First there were the Romans, who built a settlement on the Thames with a forum, an amphitheatre, and a humongous limestone wall. Later, Italian people came and went, to paint Westminster Bridge, introduce Londoners to ice cream, and make sure Little Italy had its own ornate Catholic church. By 1953, when a Milanese salesman called Pino Riservato fired up Soho’s first Gaggia coffee machine, Italy had been woven into the capital’s fabric.
These days, everyone knows that London’s full of exceptional Italian cooking. Along with the riverside restaurant in Hammersmith and the Michelin-starred one in Marylebone, there’s a lifetime’s worth of fantastic Italian food in Soho, Ealing, Peckham, Clapham, Vauxhall, Shoreditch, Bloomsbury, Islington, Clerkenwell and so many other neighbourhoods.
But with so many modern, famous spots to choose from, it’s easy to forget how London used to eat Italian food. Thankfully, the capital still has plenty of the cosy, candlelit rooms that dish out crisp, breaded cutlets, lumps of creamy, coffee-infused sponge, and mountains of spaghetti in deep red sauce. These restaurants are less fashionable now, but they still hold a special place in many hearts.Read More