One of the nicest restaurants I've been to recently is this new one in London's Soho district.
Polpo is the most Italian restaurant I've ever visited outside Italy itself. It's small and takes no reservations in the evening - which may be a problem for some - but on a freezing cold Saturday in January it was just the place for us! We sat at the zinc topped bar, just to the right of the entrance. From here, you can feel the buzz and hum of the whole restaurant and get to chat to the friendly barstaff (the day we were there, a lovely Canadian girl who was really knowledgeable about Italian wines....very handy!) The menu , beautifully printed on the rustic paper mat in front of you, is the same throughout, whether you are at the bar or a more formal table...and changes regularly, sometimes daily according to what's good that day. It's made up of 'little dishes' or cichetti - the Venetian version of tapas, I suppose, together with more substantial meat or fish and what looked like amazing desserts including my favourite 'Affogato' or espresso poured over vanilla icecream. We got no further than the cichetti however, this time., You order as many as you like, when you want them...highlights for us were a divine white bean & sage puree on charred sourdough toast & 'sarde in saor', a Venetian speciality of fresh sardines, soused in an oniony sweet/sour vinegar marinade and served at room temperature. But it was all really, really good! Very reasonably priced too, especially for London. We left pleasantly full and just over £40 lighter...including tip.
Polpo has everything the best Venetian baccari do, except the amazing views and the Grand Canal outside it's door. But with a couple of glasses of good, chilled Prosecco and a plate of wonderful food I hardly noticed!
POLPO - bravissimo! 8.5/10