Italian cuisine has been popular in the UK since the 1950s, with the advent of cheap, hearty restaurants launched by second and third generation Italian families that had settled in Britain.
Since then, Italian food has gone from strength to strength, beginning a life-long love affair with carbs and delicious ingredients. From classic trattorias to modern pizzerias and fine dining, you can find an Italian eatery on almost every corner the length and breadth of the UK.
But, with so many options to choose from, how do you separate the good from the bad? Here, we’ve found five of the best Italian restaurants in the UK that you need to try.
Based in Canary Wharf, London’s financial district, this modern restaurant effortlessly combines traditional Italian ingredients with chic, contemporary execution.
Headed by Antonio Calo, originally hailing from Apulia in Southern Italy, Bella Cosa focuses on fresh, flavoursome cuisine producing elevated yet authentic Italian dishes. Plus, Antonio is a member of the Federation of Italian Cooks and the Italian Professional Chef Association, certifying his expertise.
Menu highlights include the octopus carpaccio, the pan fried veal chops, and the delicious rum baba.
This contemporary Italian restaurant located in the heart of Belfast showcases both fantastic Mediterranean cooking and the best local produce available.
With traditional Venetian ‘cicchetti’ on offer, otherwise known as small nibbles to you and I, as well as fine dining and classic Italian wines, Coppi produces fresh, tasty food at affordable prices.
Menu highlights include the roast vegetable crostata, the duck pizza, and the amaretto panna cotta.
This popular restaurant, found in the G&V hotel in the heart of the historic Old Town, is brought to us by award winning chef Andrew McQueen.
Now a firmly established focal point of foodie culture in Scotland’s capital, this restaurant elevates traditional Italian cooking to the level of modern fine dining, instilling its dishes with passion and expertise whilst using the freshest ingredients.
Menu highlights include sea trout, sourdough bruschetta, and milk sorbet.
This cosy restaurant in Bath specialises in small plates, or “Piattino”, allowing you to fill your boots with lots of different dishes and tastes.
Combining the best quality produce with good wine and fantastic live music, you can take a trip through the different regions of Italy, sampling both traditional dishes and modern takes on the classics. Think Italy meets tapas, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect!
Menu highlights include truffle salami, buffalo mozzarella, and the chocolate torte served with salted caramel ice cream.
This award-winning restaurant brought to us by chef-patron Giorgio Alessio is a Yorkshire institution and has stood on the same site for almost 40 years.
Described by Italian daily newspaper La Stampa as ‘the English temple of Italian cuisine’, you won’t find your bog-standard classics here. Instead, Lanterna specialises in more refined dishes, using traditional, authentic recipes from Giorgio’s native Piedmont in Northern Italy where autumnal flavours rule year round.
Menu highlights include the wide range of truffle dishes, the veal pasta, and handmade meringue to finish.