Il Fornello is literally Italian for the oven, and the centrepiece of this Bloomsbury Italian restaurant is undoubtedly the traditional, wood-fired stone oven that the skilled pizzaioli use to turn out fantastic Neapolitan discs that are uniformly delicious but topped with various gourmet ingredients. Il Fornello doesn’t stop at Italy’s most famous export, though, offering a menu packed with classic Italian dishes. Plus, their Southampton Row premises house a banqueting room ideal for Londoners looking to dine in true Italian style.
Il Fornello boasts an enviable position down Bloomsbury’s Southampton Row. Right across from Russell Square (close to the tube, too), this Italian restaurant is a popular place for lunchtime diners looking for affordable, quality cuisine in this part of the city. In particular, the special set price menu draws in a big crowd, with a choice of starters and mains including Italian-style whitebait, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken cacciatora, and plaice in a white wine sauce, all adding up to a total you’d be hard pressed to best in this central London location.
There’s wine a plenty here, too, with classic Italian varietals available by the full or half bottle, ranging from Soave through to the medium-sweet Lambrusco and beyond. Il Fornello’s chef’s specials are where the real action happens at this central London Italian restaurant. Start with cozze marinara, fresh mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, mains like the pollo funghetto, chicken breast cooked in a creamy mushroom sauce, and fly the flag with the tricoloured penne pasta. This Southampton Row, Bloomsbury restaurant is often busy due to its great location and highly traditional menu – book early to avoid disappointment.
The food is really good and feels very homemade, nothing fancy nor gastro-whatever, just plain yummy italian homemade food. What else can you ask for?
6 of us went Saturday evening and we found the staff very welcoming and friendly. The service was very efficient and the food very good. Everyone said they'd enjoyed it and would certainly go back
Authentic Italian cuisine. Great value. Service was friendly and attentive. Unpretentious and very comfortable If restaurant was close by then we would be there every week.
great food, atmosphere, along with friendly service; nothing was too much trouble for the team! I have been going there since 2001 and it is always great!
First visited Il Fornello 25 years ago; a fussy 18 year old who didn't wanna eat anything - that changed and my love affair with Italian food began. Been back on many occasions over the years but, this was my first visit in over 15 years. Still serving wonderful food and, delighted to see that the dessert trolley was still there. Would definitely recommend
The restaurant was really warm and friendly. Food was excellent. I took my daughter and grandson and the waitress was really lovely with him, making a fuss of him which he loved. Apparently my daughter and I ate in this restaurant some 20 years ago and she remembered it when we got inside, she said it looked the same. Then she had the chicken Kiev so ordered it again and it didn't disappoint.
our table was originally booked for 11pm through your website but I rang direct to the restaurant a couple of days beforehand to change the time to 10.30pm, where the man seemed happy we were arriving earlier. on arrival we were greated and sat down, handed a menu and ordered drinks...........we felt quite rushed into ordering our food as if the waiting staff couldn't wait to get us fed and out as soon as possible....even though more people came in to eat after we had finished our meals. the food was pretty standard so would not visit again.
The staff were friendly and pleasant. The food was filling and tasty although the spicy sausage pizza could have been spicier. They were very keen to promote the dessert trolley, of which we did partake. There was no hurry to get us out. All in all a good meal in a pleasant environment. Would definitely recommend.
Simple but excellent Italian food, wine and service at reasonable prices. While not overtly flashy, the menu is extensive and the food is good. Quieter during the week, but it is always reassuring to be in a restaurant surrounded S by Italian people.
Very welcoming despite the fact that some of the members of my party were late. Great service, including a late order for one member of my party who had been additionally delayed, delicious food. Reasonable prices. Great ambience.