The best Italian restaurants
We could only pick a handful of Italian restaurants in the UK. From family-run trattorias to Michelin starred establishments, these are the perfect places to let your pasta and pannacotta passions run riot.
L’Anima’s modern yet understated elegance provides the perfect setting in which to enjoy the inventive tastes and flavours of Calabrian chef Francesco Mazzei’s masterful culinary creations. Savour such dishes as wild mushroom fettuccine with norcia black truffle, Sicilian rabbit, and fritto misto with lemon. And don’t pass on dessert… amaretto soufflé and pannacotta with pomegranate and grappa are just two of the mouth-watering options on the Italian menu.
Bocca di Lupo
Embrace the bustling scene at trendy yet casual Bocca di Lupo in Soho. Chef Jacob Kenedy has orchestrated a menu packed with regional, rustic Italian fare. The food is authentic yet creative. Fill up on the likes of crudità di mare (raw sea bream, red prawn and scallop with rosemary oil); porcini and fontina arancini; rustic pork and foie gras sausage with faro and porcini; or spaghettini with lobster, mussels & ginger – all without breaking the bank.
In Italy, an enoteca is a casual place to pop in for a glass of local wine, accompanied by good food. Enoteca Turi, in Putney, is more formal in style, and has one of the best Italian wine lists – as well as some of the best Italian cooking – in the capital. Wine-loving chef-owner Giuseppe Turi looks after both.
It’s nothing but pure indulgence at celeb hangout and Michelin-starred restaurant Locanda Locatelli where the food is as sexy as the clientele. Celebrity chef Giorgio Locatelli has created a menu of luxurious Italian dishes including Barolo and castelmagno cheese risotto; home-made chestnut tagliatelle with wild mushrooms; and pan-fried fillet of plaice in basil crust, potato, black olive and tomato sauce. For dessert, options range from delicate to decadent: catalan cream foam with berries and ice cream and chocolate; and Gianduiotto liqueur fondant with coffee ice cream are just some of the temptations. The impressive food menu is accompanied by an extensive wine list.
This stylish Gordon Ramsay restaurant boasts stunning Italian-inspired modern European fare created by Michelin star chef Angela Hartnett. The service is splendid, the food exquisite. There’s apple black pudding and octopus salad with onion purée and potato cake; braised Rose veal anolini with white onion purée and truffle broth; and steamed Dover sole with crab and scallop, hand-rolled linguine, vichyssoise and poached oyster, to name a few. Be sure to save room for dessert, such as frozen milk pannacotta served with mango and pineapple salsa and spiced pineapple foam or the caramelia chocolate mousse with almond nougatine, cardamom caramel bonbon and salted almond ice cream.
After opening in London’s Soho last year, this restaurant has been lauded for its inventive, Venetian-influenced food from chef Tom Oldroyd. Small tapas-style dishes, called cicchetti in Venice, are served up in rustic surroundings. The modest eaterie is frequently packed, for good reason.
The service is as impeccable as the food at award-winning, Michelin star restaurant Zafferano. Seasonal dishes such as warm veal shin with artichokes and shallots, and winter salad with “Puntarelle”, radicchio and anchovies sauce are beautifully presented alongside classics such as tortellini in clear broth, and tiramisù. It’s all restrained glamour and flawless execution at this upscale Italian favourite.
If you’re searching for authentic Italian trattoria fare, look no further than Palmiro. in Manchester The short but sweet menu includes traditional fare such as chargrilled calamari and ribeye steak with roast vegetables, but also signature dishes such as duck tagliatelle and almond sorbet and pannacotta. The décor, like the food, reflects a charming simplicity that makes the restaurant a favourite of both locals and visitors alike.
Piero Di Bella is the chef of Da Piero, an up-and-coming restaurant in the small town of Irby near Liverpool that’s created a stir this year after being awarded title of ‘best new entry 2010’ by The Good Food Guide and earning an entry in the Michelin Great Britain & Ireland Guide 2010. Sicilian-born chef Piero Di Bella and wife Dawn only opened four years ago, but they obviously know what they’re doing.
This family-run gem in Bristol showcases Italian cuisine with hints of French and Spanish influences. The dishes are innovative and flavourful. There’s wild wood pigeon with coffee and almonds; beetroot risotto with pickled fennel, pistachios and iced yoghurt and a lime and camomile granita. Bread, pastries, ice creams and petits fours are all made in house. The interesting food is not outshone by the simple décor, a combination that makes for a truly pleasant dining experience.
Sienna, in Dorchester, is owned by husband and wife team Russell and Eléna Brown and was awarded its first Michelin star this year. Russell used to own a fishing tackle shop before swapping rods and lines for pots and pans, and the career change was evidently a wise one.
Dine on traditional Italian cuisine in the quaint but charming seaside village of Abersoch in North Wales. Venetia is a stylish restaurant set in a Victorian villa and boasts a bar and lounge in addition to a dining room. Chef Marco Filippi has created an extensive menu featuring local produce, including fish and shellfish such as the award-winning Aberdaron crab and Cardigan Bay scallops procured directly from local vessels. There’s a children’s menu for the little ones.
The oldest Italian restaurant in Glasgow, La Parmigiana has garnered a reputation as being one of the best Italian restaurants in the country. The dishes are elegantly presented and the atmosphere cosy and welcoming. Lobster ravioli with a cream and basil sauce; escallops of veal with parma ham, fresh mozzarella and asparagus in a white wine and tomato jus and risotto with seafood are just a few of the many authentic options on the menu.
Valvona & Crolla
Mary Contini is co-owner of Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh, which is known as the Scottish capital’s legendary Italian deli and restaurant – a place of pilgrimage for people who know and love Italian food. Owned by Mary and Philip Contini, descendants of Italian immigrants, this shop, deli and restaurant has been run as a family business since 1934. It looks and smells like a slice of Italy, in the heart of Edinburgh.