If you’re looking for homecooked, handmade and delicious pasta in Fitzrovia, London, Pastificio Al Dente is your new go-to Italian restaurant!
In these cold winter days, I welcome anything comforting and homely. And if there’s one food that rocks when you’re comfort eating, it’s gotta be pasta. Carbonara, tortelli, fusilli…the list goes on.
Last week was invited by awesome foodie and blogger Nicola (aka East London Girl) to try out Italian restaurant Pastificio Al Dente, in London’s Fitzrovia area. And this pasta-gobbling girl was impressed.
*Complimentary meal for the purpose of reviewing*
Founded by friends who simply wanted to share the joy of lovingly cooked pasta dishes, Pastificio Al Dente have their own on-site ‘pasta laboratory’, where all their pasta is made by hand daily. Hello, freshness!
Seating is quite limited in the restaurant, and this combined with the subtle, classic Italian-style décor and low lighting makes it feel really intimate and cosy – especially on a rainy, windy London evening.
We perched around the long, high table in the centre of the small restaurant – perfect for small groups to enjoy a meal together. Cutlery and water glasses were found in some adorable little drawers in the table, with the lack of ‘set up’ adding to the casual feel of the restaurant.
When it comes to starters, Italians are the bosses. Because I sure as hell can’t say no to a crispy bruschetta with fresh, juicy tomatoes, sprinkled with a touch of basil and a drizzle of balsamic. And that’s just how this spot does ’em.
Paired with a plate of sliced meats and a big, creamy bubble of buffalo mozzarella, Pastificio Al Dente pretty much already had me before the mains even arrived at the table.
Don’t worry – they’re rather special too.
As we were having somewhat of a tasting menu, regular-portion-size dishes were brought to the table and devoured family-style. I was pretty impressed with the amount of pasta per dish – just enough to satisfy, without feeling like you’d basically eaten Milan’s entire food supply.
The star dish of the night for me was the Spaghetti alla Carbonara (£6.95) – potentially one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten my way around Rome…). The sauce was rich, creamy and plentiful; but the real winner was the pasta itself. Long, chunky spaghetti tendrils that had Pastificio ‘Al Dente’ truly living up to the name. A sprinkling of guanciale (an Italian cured meat, prepared from pork cheek or jowl) on top gave the first bites dish a slightly salty, meaty hit.
The Green Tortelli (£8.95) was also a bit of a revelation. I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms, and these are basically little mushroom parcels with spinach, ricotta cheese and truffles. Surprisingly though, I actually quite enjoyed these filled pasta bites – and I think if you ARE a mushroom fan, you’ll rate them highly.
There were honestly few negatives to be found with the menu – I probably wouldn’t choose the Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (£6.50) as a dish though, as I found the pepper a bit overpowering for my personal tastes.
Finally, we tucked into dessert, and I decided I could probably *almost* give up every other dessert if I could eat this Cannoli (£4.50) every day. The ricotta filling was icing-sweet, encased in a crisp pastry and topped with a sprinkling of chocolate.
If you don’t have time to sit down (or there’s no space!), Pastificio Al Dente also offer a takeaway menu, starting at £1.80 per 100g. Great for a working lunch if you’re in the Fitzrovia or east Bloomsbury area.
With prices ranging from £5.50 to £8.95, Pastificio Al Dente definitely offers an affordable treat, served up in intimate surroundings. Food that tastes like it’s straight out of Nonna’s kitchen and a dining room that feels like you’re eating in a family home – this is one Italian restaurant in central London that’s certainly sure to fill your belly and warm your heart.
Pastificio Al Dente
51 Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1TG
Nearest Tube: Goodge St
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 11am-11pm