Let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with a warm slice of fresh pizza. However, some days we do find ourselves craving a comforting bowl of carbonara or a hearty plate of delicious seafood linguine. 

Now with the long cold winter nights drawing ever nearer, there has never been a better time to find yourself stuck into a bowl of expertly prepared and deliciously plated fresh pasta at one of Nottingham’s many fine Italian restaurants. 

However, as students who live on thin budgets, fine dining is reserved for special occasions or in the rare instance we feel like treating ourselves for enduring a grueling term of lectures, seminars and other shenanigans. 

But I am here to tell you that this may not be the case!   

Below are five choices of possibly Nottingham’s highly rated and beloved clandestine Italian restaurants that must be visited if you are looking to satisfy your craving for great pasta without breaking the bank. 

Hungry Pumpkin

Hungry Pumpkin, best Italian nottingham

Price Range: £5-£8

Located in the heart of Lace Market, just opposite the National Justice Musuem, blink and you might miss this piccolo gioiello. Located away from the hustle and bustle of Nottingham’s busy city, this family restaurant is the perfect spot for a hearty breakfast or brunch. They sell a variety of dried pastas but also allow you to pick your pasta which will then be prepared as a dish. The restaurant is great if you’re also a fan of pasta salads of which they have plenty on offer. We would highly recommend this reasonably priced eatery to anyone looking for a quick bite but mainly for its range of pastas available during the day. 

Open every day apart from Sunday’s from 8:00am to 4:00pm and 9:30am to 4:00pm on Saturdays. 

Botti Di Mamma

botti di mamma nottingham
Source: Tripadvisor

Price Range: £7-£10

Sister restaurant to the more popular Sexy Mama Loves Spaghetti (SMLS), Botti Di Mamma is arguably the better restaurant of the two. Where SMLS is too busy and overpriced for what they offer, this restaurant is more discreet and fly’s under the radar. Receiving mixed reviews on TripAdvisor for their quality of service, customers preferred Botti Di Mamma’s limited but delicious choice of primi’s and secondi’s. Decently priced while also being in the heart of Nottingham makes this a perfect little restaurant for lunch or a date night.  

Open every day apart from Sunday’s from 12:30pm till 9:00pm. 

Vivo 

vivo nottingham
Source: Ubereats

Price Range: £7.50-£9

Located not too far from the University Park Campus, Vivo is a modern but warm and friendly family owned Italian restaurant in the heart of Stapleford. Located only a half hours drive away from the city center, you won’t mind the journey when you hear what’s on offer. You can choose from a range of fresh pastas such as Penne, Spaghetti, Linguine and Tagliatelle.They are then paired with your favourite sauce, all for less than £9! The eatery is highly rated on TripAdvisor for not just their food but their excellent service, value for money and pleasant atmosphere.If you can see past their slightly inconvenient location, this would be the ideal spot for a hearty meal. Their extensive menu is also available to order on Uber Eats. 

Open for lunch and dinner service from 12pm till 2pm and again from 5:30pm till 9:30pm respectively everyday apart from Sunday and Monday. 

Luigi’s Ristorante

Luigi’s Ristorante best italian nottingham
Source: Tripadvisor

Price Range: £5-£9

However, if you’re looking for that authentic Italian dining experience, Luigi’s is what you’re looking for. They serve up amazing fresh pasta alongside other traditional Italian dishes with a flair for the red, white and green. The fresh pasta and al forno dishes are available as either a starter or a main course at a very reasonable price and excellent quality. Unlike many other restaurants, Luigi’s has a greater variety and the food cannot be faulted. The staff are  very knowledgeable with regards to their impressive menu and will help you on the off chance you may feel overwhelmed. We truly are spoilt for choice. The establishment also operates a delivery service that too comes highly recommended on TripAdvisor. The restaurant takes great care to ensure the meal is enjoyed as intended by the chef. 

Open daily apart from Sunday’s from 6pm till 10:30pm between Monday and Thursday and 6pm till 11pm on Friday and Saturday.  

La Storia

La Storia nottingham

Price Range: £13.50-£15

Finally, one last hidden gem that is on the pricy side but worth a visit for the authentic fresh pasta that is served. Located in West Bridgford, opposite the Trent Bridge Cricket Grounds, is a quaint little Italian restaurant that will go un-noticed if it wasn’t for the always busy al fresco diners. The primi menu is small but seasonally changing. What I found unique is that, while sticking to the freshly prepared popular pastas such as tagliatelle and lasagna, they also include the lesser known pastas such as trofiette or gemelli. They then pair these with interesting sauces allowing customers to enjoy unfamiliar but still delicious ingredients that you wouldn’t normally associate with pasta. It is very much on the more expensive side given its affluent neighbourhood and popularity. However, for those who truly love pasta and authentic Italian cuisine, this is definitely a must visit when in Nottingham. Be sure to make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment as they seem to be fully booked on most nights. 

Open Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm till 11:30pm and Sunday from 12pm till 6pm. 

We hope you find the pasta you crave from our five recommendations, but if you feel we missed your favourite pasta spot in town, do let us know in the comments 

And as always, Buon Appetito!