There’s something undeniably cool about the Italians. When we aren’t coveting their effortlessly chic style, year-round tans or unrivalled cultural landmarks — we’re craving their national foods.
With this in mind, we’ve asked a couple of our Italian friends in the capital to give us their top recommendations on where to head for the most authentic Italian taste and style in London.
For your morning macchiato…
Paulo de Tarso, Co-Founder of the award-winning Italian restaurant Margot, knows a thing or two about where to source the most authentic tastes of Italy. And, in his opinion, there is nowhere better than Soho’s Bar Italia for a proper cup of coffee (his is a macchiato, if you’re buying).
“After you’ve been there a few times, they will not only remember your name — but exactly how you like your coffee,” he says.
Alternatively, one of our favourite Italian designers, Luca Faloni, recommends Princi for an unbeatable morning coffee. A consistent favourite with Instagrammers, this Milanese bakery and pizzeria is fitted throughout with Italian minimalist styling. “I also love this place for casual dining on the go,” says Luca.
For an unbeatable bowl of gelato…
With the summer weather making its joyous return (not a moment too soon), the season of sunny overindulgence is well and truly upon us. And, there can be no doubt that nobody does ice cream quite as well as the Italians. If you find yourself in need of some sugary icy sustenance, then Paulo naturally recommends Margot for a seriously delicious dessert.
He will also allow that La Gelatiera is incredibly good. “They bring a true craftsmanship of ingredients — it’s a science and an art art — and they get it just right,” he says.
For an incomparable Taglioni...
Of course, this list would not be complete without a nod to the incredible food at Margot restaurant. Calling on his heritage, Paulo’s menu revolves around classic Italian cuisine with a focus on quality, seasonal ingredients, and draws inspiration from Italy’s diverse regions.
A special mention must be given to the Tagliolini con gamberi rossi Siciliani. Close your eyes and you’ll be convinced that you’ve been transported from the hubbub of Covent Garden — straight to the heart of the Eternal City.
For a perfectly-mixed Negroni…
The king amongst all quintessentially Italian cocktails, there are few occasions we can call to mind which wouldn’t be improved by a Negroni. And, if you’re looking for an expert recommendation, Paulo’s top choice is the Connaught Bar, which he describes as a ”perfect setting for cocktails — where they make an excellent Negroni.”
“The bar has been beautifully designed by my old friend David Collins, and they have the best mixologists in London,” he says, “the setting takes you to another world where the conversation flows over Negronis and candlelit tables.”
Alternatively, Luca puts in a good word for Bar Termini in Soho, a typically Italian haunt which offers premium espresso as well as cocktails. The interiors are distinctly European — featuring a bar with banquettes and bare brickwork and, according to Luca, their Negronis are not to be missed.
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