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
The perfect spot for a quick bite that doesn’t compromise on taste or authenticity. Pasta Remoli in Wembley Park is the place to head for fresh, homemade pasta on the go. Dishes here are neatly split into three categories – pasta, sauce, topping – making ordering simple and pleasingly personal. Want pappardelle with cherry tomatoes and ricotta? It’s yours. Paccheri with sausage ragu? Coming right up. An especially satisfying combo, though, is the truffle and mushroom ravioli with the creamy mushroom sauce. A dish that will not disappoint even the most ardent pasta cravings.
10 Exhibition Way, London, Wembley HA9 0FU, pastaremoli.co.uk
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 Pasta Bar at Harrods
Pride of place in Harrods’s newly refurbished Dining Hall (which took two years to renovate, and now houses 150 in-house chefs and everything from sushi to fresh oysters) is its Pasta Bar. The open kitchen conjures up delicious, generous portions of authentic pasta right before your eyes. Helmed by Italian chefs clearly passionate about their craft, it focuses on using the finest Italian and British ingredients, from the pecorino used in the sublime Cacio e Pepe – the best I’ve had outside Italy – to the burrata that’s made right here in London. The pasta is traditional and cooked with skill; the truffle mafalda has just the right balance of earthy tones, while the Cornish crab linguine is delicately creamy and moreish. Alongside the concentrated pasta menu, there’s also a short menu of starters to get you going, like the aforementioned burrata, and the focaccia, drenched in 10-year-old balsamic vinegar and pecorino – both wash down well with one of the bar’s signature negronis. It’s the best way to round off an afternoon’s shopping I can think of.
87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, harrods.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