Rating: ★★★★★

Address: 6 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NW

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7836 8448


One, two, three and four – that’s right, we love these “bacaros” (Italian wine bars) so much that Russell Norman and Richard Beatty opened four of them around Covent Garden and Soho in just two years. First, it was Polpo in October 2009, followed by Polpetto in August 2010 and Spuntino in March 2011, and lastly Da Polpo in June 2011.

Da Polpo and their sister restaurants serve Venetian-style “tapas”, i.e. small plates that are to be shared. While the rustic interior of the restaurants resembles American Lower East Side eateries, the Northern Italian food they serve is incredibly authentic!

The restaurants boast the fact that they are furnished with “reclaimed materials”, which include salvaged tin ceiling from New York, church pews and chemistry-lab chairs, and explains why I found the seating so uncomfortable. Being trendy comes at a price!

Da Polpo has a good selection of pizzettes, meatballs and salads on its menu, and the staff are all young, hip and reliable.

Just a few examples of the “tapas” they serve:

  • Arancini – Beautifully deep-fried but not oily, the arancini is crispy on the outside and suitably moist on the inside.
  • Classic beef & pork meatballs – Juicy and well-seasoned, the meatballs are served in a rich tomato sauce.
  • Chicory, pear & taleggio salad – Done like how a good, homely Italian salad should be!
  • Tiramisù pot – Well-made, creamy tiramisu served in a chunky glass.

I have one tip for you, if you hate the queue as much as I do: Da Polpo takes reservations from noon to 6pm everyday, but not for dinner, and it is the same for Polpo. Spuntino doesn’t take reservations at all, but fortunately, you could make reservations at Polpetto for both lunch and dinner.

If you consider yourself a trendy person or would like to appear to be so, be sure to visit one of these restaurants soon!