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7 authentic Italian restaurants in London for delicate fritti, potent cocktails, mouthwatering salads, and the best pasta in town

After spending a month traveling through Italy a couple of summers back I returned home craving real, homely, authentic Italian food in London and so made it my mission to hunt out what I’d eaten during those indulgent weeks in Rome, Florence, Padua, and Napoli.

A plate of spaghetti with courgettes next to a bowl of fried potatoes at Campania near Columbia Road
Pasta at Campania
A real travel destination for foodies, London isn't short of Italian restaurants but many are pretty inauthentic and overpriced. The places that made it onto this list are the eateries that really stood out due to quality ingredients and a great atmosphere but most importantly are places that offer dishes that mimic real Italian cooking. A couple of restaurants in the roundup are quite high-end, making them more for special occasions, but the rest are well-priced and well-run. Buon appetito!

Must-visit authentic Italian restaurants in London


Homely, friendly, and with a menu that caters to all budgets, Brutto is one of my all-time favorite spots in the whole of the city, not only because they serve some of the best cocktails in London and a famed $6 (£5) house negroni but the ambience and the food are both downright heavenly. There aren't many places where you actually feel like you've been transported to another country in London but Brutto manages to do just that.

Plate of deep fried Dough cuddles with stracchino cheese and prosciutto at Brutto, one of the most authentic italian restaurants in london
Dough cuddles with stracchino cheese and prosciutto
The dough cuddles are something else, and the simple classic pasta dishes remind me of delights I've eaten in Naples’ Vomero district and the backstreets of Florence.


I decided to spend one of my birthdays at Ombra tucking into plates of burrata, gnocco fritto and various pasta dishes and it fast became one of my favorite Italians. During lockdown, the place transformed into a gorgeous deli with a great selection of natural wines which was how I first happened upon it.

three pieces of mortadella topped gnocco fritto at Ombra, one of london's best and most authentic italian restaurants
Incredible mortadella topped gnocco fritto at Ombra

As well as authentic Italian food, Ombra also serves some of the best oysters in London, topped with granita or seasonal berries. 

Boca Di Lupo

A stalwart on the London restaurant scene since 2018, this tasteful joint boasts sublime bar dining where you can watch over the comings and goings of Soho. The pasta is some of the best outside of Italy, especially the eggless option with walnuts, anchovies, tomato, and crumbs, a dish that’s pure joy with every forkful—crunchy, salty, amazing.

A dish of walnut and anchovy eggless pasta behind a plate of red prawn risotto at Boca Di Lupo, one of the most authentic italian restaurants in london
Walnut and anchovy eggless pasta (back) and red prawn risotto (front) at Boca Di Lupo

While the Sicilian blood orange salad is a real must-order, its zingy sweetness complements the saltiness of the sea bream perfectly.

a plate of thinly sliced blood oranges with onion at boca di lupo, one of the most authentic italian restaurants in london
Incredible blood orange salad

I also enjoyed the fritti olives stuffed with pork and veal and the red prawn risotto. The staff at Boca Di Lupo are friendly and super knowledgeable. A true gem.


A tad on the pricey side so a place to go for a special occasion Luca is more fine dining than neighborhood trattoria.

the menu on a table at Luce, one of the most authentic italian restaurants in london
The menu at Luca

The parmesan fries are good, as are the burrata and tiramisu. I expected more from the pasta dishes, they didn't live up to my expectations but it's still a great place to go for upscale traditional Italian food. 


Decedent courgette pasta, delicate fritti, pretty surroundings, and the perfect location, just off Columbia Road. I’ve only visited once but was impressed with the authenticity of the food and interiors. 

a plate of antipasto at campania, one of the best and most authentic italian restaurants in london
Antipasto at Campania

Lina Stores

Well-presented small plates, good cocktails, and with various spots throughout London from Marylebone to Soho it’s usually pretty easy to get a table at Lina Stores.

blue plates laid on a table with burrata and croquettes on them at Lina Stores, one of the most authentic italian restaurants in london
Authentic Italian starters at Lina Stores

My favorite plates are Tagliolini al Tartufo with truffle, the Pappardelle with lamb sausage ragu, and parmesan polenta. The deli section of Lina Stores’ website is a great place to source gifts from too. 


This traditional Italian restaurant situated in the canteen of a sustainable clothing factory in Bow is perhaps the most unique in terms of venue. With a weekly changing menu, must-order dishes are the homemade focaccia and if they're on the menu, the marinated carrots which are so tangy and delicious I could eaten three plates—sometimes simplicity is the way forward.

A chalkboard menu at Polentina in east london, one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in london
Polentina's menu for my visit

Polentina’s menu usually features a few pasta dishes, a handful of starters, and a couple of meat dishes. Well-priced with just a handful of tables it’s a great option for small celebrations or intimate dates. The only downside is the fact there's no extractor fan meaning the cooking smells can linger on your clothes and it can get quite humid inside.

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