Camden might not be as obvious a destination for Italian food as nearby Islington, or even Soho. But look beyond the bustle and chain-creep of Camden High Street and you’ll find some decent neighbourhood restaurants, delis and pasta joints. A wander into Chalk Farm or Primrose Hill will be well rewarded too. Here’s our guide to heading to NW1 for the Best Italian restaurants in Camden.
Italian dining is on the more casual end around Camden, and that’s no bad thing. Neighbourhood cafe-restaurant Casa Tua on Royal College Street also has a branch in King’s Cross. The cosy neighbourhood restaurant translates as “your home”, and was opened with the aim of giving Londoners a taste of Southern Italian home cooking. And the hours are relaxed too — lunch goes from 1pm to 5pm. You chose plates to share (6-8 between 2), or select from the light mains or pasta menu. Expect simple, flavoursome dishes including Caponatina Pugliese (aubergine stew), Polpette al Sugo (lamb meatballs), and pear and gorgonzola tortelloni. With mains priced around £10.00 – £17.00, it’s a great spot for lunch or a low-cost dinner. The drinks menu includes plenty of Italian wine and spritzes as well as soft drinks. If you’re there for lunch, pop into Casa Tua’s shop Delize to take home some Italian deli treats.
Finding plant-based Italian food is a pretty big challenge in most places, but not here. Purezza is the UK’s first plant-based pizzeria, which first opened in Brighton in 2018 and has become popular in Camden too. The restaurant also offers gluten free bases too, so is suitable for other dietary needs as well as vegan. During the day, it cost £18.00 for any three small plates, including vegan slices of truffle pizza and plant, margherita pizza, and plant-based versions of pepperoni and nduja. Other small plates include mac & cheese, dough balls, roasted potatoes, and caesar salad. There are a few different pizza and pasta mains on the evening menu, and desserts include gelato and cannoli, and Purezza serves cheap cocktails too — two for £12.00
Il Sugo is another welcoming neighbourhood Italian restaurant. It serves pizza, classic pasta dishes including penne arrabiata, spaghetti con polpette (spaghetti meatballs), and salmon linguine. Veggie and vegan options are a little limited but omnivores and pescatarians have plenty to choose from. Mains cost from £10.00 – £15.00, and there’s an Italian Tapas menu which is great for group meals.
One of the NW1 area’s hidden gems, Pesantissimo is a chic, contemporary Italian restaurant on Regent’s Park Road in Primrose Hill. Although it gets pretty busy on weekends with locals. As the website states, simplicity and freshness are key to authentic Italian cooking and the menu includes classic pizza, pasta and mains including pan fried sea bass, chicken milanese, and gorgonzola gnocchi. Food in this neighbourhood will set you back a bit more, but most mains are between £20.00 – £24.00, wine is around £8.50 by the glass.
La Collina is another neighbourhood Italian spot in Primrose Hill, which is a short walk from Camden Town or Chalk Farm tube stations. It’s worth dining here all year round but you can eat al fresco on the terrace during the summer. The menu is largely influenced by the Piedmont area of northern Italian, and includes dishes like aubergine parmigiana, seafood taglioni and mushroom and spinach risotto, with chocolate and affogato among the desert offerings. Price wise, it’s a little more expensive than Pesantissimo, but the portions are generous and the flavours are good.