The Best Pasta Restaurants in London
Wondering where to eat the best pasta in London? The UK capital has undergone something of a pasta revolution in recent years. Sub-par chain restaurants have been, if not replaced, then superseded by cooler, fresh pasta slingers who offer a great meal out a reasonable price. Those looking for a more refined experience will find plenty of high-end pasta restaurants in London too. After all, who doesn't love pasta in all its many shapes and forms? Here’s a round-up of the best pasta places in London.
Artusi photo credit Sophie Couch
For the best pasta in Peckham
This small, neighbourhood favourite in Peckham describes itself as ‘Italian-inspired’ and uses the best local produce, as well as one or two imports from the culinary motherland. There are only ever a couple of pasta dishes on the menu, but the dough is made fresh in-house daily and treated with the utmost skill en route to your plate. There’s also a fantastic family-style sharing menu for groups of eight or more. If you have any room left, and it’s on the menu, the Artusi tiramisu is easily one of the best in London. Check out sister restaurant Marcella in nearby Deptford too.
Photo courtesy of Padella
For the best pasta in Borough Market
Arguably the restaurant that started the trend for easy-going fresh pasta, Padella should be your first stop when looking for the best pasta in London. Unctuous eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu on pappardelle and gloriously calorific pici cacio e pepe are the signatures here. However, their deliciousness is hardly a secret and the original restaurant, in Borough Market, still attracts lengthy queues. Download the ‘Walk-in’ app and go for a drink nearby while you wait, or head to the second location in Shoreditch, just a short bus or taxi ride away. Trullo in North London is another great, albeit more formal, restaurant from the same team.
Photo courtesy of Manteca
For the best hand-rolled pasta in Soho
Chefs Chris Leach and David Carter wowed critics with a nose-to-tail approach to Italian cooking at their 10 Heddon Street pop-up in 2019. That quality endures just down the road at Manteca (UPDATE NOVEMBER 2021: the restaurant has now moved to Shoreditch, East London). Expect wonderful hand-rolled pasta and sauces made from unusual bits of animal, like pig tails. As with many restaurants on this list, there is a distinct British feel to dishes such as brown crab cacio e pepe, and sweetcorn ravioli with girolles and nasturtium – the latter a standout. They make their mortadella in-house too.
Bocca di Lupo
Bocca di Lupo photo credit Steven Joyce
For great no-gimmicks pasta
Upmarket Soho institution Bocca di Lupo opened in 2008, which seems like an age ago in London's restaurant world, such are its kinetics. There are no gimmicks here, just delicious dishes from across Italy, including a handful of pastas, and should nothing from the dessert menu take your fancy, they also have a gelateria on the same street. It’s a little bit glam, a little bit luvvie, and easily one of the best places to eat pasta in London.
Pophams photo credit Sam Harris
For simple but tasty pasta
This artisan bakery does a neat line in homemade fresh pasta in the evening and is fast gaining a reputation for some of the best pasta in London. They keep it simple at Pophams: five pasta dishes with the kind of punchy, porky ingredients and braising times that make Londoners swoon. Opening times and menus are restricted currently so do check before you visit. Come for the croissants, stay for the cappelletti.
River Cafe photo credit Richard Bryant
For a classic pasta choice
No list of the best pasta restaurants in London would be complete without mentioning the River Cafe. Founded by Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray in 1987, this Michelin-starred spot by the Thames in Hammersmith has become almost as famous for its alumni – Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, April Bloomfield, and countless others – as for its highly seasonal Italian food of faultless provenance – and its prices. A classic spot to enjoy pasta in London that deserves reverence.
Sager + Wilde
Photo courtesy of Sager & Wilde
For a pasta happy hour in Bethnal Green
The Sager & Wilde wine bar in Hackney is a must, but for perfect pasta, head down the road to the team’s restaurant in Bethnal Green. This casual and buzzy spot always has a great selection of pasta dishes on the menu, from simple tomato sauces and ragus, to lavish seafood. What’s more, they offer a pasta happy hour: a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine or negroni for £10 in the early evening. Happiness indeed.