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Lunch at Circolo Popolare, London! 18k bottles and some great food.

Circolo Popolare, an amazing-looking Sicilian restaurant in the heart of Fitzrovia district, London, is high on looks and big on flavour.


I remember the first time I saw a picture of Circolo Popolare in a magazine and thought to myself, this place must be amazing live. Indeed it was! As soon as the opportunity for a trip to London presented itself, I made it a point to book us a table for two.


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

Booking is straightforward, but you must be precise. Our reservation was valid for an hour and a half, so we had to finish our late lunch within this timeframe. As we write this article, I see that bookings are being taken a month in advance for groups of 8 people or less. A walk-in might set you back a few hours, I’m afraid, if you manage to get a table at all!


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

In any case, we did manage to get a table, and I’m glad we did (don’t be fooled by the empty tables in the pictures, they were full soon after!). This Sicilian trattoria is located in the heart of London’s lively Fitzrovia district and forms part of the Big Mama Group. Circolo Popolare is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It has 280 covers with an additional 60 seats on the terrace during the summer months.


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

Walking in, two things immediately strike you. First, the buzzing atmosphere. The place was packed, and as soon as any table was vacated, new patrons replaced the previous ones. The second is, of course, the massive amount of alcohol bottles that occupy every window in sight (around 18,000, if I remember correctly).


The roof is filled with hanging foliage intertwined with fairy lights, making the place quite magical and very Instagrammable. Its French founders, Messrs Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux are the authors of this flamboyant, quite over-the-top approach.


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

As for the food, with a bit of time constraint, we decided on the classic Carbonara, a Circolo Popolare classic. The carbonara was probably one of the cheesiest, most fulfilling pasta dishes I have ever had. I had read online it is mixed in a cheese wheel before being served. Unfortunately, there was no sight of the cheese wheel, in this case, but it was one of the creamiest Carbonaras i had tasted in a long time.


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

The pizza with Parma Ham and Tartufo was very enjoyable. The dough was light and elastic, whilst the toppings were very strong in terms of flavour. The Tiramisu, another Circolo Popolare staple, was as creamy as it gets. The lot was washed down with some Italian lager and IPA.


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

We must finish by mentioning the impeccable service and friendly staff we experienced at Circolo Popolare. It is admirable how they manage to maintain such excellent service, and serve your orders in a short amount of time, when there is so much going on. They also do it with a smile and without the slightest sign of pressure.


Apart from the great food, the best thing about Circolo Popolare is the overall atmosphere. The place was buzzing, the staff moving interruptedly, and tables changing patrons all the time. Added to the lovely decor, the restaurant entertains from the moment you walk in.


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

Almost instantly and willingly, you can’t help but start taking pictures and videos of the scenes. Even the most hardcore, i-hate-those-people-taking pics-of-everything chaps will find it hard to resist the temptation of snapping one shot and sending it to their friends. That is, perhaps, the best form of marketing!


Have you ever been to Circolo Popolare, and if so, what did you think? Any other place you want to suggest? Let us know!


Circolo Popolare _ London _ Pizza _ Carbonara

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