The Best Italian Restaurants in Brighton

I love Italian food, and decided to go on a holiday to Sorrento in Italy. Whilst I was there, I tried fresh margarita pizza, homemade pastas and the wonderful food that the cuisine has to offer. Sadly when I returned home, the only way to eat this food again was to recreate it at home. But on the days where I don't feel like cooking, I could venture out to my local Italian restaurant. We have tried a lot of Italian food and to save you money and time, we have listed the best Italian restaurants in Brighton. 

1. Mamma Mi by the sea

I love this local Italian restaurant mainly because it is reasonably priced, the pizza is the closest to the one we tasted in Italy and the staff are very friendly. This cosy place has indoor and outside seating and the menu consists of pasta, pizza, salads, and desserts. This is my favourite place to eat on this list and if I had to pick one negative it would be that it is only open for lunch time. 

2. Fatto a mano

For a chain restaurant, Fatto a Mano is an exceptional place to eat. The pizza was made by hand and cooked in a stone baked oven. The delicious tomato sauce and cheese was almost perfect with the downsides being the sogginess of the base. As the pizza base was so thin that it didn't hold together very well but this alone would not stop me coming back for more great tasting pizza.

3. Coppa Club

We waited 45 minutes for our food to arrive, mind you, it was extremely busy. To start with, I chose a bread basket for us to nibble on and it came with a pot of high quality olive oil for dipping. My son had calamari which was delicious and my daughter had a garlic bread. For my main, I chose the crab linguine and despite the small portion it was delicious and featured brown and white crab in a sauce with fresh pasta. My partner and children went for the safer margarita pizza and it was surprisingly similar to the real pizza that we tasted back in our trip to Sorrento.

4. Otello 

The pizza is nice and is acceptable to the standards of other pizzerias, however, it is nothing compared to the real Italian pizza that we had in Sorrento. Pizzas here still have way too much cheese and salt and are missing the point with the tomato sauce. Calamari was delicious, perfectly cooked, crunch on the outside and soft on the inside without that rubbery texture that sometimes you can expect. It was served with a creamy dill sauce and had a slice of lemon on the side. 

Lasagne and cannelloni is nice but has far too much cheese, salt and has a lot of oil on it. I am not a fussy person, however, I make a delicious homemade lasagne that tastes better than anything I can find in the restaurants. For that reason, I am always skeptical about ordering it, and on the off chance that I do, disappointment is always on the cards. 

The salad is amazing and is served with olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar so that you can mix it up yourself. They have some wonderful puddings here, sometimes they give you a bigger portion but on busier nights you will get something very small. Options include banoffee pie (which is wonderful), tiramisu (which is also wonderful), and a chocolate fudge cake that I am yet to try.  

5. Barcode

Fantastic pizza with a delicious flavour, the service is great. They lack a healthy salad as an option. Toilets are very clean. Family friendly with high chairs available on request. It seems as though they have too many tables with not much space to bring a buggy in. On two occasions I ordered olives and the charming waiter said “olives are on the house”, we complimented happy with the free olives that never arrived. I used to like going to this place for dinner but unfortunately they have now shut down and are no longer in business (probably because they forgot everyones olives.)

6. Rustico

Came here for a family meal and discovered that they have a classic nonnas section on the menu. This means that the recipes are traditional Italian dishes that are cooked to a grandmothers recipe. As a customer, It gives you authenticity and builds credibility as to how nice the dishes will be. I ordered the pasta meatballs which was called Pasta con Polpette; it was Rigatoni pasta in a tomato and basil sauce with 6 meatballs.

Light bites and Neapolitan street food looked interesting, I ordered the Zucchini chips which consisted of battered courgette chips, they were delightful, the price was £4. I tried Taralli which is a salty ring shaped biscuit, it tasted like a salty shortbread cracker that was crunchy and had flavours of fennel. One portion of Taralli costed about £2 and you got about 8 small biscuits. Family members ordered Panzerotto which is a potato croquette and the flavour was nothing special, merely a deep fried croquette with a mashed potato inside. 

Sadie ordered her usual favourite ‘Napoletana pizza with mozzarella, anchovies and capers. Whilst it usually comes with black olives, this one didn’t and they charged her an extra £2.50 for a few olives to be placed on the pizza. She thought that the pizza was tasty but nothing special, and prefers how they cook that specific pizza in other restaurants nearby.

I tried the Neapolitan pizza and the plain margarita which the kids shared. I found it quite disappointing, whilst the size of it was huge, the base was very soggy and flopped when picked up, I like a sturdy pizza and this one had way too much cheese on it and way too much salt. It was cooked in a real pizza oven but unfortunately the chef had missed the point. 

They sell authentic desserts and whilst I didn’t try any they looked nice. I was going to try one but the size of them for the price didn’t seem worth it. Especially considering the price of my main and the small size that it was. As well as being a restaurant, they also sell pantry items like boxed dried Italian pasta, chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio or lemon cannoli shells, and boxed Savoiardi sponge fingers. They also sell their own enamel plates, and pizza knives which I thought was quite strange. 

The menu is well put together, food is cheap enough to try a variety of dishes but apart from the pizzas, the portion sizes are small and slightly disappointing. The house salad had no dressing on it, it was just a few lettuce leaves in a bowl, and not very interesting. 

Desserts that I wanted to try and will be back for; The pastier di grano which is a baked pastry dessert that is also known as a Neapolitan ricotta cheese pie. Baba Napolteano which is a Napoltean rum sponge cake, supposedly sticky, citrus scented and boozy. This dish is popular in Naples, Italy, however it originated in the French city called Lorraine. It is similar to another dessert that is called savarin, the only difference is that one is shaped like a doughnut where as the other is shaped like a champagne cork.  

7. Pizza Me

The biggest pizza you will get anywhere! Caters for vegans and meat eaters. The downside is the lack of tomato sauce on the base, they only use a very small amount with a ton of cheese. Nonetheless, if your hungry and want some cheese, don’t go anywhere else! They do cater for vegans and gluten free options but these are not very nice. They put fresh basil on the pizza as a garnishing touch, and this basil is to be avoided, it doesn’t taste right. Despite the large pizza, they lack real ingredients, the menu is limited and the only thing going for it is the large size. In it’s defence, it is a takeaway, not a restaurant. 

Up next: Benefits of trying cultural foods


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