Burro e Salvia
If Italian is your thing and you've a penchant for the pasta, then a pilgrimage to this place is in order. At London's first artisan pastificio their friendly and knowledgeable staff make the good stuff from scratch. Their lunch and dinner menu changes daily: we had the tajarin with luganica fennel sausage ragu which happily reminded us why pasta is better left to the Italians. You can buy the pasta to take it home if you want, along with other Italian specialities and wines. Lunch is served daily 12pm-3pm and dinner (Thurs to Sat) from 6pm-9pm.
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Mele e Pere
The idea behind this place was to create the vibe of a family-run trattoria found in Northern Italy. And, whilst we don't have that much evidence to compare to, we reckon they've done a pretty fine job. Serving up Italian food, sharing plates and homemade vermouth in a warm, well-lit basement, this place is a good bet for a special meal or just grabbing some cocktails after work. The decor is full of subtle, tasteful nods to Italy and adds a nice bit of authenticity. We'd recommend taking a seat at their brass vermouth counter where an array of exotic ingredients sit in front of you and ordering yourself one of their classic Negronis (or go rogue and choose your own combos). The menu is full of pasta, meat and fish - and the Deep Fried Squid is certainly our pick of it. It's not a cheap place but this is Soho after all - and the atmosphere alone means it's worth shelling out a little extra.
If you're looking for somewhere to really impress out of towners, this contemporary Italian eatery will steal the show every time. Pairing old wine with modern House beats, Bernardi's creates a fine-dining experience void of the usual pretentiousness. Whether it's lunch, cicchetti, dinner or evening cocktails in the basement bar you're after, Bernardi's will always be the hostess with the mostess. Negronis clearly mark their territory on the drinks menu, offering four different combinations including the curiously tasting Il Baleno - Elephant gin stirred with Regal Rogue Bianco, Suze & Lavender bitters. Just like their extensive global wine selection, this restaurant is only going to get better with age.
This husband and wife-run deli is dangerous - it's all too easy to get carried away inside and walk out with a very heavy bag, and a very light wallet. Their cheese and cured meats are all top notch, as well as their olives and sauces. If you're cooking dinner for an Italian who knows their stuff, better pick up the ingredients here. Some of the items are a little on the pricey side, but that's almost standard for swish delis. They do homemade to-go lunches and dinners too, which are always hella good.
This Venetian place in Covent Garden is a real cosy, atmospheric spot to indulge in some shared plates and tasty cocktails. Alongside selling Italian pastas, olive oil and wines, the food on offer is simple and authentic. We sampled the Prosciutto Bruschetta with goat cheese and fig butter and it was a real treat. And if you're in the mood for sharing, the Salumi Board is pricey but full of smokey succulent meats. As for drinks, with vintage posters and bottles of vino adorning the walls, vermouth and campari is certainly the order of the day here. Our Negroni Sbagliato (Prosecco Campari and Martini Rosso) was just what we were after. A wise choice if you're after an intimate drink or a snack before the theatre.