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Best (And Worst) Italian Restaurants in London?

timchester Feb 22, 2010 05:45 AM

I'm looking for London's best and worst Italian restaurants. Can anyone recommend either? I think Pizza East in Shoreditch is my favourite, and there's a terrible one in Covent Garden. Thanks

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  1. Robin Joy RE: timchester Feb 22, 2010 06:51 AM

    The Spaghetti House in Knightsbridge has always been pretty dire (can I get into trouble for saying that on the web?).

    In fact the gunmen who kept it shut for six days, many years ago, by holding the staff hostage in the basement did the public a favour. AND they had to live off the food in stock, which makes it all the more astonishing that they lasted for so long. Very selfless.

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      expatlondon RE: timchester Feb 22, 2010 07:08 AM

      Really enjoy Sardo Canale (Sardinian) and VaBene...and Caponata (Sicilian rather than straight Italian)

      Trattoria Luca on Parkway in Camden is awful.

      1 Reply
      1. re: expatlondon
        Samuelinthekitchen RE: expatlondon Apr 21, 2010 05:37 AM

        Agreed about Trattoria Luca. One of those 'You just can't serve this to people' places. Unfortunately true for most of the Parkway restaurants, how they stay open is beyond me.

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        Harters RE: timchester Feb 22, 2010 07:38 AM

        I suppose it depends on what makes "best" and "worst" for you.

        My most disappointing poor value for money experience was Locanda Locatelli. And you will not usually hear me say that about any Michelin starred restaurant. What was worse is that it had taken the best part of two years to be able to tie in getting a reservation with being able to schlep down south for a couple of days.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Harters
          zuriga1 RE: Harters Feb 22, 2010 09:32 AM

          What was wrong, John... portion size, taste of the food, service?

          1. re: zuriga1
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            Harters RE: zuriga1 Feb 22, 2010 10:50 AM

            Hmm, where to start, June?

            Well, we didnt like the room which is "modern corporate". And they cram you in - so much so that the table needs to be pulled out into the the room to allow access past the adjacent table.

            And then service is along the style of "we're doing you a favour allowing you to eat here". Perhaps, that's why they didnt mention the specials to us but later did to the next table.

            One main course - pork fillet wrapped in ham - still had bits of the string that had tied the ham on. This is just sloppy kitchen work that my local bistro wouldnt tolerate.

            Food generally tasted fine - but nothing of the excitement you might hope for in eating at a starred place.

            So, in summary, I didnt like it!

            1. re: Harters
              zuriga1 RE: Harters Feb 22, 2010 01:09 PM

              Thanks, John. Finding bits of string in a Michelin dish definitely does not inspire confidence. :-)

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          spli RE: timchester Feb 23, 2010 01:42 AM

          I'd have to say two of the best are 500 in Holloway and Tenore in Islington. Both are Sardinian-owned, but have specialities from other regions.

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            JanePond RE: timchester Feb 23, 2010 06:13 AM

            While certainly not the worst by any stretch of the imagination (or Zagat rating), I was disappointed with my meal at al Duca in St. James, and I always enjoy everything at Cecconi's in Mayfair. Further afield, love The River Cafe, but that's a very common opinion.

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              souljacker RE: timchester Feb 24, 2010 01:13 AM

              I can heartily recommend L'anima which is located on Snowden St near Liverpool St tube, easily the best Italian restaurant I've been to in London. It is relatively pricey but the quality of the dishes more than makes up for the cost, well worth a visit.

              1. timchester RE: timchester Apr 20, 2010 11:23 AM

                Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm starting to think Sardinian Italian might be the best kind in London?

                1 Reply
                1. re: timchester
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                  marcus james RE: timchester Apr 21, 2010 04:42 AM

                  been hearing a LOT of good things about l'anima, plus francesco mazzei has guest pizza's on at pe right now which are amazing. the guy's clearly on a roll.

                  river cafe goes without saying, but it is pricey. however, i'm surprised no one has mentioned riva yet, which is only a hop skip and a jump across h'smith bridge in barnes. utterly brilliant food, though it too is intimate and tightly packed so don't go if you have a phobia of bistro-style seating arrangements.

                  finally, what of theo randall at the inter continental? didn't it just get the award of best italian in the uk?

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