Just round the corner from Bond Street, Semplice has quickly established itself as a real Italian stunner, gaining a Michelin star this year. It’s a sleek and luxurious place to dine, with a menu that mixes traditional Italian with modern sophistication, and offers excellent value with its set lunches too. 9-10 Blenheim St, S1S 1LJ, www.ristoratnesemplice.co.uk.
This recent opening takes the traditional Venetian bar, or “bacaro” as its theme – think lots of exposed brickwork and tiles, long rows of simple tables and some terrific tapas-style Italian dishes, including cuttlefish in its ink, mackerel tartare and pork belly with radicchio and hazelnuts. 41 Beak St, W1F 9SB, www.polpo.co.uk.
If you’re heading east and fancy some high-quality Italian grub, Shoreditch’s Lena Restaurant is the place to go for. It’s a fashionably modern place, with glossy white chairs and minimalist wooden tables, and offers live jazz, a smart downstairs bar and delightful food with a focus on southern Italian cooking. 66 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3JT, www.lenarestaurant.co.uk.