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.