They may only have landed in the capital a couple of years ago, but Gloria and Circolo Popolare are dominating foodies' Instagram feeds the city over. If you've not spotted the restaurants on your app yet, their ethos is simple - huge, party bars that emulate a Hollywood retro version of Italy. From Sicily's winding mountain roads and tree-covered hillsides at Circolo Popolare through to 1970s Amalfi Coast in Shoreditch's Gloria, these spots are big, brash and all sorts of beautiful.
While queues for tables have been a constant since they opened, the eateries' parent group, Big Mamma, are already planning a third site. The French company have set their sights on a space in Covent Garden, with Ave Mario merging 29-30 Maiden Lane and 15 Henrietta Street, in order to create a huge space.
Expect room for almost 300 hungry diners, a basement bar, two terraces and an inner courtyard. This time, the theme is looking to Florence; with walls inspired by the Duomo and a caviar section. That's not all though, as the menu is promising new dishes in the form of a droolworthy carbonara ravioli, a huge Cotoletta Milanese and a mega 60cm tall stracciatella ice cream cake.
We can already sense the queues forming.
Ave Mario opens on the 2nd July 2021. Need your pasta fix now? Read our recommendations for London's best Italian restaurants here.