Italian restaurants in London, Soho - A look back in time. The history of Italy's influence on English cuisine dates back not just hundreds, but thousands of years - right from when the Roman emperor Claudius arrived in 43 AD. In fact, a lot of fruits and vegetables were introduced to England through the Roman influx, and pastas and raviolis were considered highly fashionable dishes in the medieval era. In modern times, the popularity of Italian restaurants in Soho, London increased over the last five decades, when fresh ingredients started becoming more easily accessible. With its adventurous crowds and steady footfall, London's Soho district welcomed Italian restaurants with open arms.