Italian

Location: 

Il Baretto
43 Blandford Street W1U 7HF
London
United Kingdom

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Il Baretto (meaning a little bar in Italian) is a very nice Italian restaurant in Marylebone. It opened in 2009 and a few years ago had a refurbishment, and offers traditional and modern Italian dishes. You can also eat pizza at Il Barreto, which has been cooked in their open wood burning oven, and the pizza menu looked very appealing. The main chef is Luca Acquaviva.

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

La Polenteria
64 Old Compton Street W1D 4UQ
London
United Kingdom

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La Polenteria is an Italian restaurant located in Soho that serves a range of polenta based dishes and desserts. Polenta is mainly eaten in the North of Italy and essentially is cornmeal boiled into a porridge, which can be eaten directly or then baked, fried or grilled, changing the texture. The name polenta originates from ‘pul’ or ‘pulmentum’, an ancient Roman dish usually served with a primitive form of wheat flour. Initially when I thought of going to a restaurant that just serves polenta, I was very sceptical, as I thought there are only a few combinations and things you can do with polenta and to make this a base for a restaurant was unusual. However I was proved completely wrong, and the wide variety of dishes this restaurant offered really impressed me.

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Zeffarano
15 Lowndes Street SW1X 9EY
London
United Kingdom

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When people talk about the best Italian restaurants in London, Zafferano almost always comes up. A lot of people rank Zafferano in their top 3/5 Italian restaurants in London, and in 2009 Tatler ranked it the "Most Consistently Excellent Restaurant.”.

Zafferano opened in 1995 in Belgravia/ Knightsbridge and is located on a relatively quiet street. I have been to Zeffarano a few times over the years, but this was my first visit in the last four years.

During this latest visit, I had quite low expectations when I went there, as I thought it would be overpriced and not very good and very stuck up, being in Knightsbridge, but I was wrong, and I really enjoyed this visit.

Zafferano is quite a big restaurant, but because of the way they have divided the interior space into various dining areas, it feels intimate. There is also a bar where you can enjoy a cocktail, like aperol spritz, before your meal.

Maija rated: 

4.50

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Gustavino
Gustav Mahlerplein 16 1082 MA
Amsterdam
Netherlands

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Gustavino is an Italian restaurant in Amsterdam, in the office area, which was supposed to be Amsterdam’s answer to London’s Canary Wharf, but has not yet fully materialized. I came here for lunch and actually really liked it. The room was full at lunch, many people were taking advantage of their reasonably priced 2 course business lunch.

The room where Gustavino is located is very stylish, dark and it feels Italian, and also has seven-and-a-half meters high ceiling and a bar in the middle of the large room. It is busy and has a nice vibe with people chatting. My lunch colleagues thought it can sometimes get a bit loud, but I did not experience it.

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Osteria Francescana
Via Stella, 22, 41121
Modena
Italy

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Osteria Francescana is the 3rd best restaurant in the world according to the St Pellegrino top 100 restaurant in the world awards and has 3 Michelin stars. As I had already been to number 1 restaurant in the world (Noma) and number 2 (El Cellar de Can Roca), it was time to get my friends together to fly to Modena, Italy and go to Osteria Francescana.

It was surprisingly easy to book Osteria Francescana. I still remember the tricks I had to use to get into Noma and the 6 months wait for El Cellar de Can Roca, so I was pleasantly surprised I could book a table at Osteria Francescana 3 months before our meal. We could not get a table for Saturday night though, but managed to get a table for Friday night for the 7 of us.

Maija rated: 

4.50

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Location: 

Garibaldi
Kleine Hochstraße 4 60313 Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt
Germany

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My boyfriend’s friend Rolf had recommended Garibaldi restaurant in Frankfurt, and described it as a fish, meat and pasta restaurant. Garibaldi was exactly that – fish, meat and pasta restaurant. It was located on a street just off the main shopping street in Frankfurt and was a lively Italian restaurant, but sort of reminded me more of a New York Italian restaurant, as opposed to a European Italian restaurant.

The inside of the restaurant is medium sized with white table cloth tables and it was almost packed when we arrived, it seemed like a busy and a popular place. I saw most of the people eating either their pasta or their salads, and their salads were huge. The waiters seemed Italian and when we sat down they brought us some focaccia bread with baked-in tomatoes. The menu had salads, pastas, fish, meat and pizzas.

Maija rated: 

2.50

Location: 

Mio
Blaumana 15
Riga
Latvia

I have heard people say that Mio is the most romantic restaurant in Riga, Latvia. I can see why you would say that, as inside of the restaurant is decorated with lace, flowers, cute cushions and in pastel colours. When I was there however this sort of décor mainly attracted women, and my dinner buddy Petersons ended up being the only man in the whole restaurant. But they have put in a lot of effort into the décor, much more than an average Latvian restaurant and it feels homely, cosy and beautiful at the same time. The tables are however very close together, as the dining space is so small, and you may feel squeezed in. Also the open kitchen on one side of the room seems very small, and I was amazed how they could produce all the food there.

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

L’Anima Café
10 Appold Street EC2A 2AP
London
United Kingdom

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A lot of my colleagues think that L’Anima is one of the best Italian restaurants in London. L’Anima is located in the city, it is a very elegant restaurant where the main chef Francesco Mazzei serves his contemporary Italian food. L’Anima Café is a sister restaurant to L’Anima and it recently opened and serves equally delicious Italian food but more casual for half the price in a less formal environment. You don’t have to book L’Anima Café (but can, which is what I did) and the space is very big, equally bright as L’Anima with a deli selling delicious Italian food and a bar located on the premises as well, besides the restaurant.

Maija rated: 

4.00

Location: 

Tartufo
11 Cadogan Gardens SW3 2RJ
London
United Kingdom

Tartufo is a modern European restaurant with an Italian bias by Sloane Square, in Cadogan Gardens. I decided to go there as I saw their stand in the Taste of London festival in Regents Park and even though I did not try their food it looked really appetising, so I booked a table there for dinner on a Wednesday evening. I was also very surprised I had not heard about it before, but that is because this place is only a year old. My friend Rob also was telling me, before I went, that he really liked it.

 

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Portofino
Ausekla 7-1
Riga
Latvia

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Portofino is an Italian restaurant in the quiet centre area of Riga, Latvia. I came here on a very hot day, when the temperatures were hitting 33 degrees and so we sat outside in the nice outside area of Portofino. They also have a nice dining room inside with high ceilings.

Maija rated: 

3.50

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