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Page 44 of 47

RESTAURANTS 45 Issue 54 / 2013 Donna Margherita Guestlist have decided to do a rundown of the best Italian restaurants in London, and we're kicking this off with Donna Margherita, the best and most authentic Italian restaurant in the Southwest. Walking into Donna Margherita is like walking into Napoli, not just because of the Italian staff and crafted balcony overlooking the restaurant (complete with drying underwear that looks like it belonged to Sophia Loren in her heyday) but also because the Neapolitan cuisine is cooked using traditional Italian recipes and fresh Italian produce. The restaurant is run by Gabriele Vitale and his brothers, men who grew up in Napoli and have a real passion for bringing the authentic italian food they grew up with to London. The quality of the food is apparent from the very first taste. The restaurant is constantly stressing the importance of their ingredients, as well as using a lot of Italian products and vegetables. The restaurant also uses fresh local fish, which they try to get from renewable sources. The Vitale brothers grew up with these dishes, as Gabriele says, 'If my mother didn't cook it, it doesn't go on the menu!', and the menu is stunning. A standout dish for me was linguine with red mullet, the fish was beautifully cooked and the Italian zucchini and Vesuvian cherry tomatoes were a perfect accompaniment. I also had a goat's cheese risotto and a scialatielli pasta dish with tomatoes, langoustine and mussels, both of which were cooked to perfection. The risotto was thick and creamy without being too rich and the langoustine and mussels were lovely and fresh. To finish, we had a traditional capri dessert of almond and chocolate cake with homemade vanilla ice cream, the perfect sweet to end a meal. Its really refreshing to find an Italian restaurant that lives up to its promises. Too often claims of authenticity and freshness are proven false in the tasting but Donna Margherita is without a doubt the genuine article. Perfect if you're looking for a great place to eat in Southwest London. The friendly and informal atmosphere make it a perfect restaurant for family dining at the weekend, or a relaxing dinner during the week. 183 Lavender Hill SW11 5TE Have a look at their menu at

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