The Italian community in Soho is one of the most established and extensive in London. Since the 1860s when the first major inrush of Italian political refugees hit the city, locals of the boot shaped nation have helped shape the geographical and cultural landscape of the central London district.
When one thinks of Soho-Italia, food and drink comes straight to mind. It was the introduction of pizza, pasta and espresso that became the community’s calling card in the UK. From the now iconic Bar Italia, family-run since 1949 to neighbourhood favourite Lina Stores Deli – Italy continues to dominate the food scene.
Communal tables and funky artwork line this inventive, much-hyped spot off Carnaby Street. Pasta really is the focus of the menu here – handmade everyday using simple seasonal ingredients. Our waiter recommended ‘cacio e pepe’ – cheese and pepper spaghetti for the unanointed – is straightforward delicious. And did we mention Prosecco slushies? Yep, you heard us right. Try peach for a boozy twist on the childhood favourite.
19 Ganton St, Soho, London W1F 9BN
020 3019 8680
Forty Dean Street
This family-run business serves classic Italian to perfection. Operational for almost 20 years, the restaurant is a flip side to the edgy cuisine that dominates Soho. Think back to basics, generous portions teamed with a seriously good cocktail menu. We recommend the handmade lobster ravioli for melt in your mouth goodness. Get a table outside to watch Soho go by…
40 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 4PX
020 7734 1853
The brand spanking new outpost of the beloved family-run Deli on Wardour Street has landed with a bang. Mint green stalls line this intimate pasta bar whose focus is small, artfully created pasta dishes. The selection is varied and and includes a juicy veal ragu and sage and brown butter smothered gnudi – essentially a dumpling sized gnocchi. If you’re not tempted enough – which we find doubtful – Lina Stores looks set to become a local contender.
51 Greek St Soho, London W1D 4EH
0203 929 0068
Mele e Pere
The buzzy trattoria and vermouth bar merges inventive Italian gastronomy with quirky, offbeat design. The result is an eclectic wonderland of classic twists. While small plates are queen here, Mele e Pere (translation, ‘apples and pears’) doesn’t disappoint on gorgeous pasta dishes.
Don’t miss out on the vintage poster- adorned basement bar where an extensive vermouth menu included the bar’s homemade blend.
46 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TF
020 7096 2096
Not your usual Italian restaurant, this popular chain presents fully customisable dishes from across Italy. And when we say presents, we mean it, as dishes are prepared before your very eyes in this fast and affordable self-service restaurant. If your group is struck by the classic conundrum – pizza or pasta? – or looking for a theatrical experience without compromising on flavour, look no further…
19-21 Great Portland St, London W1W 8QB
020 7268 0082
Bocca di Lupo
A Soho staple, it’s hard to believe this Tuscan haunt only opened in 2008. Still as popular as ever, the restaurant is a must if you’re looking for authentic, delicious pasta and starters in a modern setting. Decor is slim and service spotless. Book early to avoid disappointment – the wait is 100% worth it. The weekly risotto is truly something special.
12 Archer St, Soho, London W1D 7BB
020 7734 2223
Written by Freya Starr | IG: @freya.starr
This article was originally published in My Soho Times Winter issue. CLICK HERE to view.
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