I found the restaurant a total disappointment, all the way from the kitsch decor down to the food. The tables are fast food-like and very close one to the other, there are plastic menus instead of table clothes, and the staff is rather unfriendly, other than a man - the owner, I suppose - who walks around the tables folkloristically saying 'grazie!' and 'prego signori'! The pizza dough is tasteless and 'biscuit-like', in my opinion, and the toppings are pretty low quality. The pasta I had was also below average. Overall, it felt very much like home-made food, not restaurant food, and the few 'complementary' slices of bread that are served with olives and supermarket butter as soon as a customer sits down are not enough. I am an Italian expat, so I may be more a little bit choosy, but there definitely are much better restaurants in London for the same prices.
Very nice dinner, very friendly service. A cosy and authentic restaurant!
The O Sole Mio restaurant was located about one half block from my hotel. I ate there four of the five nights I stayed in London; the food, wine and service were excellent. I've eaten Italian food about everywhere to include northern Italy, and I would rate this restaurant right up at there with the best. I lived and worked in Europe for 12 years.....so I know good Italian food. Its hard to find a good Italian restaurant in the USA unless you live near a large city. I will definitely revisit the restaurant on my next trip to London.
O Sole Mio is unpretentious, friendly, fairly cheap and really good. The person who wrote expecting 'fine dining' might have guessed they weren't going to be offered the trappings of minimalist decor, linen tablecloths etc etc by looking at the outside of the restaurant. They could try Uno (corner of Warwick Way) which has white walls, no Pirelli posters and serves similar food in smaller portions at a slightly higher cost. Nothing wrong with this place either but it's that bit more 'London', and a bit less Italian.
We live locally, and last night we decided to try this place for a special family dinner. What a mistake! Perhaps we should have realised when we first arrived: bare tables, laminated menus acting as place mats and Pirelli calendar girl reprints as wall decorations do not suggest fine dining!
The waiters were all confused and had questionable English. Our main waiter was clearly aiming at lovable, eccentric Italian, but only managed a terrifying combination of insanity and incompetence, unable to produce our drinks order correctly, even though he wrote it down, and dropping bread rolls all over the floor.
As for the food, the starters were disappointing: low point a watery Minestrone; high point an undistinguished spinach salad. At least ten minutes were taken up trying to identify the main courses, our waiter apparently unable to tell the difference between lasagne and cannelloni, although to be fair, they did look worryingly similar. The oven baked dishes were all so drowning in tepid, runny bechamel sauce that the lasagne layers and cannelloni tubes were lost. We might not have minded if the dishes had been bursting with flavour - but they weren't. The sausage pizza was large, but sadly lacking in sausage, so that even our 'hungriest man in the world' couldn't be bothered to finish it. We passed on the pudding, and bought ice cream on the way home.
For a much nicer evening pick any other restaurant in Churton Street, they are all much better!
Food was exceptional.
Service terrible and the maitre d' after being asked if they had Amartetto de sarronno said I was drinking it. Yes it was Amaretto but not what I had asked for. I suppose if I asked for Chardonnay and got pinot grigio I should be grateful!!
He became rather 'uppity'.
My partner is Italian and becoming so dismayed by over priced, pretentious 'Italian' restaurants in London.
I personally will be voting with my feet. There are lots of lovely restaurants in the Pimlico area! Try them.
I suddenly realised the other day that I havent been to an Italian restaurant recently, despite the fact that theres one practically opposite where my boyfriend lives. A couple of gentle hints later and he suggested that we went across to try it out. The specialities are pasta, pizza and fish dishes, perfect for a blow-out with a nice bottle of wine.
This restaurant can be found on Belgrave Road, which is parallel to Vauxhall Bridge Road and about five minutes walk from Pimlico underground station and Victoria. It is easier to reach from Pimlico, because you come out of the tube station directly on to Belgrave Road. The contact details are as follows:
35 Belgrave Road
Tel: 020 7828 3613
Restaurant lay-out and décor
I was surprised as we went into the restaurant, because it is actually much larger than it looked. As many London restaurants in old houses are, it is a weird shape, with a small sitting area just inside the door, but as you go in, off to the right and back is a much larger room. The chairs and tables are functional, rather than beautiful, but everything is extremely clean. Because of the larger room at the back, I estimate that there are at least 25 tables of differing sizes. There was certainly a constant stream of guests, some in quite large parties.
The food and drink
There is a wide selection of starters and salads, including the usual parma ham and melon, sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, bruschetta and garlic bread. I had the sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, which cost £3.50 and BF had the garlic bread, that lovely crispy pizza base type, which was £2.70. However, I half wished that I had tried the Bresaola E Mozzarella, which is sliced cured beef, mozzarella, olive oil and onion, which was the most expensive starter at £7.50. Someone at the next table had it and it looked delicious. I like mozzarella, but it isnt something I can ever get excited about.
There was a wide range of pizzas, most of the usual suspects, ranging between £6.90 and £7.50. They looked good, although I didnt try one, the thin crust type and quite big.
The pasta varied from £7.10 for Spaghetti and meatballs, Rigatoni with tomato sauce and ricotta and Tagliatelle with pesto to £9.50 for Linguine and seafood. I had Rigatoni Amatriciana (tomato and bacon sauce) and BF had Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (bacon, cream and cheese). Both were absolutely delicious. Again, most of the usual pasta suspects were on the menu. The only real criticism I have is that it doesnt quite compare to my all-time favourite Italian restaurant, where you were able to choose the type of pasta and the type of sauce to make your own combination. I loved this, there was pasta with cheese filling, Gnocchi, and all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the restaurant was in Beijing and Ive never seen it anywhere else.
For those that arent keen on pasta and pizza, there are a number of meat dishes, including lamb cutlets and beef medallion, as well as a lot of specials of the day, most of which were fish dishes.
Something that slightly annoyed me was that we were offered bread, which I presumed was free, but cost £1. Not much of a problem, but I do prefer not to have any hidden charges.
The choice of drinks were OK, although spirits seemed to be few and far between. We had the house red, which was actually very nice and cost just £10.90.
This was outstanding. We were met at the front door by the manager (of which there appeared to be two), escorted to our table in the non-smoking section and were quickly approached by one of the many waitresses there appeared to be at least six to take our drink order. All the staff were Italian and one of them asked me if I wanted aqua, rather than water, but it all added to the atmosphere!! Nothing was too much trouble and we were approached two or three times by the managers to ensure that everything was to our satisfaction.
For two starters, two main courses and a bottle of wine, it cost us £33. The service charge is not included. For those who take away, the bill is 10% cheaper.
Well certainly be going back. The food was excellent and presumably authentic, because the people at the next table were Italian. Next time, Ill have a more exciting starter though!
Price-wise, I think it was reasonable for London, particularly considering the quality of the service, which I would usually only expect to find in far more upmarket restaurants.
I didnt use the toilets, so cant comment on them personally (I usually always check out the toilets if I know I want to write a review, but was too busy stuffing my face), but BF did and said they were very clean.
We went on a Thursday night and it was very full. I imagine it will be even fuller at weekends, so would recommend booking a table in advance. If you live in the area, give it a try, it was fabulous!