Five stars, hands down, for many reasons.
As others have mentioned: this is the best guten-free restaurant I've found in London, and the best part was, I found it by complete accident when out with my mostly GF family.
We had one of the best service experiences I've had in London: the owner spoke came over to our table when he heard we were ordering GF food, walked us through the menu, checked on us several times, plus the three or four other servers who took care of us. The restaurant wasn't full for a Monday evening, which was nice too.
The food itself was deliciouso, both GF and non-GF (I tried the dishes my family ordered). We had wine, and many courses, including a delicious GF dessert that was on par with any "normal" dessert I've had.
The only drawback to Cotto is the location, as most people aren't likely to stumble on it, and being on the corner of Westminster Bridge Road probably makes parking a bit tricky. Nonetheless, it's one place I would take anyone looking for GF, as well as anyone looking for "normal" Italian.
On a recent trip to London, my girlfriend and I decided to stop in for a quick lunch. I have to say that this is the best Italian food that I have ever had and that is coming from someone who is half Italian. The service was amazing and they made you feel right at home. The owner stopped by every table at least twice during our meal to see if everyone was satisfied. Great food coupled with great service = a 5-star restaurant.
This Gluten free Italian is not to be believed. The food is outstanding! from the Olives mixed with preserved lemons and spicy peppers that arrive immediatley to the incredibly friendly and top notch service. I had the opportunity to visit it twice during our last stay. All dishes come out steaming hot form the kitchen. I recco the risotto and the Tagliatelle with clams.
This place is a family business: run by a family from Naples (the pizza capital) they have family members working in almost every job at the restaurant and you can hear them speaking Italian to each other. They're excited about food and to have you in their restaurant.
For the wheat eaters, my dining companion said the pizza and bread are solid renditions of classic dishes, but I can't comment on that personally.
They can get pretty busy on weekend nights, so it can be a good idea to call in advance to reserve a table. Can't hurt to mention if you'll be ordering a gluten-free pizza -- apparently this helps them plan how much to make.
Gluten-free notes: This place is gluten-free mecca. Bread, pizza, pasta, you can eat it all! And also, the owner (and perhaps a few other family members) have celiac disease so you know you can order without having to ask a bunch of questions.
The menu has two columns on it, one indicating the price for a normal dish and the other indicating the price for the gluten-free version. (For dishes that are naturally gluten-free, the prices are the same. For gluten-free versions of things like pizza, it's a few pounds more to make up for the higher cost of ingredients.)
When the Italians do gluten-free, corn is their grain of choice and it shows here. The bread is corn-based (slightly reminiscent of an American cornbread) and they serve it toasted with butter. The cornmeal pizza crust has a great flavor and crunch, though as you could imagine it's a bit heavier than the wheat crust. Still tasty. I heard the gluten-free tiramisu was excellent though I was too stuffed to try it.
You'll also find lots to talk about with your fellow diners. The word has gotten out about the gluten-free options here and you'll probably find yourself swapping tips with the table next to you.
Cotto is one of my all-time favorite restaurants on either side of the pond. Almost the entire menu can be made gluten-free, so there are SO MANY choices, including pizza, pasta, etc. Not only that, they really understand that GF/coeliac/celiac is not a fad and they go to great lengths to keep everything safe and separate (which is not always something you get at Italian chain restaurants). The place is so welcoming, especially if you are part of the gluten-free tribe. I've had some of the most memorable meals ever here mostly because of the kindness and warmth of the host/owner, Lino.
There are garlicky olives to get you started, then bread & butter. I've had the eggplant parm (an appetizer but big enough for a meal), spaghetti bolognese, and gnocchi, all of which were stupendous and all of which are made in-house. The desserts make me weep - gluten free tira misu, panna cotta, or my new true love, the tartufo limoncello, which I will see in my dreams until I come back to London again. If you can't tell already, I just really love this place and it is always a treat to dine here.
Across the road from Lambeth North tube station, 5mins walk from Waterloo.
The cheapest Italian I have ever been to, let alone in London. The boy and I shared a starter and had a main course each, plus half a bottle of wine for £23! Tasty, straightforward food.
Hilariously moody service (but because it was characterful and amusing, I was ok with it) from the waiters who were all smiles whenever they spoke to a table with children. A very family friendly place.
Not worth a special trip, but if you find yourself in the area in need of a feed, or if you live South of the river and want to go on a very cheap date to cheer up a cold, skint evening (candles-tick, flowers-tick, Italian food-tick) this is worth a go.
A real gem. Wonderful homemade food -- top-notch risotto, pasta, and pizza as well as homemade tiramisu and tartufo -- served by a lovely family who care deeply for their customers. Casual place with very good food -- my favorite combination.
The best Italian places to me are not about showiness or presentation - to me, the Italian food experience is great food, humble service, and a warm, human experience. Cotto and its owner Lino provide this wonderfully.
We were surprised at how many customers coming in seemed to be repeats. Additionally, they are able to provide hands-down the best gluten-free Italian meal anywhere because the owner himself is celiac (intolerant of wheat). This made my son, who suffers from celiac, immediately at ease and he requested we eat there again the next night.
Not a fancy place, not the place for a 25th anniversary dinner, but wonderful for just about any other occasion.
(note: visit date February 2009)
Oh dear, judging by other people's review of Cotto, I'm clearly a cynical black sheep. I didn't particularly find the "mamma mia, we are genuine Italians" service, all that genuine. I thought it was laid on a little thick for my liking. Perhaps I've been in the city for too long.
As for the food, it was alright. Edible, bog standard Italian, but certainly not enough for me to think it was worth paying or coming back for. We chose it because it was close to a venue where the Christmas party was located but sadly, it wasn't to be. The bread was nice though.
Took my boyfriend here for his birthday - he's a celiac and I wanted to take him somewhere where he wouldn't be restricted by the menu. This was the most widely recommended 'gluten free' friendly restaurant I found, and we were not disappointed! Great food, loved the laid back atmosphere - and the Italian owner kept coming by to check that we liked his food. Definitely recommend giving it a try. For those on a budget - take note that they do charge you for the bread (though this is the first time my BF has been able to have bread with his meal while eating out!)
Finally got around to eating here, glad I did.
If you're looking for fancy-schmanzy Italian food keep walking. This in Italian comfort food, a very large menu with lots of pastas and meats and fish, not to mention some great starters.
Pleasant wait staff, the owner always visits each table if he's in, and he usually is. Family run. Not expensive for this pricey town.
Good value for money. Enjoy!
Cotto is one of those places I'd walked / bussed / cycled by a zillion times and paid no attention to, set at the intersection of roads leading from Kennington, E&C and Waterloo and right opposite Lambeth North tube station.
Inside it's a cosy, very authentic Italian family restaurant with a great menu, lots of good vegetarian options, a whole gluten free section (unheard of in this sort of place!), super friendly staff (a real Italian family!), very reasonably pricing and the most outrageously impressive desserts I've seen in a long time. The tiramisu looks like it's straight out of a posh cookery book - beautiful to look at and oozing with booze - it's a shame my pasta filled me up to much to give it a try!
Still, that's what second visits are for...
So I was on the hunt for homemade wheat free/gluten free pizza and came across Cotto. It's not far from my place on the train so we headed out there for dinner.
We were greeted by the owner with a giant basket of freshly baked bread, which I turned down because of my wheat allergy and the owner said, "You must tell me right away, I will take care of you!" and he had some fresh and hot gluten-free bread brought to me right away. What a treat!!!!
This is a fantastic Italian family owned establishment with all the charm and fantastic service that you find in Italy. And the food! Superb!
My husband had the Penne Arrabiata, and I had a Gluten Free Vegetarian Pizza. Both were absolutely excellent. The veggies on the pizza were crispy and delicious, the sauce and cheese were wonderful and the crust was crispy around the edges.
The owner took the time to have about a 20 min chat with us, inquiring about my allergy and telling us that he had been Celiac for many years.
I could not fit dessert into my preggy tummy, but my husband had the mint and chocolate ice cream which was spectacular! I had a bite, and I've never had ice cream that was as light as a mousse. Brilliantly done. Not only that, but over half the desserts on the menu were gluten free. Not just the typical gluten free fare either...they had tiramisu for goodness sake!
I highly recommend this restaurant for WF and GF as well as non-allergy folk as well! It's a nice friendly laid back atmosphere, reasonably priced, and caters to those of us who are normally left out when it comes to Italian fare! Go there now! x
The best sauce ever! We ate there twice in one week and will go back the next time we return to London. Missing it already. Inexpensive and wonderful food. Make sure you try the olives. Worth the 5 minute walk from Westminster bridge.
This was just an average italian restaurant. I got the gnocchi and it was pretty tasteless. We ate at the bar and the bartender was really nice, but the food service was just terrible and they secretly charged us without informing us! Will not be returning.
I ordered the gnocci gluten free which were good but the sauce tasted like canned spaghetti O's Yuck. My friends meal was so disgusting. She ordered a dish that had smoked salmon, avocado and prawns. She took a few bites and I did as well. It was covered in a thick sauce that made me wanna vomit. It tasted like thousand island dressing and it was loaded with perhaps the whole bottle. The smoked salmon didnt seem smoked at all and raw. I seriously almost vomited it was so bad. She was disgusted as well. It was by far the worst meal I had while in london. Terrible. The Glutin free bread was good though.
The owner and manager makes this place great. He is great with kids and very accommodating. The margarita pizza and the penne arrabiata were great! We came back twice during our stay. The house wine was also quite nice.
Loved the people. Fast service for a leisurely town. Food was good. : )
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