Caffe Caldesi

118 Marylebone Lane London W1U 2QF

There's something delightfully villagey about this tucked-away corner of Marylebone, and Caffe Caldesi does nothing to dispel the effect – it's the sort of comfy, well-established neighbourhood Italian that everyone would love to have on their doorstep. The downstairs 'bar' is cosy in winter, stylish in summer, and the owners Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi have long shown a deft touch when preparing properly authentic Italian food. They hail from Tuscany, but there's food from all regions here, and although it's not especially cheap, there aren't many places in this part of town where the cooking, service and overall ambience deliver quite so consistently. For lunch you could enjoy their superb antipasto plate, a simple melanzane parmigiana, or just a generously heaped plate of pasta – not to mention a bowl of mussels of or some garlic-laced lamb chops from the specials board. Upstairs, the restaurant offers same sort of rustic, hearty Italian cooking in a slightly more formal setting and for higher prices – try their pappardelle, with a lovely rich wild boar ragu – while if you really get to like it, you can learn the tricks of the trade yourself at the Caldesi cookery school around the corner. One of our favourites in a part of town that's not exactly short of good places to eat.

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