The best pasta restaurants in London and the rest of the UK
In need of an Italian fix? These eateries promise to hit the spot
Pasta Loco, Bristol
Cousins Ben Harvey and Dominic Borel drew on their Italian heritage when setting up this buzzing restaurant on Bristol's Cotham Hill. All pasta is made daily on site, transformed into recipes such as pappardelle served with a rich wild boar ragu and simple and satisfying bucatini with cream, black pepper and gorgonzola. Keep an eye out later this year as the duo open a second location in the city dedicated to ravioli.
37a Cotham Hill, Bristol; pastaloco.co.uk
Padella is one of the best value dinners to be found in the capital – if you can get a table, that is. The tiny, no reservations restaurant attracts daily queues down Southwark Street, but its pasta, made fresh before your eyes, is more than worth the wait. Pull up a chair at the bar and indulge in a plate, or three, from the reassuringly succinct menu. While many of the dishes change daily, popular items such as the pici cacio e pepe are regular features.
6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ; padella.co
To Italian speakers, the name of this new restaurant in Old Street is self-explanatory: officina means workshop and 00 is the fine grade of flour used to make pasta. The factory-chic decor of the dining room is in keeping both with the location and the industrious spirit of the restaurant: it has not one but two open kitchens, the first for cooking and the second, in full view of the street, for kneading, rolling and shaping fresh pasta. As at Padella, the menu is short and alluring - but here the cacio e pepe is sealed inside a raviolo and deep fried to produce a luscious explosion of pepper and cheese. Cavatelli (a small, elongated pasta shell) with almost pesto and crisped coppa ham was another highlight.
156 Old Street, London EC1, officina00.co.uk
Caldesi in Campagna, Bray
Nestled in foodie mecca Bray is this unassuming Italian gem turning out top-notch food inspired by chef-patron Giancarlo Caldesi's Tuscan upbringing. After dining on dishes such as duck vincisgrassi (a lasagne-style dish) with mushroom and buffalo mozzarella or pappardelle with melt-in-the-mouth slow-cooked Tuscan beef and veal ragu, sign up to one of the cookery courses to try your hand at making it yourself. Here you can learn to make a range of different pasta types with seasonal sauces to match, or learn more about making gluten-free variations.
Old Mill Lane, Bray, Maidenhead, SL6 2BG; caldesi.com
Lina Stores, London
The pasta at this long-standing Italian delicatessen is so legendary that in spring 2018 it opened a separate restaurant just a short walk down the road from its origianl location, and will open a new branch at King’s Cross this November.
The institution continues to serve up fine Italian fare to in-the-know Londoners from the original central Soho location. It has been making fresh pasta on site, specialising in stuffed varieties, since it opened in 1944, with the recipes passed down from generation to generation. Sit outside and enjoy a plateful, or take a handful away to cook at home.
18 Brewer Street, London, W1F 0SH; linastores.co.uk
Lanterna Ristorante, Scarborough
Enigmatic chef-patron Giorgio Alessio has headed up local favourite La Lanterna Ristorante for more than two decades, even earning it the accolade of "the English temple of Italian cuisine" from Italian newspaper La Stampa. Drawing on his Piedmont origins, the menu is built around making the most out of the northern Italian region's best ingredients, particularly its prized white truffles.
33 Queen Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1HQ; lanterna-ristorante.co.uk
Hartnett Holder & Co, Hampshire
Angela Hartnett's love of cooking was instilled in her at a young age by her mother and Italian grandmother, and today she serves up a refined take on the country's cuisine at her restaurants across the UK. At this culinary destination in the New Forest, she serves up a relaxed, family-style approach to food focused around seasonal ingredients and local produce. Get the full experience and share a meal around the large communal table, centred in the heart of the working kitchen, or sign up to the cookery school to make your own pasta from scratch.
Image by Amy Murrell; Lime Wood, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7FZ; limewoodhotel.co.uk
Hailing from southern Italy, Francesco Mazzei has long championed Calabrian cuisine in the UK, seen across his restaurants in the capital including Sartoria and Fiume. Radici, just off Islington's Upper Street, is no exception. The name translates as 'roots', with this trattoria serving up traditional and hearty fare such as taglierini with fagioli – a comforting dish of pasta and beans – and seafood fettuccine.
30 Almeida Street, London, N1 1AD; radici.uk