in Highbury, opened their second restaurant, Padella, in Borough Market in March 2016. Padella’s menu is made up of eight pasta dishes taken from Trullo’s ‘greatest hits’, using fresh pasta rolled in the window of the restaurant just before service.
A small, no-bookings restaurant where queues are a given, Padella was born of a desire to make fresh handmade pasta accessible to everybody, with prices ranging from £5.50 to £11.50. The open kitchen combines traditional Italian techniques and quality British produce to make dishes like pappardelle and eight-hour beef shin ragu, tagliarini with brown shrimps, green and yellow courgette, and its now famous pici cacio e pepe (find the recipe at olivemagazine.com).
Jordan says: “We wanted to create a restaurant that was true to the principles we admired in the great British restaurants – rigorous seasonality with a focus on using British producers wherever possible. We make everything in-house – rolling pasta, baking our bread, churning our ice cream – every day, and do it at a price that isn’t exclusive.”
Check out our full review of Padella, here and the cacio e pepe recipe
Bancone, London WC2 (Covent Garden)
The tagline for Covent Garden’s newest Italian restaurant, just minutes from Trafalgar Square, might be “pasta, prosecco, espresso” – but it’s those first little mouthfuls of arancini from the antipasti that you’ll be raving about, come home time.
Fresh pasta, which is made and rolled upstairs, is flash-boiled before being tossed with any of the 10 sauces on offer. Chitarra – guitar-string like spaghetti – is slicked with cacio e pepe and topped with a crisp, peppered cheese wafer.
Oxtail ragu (best ever ragu recipes here), slow cooked for 10 hours until sticky and sweet, clings to bouncy folds of pappardelle. Simple, quality ingredients – the bedrock of good Italian cookery – are shown proper respect.
Click here for our dinner party menu from Bancone here
Lina Stores, Soho
Lina Stores is a much-anticipated pasta, antipasti and aperitivi bar from Soho institution Lina Stores, an Italian deli that’s been the go-to for authentic produce since opening in 1944.
The white and mint striped awning makes the new restaurant easily identifiable to regulars at Lina Stores’ original green-tiled corner shop a few streets away.
Head chef Masha Rener has kept the menu simple and seemingly authentic, with every ingredient hailing directly from Italy – from bright and buttery Cerignola olives right down to the sugar used in exemplary Italian desserts and cakes.
Fresh pasta, handmade an hour before service, is given pride of place at Lina Stores, served as the main event rather than traditional pre-main primi. Bright yellow strands of pappardelle soak up light, gamey rabbit ragu, perfectly formed gnocchi is brightened up with popping peas, and a vibrant mint and courgette mixture is stuffed into little tortellini parcels. Pici alla norcina is the highlight, though – springy worms of pasta in a creamy, nutty sauce of porcini mushroom and Norcia sausage (often celebrated as the best in Italy).
Here’s our review of Lina Stores’ original shop, too
Fat Tony’s, Marylebone
Fat Tony’s has won a permanent residency at Tony Conigliaro’s Bar Termini Centrale, a 50s-style Italian café-bar that specialises in dinky bottle-aged negronis and Italian cocktails.
Fat Tony’s focuses on pasta. The pici cacio e pepe is a prime example of a simple dish done extremely well –homemade pasta formed into springy worms of pici pasta, covered in a rich and moreish parmesan, black pepper and butter sauce. Wide ribbons of al dente pappardelle soaked up an intense beef ragu sauce, and vegan kale pesto provided a lighter sauce to top chitarra spaghetti (originally from the Abruzzo mountains in Italy). There’s also a handful of appetisers – panzanella salad served with crisp croutons, bright tomatoes, red pepper and fresh basil, or a simple ball of burrata drenched in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.
Click here to read our full review of Fat Tony’s at Bar Termini Centrale
Sager + Wilde, Bethnal Green
Whether you’re lounging round one of the picnic benches on the terrace outside or perching on a dark wooden chair in the converted railway arch, the vibe at Sager + Wilde Paradise Row is laid back and friendly. Dark wood paneling has soaked up the smoky scent of the evening’s meat-heavy menu to create an inviting dining room that’s made more homely with little figurines and candlesticks.
Stop by at lunchtime or before 7pm own the evening for the bargain pasta deal. £10 gets ou a glass of house wine or dinky negroni along with a bowl of freshly made pasta – frilly reginette with punchy beef ‘nduja and mascarpone, or twisted strozzapreti with creamy blue cheese, pumpkin and pine nuts. Carbonara is indulgent and creamy without being too rich to start the day. Order a thin, buttery potato rosti on the side.
Emilia’s, St Katherines Dock
“Many people have said the view from our restaurant resembles the coast of southern Italy,” says Andrew Macleod, owner of Emilia’s in St Katharine Docks. After developing the concept, Andrew joined forces with pasta chef Simone Stagnitto to create the menus for this rustic pasta bar.
The pasta is made daily on site and the concise menu features just seven pasta dishes. Recipes include a northern Italian-style carbonara and four-hour slow-cooked béchamel bolognese.
Check out our full review of Emilia’s, here
Chef Stevie Parle’s casual venture brings handmade pasta and affordable wines to Soho.
From the pasta section, malloreddus (tiny, ridged Sardinian gnocchi) come dressed with a slow-cooked sausage sauce that’s elegantly light and flavourful, while agnoli stuffed with grouse, pork and rabbit in a seriously moreish sage-butter sauce is a deceptively simple dish that makes good use of prime autumn produce.
Click here to read our full review of pastaio
Burro e Salvia, Shoreditch
Pop in to Burro e Salvia to watch staff hand rolling pasta of all shapes and sizes and buy to take away or continue through to the back to sit in the bright, contemporary café. The short menu includes pappardelle with slow-cooked duck ragu, orecchiette (little ears) with broccoli and anchovies, and hand rolled pics with pumpkin, sausage and pecorino.
If you’ve enjoyed a meal at Burro e Salvia, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in learning how to make your own pasta from scratch the next time you visit by signing up for one of the company’s three types of fresh pasta workshops.
From lasagna sheets to tagliatelle, or tagliolini made from fresh egg and flour pasta, go for one of the basic pasta-making classes. For a more advanced session, try a filled pasta workshop and learn to work with different shapes and fillings for tortelli and cardinali. Or opt for the semolina pasta workshop and work with water-based dough and pasta shapes including ‘ear-shaped’ orecchiette.
Bocca di Lupo, Soho
Bocca di Lupo showcases regional Italian cooking in tapas-sized portions. Jacob and Victor travelled extensively around Italy to research the restaurant’s menu and wine lists. There’s a dedicated pasta section featuring the likes of pappardelle with wild boar ragu, spaghetti with squid cooked in it’s ink to turn black, and “pinched” little parcels of agnolotti del plin filled with veal and pork.
Want to create homemade pasta from London’s best pasta restaurants? Try these recipes…
Three of the most comforting words you’ll read: pasta, butter, cheese. This classic Tuscan recipe for pici cacio e pepe comes from Borough Market’s Padella.
Check out chef Louis Korovilas’s melt-in-the-mouth pappardelle with indulgent lamb ragu. This easy yet impressive recipe comes from Italian restaurant Bancone in Covent Garden.
This recipe for cauliflower and fontina cannelloni comes from the chefs at Cantino Corvino, London. It’s a delicious, comforting pasta dish.