best everyday italian in London
I love Locanda Locatelli, but can't afford to eat there very often. would love recommendations for the best unsung family-style places in central london...I recall JC Novelli raving about a place near his old restaurant in clerkenwell where the matriarch used to make all the sauces, etc herself. Are there any places like that left?
Before visiting London in September, I read tons of chowhound reviews and then mapped restaurants in the city near my daughter's college [UCL] and "points of interest" that were in my price range. Only one Italian restaurant made it on to my google map, and we enjoyed our meal there very much. The food was fresh and light, the quality of the oil was fine, and the house wine was very reasonable.
The atmosphere was casual and bright. Not a place to impress a client with dinner, but a simple restaurant that serves basic and well-prepared dishes. I felt that we received a good value for our pounds. As I said before, my daughter and I enjoyed our meal and when I return to London in the Spring, I suspect that I will eat at Pollo Cafe again.
20 Old Compton St
Westminster, London, UK
firstly, I LOVE your user name!!!
I know that sounds sad, but Pizza Express, in my opinion, is a safe bet in UK. There's no Matriarch (it's a chain) but it's quite close to the real deal.
Cafe Brera (Canary Wharf and I believe Soho too) is the closest thing to an italian cafe / espresso that I have encountered in the UK.
no little osteria or taverna spring to mind though unfortunately.
Spaccanapoli on Dean St (near Oxford). Whilst considering mostly a pizza place, the pasta and the meat dishes are excellent. Most of the patrons appear to be Italian. If you want something other than pizza, try the panuozzi, the pepper steak, the Naples egg pasta (long flat noodles, forget the name) with ragu and spiral pasta with corguettes.
Would second Spacca Napoli - awesome pizzas. Also a big fan of L'Artista in Golders Green, Caldesi in Marylebone, Sardo in Fitzrovia & Sardo Canale in Primrose Hill (although both are now much more expensive than they used to be - touching Locanda price levels), Latium in Fitzrovia (try the fish raviolis) and Oliveto in Westminster.