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Spending an Evening at Circolo Popolare

If you’re seeking out romantic dinner spots, London has a lot to offer. But perhaps none are quite as spectacular as Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia’s answer to a taste of Sicily. So, if you’re looking for a memorable experience, and you adore Mediterranean cuisine with a twist, then join us as we spend an evening at what is possibly London’s most Instagrammable restaurant.

Why Sicilian food?

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and forms part of Italy. Its cuisine is influenced by numerous cultures, mostly Italian, but also Spanish, French, Greek and Arabic. Which is precisely why it’s brimming with variety.

So if you’re in the mood for an Italian in Fitzrovia, maybe you should give Sicilian food a go, just for a change? Circolo Popolare is a Sicilian experience waiting to be tried, so let’s head there now and see what’s on offer.

Get ready to be wowed

When we say experience, if you’re planning a night at Circolo Popolare, especially if you’ve never been there before, you need to prepare yourself for something seriously jaw dropping.

As you walk into one of the most romantic dinner spots London has to offer, you’ll be wowed by décor that’s nothing short of spectacular. We challenge you to keep your phone camera at arm’s length, because as you drink in the atmosphere, you’ll find yourself snapping away without even realising it. Circolo Popolare is for sure one of the most Instagram worthy settings, so prepare yourself for a pre-dinner selfie fest – and that’s before you’ve even seen any of the food!

Circolo Popolare is just a few minutes’ walk from central London’s buzziest retail districts, yet nestled into the tranquil surroundings of Rathbone Square. Open seven days a week, it’s one of those places where you truly get to indulge your taste buds.

Catering well for vegetarians, vegans, celiacs and numerous other dietary needs, this Sicilian gem makes the ideal setting for special occasions. During the warmer months, you can settle yourself on the sunny Mediterranean-style terrace, or take a table in the restaurant’s stunning interior and gaze up and appreciate the mesmerising starry ceiling.

The chef’s menu is updated every month as the seasons change and fresh produce comes into the spotlight. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect food-wise.

To start…

Starters, known as ‘antipasti’, are an essential element of Sicilian food. Be tempted by the likes of garlic bruschetta, ricotta and creamy spinach-filled puff pastry empanadas or sea bream ceviche for your romantic evening for two. Dining in a group? Choose a few dishes from the Buoni Prodotti selection to share. But no fighting now!

Pasta pi fauri… (that’s ‘pasta please’ in Sicilian by the way!)

Next, it is customary to follow on from your starter with a pasta dish known as the ‘primi piatti’. Sicily has been using pasta since the 12th century, and at Circolo Popolare, you’ll find plenty of traditional and delectable dishes to appease your taste buds, all of which are made daily in-house.

Always be on the lookout for fresh arrivals, but dishes like ‘New Norma’, a homemade torciglioni with San Marzano tomato sauce, smoky provola, fried aubergine and basil are good examples of what might make your palette sing. Or maybe it could be the cheesy tortelloni stuffed with a creamy stracciatella and ricotta heart in a beautiful fresh tomato scarpariello sauce. Or the scrumptious sounding torciglioni with slow-cooked fennel and tomato sausage ragù, topped with grated Parmigiano.

And for mains…

Following your pasta course, it’s time to prepare yourself for the ‘secondi’, which is your main dish (hopefully you still have room!). This will usually consist of meat or fish, but there are vegetarian options too.

If you’re a steak aficionado, the grilled Bavette is a must-try, and for fish lovers, the cuttlefish skewer with its tomato, shallot and garlic dressing has to be on the agenda. Vegetarians are treated to ‘Aubergine Express’, a roasted half aubergine stuffed with mozzarella fior di latte, San Marzano tomato, Parmigiano and basil pesto.

Of course, you can always opt for something from the famous Circolo Popolare pizza menu instead. Now this is no ordinary pizza menu, so prepare yourself… Trufflepuff, for example, is made with fresh black truffle, fior di latte mozzarella, black truffle cream and 22 month Parmigiano, with a sprinkling of chives. Or if you like it hot, try (if you dare) the Calabrian Flame, crafted from San Marzano tomato, mozzarella fior di latte, spicy spianata, 'nduja, ricotta cream and paprika.

And finally, the sweet course…

Got a sweet tooth? Then the ‘dolci’ course is just what you’ve been waiting for. Dolci is a particular speciality of Sicilian food, so with a bit of luck, you’ll have saved a bit of space for a pud.

No visit to an Italian in Fitzrovia would be complete without a tiramisu, but there are plenty of other sweet delights to round off your memorable evening at Circolo Popolare.

From a zingy lemon pie with an eye-poppingly humongous meringue layer, to a huge caramel and dark chocolate profiterole filled with vanilla gelato, and from the meringue and whipped cream mess with raspberries and strawberries served with a blackcurrant coulis, to a dessert pizza filled with the restaurant’s own signature chocolate hazelnut spread, you’ll be challenged not to try something, even if it has to come with two (or more) spoons for sharing. Well, you can always hit the gym tomorrow!

And now for some Sicilian snifters!

Sicilian red wines are usually served with grilled or roasted meats. Look out for Alcamo Rossa, made primarily from the Nero d’Avola grape, and the ever-so-slightly spicy Etna Rosso, which goes well with fish as well as meat.

Pasta dishes are usually best complemented by Sicilian white and rosé wines, whilst your dolci course will pair well with a dessert variety, such as Marsala, or a Malvasia delle Lipari.

If you fancy a digestive following your meal at Circolo Popolare, there’s the ever-famous lemon liqueur limoncello, a range of herbal or floral tasting Amaros, or the popular almond-infused Amaretto.

Fancy an evening of Sicilian cuisine and hospitality? Visit Circolo Popolare, one of the most romantic dinner spots in London!

If you’re heading into town and fancy trying something different – and truly memorable – Circolo Popolare fits the bill in many ways.

Bookings can be made one month in advance for groups of less than eight, or 37 days in advance for groups of eight or more.

And whilst you’re in Rathbone Square, why not make a point of exploring everything else we have to offer? We look forward to welcoming you!

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