The 5 best Italian restaurants in London

By: Sandstorm

Dec 30 2008

Category: England & Wales

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I know food is subjective, and one person’s idea of a fabulous place to eat may be wildly different to another’s, but these Italian-inspired gems have become firm favourites when I’m in the city (and someone else is paying!).

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen – Good old Jamie, his N1 eaterie never disappoints. Upstairs, the trattoria serves up brasserie-style food at normal pub prices, and the staff are simply the chirpiest and friendliest I’ve ever encountered. The only thing that isn’t tremendous is the cocktails, which are a little lacklustre, but what a glorious, atmospheric, cosy little place it is. (Nearest tube – Old Street)

Cecconi’s – Last time I dined at Cecconi’s I had a birdseye view of Roger Moore, suavely propping up the bar. This old-world, effortlessly glamorous Venetian restaurant sits snugly between the gorgeous old buildings of Burlington Gardens, just off Old Bond Street, and is big with the media crowd. It’s most famous for its pasta – the goats cheese ravioli is a melt-in-the-mouth treat. Frighteningly expensive though. (Nearest tube: Green Park)

Ponti’s – This is the only place exhausted shoppers should head to after a morning of bargain hunting on Oxford Street. A haven of rustic, authentic Mediterranean loveliness, Ponti’s is a teeny little cafe on Juke Street, just off the main thoroughfair, dishing up budget-friendly ladels of nourishing minnestrone soup and huge plates of pasta. You seem to get a lot of big-name comedians dining alone in here too. (Nearest tube: Bond Street)

Cipriani – The treat of all treats. You’d be hard-pressed not to spot a famous face in Cipriani’s – Matt Damon was just leaving as I entered, looking very contented, and Sarah Ferguson and Naomi Campbell are regulars. This Mayfair restaurant is worth a trip purely for a sip of the incredibly moreish Peach Bellini’s invented by their sister restaurant, the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice. The food is authentic, Italian and delicious, and they do things with fresh pasta and cheese that you wouldn’t believe! It’s as frighteningly expensive as Cecconi’s, but as a one-off, absolutely worth it! (Nearest tube: Bond Street)

Sale e Pepe – Another Med ‘must’ – this time in Knightsbridge. It’s a hidden gem of an eaterie headed up by the smiley Tony Corricelli, and it’s one of the friendliest places you could wish to visit. The food is divine but the wine list is extroadinarily expensive. (Nearest tube: Knightsbridge)

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