The best pasta restaurants in London

Bancone

Carnaby, Soho

In today’s image-led generation of Insta-happy millennials, it comes as no surprise that one good (or bad) photo has the potential to make or break a restaurant. Such is the story behind Bancone, who’s famous pasta dish (silk handkerchiefs, walnut butter and confit egg yolk) went viral on Instagram and the rest, as they say, is history. Its sleek yet cosy interior makes it an easy, anytime-dining destination, whether it’s a solo lunch at the marble-top bar or a big birthday dinner in their private dining room. It also ticks the affordability box (although you’ll want to plan in advance when reserving a table – it books up quickly as a result). Do get the ‘handkerchief’ dish if you go (it’s less than a tenner). The brown shrimp and seaweed butter bucatini is brilliant too, as is their ossobuco ravioli with saffron butter.  Oh, and the bread is a must!

Bancone

Luca

Farringdon

Mark this one under the “special occasion” category; Luca is without a doubt one of the most romantic restaurants in London. Whether you’re dining on the walled garden terrace or within one of the hidden nooks of the cosy dining room, this place oozes charm. Think of it as an elegant, modern Italian, with a tasting menu that boasts the very best of seasonal ingredients. There’s a reason this place has scooped up a Michelin star and it’s one of our all-time favourites.

The chef’s menu changes frequently to reflect the seasons but expect ample amounts of food and dishes that are beyond the imagination. At £85, it’s a little pricey but it’s an excellent way to sample the talents of head chef Robert Chambers, and you will leave fit to BURST.

Luca

Padella

London Bridge & Shoreditch

Some might argue that Padella was the restaurant that put fresh pasta on the London map. With its iconic glass window acting as a lens into the goings on of the restaurant, there’s something rather exciting about simply strolling past in the hope of catching a glimpse of chefs making that day’s fresh offering. Now you have been warned, if you head there at peak times (evenings, lunchtimes or weekends), you will have to wait for a table. However, if you’re willing to queue then trust us on this one, their cacio e pepe is so worth it.

Taking a trip to Borough Market? Make sure you check out our ultimate foodie guide first.

Padella

Trullo

Islington

Padella’s older relative Trullo is a much-loved Islington institution, and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant’s no-frills approach to food involves fresh, gorgeous pasta, rustic in appearance although totally indulgent. It’s a little classy – expect white tablecloths – yet the cosy, candle-lit surroundings permit diners to let their hair down. The menu changes daily, however the signature pappardelle with beef shin ragu is an inspired choice, as is the knockout ravioli. The menu encourages you to have pasta as a primi before one of their charcoal-grilled main courses.  Trullo is a fail-safe option with parents, pals or partners, and it’s a place where simple things are done well.

Gloria

Shoreditch

Grab the gang, this buzzy trattoria is the new place to head to in a crowd of friends for a lively night out. Minimalism isn’t on the menu at this vivacious hotspot, which has become an Instagram sensation known for it’s cheesy wheel of carbonara and old-school boujee interiors.  Praises must be sung for their impressive 10-layer lasagne however we wouldn’t discourage flirting with the pizzas also on offer (the black truffle pizza would be our top pick). Also, make sure that you don’t overlook the sensational cocktail menu, which features some exciting concoctions ranging from coladas to pisco sours.

Or, visit Gloria’s sister restaurant Circolo Popolare in Bloomsbury

Gloria trattoria

NOTTO
Covent Garden and Piccadilly

Phil Howard’s snazzy pasta bars, Notto, bring a certain sophistication to London’s fresh pasta scene. Their laid-back, minimalistic dining rooms leave you to focus all of your attention on the food. And boy, does it deserve your full attention. Notto, meaning “night” in Italian, simply delivers eight various pasta dishes, each one special in their own right. The menu suggests that two people should share three pasta dishes between them, which we found to be just right. A menu highlight would have to be their pumpkin and sage ravioli, sprinkled with a surprisingly-sweet brown butter crunch. Expect to find all of your favourite classic pasta dishes; carbonara, cacio e pepe etc, but each one is prepared a level-up. Head for a cosy evening catching up with a friend over a bowl of great pasta and a glass of Italian wine, or take advantage of their well-priced set lunch menu, which serves you up three courses for just £17.50 – perfect fuel for a wander round Covent Garden market afterwards.

NOTTO

Pastaio

Oxford Circus

For a slightly more informal affair, head to Carnaby Street’s popular haunt Pastaio for sharing bench dining and cosy comfort classics such as spaghetti in the form of carbonara or vongole. As with most spots in Soho, reservations are a no-go but don’t let that deter you; their queueing system is slick and service is speedy. The perfect spot to head to for last-minute catch-ups or spur-of-the-moment outings.

Pastaio

Lina Stores

Soho

Lina Stores is an Italian delicatessen of the highest order and a quaint spot for a cosy catch up. Their pastel green and white awning sits iconically on Soho’s Greek Street and what lies in store is no-frills, fine Italian food. Before you scarper ahead to the pasta menu, do make sure you check out their tempting selection of antipasti including a creamy stracciatella di bufala and sliced prosciutto for sharing. Washing it all down with a crisp aperitivi will make you feel like hopping on a flight to Italy, pronto.

Berto

Holloway Road

For something with more of a neighbourhood vibe, venture north to Holloway Road’s hippest new pasta spot Berto. Using wholesome Italian ingredients to make their pasta fresh on site, Berto prides itself on serving up good quality, genuine Italian food. From a tagliatelle with slow cooked beef shin ragù to a strozzapreti perfect for those with a palate for sardines, you really can’t go wrong. Aesthetics are also on the pleasing side as each dish comes beautifully presented on hand-crafted Umbrian pottery that, at the risk of sounding shallow, looks great on the ‘Gram.

Berto restaurant

Forza Win

Say ciao to Forza Win’s straight-up Italian food served in a hip industrial space, a million miles away from your old-school family-run Italian trattoria. This should not deter you from what Forza Win has to offer, because it’s certainly worth the journey to Camberwell. Their revolving menu of rigatoni, spaghetti and pappardelle – at an eye-popping £10 a plate – means you’re encouraged to splurge on other Italian foodstuff such as coppa with onion agrodolce or braised borlotti beans. With the prices being cheap and cheerful, you’d expect ingredients to be on the lower end of the quality scale, but this simply isn’t the case. With plush ingredients like these, paired with an ample glass of red, you’ve got comfort food down.

Forza Win

Maria G’s
Kensington and Fulham

Opened in 2022, Maria G’s have a West London outpost in Kensington with a second opening in Fulham coming soon. Specialising in all things Italian, it’s the silky homemade ravioli which are the real highlight. This is pasta that takes things up a notch with interesting pairings such as sweetcorn, Amalfi lemon and girole mushrooms changing with the seasons. In the riverside Fulham restaurant, diners will have pasta delivered to the table in big bowls or pans to share, with the spaghetti alla ‘Nerano’ (made famous by Stanley Tucci), an Amalfi pasta dish made with fried courgette and provolone cheese being a main stay at both locations. This is the kind of place where it’s hard not to lick the bowl clean.

Maria G's

Flour and Grape

Bermondsey

Do smaller plates bother you? Venture into many of London’s many pasta hotspots and you’ll likely be faced with smaller portions of pasta dishes, designed for ordering in multiples. Some people love that mix-and-match menu system but if you’re not one for sharing, this buzzy pasta and wine bar nestled in the heart of Bermondsey ensures portion sizes are of the heartier variety. Conveniently located a short walk away from Borough Market’s Padella, Flour & Grape is an ideal alternative if you’re not in the mood for queuing. Their pasta selection is vast and the wine list boasts options from almost every inch of Italy.

If you’d prefer some homemade pasta, make sure to check out our popular pasta recipes.

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