I have been hearing about Polpo, an Italian tapas restaurant in London, since the last time the Vegetarian was in the mighty United Kingdom. Polpo has a few locations (Soho, Smithfield and Covent Garden), along with a couple other restaurants. The Vegetarian has been comparing the meatballs they offer (five different varieties) to The Meatball Shop in NYC, and testifying that their veggie meatballs are better. Of course I had to compare both the Polpo veggie and pork meatballs to see what all the fuss was about.
The nice aspect of Polpo, versus its NYC counterpart, are the other various offerings. You can get a number of salads, bruschetta, mini pizzas, vegetables among other dishes. Though what is missing is the various sauces and combinations that the Meatball Shop offers.
While I found the service something to be desired at the London Soho location, the food itself was terrific. The veggie meatballs won, while the pork and fennel meatballs tied that of the Meatball Shop. You also can’t go wrong with the Broad bean (fava), ricotta & mint bruschetta.
Photo courtesy of London Chow
With various cocktails and wines also available, it would be a great after work spot for a drink and some small snacks and plates. Apparently the Covent Garden location offers better service, so take your meal there if you plan to hit up this Italian joint.