Everybody loves a smoking hot Italian, right?

There’s just something irresistible about it – those big flavours, the simple ingredients, the lip-smacking sauciness of it all. Italian grub can be as simple and elegant as a Spaghetti al Limone, or as meaty and indulgent as a whacking great pizza, or as rich and complex as a gooey carbonara. And that’s before we’ve even started on the coffee, or gelato. 

Our wonderful seaside city is blessed with countless spots dedicated to bringing out the Italian in you. Check out our favourites…

VIP

Alright, the name is cheesy (‘Very Italian Pizza’). But luckily so is their legendary quattro formaggio. The family behind this always-rammed joint have been in the business for five generations, and their commitment to la dolce vita is in evidence throughout the menu, in the exquisite design of the room, and the larger-than-life warm welcome. 

19 Old Steine, BN1 1EL

Beloved local favourite that now boasts a second outlet in Hove, their open kitchen ethos and attention to regional flavours – Parmesan from Modena, blue cheese from Milan, sheep’s cheese from Sardina – is truly bellissima. Special shout out the totes instagrammable blood orange pannacotta with pistolhio ice cream desert. 

13-16 Vine St, BN1 4AG

Proper Italian pizza (thin crust, simple ingredients) from proper Italian staff (down to the manager’s Fiat 500 parked out front), this is as authentic as it gets. It’s always buzzing and the somewhat cramped feeling is largely due to their big-hearted eagerness to cram in as much as they can – not least a whacking great old-country-style gelateria. 

83 Preston Rd, BN1 4QG

The family behind this beachfront institution in Hove have been doling out generous great hunks of technicolour deliciousness to ice-cream fanciers since 1969. But there’s way more to the gaff than that; try a lobster ravioli, simple calzone pizza… or just the gelato. We won’t judge. 

8 King's Esplanade, BN3 2WA

A singularly sophisticated joint that does steak and coffee really, really well. Like a classic trattoria without the faff, and the added bonus of a handsomely stocked grocery section so you can perk up your home cooking with authentic pasta and classic preserves, just like mama used to make.  

69 East St, BN1 1HQ

A staple of the Kemp Town dining scene, La Capannia has been going too long to care about fads. Nope. Simple, classic dishes, big garlicky flavours and a rustic vibe to the decor. Don’t come here if you’re the sort of diner who’s too cool to order a bolognese. 

15 Madeira Pl, BN2 1TN

Hankering for pasta in a hurry? This innovative streetfood-inspired spot just opposite the clock tower have pulled off the rare trick of making Italian food a grab-and-go affair. Zero compromise on flavour, and a warm welcome in a stylish industrial chic modern space. 

128 Queens Rd, BN1 3WB

Proper Neapolitan pizza from two (count ‘em) ovens in an achingly hip room a stone’s throw from the beach? Yes please. Everything from the stylish lamps to the extraordinarily easy-on-the-eye staff make this a date-night-fancy place to swing by for a slice, and they’ve even started making their one pasta. The real deal.

14 West St, BN1 2RE

Vegan pizza – whatever next. Gorge on goody-two-shoes marvels like ‘mozzarella’ made from brown rice, gluten-free mac’n’cheese or courgetti spaghetti with plump cherry tomatoes. It’s all really low calorie, which is great, and they serve espresso martinis with Sussex vodka, which is even better. 

12 St James's Street, BN2 1RE

‘Meat feast’ is a term that gets bandied about way to much in pizza circles. But the carnivorous cuts on offer at both the Brighton and Hove outlets of this quietly brilliant outfit fit the term perfectly. Tuck into wild boar, bresaola (with air-dried Italian beef and mozzarella) or fancy San Daniele ham. And they do delivery, so you can devour from the comfort of your bed. 

40 Western Rd, BN3 1JD

The daddy of all Italian eateries in Brighton, this centrally located joint boasts 300 seats spread over five floors. There’s no scrimping on standards though; the charcuterie board is as good as you’ll get this side of Florence, and the space is versatile enough for a big birthday or intimate liaison over a nice Chianti in one of the downstairs booths.

7, Pavilion Buildings, BN1 1EE

Published -7th April 2018