There’s no use denying the fact that Notting Hill has its fair share of Italian restaurants, giving new eateries on the block a lot to contend with. Winning over locals who already have their best-loved spots for each cuisine is no mean feat. But if any restaurant could have you reconsidering your go-to for Italian eats, it’s Brasseria. Preceded by its sister site in Marylebone, this place brings neighbourhood-style dining to another district with historically high standards.
With its all-day opening times, a dog-friendly policy and takeaway coffees (served in the cutest floral cups), the restaurant is delivering relaxed vibes to contrast the high-end exterior of its impressive looks and menu. This creates a casual and inviting atmosphere, in keeping with its reputation as a family-run business while still bringing the wow factor.
Aside from the pavement-side seating for sunnier days, the space is split into two sections; the first is the café-come-bar, with interiors featuring a mix of modern and traditional components, which is a common theme in Italian design. The dark oak wall panelling and brass light fittings contribute to the cosy, vintage feel, set against blue leather corner seats, two-man booths, a marble bar top and playful tropical wallpaper.
The bespoke wine corridor leads into the main dining area; the space matches the bar by also boasting a backdrop that will transport you to Italy, but has been made slightly more formal and date night-worthy with the addition of white tablecloths and warm lighting to set the mood.
We were seated in the corner of the room, in a booth that is often specially requested by diners as it looks out onto the whole restaurant; perfect for soaking up the atmosphere and people watching between courses. We were already given a tip-off about the extensive nature of the wine list based on how many bottles (sourced from every Italian region) were on display and soon noticed this was a recurring theme when we read through the menus. Rest assured you’ll be spoilt for choice in every category from cocktails to side dishes, and it took us a while to land on what we wanted…the most.
For drinks, we went with the Dark ’n’ Stormy and Cuba Punch (both £13). There were no surprises with these sips; just well-made cocktails that stayed true to the original recipes, and there were lots of other fan favourites on the list. These guys also had a wide variety of gin, aperitifs, American bourbons and whiskeys, plus boozy coffees and a whole negroni menu.
We then feasted our eyes on the mammoth food menu, and the starters we selected were the truffle arancini (£12) and prosciutto with fried pecorino and scamorza cheese ravioli (£17). The arancini had a great texture, with a thin crisp coating and a dense filling brought to life by a pleasant hint of truffle. The fried ravioli was perfectly puffy and the salty prosciutto went really well with the rich cheese filling.
With a list of mains longer than my arm and impossible-to-pick-from dishes, the menu was split into subsections to make it more digestible. We decided to go with one dish from the pizza or pasta section, and one from the meat or fish section. We were won over by the tagliatelle zucchine e gamberi (£26), hailed as the pasta chef’s ‘favourite dish to prepare’. The thick silky sauce clung to the al dente pasta, making for the perfect bite when paired with the soft king prawns and courgette.
If, like us, you save your red meat consumption for special occasions, this is an opportunity to cash in on your quota. This brings me to the filetto di manzo (£39), or "a fillet steak that will leave you speechless" if you’re going by my translation. We accompanied our mains with zucchini fritti (£8), my favourite ever side dish, and it outdid any I’d had before (shock). We shared a humble slice of baked cheesecake with mixed berry coulis (£9) to end the night; very creamy and not too sweet, as it should be.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Owners and third-generation brothers Andrea and Alberto Fraquelli have done a commendable job of maintaining the restaurant’s family-run charm while also giving plenty of reasons for jaws to drop. It’s important to them to have regular customers that rely on them for quality, attract locals through word of mouth and create a communal space where everyone and their dog feels welcome.
The food menu details whether the dishes are chef favourites, popular with the regulars or family recipes and stars a selection of handmade pastas, all adding to the warmth and down-to-earth feel of the establishment. You can tell that everything is made with a winning combination of seasonal ingredients, love and Italian passion, but the relationship with its customers is what makes this place truly special, and what will ultimately turn it into a household name that families can pass down through generations.
💰 The damage: £140 for a three-course meal and cocktails for two.
📍 The location: 290 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2PS.
👌 Perfect for: Special occasions or a guaranteed high-quality breakfast, lunch or dinner.
⭐ Need to know: The French toast from the breakfast menu looks kind of unmissable (see the venue's Instagram page for proof).
Fancy more? Check out all the Italian restaurants in London here, and for more inspo, sign up to our weekly newsletter.