From ravioli to rigatoni, and tagliatelle to tortellini, you can trust that London’s seasoned pasta makers have perfected every shape of the famed Italian food. Cooked in hearty and rich ragùs or doused in plenty of olive oil, lemon and pepper, no two pasta dishes are the same and World Pasta Day on 25 October 2023 provides the perfect opportunity for you to get out there and sample the best portions on offer. Here are the best pasta restaurants in London to book now.
If you’re looking for speedy pasta dishes with a side of fun, head to Stevie Parle’s Pastaio on Soho’s Ganton Street. Renowned for its upbeat playlist, bright and energetic interiors and modest prices, enjoy a range of seasonally-changing sharing fresh pasta plates, alongside a selection of prosecco slushies, house-made limoncellos and vegan wines. Menu highlights include tagliatelle eight-hour beef and Ukrainian porcini bolognese, classic carbonara with mezze maniche, and cuttlefish ragu made with red wine, rosemary and paccheri. Plus, gluten-free penne is available upon request and the vegan menu – think wild mushroom and olive oil casarecce, and aglio e olio linguine with new season purple garlic – doesn’t disappoint either.
19 Ganton Street, Carnaby, W1F 9BN, visit pastaio.co.uk
Luca opened its doors in November 2016 as the second restaurant from Daniel Willis, Johnny Smith and Isaac McHale: the trio behind the multi-award-winning and Michelin-starred The Clove Club in Shoreditch. Luca soon followed its sister’s star-studded success and was awarded its first Michelin star earlier this year, with a menu by Robert Chambers (formerly of The Square, Locanda Locatelli and The Ledbury) celebrating modern Italian cuisine.
The food at Luca observes the traditions of Italian cooking, but bends the rules with British twists, delivering a menu of modern classics. Choose from a number of fresh pasta dishes, such as Luca’s famed mezzi paccheri with pork sausage ragù and anchovy while Luca’s pasta production chef, Andreea, makes the day’s fresh pasta in the restaurant’s dedicated pasta room. Grab a seat on the fire-lit terrace for the ultimate al fresco dining experience.
88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH, visit luca.restaurant
Padella, across London
Whether you find yourself in the streets of Shoreditch or the vibrant neighbourhood of Borough, Padella has been a guaranteed crowd-pleaser since its debut in 2016. Created by Tim Siadatan and Jordan Freida, the now-cult pasta eatery Padella catalysed London’s fresh pasta revolution and is famous for its mouthwatering menu (and, pre-virtual queuing, long waiting lines).
Plates include the much-loved pici cacio e pepe and pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu, alongside seasonal specials of pumpkin ravioli with ricotta and rich sage butter, and flavour-packed fettuccine with wild mushrooms. Plus, diners at Padella’s Shoreditch outpost can also get a Padella negroni, created by Mr Lyan Studio, for £2 with every plate of pasta from 5-6.30pm. Sounds like the start of a great night out to us…
For the committed carb lover, there’s only one place better than a pasta restaurant: a daytime bakery that transforms into a pasta restaurant by night. Every evening from Wednesday to Saturday, the team of skilled chefs at the Hackney outpost of Pophams partake in the daily ritual of hand-shaping hundreds of individual pieces of pasta, taking inspiration from traditional Italian flavours and methods while offering an irreverent approach to traditional recipes. The menu changes regularly to reflect seasonality, with current dishes including cappellacci dei briganti with girolles, trompette de la mort and horseradish, and agnolotti del plin with pork shoulder, white peach and parsley.
197 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ, visit pophamsbakery.com
Since its inception in 2010, Trullo has become a cherished cornerstone of Islington, serving a British take on Italian cuisine in simple, white-tablecloth surroundings. Under the culinary direction of chef-owner Conor Gadd and co-founders Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, the restaurant has earned its stripes as one of London's most revered dining establishments while remaining rooted in simplicity and seasonality. Specialising in antipasti, primi (including handmade pasta), and a selection of oven and grill dishes, Trullo’s most notable pasta plates come in the form of pappardelle with a rich beef shin ragu, fettuccine with Scottish girolles, garlic and parmesan, and tagliarini with chopped St Austell mussels and Cobble Lane nduja butter.
300-302 St Paul's Road, N1 2LH, visit trullorestaurant.com
45 Jermyn St, St James
For those looking to celebrate World Pasta Day with a bit of panache, this contemporary, orange-hued brasserie in the heart of St James’s has created lobster spaghetti for two, with artichokes and delicate lemon verbena leaves wheeled out to be flambéed tableside. Found on the dinner menu only, the lobster spaghetti is accompanied by other classically elegant dishes, such as Dover sole à la meunière, beef Wellington (also designed to share), and a saddleback pork ragout gnocchi with apple and celeriac, for those who prefer potato to pasta.
45 Jermyn Street, St. James's, SW1Y 6DN, visit 45jermynst.com
Theo Randall at the InterContinental, Mayfair
For fine dining pasta, your best bet is Theo Randall at the InterContinental on Park Lane. The white-linen dining room serves as an opulent environment for Randall’s menus, which feature plates of ravioli di erbette with Swiss chard, rocket and ricotta, and cappelletti di vitello stuffed with slow-cooked veal and pancetta, with porcini mushrooms and parmesan.
For an expert’s guide of the famed food, book Theo Randall’s seasonal masterclass on the 20 October in celebration of World Pasta Day. Using the finest ingredients, Randall will pass on the expert tips he has garnered over 20 years of experience in the best kitchens around the world. Pupils can enjoy a glass of prosecco and taste his creations before sitting down to a four-course dinner with wine pairings guided by the restaurent's sommelier.
One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY, visit theorandall.com
Fancy trying something new? Head to Soho’s newest luxe Italian spot, Bocconcino, on Great Marlborough Street. With trays of fresh pasta handmade daily on site, tuck into plates of indulgent tagliatelle with black truffle, tagliolini with pistachio pesto, red Sicilian prawns, and tagliatelle with wild boar ragù in low-lit, red-brick surrounds. Dishes (excluding lobster and sea bass pastas) are available as both mains and as cicchetti – Venetian small plates designed for sharing – perfect for those struggling to choose just one.
59 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7JY, visit bocconcinorestaurant.co.uk
Get a taste of la dolce vita at Cicchetti by San Carlo, which brings a touch of Venetian bácaro culture to the capital in the form of colourful sharing plates perfect for lunch, dinner and everything in between. Situated in Knightsbridge, opposite Harrods on Hans Road, the restaurant’s opulent decor is inspired by classical Venetian architecture, featuring polished wood and brass fittings that nod to the luxury yachts synonymous with the Floating City, while a large striking mural takes centre stage in the dining room.
Alongside stuzzichini (nibbles) — including Prosciutto San Daniele with gnocco fritto and burrata with Parma ham and black truffle — signature mains include truffle and pecorino ravioli. Made fresh to order, the soft ravioli parcels are filled with buttery pecorino and nutty truffle, covered in a comforting creamy suave and topped with a generous serving of truffle shavings.
6 Hans Road, SW3 1RX, visit sancarlocicchetti.co.uk
Set across three floors of a Victorian townhouse on Charlotte Street, Norma’s golden-hued interiors and decadent dining menu don’t disappoint. Inspired by the culinary fare of Sicily, head chef Giovann Attard likes to tackle traditional Italian dishes from a fresh angle by intertwining Moorish and North African influences into his cooking. The seasonal menus change regularly, but highlights of the current offering include delica pumpkin arancina, black tagliolini with monkfish, squid and San Marzano tomatoes, and fusilli with lamb ragu, cumin, mint and pecorino.
For World Pasta Day on 25 October, Norma is offering an exclusive menu that showcases five special pasta dishes. Available for one day only as dine-in or takeaway, and priced at £28 each, pick from mezze maniche alla carbonara, lasagne alla bolognese, strozzapreti al pesto trapanese, pappardelle with slow-cooked beef cheek, pecorino, autumn truffle and spaghetti redi prawn amatriciana. Pick your favourite or order a couple to celebrate World Pasta Day in the best way.
8 Charlotte Street, W1T 2LS, visit normalondon.com