I love Italy and I adore Italian food, and I’ve been fortunate to visit some superb restaurants in Italy over the years, including a three star Michelin in Florence with the late Michel Roux, when I was running the Roux Scholarship. 

I never imagined that I’d find a restaurant that personified top Italian dining in the heart of Knightsbridge, but I have. 

It’s called Cantinetta Antinori and it’s tucked down Harriet Street,  a side street off Sloane Street, just a short stroll from Knightbridge station, and it’s fabulous.

The Antinori Heritage

You might recognise the name Antinori if you’re a wine buff: the Antinori family boasts 26 generations of winemakers, and is famous for producing superb Chiantis. 

This restaurant is the family’s first London outpost, in collaboration with international restaurateur and luxury meat importer Riccardo Giraudi. It sounds like a marriage made in heaven: fine wine, luxury meats and restaurant know-how, and, it is.

Cantinetta Antinori Knightsbridge

The restaurant offers all day dining and, surprisingly, an amazingly good value set lunch (two courses and a glass of wine for £29).  

On entering the restaurant, one feels transported to Tuscany, the decor is superb and the restaurant is surprisingly large. 

Inspired by the Cantinetta Antinori restaurant in Florence,  interiors are adorned with Tuscan artisanal motifs such as brass vine leaves, displays of wine, wall-mounted colourful plates and enchanting curiosities from the Antinori family collection.

It really does feel like a trip to Florence. 

My Lunch

The day I visited, I was taken upstairs to a bustling atmosphere.  The place was nicely busy – not too noisy, as the tables are well spaced – with a mix of businessmen and ‘ladies who lunch’ clearly enjoying themselves.  

Wanting to check out the set lunch, I started with Filetto di Vitello Tonnato – a classic dish that I love. It is a traditional veal fillet, finely sliced and topped with a tuna and caper sauce.

Not only was this magnificently presented, but it tasted fabulous.  The veal melted in the mouth and the seasoning of the sauce was perfectly balanced.

My main was the fish of the day from the set lunch – Cod with Spinach.  Cheekily, I asked if they could upgrade it to one of their signature dishes: Black Cod Al Vinsanto (Vinsanto marinated wild black cod and sautéed spinach – £45).  That way I was able to try the great value set lunch as well as one of their superb signature dishes. 

It was really, really good.  

A glass of Vermentino, Bolgheri DOC complemented my lunch perfectly – and that was included in the set lunch price!

Two ladies at a table near to me were enjoying a stupendous dish of Lobster linguine, bisque and cherry tomato (not such great value at £58 but it did look delicious!)

Lots of Opportunities to Visit

Every Friday and Saturday from 6.30pm – 10.30pm, Cantinetta Antinori plays host to buzzing live music evenings, with an evolving roster of Jazz musicians and resident bands.

Guests can enjoy the soothing sounds while sampling the wines and indulgent sharing plates from the Aperitivo menu. 

A Tuscan inspired brunch menu is available at the weekend, offering dishes with Italian flair from £17, such as their Carbonara-inspired take on poached eggs, Uova in camicia alla Carbonara, and Focaccia di Recco Al Tartufo, a thin focaccia stuffed with Stracchino cheese and white truffle. 

And there is a Sunday roast for £39 a head (Roasted black Angus beef, seasonal vegetables, crispy potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and red wine jus). 

Judging by my fabulous set lunch, I’m sure that weekend meals there are also well worth a trip to Knightsbridge:  Tuscany via the Piccadilly Line!