Where To Eat Italian Food In Brighton: The Best Italian Restaurants In Brighton



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Sure, fish’n’chips on the pebbles, perhaps with a plastic pint in hand, is a great way to spend an afternoon in the quintessential British seaside town of Brighton. And yep, poking around in a polystyrene tub trying to spear that last pickled cockle…we love it just as much as you do. 

But variety is the spice of life, and sometimes it’s nice to perch your bum on a proper seat or stool, clink a glass of wine and enjoy something a little more hearty and warming. If you’re craving Italian today, you only need to step inland just a little, and there’s heaps of the good stuff. Here’s where to eat Italian food in Brighton; the best Italian restaurants in Brighton, IDEAL for the best pizza and pasta in Brighton.

Cin Cin, Western Road

Ideal for a modern Italian menu showcasing the best of seasonal Sussex produce

Though the trend for daily, freshly made pasta with refined but generous sauces has taken over London completely, it’s yet to permeate the UK’s other foodie cities in quite the same way. Brighton, though, is rightly proud of Cin Cin, the premier purveyors of the good stuff here, and a more than capable match for any of London’s top pasta slingers.

In 2021, the restaurant did indeed decide to match those pasta slingers, and has now opened a branch of Cin Cin in Fitzrovia, which has already received acclaim in the national press

Though the original location in the North Laines, on Vine Street, has now closed, the newer, larger branch on Western Road, Hove is just as delicious. Expect some of the finest bowls of pasta you’re likely to find outside of Italy, alongside some excellent housemade charcuterie, gorgeous desserts and the odd creative starter, too.

The Hove branch even boasts a grill for a couple of larger plates in the evening. On our last visit, of which there have been many, a ragu of lamb sweetbreads with rigatoni was sublime.

Bring a fellow pasta enthusiast with you, sit at the bar and order a couple of small, seasonal starters, then share a pasta or two and drink plenty of wine. And if the marmalade bread and butter panettone pudding is on the menu, order it and you’ll leave a very satisfied duo.

Address: 60 Western Rd, Hove BN3 1JD

Fatto a Mano

Ideal for reliably delicious and affordable Neapolitan pizza …

Five years after the original Fatto a Mano opened on Brighton’s London Road, two more outposts have opened (one in Hove and one in the city’s North Laines) and now there is a branch in King’s Cross. World domination seems the only next logical step.

Each restaurant is packed every day of the week and it’s easy to see why. The pizzas are as authentic as they come; wood fired quickly, so the cheese remains delicate rather than singed, the dough soft and pillowy not burnt and crispy, with a blistered crust and restrained, respectful toppings, true to the Italian tradition. The name translates as ‘handmade’ in Italian, and that’s certainly the vibe here; everything is made from scratch and with love, and it shows. It’s great value, too, with no dish over a tenner. 

Even if pizza isn’t your thing (how have you got this far into the article, by the way?), Fatto a Mano has some excellent starters and sides to see you well fed; their aubergine parmigiana, in particular, is ace.

Nanninella, Preston Street

Ideal if you’re looking for the most traditional Neapolitan pizza in Brighton…

Rich 12hr+ slow cooked Neapolitan

The new kid on the block, on a street of already fine places to eat, is already making big noises in the city. Yep, though Nanninella is one of Brighton’s newer pizza joints, they’ve already gained a sterling reputation for fantastic pizzas, blistered, burnished, and traditional, just as it should be.

Not to worry, the vibe inside, all brightly coloured tiles and a view into the hot glow of the pizza oven, frames a hospitable, enjoyable place to spend time. What’s more, the staff are lovely. Our favourite pizza here – and in the whole of Brighton, in fact – is the provola e pepe, which uses smoked mozzarella and freshly ground black pepper to great effect. Any pizza featuring their fresh burrata is equally wonderful. Already our favourite pizza restaurant in Brighton.

Alongside the pizza, another move to make is ordering some street food snacks for the table to share. The deep fried smoked scamorza, which comes with a rich, nduja-spiked tomato sauce for dipping, is a thing of beauty.

*Please be aware that, as of the start of 2024, the proposition at Nanninella has somewhat changed. The pizzeria has now closed, and in its place, the same team are running a takeaway shop “with a few stools for quick eating inside.”

Fear not; you’ll still find pizzas being sold here, handcrafted lovingly by the awesome owner Sergio. Available for collection or delivery via Uber Eats, three nights a week, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 6pm and 9:30pm, their exclusivity makes them even more desirable, in our humble opinion. The sandwiches from the new deli operation are great, too*

Address: 26 Preston St, Brighton BN1 2HN 

Website: nanninellapizzeria.co.uk

Tutto, Marlborough Place

Ideal for ingredient-led Italian cooking in an impressive setting…

It felt inevitable that Tutto, the Italian arm of Brighton’s all conquering Black Rock restaurant group, would be a success.

After all, this is a team that had already brought us some of Brighton’s best restaurants, whether in the superb steaks at the Coal Shed, the Salt Room’s premium seafood, or the Middle Eastern inflections of Burnt Orange.

To say that Tutto’s opening didn’t quite go according to plan would be an understatement. Firstly, following a soft launch beset with organisational issues, the restaurant decided to ‘re-group’, with Black Rock boss Razak Helatat candidly writing that the ”concept and consistency of the food and service have not aligned to my original vision”.

After Tutto’s reopening, things got worse, with a disastrous national review from Grace Dent in The Guardian declaring that ”there are chefs here who can’t cook pasta”. For an Italian restaurant with big ambitions, there could be no more damning indictment.

Fortunately for the Italian-food lovers of Brighton, things have seriously picked up since, with Tutto now cooking a freshly configured menu with confidence and precision, a fact that was recently recognised by an early inclusion in the upcoming Michelin Guide, and cemented by the appointment of executive chef Lawrence McCarthy, who has previous working for Tom Aitkens, Marcus Wearing and at the Ledbury.

A must order if it’s on the menu is the lasagne croquette; think layers oozing with rich ragu and creamy bechamel sauce, breadcrumb, deep-fried and then sprinkled with aged parmesan, all served with a tangy tomato sauce. Finish with Tutto’s chocolate and hazelnut torte, which has become something of a signature dish here, and, in our view, is the ideal end to this – or any – meal.

Oh, and if you’re all about vibes, we should mention that the restaurant occupies a former bank which has been transformed into a modern and rather gorgeous dining room. Vibes-ahoy!

Address: 20 – 22 Marlborough Pl, Brighton, BN1 1UB

Marrocco’s, King’s Esplanade

Ideal for the best gelato in town…

Just beyond Hove Lawns and right on the oceanfront along the gorgeous Kingsway promenade is Marrocco’s, an Brighton and Hove institution. It’s pretty old school looking from the front, with Tricolore themed signage and a few al fresco seats. Open since 1969, it feels as though nothing has changed since, and that’s all part of the charm. 

Though the menu includes a Norwegian breakfast, burgers, and fish and chips amongst other globe-trotting delicacies and alongside seafood pasta and pizza, we’re here for the superb, daily changing selection of gelato, which is some of the best in the city.

Sure, the word ‘legendary’ is thrown about on menus a little too liberally these days, but Marrocco’s ice cream sundaes feel genuinely worthy of the acclaim, and are, indeed, legendary. Proper old school Italian at its best, this.

Address: 8 King’s Esplanade, Hove BN3 2WA 

Semola, Church Road

Ideal for a no-thrills Italian dining experience…

Brighton is home to some excellent high-end Italian restaurants. Cin Cin has already proven that it can keep up with London standards and we wouldn’t be surprised if Tutto followed suit by opening a branch in the capital soon.

Sometimes, however, you just want homely Italian comfort food, without all the bells, whistles and price tags sometime associated with it. Enter Semola; the ideal spot for a midweek meal without all the fuss and frippery of going to a fancy restaurant.

At Semola, they cook the simple things well. The pasta here is handmade and the house wine is super affordable, with the cheapest bottle clocking in at just £18. While the food may not blow your socks off, it’s certainly satisfying. If you’re a local, it’s a restaurant that you’ll end up coming back to, time and time again.

Address: 6 Church Rd, Hove, Brighton and Hove, Hove BN3 2FL, United Kingdom

Joseph Gann
Joseph Gann
Chef and food writer, with an interest in mental health and mindfulness

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