Who wants low carb when you can have lasagne? The Atkins when you can have arrabbiata? The keto diet when you can have carbonara? You get the picture. Pasta is one of the greatest inventions to come out of Italy, along with aqueducts, straight roads and – of course – pizza. Luckily, you don’t need to get on a plane to sample some of Italy’s finest and most authentic pasta – you can just pop down the road. Here’s where to find the best pasta in London.
Yes, it says pizzeria in the name. But don’t be fooled – the best thing here is the pasta (although the pizza is pretty great too). Tiny neighbourhood Italian Tomo’s is perennially busy, a good indication of its popularity in this neck of the woods. Its pasta menu is traditional in its bent: tagliatelle bolognese and linguine vongole made just as nonna used to. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the place to head after one of those days when everything goes wrong – just be sure to book ahead.
88 High Street, Hornsey, London N8 7NU, tomopizzeria.com
A restaurant that more than lives up to the hype. Head to Padella in Borough Market for plates of freshly cooked, artisanal pasta in lick-the-plate-clean sauces. Although everyone raves about the pappardelle with beef shin ragu, Padella excels most of all in making the simple sublime. The gnocchi with nutmeg butter and pici cacio e pepe are just two that’ll set your taste buds alight. Plates here are small and cheap, meaning you have no excuse not to order several.
6 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TQ, padella.co
All overstuffed furniture and chintzy furnishings, Gloria is Big Mamma group’s first venture into London’s food scene. It launched to uproarious reviews and mile-long waiting lists earlier this year, with public and critics alike praising its 10-layered lasagne and mafalda pasta dotted with flakes of Molise truffle. The decor may be over the top, but the passion for the food here is very real.
54-56 Great Eastern Street, Hackney, London EC2A 3QR, bigmammagroup.com
The brains behind Sartoria and Radici, Francesco Mazzei has pushed Italian cooking in the capital to another level since he arrived here in the Nineties. Fiume is the latest of his restaurants, perched on the banks of the Thames in the shadow of the new Battersea Power Station development. Here the pasta menu is short but certain of itself, with a focus on fine ingredients and fresh takes on old classics. The burrata tortelli with hazelnuts and truffle is heaven in a mouthful.
Battersea Power Station, Circus West Village, London SW8 5BN, fiume-restaurant.co.uk
Although known for its seawater pizzas, the pasta menu at ‘O ver is shown just as much attention to detail. In fact, its owner Maure Palombo uses its oh-so-simple three ingredient dish fettucicina al 2 pomodori (fettuccine with two tomatoes) to test the skill of any prospective chefs. More complex is the hearty fusillo alla paolone, a recipe from Palombo’s uncle Paolo with Tuscan pork sausage and porcini mushrooms. Authentic and delicious.
1 Norris Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RJ, overuk.com