Whether you’re after a quick pit stop at a street food hub or in the mood for some serious Italian indulgence, London’s pasta scene is thriving at the moment with more pasta-rias popping up than most of us have time to visit. So if you could do with pointing in the right directions, here’s what we think are the very best pasta restaurants in our great nation’s capital. Buon Appetito!
Address: Borough Market, 6 Southwark Street, SE1 1TQ.
Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Borough Market is the place to head for basically any food craving. Whether its tapas or doughnuts, London’s most famed food market has it all, attracting locals and visitors alike. But our favourite place to head in recent years is Padella. Having opened in 2016, this pasta paradise has grown in reputation rapidly, as demonstrated by the constant queue which snakes around the corner. It’s easy to see why too. Padella is famed for its simple and authentic pasta dishes executed faultlessly, as perfectly demonstrated by their Tagliarini with Dry Chilli, Garlic & Pangrattato. You won’t find better value for money anywhere in London.
Address: 12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB.
Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
Since opening in 2008, Jacob Kenedy’s Bocca di Lupo has become a central London institution. Kenedy may not be Italian by birth but having co-authored ‘The Geometry of Pasta’, he’s certainly an adopted native. Famed for its stripped-down, honest regional Italian cuisine, dishes are given some modern flair with Bocca specialising in the more obscure Italian food traditions. As such, we’d recommend something like the Ricotta Gnudi (gnocchi-like dumplings) with Braised Kid Goat Ragu.
Address: Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 9HA.
Nearest Tube: Barons Court
Founded by Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray 30 years ago, The River Cafe remains one of London’s most loved Italian restaurants. Specialising in seasonal dishes using simple, fresh produce, the pastas on its Primi menu are the first things you should direct your eyes too. For Spring, their Tagliatelle con le Ortiche (fresh nettle pasta with butter & parmesan) is a must. The ‘by region’ wine list at the Cafe is also worth the trip alone!
Address: 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ.
Nearest Tube: Bermondsey
It may be a little off the beaten path for London standards but as soon as you stumble across the window at Flour & Grape showcasing trays of homemade ravioli, you know you’re onto a winner at this Bermondsey pasta specialist. The menu’s condensed and very affordable with standouts including the Spaghetti with Mussels, White Wine, Preserved Lemon & Chilli. Be warned; they don’t take bookings for dinner and there is a strict 90-minute time slot. We promise it’s worth the inevitable wait!
Address: 19 Ganton Street, W1F 9BN.
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Meaning ‘someone who makes pasta by hand,’ Pastaio is a haven for those looking for a good bowl of pasta in central London. Just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street, this eatery is bright, always buzzing and has one of our favourite pasta dishes anywhere in the capital in the Six-Hour Beef Shin Reginette sharing plate. We’d also recommend the Red Prawn Spaghetti if you love your seafood. Unfortunately, it’s another restaurant which doesn’t take bookings.
Address: 77 Alie Street, E1 8NH.
Nearest Tube: Aldgate East
Having opened their first restaurant in 2016 at St Katharine Docks in Wapping, Emilia’s have just opened their second venture in Aldgate. Bringing a bit of that trattoria atmosphere to East London, Emilia’s Crafted Pasta strictly adheres to classic handmade pasta shapes and sauce combinations; our tip would be the Pappardelle Béchamel Bolognese. Emilia’s also claims to ‘love puppies almost as much as pasta’, so they encourage you to bring your best friend along to the outdoor seating areas.
Address: 88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH.
Nearest Tube: Farringdon
Clerkenwell’s Luca is famed for one thing and one thing only; their Parmesan Fries. And we won’t lie, they are staggeringly good. But Luca’s talents don’t just end with chips – they’re pasta is also to die for. The second restaurant from Isaac McHale of The Clove Club fame, Luca has become known for spinning Italian classics with British ingredients – the likes of the Ravioli of Westcombe Ricotta, Peas & Mint is perfect for Spring.
Address: 39 William IV Street, WC2N 4DD.
Nearest Tube: Covent Garden
Finally, the new darling of London’s pasta scene is the universally loved Bancone. Meaning ‘bar’ or ‘counter’, this Covent Garden restaurant has three dining bars where you can relax and eat while watching the chefs at work in Bancone’s fully open kitchen. It’s a fantastic experience and the dishes are simply stunning. If you like a bit of kick in your dishes, you’ll love the Mafalde with Spicy Pork & N’duja Ragu. Despite being critically adored and located in one of London’s most notoriously expensive areas, Bancone is also superb value for money.
If you’re more into your rice than your pasta, then take a look at what we think are the best Indian Curry Houses in the capital!