Whether it’s rigatoni or risotto, Italian cuisine is a culinary delight. So, when City newcomer Piazza Italiana invited us to try its menu on a warm evening in May, we knew we couldn’t say no.
You may know the building. Piazza Italiana is housed in the former British Linen Bank on Threadneedle Street in the heart of the City.
The year-old Italian restaurant has been thoughtfully designed in-keeping with the building’s impressive architecture. It’s chic and unpretentious decor frames the soaring ceilings and stone walls beautifully.
Despite its grandeur, Piazza Italiana is very inviting. The menu is impressive with authentic and seasonal ingredients, and the waiters are warm and welcoming. We immediately felt relaxed and ready to order.
With funk music playing gently in the background, we were shown to our small marble table surrounded by dried pampas branches in the main room, which came with breathtaking views of the ceilings and just adjacent to one of the large private dining rooms.
Within minutes, we were offered a glass of something fizzy to welcome us as we made ourselves comfortable. Two glasses of Italian Ferrari Trento Brut Maximum were placed in our hands. The very sparkling light prosecco had been fermenting for three years and used only Chardonnay grapes from vineyards in the dolomite mountains. The bubbly was very light and smooth and complemented the crackers with herby whipped butter, pesto dip and a tapenade that followed.
After much deliberation (we wanted to try everything) and discussion with our waiter, we decided on the carpaccio di branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) with olive oil and lemon sauce. The sea bass was light but had a meaty bite and was a fresh and flavoursome way to begin our evening.
The wine list is extensive and hard to navigate. We originally asked for a glass of the Italian Savingon Blanc to accompany the starter, but we were kindly advised to try a glass of the Sicilian white, La Segreta Il Bianco, which was the right decision. The dry, white was crisp and didn’t overwhelm the palate. A blend of different grapes, the wine was made for sea bass carpaccio. We will be drinking that in the sun again soon.
Torn between two options for the main event, we chose the polpo grigliato (slow-cooked octopus) with a creamy leek ragout and the ravioli al granchio reale (crab meat ravioli) in a lobster-tomato sauce.
Both dishes were full-flavoured and the ingredients married well on the plate. The slices of octopus were cooked to perfection and partnered well with the thick, warming leek sauce. We added a few sides including a plate of fluffy chips and crunchy asparagus to complete the meal.
One of the more expensive dishes on the menu, the ravioli was already held in high expectations, but it didn’t disappoint. The pillows of flakey crab covered in rich tomato sauce were heavenly and we would highly recommend ordering this option.
As the Friday evening progressed, tables filled and a couple took to a small stage to serenade us with acoustic covers. A foot tapping version of Drake’s One Dance shouldn’t have worked in the surroundings, but it did. We were feeling very relaxed in such an exquisite setting.
We finished off the evening with a recommended plate of the creamy tiramisu and coffee ice cream with a small glass of the “Schweizer” Moscato Rosa. We would come for this dish alone if we could.
If you’re looking for thoughtful fine dining in a beautiful, welcoming environment, look no further than Piazza Italiana.
38 Threadneedle Street EC2R 8AY