Arcadia – delicious, homemade Italian off Kensington high street

Normally painted-on greenery, complete with fake grape vines, would be a big red flag when it comes to choosing a relatively nice dining experience. For some reason (probably hunger – we’d been looking for lunch for at least 45 minutes) we chose to dine at such a place after visiting the Science Museum near Hyde Park in Kensington.

Luckily, we didn’t judge it too harshly. Arcadia is a quaint Italian restaurant in an alley near High Street Kensington. When attempting a Google Maps search, you won’t find them unless you zoom right in. That’s how I know they’re there for the love of the food, not the money (well maybe a little bit for the money). There is a laneway opposite TK Maxx (bear with me!) and on the right side, two or three restaurants down and nuzzled between franchises, is Arcadia.

From the moment we entered the restaurant the service was flawless. The Italian waiters were there every time we looked up and always seemed to know when we were ready to order, needed more of anything or were asking for the bill. We were there when it was relatively quiet, however the staff seemed genuinely attentive, not just sating their boredom.

I ordered the gnocchi from the lunch menu; it was homemade and delicious with a tomato sauce and mozzarella. The second dish was spaghetti with mussels; also delicious.

The furnishings and decorations would have been, in any other setting, tacky and claustrophobic. In Arcadia they seem to hail back to the time when this restaurant, perhaps, was established and instilled a sense of authenticity in the experience. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo (it was so nice that I didn’t want to pull my phone out and disrespect the waiters – or is that a compliment now?) so you’ll have to see it for yourself.

I would definitely recommend a visit. This was the perfect end to a lovely sunny day.

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