TTI Top London Italian delis.
If you’re an Italian food lover like me and have been to Italy, I’m sure you have had some of the best food of your life. I have cupboards full of amazing food memories from my many holidays to the fatherland. (the tiniest supermarkets, spaghetti & tomato, best-fried calamari etc). I get so inspired by all the delicious dishes that I eat on those trips that I always try to re-create them back in my own kitchen.
In the UK, Italian food has boomed. Its simplicity and combination of flavours in its home cooking have made it popular in this country. Brits have been lucky to have access to some of that amazing produce in supermarkets, delis and restaurants for the last 20 years. However, over the last couple of years with the pandemic and Brexit, it’s been harder to get our hands on some of that authentic produce.
However, have you ever wondered why your Italian cooking doesn’t taste the same as it does in Italy? The truth is the quality of ingredients in Italy is exceptional as local sourcing in towns and cities is still extremely important and is a huge contributing factor to the excellence of Italian cooking. There are laws in place to protect traditional production methods in territories of origin so that the product is held to the highest quality.
Here in the UK, even though the number of Italian products has grown over the years, so have the imitations. So even though you think you are buying authentic produce as it looks or sounds Italian it’s not always the case.
How do you know you buying the real Italian deal?
There is a simple way to know if what you are buying has been produced to the best quality is by looking out for DOP (Denominazione di origin Protetta – Protected designation of Origin) or IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta – Protected Geographical Indication) on your food labels. It will be written after the name. For example, San Marzano tomatoes can’t be grown in Milan or Parmiggiano Reggiano made in Puglia.
DOP – “indicates a product that owes its characteristics to its place of origin and its production, modification and processing occur within that geographical area” – La Cucina Italiana.
Foods that have the DOP seal or logo Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano cheese, red Tropea onions, Genovese basil, Parma ham and Buffalo Mozzarella.
IGP – “indicates a mark of origin assigned to products for which a certain quality, reputation or other feature depends on geographical origin, whose production modification or processing takes place in a certain geographical area”
Foods that have the IGP seal or logo Balsamic vinegar from Modena, Pantelleria capers, Sorrento lemons and Mortadella from Bologna
The truth is, the better quality of your ingredients, the better your food is going to taste. I don’t know about you, but I always want to eat the most delicious pleasurable food so if I can afford and get hold of authentic produce, that’s what I am going to do.
Living in London, I’m lucky to have a huge resource of international food available to me; quality supermarkets, farmers’ markets, independents, food specialist stores etc. However, one of my favourite past times is heading to a London Italian deli, spending hours picking up every product, telling myself how much I need it and buying half the deli.
Since the closure of the family deli a few years back I have been on a life mission to discover the best Italian deli London has to offer. With a huge Italian community settling here many many moons ago so many Italian delis and food shops opened. However, the landscape of the city has changed immensely in the last 20 years so they are not as available as they used to be. Read about my favourites, go and visit them and make sure to keep them open. This city needs them and they have better Italian produce than your local supermarket, guaranteed.
I know this is a top 5 list, but you lucky lot have been given 6. In no particular order, here are my best London Italian delis.
A traditional family-run Italian deli in London is like a unicorn. However, Giacobazzi is alive and kicking since 1991 run by Raff, Renato and their son Carlo. Based in Hampstead heath, this deli is filled with so many goodies priding itself on its homemade fresh pasta and antipasti. I loved how you could watch handmade-filled pasta being made on the shop floor, highlighting the freshness of their produce.
Recommend: Fresh pesto, filled tortellini and cannellini bean salad.
150 Fleet Rd, Hampstead, London NW3 2QX
Nearest station: Hampstead Heath
Antonio Delicatessen in Lewisham is my actually local Italian food shop and I feel instantly at home when I walk through its doors. Run by Antonio from Puglia, not only is it the perfect one-stop-shop for all your Italian food needs, Antonio’s happy disposition is so infectious, that you will leave with a smile on your face. Out of all the delis, I have visited, it’s the one I feel resembles most what my dad’s deli used to feel and look like. Salami and Panettone hanging off the ceiling, the fridge brimming with ham, cheeses and Moorish antipasti selection. Plus, the entertaining and friendly chat from Antonio is fantastic. I sometimes wonder if he and my dad are related. Haha.
Recommend: Great Italian charcuterie and cheese selection. Fantastic for larder goods
23 Lewis Grove, Lewisham, London, SE13 6BG
Nearest station: Lewisham
Sicilian run deli in North London is run by a pair of brothers, Antonio and Stefano who opened its doors nearly 40 years ago. This family-run deli is packed floor to ceiling with all essentials for Italian food lovers. The shelves are stocked with the best-known Italian food brands and the deli counter has the best selection of fresh produce. Their charcuterie range includes one of my favourite brands, Villani and their slicing skills are so excellent. Well-sliced meat really enhances the flavour. Trust me when I say that not everyone can slice meat properly but these guys do an excellent job. They also pride themselves on making fresh pasta which is made available on Saturdays. They offer a fabulous service in which they personally text their customers and advise them of their pasta specials so that they can place their order. I love that personal touch.
Recommend: Sliced charcuterie, fresh pasta and great valued Italian larder goods.
47 Brecknock Rd, London N7 0BT
Nearest station: Kentish town
Lina Stores is an Italian delicatessen in the heart of London’s Soho. They import and sell authentic Italian produce. Named after the original owner ‘Lina’ who was from Genova, the deli originally opened in the 1940s. Today it’s one of the few Italian establishments that have kept its doors open after so much change in the ever-evolving Soho. The guys at Lina make their own fresh pasta, cakes and other hot dishes and sandwiches on site. You can also buy freshly brewed Italian coffee if you need a pick-me-up. The product selection is more high-end than some other London delis and offers the best Italian brands from pasta, olive oils, a wide selection of Italian regional meats and cheeses, wine and so much more. They also have an amazing range of hampers which make for great gifts for Italian food lovers.
Recommend: Fresh pasta, fresh sausages and cheese selection.
Nearest station: Piccadilly circus
I Camisa & Son
A little corner of Italy right here in Soho. This small deli reminds me of the ‘salumerias’ found across many Italian cities and towns. Love that the team all wear the traditional white deli jackets worn by the ‘salumieri ‘in Italy. Filled floor to ceiling with products as well as a fridge full of fresh produce (pasta, antipasti, charcuterie and cheeses) II come here regularly to buy the basic larder goods that I need. I get my dry pasta (they have a huge range of pasta shapes), olive oil, and tinned goods which are needed in my everyday cooking. I also come here regularly for the best Italian sandwiches. Working only five minutes away, I choose to come here to get my lunch rather than spend money in other commercial chain establishments. You can choose whatever combination you want and they will make it for you there and then.
Recommend: Fresh sandwiches, larder goods and dry pasta
61 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 6HS
Nearest station: Leicester square/Piccadilly circus
In the middle of an industrial park you can find this hidden gem. A little hard to find but trust me, it’s totally worth looking for. Vallebona is predominantly an Italian food wholesaler but this space is open to the public to purchase their products. Set up in a warehouse it has a very different feel to the other London Italian delis but I do like its point of difference. The products are beautifully curated in the space and one of my favourite things is the separate room allocated to all the fresh charcuterie and cheeses which is equally beautifully set up and reminds of spaces back in Italy. One thing that is important to note is that they also offer a sit-down service where customers can come in with friends to sit down and enjoy amazing cheese and ham boards with a beautiful glass of wine in this unique setting.
Recommend: Pop in for a glass of wine and enjoy their fresh produce.
Unit 14, 59 Weir Rd, London SW19 8UG
Nearest station: Earlsfield/Wimbledon Park
Set up in the heart of Islington, this deli has such great high-end quality Italian produce. When I use to live in Hackney for a short stint, this was my go-to place for buying a selection of great charcuterie and cheeses. They sell a more specific regional producec that you may not find in other Italian London delis and I loved trying different things when I go in. Again, the team here have great slicing skills, which elevates them in what they do and wrap the food up beautifully.
Recommend: pesto, sliced charcuterie and cheeses
23 Canonbury Ln, London N1 2AS
Nearest station: Highbury & Islington
During the current coronavirus breakout, I’ve been feeling passionate to support Italian delis and other independent food shops during this time to ensure that they maintain continual business. These shops form part of Londons and the UK DNA and their existence is so important. I reached out to many followers on social media to share their favourite delis and food shops so I have compiled a list below. If there are any that you feel need adding, please comment below.
DOLCI RICORDI – 253 High St, Waltham Cross, London, EN8 7BE, http://www.dolciricordi.co.uk/
CICERO DELICATESSEN – 748 Hertford Rd, Enfield EN3 6PR, http://www.cicerodelicatessen.com/
BOMBETTA – 51-53 Station Approach, High St, Wanstead, London E11 1QE, http://www.bombettalondon.com/the-deli
MORE ITALY – 33 High St, Wanstead, London E11 2AA, https://www.mymoreitaly.com/
BELLAVITA SHOP – 11C Dock St, Whitechapel, London E1 8JN, https://www.bellavitashop.co.uk/
L TERRONI & SONS – 138 Clerkenwell Rd, Farringdon, London EC1R 5DL, https://terroni.co.uk/
GALLO NERO – 75 Stoke Newington High St, Stoke Newington, London N16 8EL
GALLO NERO – 45 Newington Green Rd, Mildmay Ward, London N1 4QT
LA GASTRONOMIA – 86 Park Hall Rd, West Dulwich, London SE21 8BW, http://lagastronomia.co.uk/
THE SICILIAN – 103 Rosendale Rd, Norwood, London SE21 8EZ, https://www.thesicilian.com/
LUIGI’S – 349 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 9TW, http://luigisdelicatessen.com/
LA SALUMERIA – 184 Trafalgar Rd, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 9TZ,
VALENTINA DELI & KITCHEN – 210 Upper Richmond Rd W, East Sheen, London SW14 8AH, https://valentinadeli.co.uk/
DELI @ SANDY PARK – 10 Sandy Park Rd, Brislington, Bristol BS4 3PE, https://www.deliatsandypark.co.uk/
NIFEISLIFE – ONLINE STORE – https://www.nifeislife.com/
DELICATEZZA – ONLINE STORE – https://www.delicatezza.co.uk/