Soho has always had strong links with Italy, once being a hub for the Italian community in London. It’s no surprise then that the area is home to some fantastic Italian restaurants and cafés.
First opened in Hamburg, Vapiano has become a worldwide Italian fast food franchise. You order pizza, pasta or salads from individual stations inside the restaurant and watch the food being prepared right in front you before taking a seat at one of their communal tables. It may be a casual set up but all the pasta, pizza dough and sauces are made in-house and you can be sure that every dish is made just the way you want it – ideal for a quick meal.
Buffalo mozzarella is the star of the show at Obicà – they source it directly from Campania and have six different varieties on the menu plus both bite-size and half-kilo servings. The cheeses go excellently with the small plates of cured meats and antipasti but you can also get it on top of a pizza, made the authentic Naples way with stone-ground flour and slow rising dough.
When you get a late night (or early morning) craving for a pizza, panini or coffee, head to Bar Italia because it’s probably still open. This Soho institution has been standing since 1949 and not much has changed since then, including the floor, the formica and the Gaggia espresso machine. You won’t find many places more authentically Italian than Bar Italia, and as well as serving some of the best coffee in town, it’s also the perfect place to people watch as you never know who might pass through.
Despite being in one of London’s busiest neighbourhoods, Bocca di Lupo feels like a traditional Italian trattoria. All the regions of Italy are celebrated on the menu, be it confit tuna from Sardinia, fried courgette flowers from Rome or bone-in sirloin from Tuscany, and the same goes for the wine list. Be sure to leave room for dessert as they make some of the finest gelato in town at sister site Gelupo.
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