Spring has been teasing us with sunny skies interrupted by sprinklings of rain and we can’t think of a better time to snuggle up with a warm bowl of hearty pasta. From traditional ribbons, just like nonna would make, to more innovative sauces using non-traditional ingredients, we have selected the UK’s top restaurants where you can enjoy this year’s sweater weather and pretend that you are living it up in Italy.
A favourite of London foodies, Bancone in Covent Garden has three dining bars where you can watch their chefs create masterpieces from the restaurant’s open kitchen. Incorporating flavours from Italy’s 21 regions, their pasta is made in-house everyday and wins on both presentation and taste. Some highlights include bucatini caio e pepe, a spring pea gnocchi, and silk handkerchiefs with walnut butter and an egg yolk confit.
When fans of the original Italian delicatessen got wind that Lina Stores was opening up a restaurant in Soho, queues wound their way out of the restaurant’s doors. Pasta is made by hand – the same way the team has been doing it since 1944 – and there’s a selection of wines, cocktails, antipasti and desserts
to complete the experience. Affordably-priced pasta choices include the burrata pansoti in a Datterini tomato sauce, the pici alla Norcina with porcini mushrooms and Umbrian sausage and the double ravioli with minted peas, parmesan cream and salted ricotta.
Though you may be surprised that we’ve included a Turkish eatery on this list, you’ll be very glad that we did. Kyseri is a new, modern Turkish restaurant in Fitzrovia, brought to you by the team behind the successful Oklava in Shoreditch. Critics have gone wild for their inventive pastas like the erişte with walnuts, lemon-braised greens, sage, egg yolk and Tulum cheese, and our personal favourite, the beef and sour cherry manti with yoghurt sauce, tomato-chilli butter and pine nuts.
Though perhaps it is best known for its wood oven pizzas and bottomless brunches, we’ve discovered that Canova Hall in Brixton also has an impressive pasta offering that is handmade daily. Indulge in their truffle tagliatelle with a rich gorgonzola and walnut sauce, the 12-hour slow beef ragu with rigatoni, or their vegan option, the beetroot gnocchi with pistachio pesto, walnuts, rocket and sage.
Whilst many head over to new all-day café and bar Vermuteria for a tipple, their seasonal food menu featuring the freshest ingredients is what caught our eye. Inspired by the vermouth bars found across Italy, most especially in the city of Turin where the first vermouth distilleries originated from, Vermuteria serves a variety of dishes like La Latteria burrata with pears, razor clam with chorizo and our pick, the gnocchi with venison ragu.
What exactly is Chifu cuisine you may ask? It refers to the Chinese-Peruvian fare being served-up at Pachamama East. Whilst it isn’t technically a pasta, we needed to shout about one of the tastiest noodle dishes to be had in London at this new Shoreditch hotspot. The cheung fun with kombu butter, celeriac and cured yolk is like a flavour explosion in your mouth. The way the different ingredients play with one another is so unique and delicious that you’ll want to order a second bowl.
If a family-run neighbourhood restaurant is what you envision when you think pasta, look no further than Gotto Trattoria on the banks of the river Lee Navigation in Hackney Wick. With a mission to bring a slice of the Italian Riviera to London, the kitchen hand rolls their pasta everyday and makes their vermouth in-house. Pasta options include trofie with basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, tagliatelle with beef ragu, and potato gnocchi alla Sorentina.
Taking influence from the local restaurants and trattorias in the Emilia Romagna region, Emilia’s Crafted Pasta first started serving their traditional dishes in St. Katharine Docks, but have since opened up an Aldgate outpost early this year. Aside from a stellar list of antipasti, diners can dive into a 4-hour slow-cooked béchamel Bolognese with grated parmesan, rigatoni with flaked yellow fin tuna fillet in a homemade tomato sauce, or the casarecce with a homemade creamy walnut sauce with chestnut mushrooms.
Setting our sights up north, we discover Eusebi Deli in the heart of Glasgow. The owner, Giovanna, comes from a long line of strong Italian women and regularly sends her team to Italy to meet with producers and further perfect their craft. The Eusebi story started when Giovanna’s parents opened a deli 43 years ago. The family continues to bring authentic Italian ingredients and dishes to the people of Glasgow with some standouts from their pasta menu being the tagliatelle with black truffle, the saffron linguine with Scottish seafood, and “yesterday’s lasagne” – a Eusebi classic.
Quick and delicious pasta is the speciality of the Pasta Remoli group. Freshly prepared everyday, the pasta at their Westfield Stratford, Ealing Broadway, and Finsbury Park locations are perfect for both guests who are looking for takeaway options or the choice to dine-in. Diners choose their pasta and sauce and a fresh bowl of loveliness will be served to them within minutes. Choices include filled pastas like the roasted potato and pumpkin ravioli, sauces such as butter and sage and chef’s suggestions like the pappardelle and sausage ragu.