The best pasta restaurants in London

These London pasta bars are feeding our ongoing obsession with the Italian staple. They’re inexpensive, informal and perfect for a quick meal, with no compromise on taste

London's restaurant scene is thriving, and ever-changing. One thing that doesn't change? Our hankering for fresh, carb-filled Italian pasta.

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Padella, Borough Market & Shoreditch

6 Southwark St, SE1 1TQ & 1 Phipp St, EC2A 4PS,

This award-winning Borough Market pasta bar could be credited as the first of its kind in London. From the owners of Islington’s famous Italian restaurant Trullo, their dream was to serve fresh, hand-rolled pastas inspired by regular trips to Italy, in an informal bar setting. The service is quick, the vibe is busy and fun. Solo diners can sit at the marble bar looking out over Borough High Street or if you’re more than one, there’s table seating with room for burratas or radicchio salad and other antipasti sharing plates. A short, seasonal menu shows strong regional Italian influences and their most famous Cacio e Pepe is definitely worth the journey, as is the succulent 8-hour Dexter beef ragu. A slice of lemon tart or a scoop of ice cream and an espresso keeps the pudding list authentic, the meal fast and with most dishes around £6, it’s a pretty economical lunch.

Bancone, Soho & Covent Garden

39 William IV St, WC2N 4DD and 8 Lower James St, W1F 9EL

Bancone calls to you the moment you see it from the street, as the chefs deftly roll, cut and fill sheets of gloriously silky handmade pasta in the window. Louis Korovilas is at the helm of the kitchen; he worked under Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli for five years, which is about the best training you can get if you want to produce pasta. The restaurant offers different experiences based on where you sit: in an intimate banquette, at a table in the back or at the bar overlooking the skilled team at work. Bancone has become known for a dish called 'silk handkerchiefs' – a bowl of extra-wide pappardelle topped with walnut shavings, butter and an egg yolk; it is singularly decadent and comes highly recommended. The menu changes often but revolves around staple dishes: ragu, gnocchi, bucatini and ravioli, ranging in price from £9 to £13.50. Make sure you start with a plate of honeyed garlic focaccia and definitely leave room for dessert.

Jacuzzi, Kensington

Jacuzzi restaurant in Kensington Street, London. Big Mamma © Nacho RiveraNacho RIvera

The French restaurant group Big Mamma have truly made their mark on London's pasta scene. With Gloria opening in 2019 in Shoreditch to much fanfare thanks to its eye-catching maximalist interiors and pasta dishes served from melted Parmesan wheels, they've gone on to open ever-popular restaurants Ave Mario Covent Garden and Circolo Popolare in Fitzrovia. And now, for their first venture west of central London – Jacuzzi in High Street Kensington. Spread over 4000sq feet across four floors, this opening is very, very big.

Legare, Tower Bridge

Cardamom Bldg, 31 Shad Thames, SE1 2YR

New on the scene, Legare is a neighbourhood restaurant specialising in Italian plates. The menu is directed by seasonal considerations, so naturally the dishes change all the time and the healthy rotation of nibbles, starters and pasta options means that every visit holds something new to try. It's a small menu, with just three or four pastas on offer, plus a special. The pasta is the star of the show and can compete with any nonna-made dishes, hardly surprising seeing as chef Tom Beardmore cut his teeth at Trullo, Padella's parent restaurant. The setting is informal and industrial in the style of St John and Rochelle Canteen, allowing the simple deliciousness of the pasta to shine. Puddings include a select of Italian cheeses and of course, cannoli, while the wine list is a succinct curation of natural Chianti, Nero d'Avola and Primitivo bottles. It's a buzzy spot for a casual evening with friends.

Pastaio, Soho

19 Ganton St, W1F 8BN

Tucked away off Carnaby St, in the heart of a buzzing restaurant community, Pastaio stands out. Bold terrazzo marble bars for communal seating and a eye catching mural show that as much care has gone into the stylish decoration as the ingredients. All the fresh pasta is made by hand on site: if you glance through the street level window before lunch time, you’ll see the chefs rolling tagliatelle or stuffing ravioli for the day’s service. The frequently updated, seasonal pasta menu ranges from courgette and smoked ricotta conchigliette to fresh crab, chilli, with black and white spaghetti (and optional bottarga), which tops the price list at £11. A choice of 6 or so antipasti includes a refreshing watermelon, cherry tomato, and feta salad or their signature mozzarella, n’duja (Calabrian spicy pork sausage) and honey sandwich. The clementine sorbet or pistachio ice cream is a must for dessert, or the tiramisu if you’re settled in for a bigger meal.

Lina Stores

51 Greek St, W1D 4EH and 20 Stable St, N1C 4DR, reservations available.

The Lina Stores delicatessen on Brewer St has been making fresh pasta and selling Italian imported ingredients in Soho since 1944. Their two restaurants – in a narrow Greek street townhouse and more modern, airy Granary Square location – serves the same excellent fresh pastas and cakes made daily in their shop. Decorated in its trademark pistachio colour with a bustling, clattering atmosphere, there are reservations available for lunch and early dinner. The short menu offers some more substantial dishes for those who want a full dinner experience: starters include aubergine polpette or a slow roasted pork sandwich. The trademark raviolis, gnudis and gnocchis come with the classic sauces of meat ragus; ricotta or brown butter and sage, keeping them rooted in authenticity. There is a more plentiful pudding list, including Sicilian specialty whipped ricotta Cannolo and an Amarena cherry and almond tart.


135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3YD

More of a world than simply a restaurant, Eataly encompasses a supermarket, two bars and three restaurants. Whilst you could spend a whole afternoon exploring the place, if you only have time to visit one part, make it Pasta E Pizza. The name may seem a little reductive and cheesy at first, but there is certainly something to be said for limited dishes done to perfection. The menu has a section dedicated just to cheese, which is freshly made by hand every day. The burrata in particular is melt-in-the-mouth delicious, served with salty artichokes as a foil to its creaminess. The restaurant offers two types of pasta: a fresh pasta made in-house and a dry pasta from Gragnano. The ‘Tajarin Al Tartufo’ is, with good reason, the most popular pasta on offer; simply made with butter, parmesan and fresh truffle, it is truly a masterclass in allowing fresh ingredients to shine. The best part? All the pasta served is available to take home from the market, so you can repeat your experience again and again.

La Nonna

Unit 7, Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LB

Set in the heart of Brixton Market, La Nonna has captured a casual, easy form of dining. The menu is well thought through, though not extensive, so whilst you won’t be overwhelmed with choice, what you do try will be excellent. Their ethos is simply great pasta, humbly done without frills or fuss, where fresh ingredients reign supreme. With close knit tables and an eclectic decor style the whole place feels unfussy and welcoming. We recommend the Ravioli alla Zucca Mantovana, a pumpkin, leek and ricotta ravioli, a warming dish served with sage butter and 24 month parmesan.

Carlotta, Marylebone

77, 78 Marylebone High St, London W1U 5JX

The decadent folks at Big Mamma are back again with an eccentric Italian-American eatery. This time in Marylebone, with Carlotta. It's their fifth restaurant in London and is 1980s themed and chintzy. There are brass palm trees and the team’s own 1980s family wedding pictures adorning the walls. Food is just as 1980s-themed and decadent, think Pasta all vodka with seafood and Fettuccine Alfredo al Tartufo.

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