Blink and you might miss Al Dente, tucked amongst all the shops and take-aways on Goodge Street it blends in. Inside it’s casual, cosy and unpretentious with limited covers so if you want to snag a table here you need to pre-book or get there early. With a large ceiling to floor window, high bar style tables and minimalist black and white interiors its understated, but don’t be fooled by the décor, the food here is anything but understated.

The focus at Al Dente is the food and simplicity is at the heart of the menu, it reads like a love letter to Italy paying homage to classic Italian dishes like Lasagna, Carbonara and Gnocchi. There’s plenty of choice and the portions are large so you won’t go hungry. Start with the Piadina Caprese, a classic caprese salad toasted between crispy, thin pizza base or opt for the Arancini selection, perfect for sharing. The pasta is straight out of Nonna’s kitchen and cooked to perfection. My date ordered the Lasagna, packed with chunky, succulent minced beef, tomato and cheese sauce, rich and full of flavour. I ordered Ravioli Al Dente, a plate of soft, delicate buttery parcels bursting with spinach, mushrooms and ricotta cheese served with truffle and parmesan fondue.

Throughout the evening there’s a flurry of take-away delivery drivers picking up orders, the restaurant slowly packs out and is bustling with diners chatting while the waiting staff whiz around topping up glasses and serving up dishes.

The wine list includes a decent house white and red alongside bottles of punchy Italian reds and crisp, delicate whites. The Gavi de Gavi is fresh, with zesty lemon notes and ripe peach flavours that paired well with the ravioli.

If after the main event you still have room for dessert, the menu is full of authentic Italian options such as Tiramisù, Gelato Tartufo Bianco Affogato al Caffe’ and Cannolo Siciliano.

Italian foodies looking for an authentic taste of Italy will love Al Dente, it’s well worth a visit.

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