Best Spots for an Italian Aperitivo in London

Words by
Izzy Schaw Miller

26th April 2024

If there's one thing we can learn from our Italian friends, it’s the importance of relishing good food and drink with loved ones. To give you a slice of Italian life this summer, if it does indeed arrive in London this year, Izzy Schaw Miller selects three ideal spots for an early evening aperitivo in the capital.

Italian Aperitivo London - A Aperitivo Platter
© Olga Mazyarkina / Getty

Italians take their eating habits seriously. No cappuccinos after breakfast, putting peas in a pesto pasta is a crime (once living with Italians I learnt the hard way) and contrary to typical British replicas, pasta Bolognese style (al Ragù) must be served with tagliatelle rather than spaghetti. 

As natives to the bel paese go by the motto of “lavorare per vivere e non vivere per lavorare“ which translates as working to live rather than living to work, one ritual diligently obeyed is spending time with loved ones once the working day has finished. As the sun sets in Italy, friends and family meet to enjoy a drink and light bite before dinner time, reflecting on their days and enjoying the buzz of the piazzas and bars always bursting with soul, chatter and a sense of a good time being had. 

It’s an enviable way of life, but luckily enough there are several bars and eateries here in London to help us let our hair down in Italian style. Whether you want to work up your appetite and dip into arancini or bruschetta with an aperol in hand, or go all out and feast the evening away, these spots have you covered. Buon appetito!

Best Italian Aperitivo London - Il Gattopardo
Aperitivo delights

Il Gattopardo 

Sometimes any old backdrop will do when we want to see our loved ones, we’re just happy to see them. But other times an all-out glitzy affair that immerses you in a world of opulence and decadence wouldn’t go amiss. For that I have just the place, or should I say palace. Il Gattopardo, from the restaurant family behind the likes of Coya and Amazonico, wants guests to live in a world of hedonism associated with la dolce vita period of 1960s Italy.

To marvel in the joys of an aperitivo, let the friendly hosts escort you through the magnificent dining room, adorned in plush seating, chic wooden surfaces and a grand statement crudo bar. Once taken through, you can enter the discreet garden terrace that with wall-winding trees and a retractable roof is a wonder in its own right. 

In true Italian fashion you won’t be left hungry, as the options for what to eat are endless, but starting with the truffle or caviar pizzette, pungent balls of sausage arancini and one of three takes on the classic Spritz, will go down a treat. (To hear my full experience of Il Gattopardo read here).

27 Albemarle St, London, W1S 4HZ

Best Italian Aperitivo London - Il Maremmano aperitivo London
Charming interiors

Il Maremmano

If you’re looking for an authentic and intimate aperitivo experience, with delectable small plates and handpicked regional Italian wines to boot, Il Maremmano won’t disappoint. A neighbourhood spot in Tulse Hill, as soon as one foot is in the door you soak in the warm, eclectic atmosphere set by cosy red interiors and vintage Italian artwork. 

It may be a particularly freezing April right now, but with summer firmly on its way there is a small garden at the back where you can go full swing mediterranean and watch the sun wind down with you as you dip into a Taglieri board. Cocktails are expertly made, think Grappa Sour, Spicy Negroni or alcohol free Nine Elms, with tonic, ginger beer and soda. 

While it’s fundamentally a bar, the food quickly makes it no secret the creators are familiar with the kitchen, and as a self-named ‘apericena’ bar (a new Italian concept blending aperitivo and dinner) you might find yourself staying the whole evening. For those who are more peckish, the wild boar dish is a slow-cooked pot of heaven.

19 Tulse Hill, London SW2 2TH

Best Italian Aperitivo London - Italian aperitivo Pizza Berberè
Saluti da Bologna aperitivo


If the sound of an Italian aperitivo gets you dreaming of faultlessly-baked dough oozing with cheese, tomato and your favourite toppings, then perhaps Berberè, brought straight from Italy, is calling your name. Calabrian brothers Salvatore and Matteo Aloe expanded Berberè’s 17 branches across their home country to none other than Kentish Town and Clapham, meaning whichever side of the river you find yourself on you can set your tastebuds alight with some of the best pizza in town. 

An aperitivo means that of course you must start with a Spritz and antipasti, which Berberè knows all too well, serving signature ‘montanarini’ deep-fried dough balls topped with choices ranging from honey and ricotta to nduja, burrata and basil. To add to the fun, the brothers have launched a new series of specialty pizzas to celebrate some of the most revered cities in Italy. 

Bologna, a food capital of the already food-centric country, is top of the list, and this new pizza, with mozzarella, Asiago cheese and Mortadella slices bedded on thick smashed potatoes and crispy dough is a serious affair. Next in line will come ‘Saluti da Rimini’, which the restaurant says will be reminiscent of local fish markets and warm evenings in the coastal town, and ‘Saluti da Florence’ combining Tuscan staples of cavolo nero and ribollita. 

300 Kentish Town Road, London, NW5 2TG OR 67 Venn St, London, SW4 0BD