The Hungry Girl's Guide to London: Italian Edition

Warning: look away if you are hungry. London is a melting pot for global cuisines, and one that I've particularly been enjoying lately is Italian food. So, like a guardian angel of carbs, here I am to share my knowledge of some of the best Italian food London has to offer. No need to thank me.
Photo via Timeout
1. Franco Manca

Franco Manca has long been my go-to for amazing pizza and delicious homemade tiramisu. They keep their menu simple to ensure that everything is perfected, all the way down to the sourdough they use for their bases. I'm not usually a crust kinda gal, but trust me, you'll want to devour the entire thing. Franco Manca recently added a new vegetarian pizza to their menus that includes potato as a topping. Two words: game changer. Oh, and did I mention that nothing will set you back more than £8?

2. Mercato Metropolitano 

I am eternally saddened that I did not discover this market sooner, but boy am I glad I did. Situated between Elephant and Castle and Borough on the site of an old paper factory, this huge Italian market is open every single day and offers a variety of dishes. My honourable mentions include sage butter gnocchi from Pasta Lab, incredible gelato from Bandiani (seriously, it's the best in London. Try the salted caramel flavour if they haven't sold out), and aubergine arancine from Little Sicily. There are also a few stands selling other world cuisines if Italian doesn't float your boat, as well as several bars and Backyard Cinema if you fancy making a day of it. Although the market is open daily I would recommend visiting over the weekend for the bustling atmosphere. 

3. Fed By Water

If you are vegan or have a predominantly plant-based diet then you'll love this next Dalston based recommendation. Everything on Fed By Water's menu is entirely dairy and meat free, but this does not mean that their options are limited. Of the extensive menu I would recommend their famous carbonara or the "meat feast" calzone. Both are deliciously moreish and taste just like the real deal. This spot is a little pricier than my other recommendations, but definitely worth the splurge in my opinion. 

4. Pizza Pilgrims

Pizza Pilgrims have several branches dotted around London, but my favourite is the Shoreditch location for its proximity to several amazing bars. I'd say they are pretty similar to Franco Manca but with a slightly larger menu. They do the best rosemary and mozzarella garlic bread and their dessert Nutella calzone looks absolutely insane. I believe that they are now on Deliveroo as well, so perfect if you fancy a night in. 

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5. Padella

I've definitely saved the best until last, although unfortunately I do not have a photo to accompany this recommendation since the lighting was not Insta-worthy enough for my liking. You'll just have to take my word for it. Padella change their menu on a daily basis but I have never once been disappointed. They offer the ultimate comfort food on smallish plates (I'd suggest at least three between two), with every single one thoroughly perfected to produce a symphony of flavours. Every dish is eminently cheap but they certainly do not scrimp on quality. You have to try Padella's signature dish, the pici cacio e pepe, for a taste of creamy goodness. When I visited with my flatmate we sampled three dishes with a side of sourdough bread and olive oil, as well as a glass of wine each, and the bill only came to around £30 for the two of us. Unfortunately you cannot book in advance so Padella operate via a queueing system, although you have to be pretty strategic and arrive off-peak if you want to avoid a two hour wait. For dinner I would suggest arriving at 5pm when they reopen for the evening to be seated more or less immediately. Believe me, there's a reason they are so popular. 

What's your favourite Italian restaurant in London?

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