Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get news and exclusives right in your inbox!

Privacy Policy

Polpo London – Venetian tapas and bellinis

For someone who loves her restaurants I can’t believe its taken me this long to take my foodie self to the small plates empire known as Polpo. I thank my fellow food lover Mrs Larkin for the introduction to this Venetian bacaro. The Italian’s version of a gastropub, where the locals wines mingle with the posh bar snacks.

Restaurants in Chelsea

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

We arrived on a busy Saturday night, always a risk when its a restaurant that operates a no-reservations policy at dinner. It means you either have to go early. Wait. Or get lucky. Fortunately the latter happened, and we were seated at the bar with full view of all the action (the best seat in the house when you’re a twosome).

Polpo Chelsea

Housed in a large Georgian townhouse in the heart of Chelsea, Duke of York Square. Polpo Chelsea takes on the features of the house with the huge Georgian sash windows and combines it with the rustic italian style of bare wooden furniture, antique maps of venice, exposed brick walls, tin ceiling tiles, zinc bar tops and lights shades made out of white hankies. Giving the whole place rather a warm and homely feel.

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

We kicked off our menu browsing with bellini’s. Served in small tumbler glasses, they went down a bit too well. The menu is split into sections, offering cicchetti (small snacks), pizzette, breads, meatballs, meat, fish, vegetables and salads. My eyes were pinging with delight at the number of vegetarian options on offer.

We started with the arancini, deep-fried risotto balls (£4). Covered in a lovely crunchy crust filled with well seasoned creamy soft rice. It could have done with some kind of dip, regardless I could have eaten more.

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea - Arancini & Pizzetta

This was closely followed by a pizzette from the specials menu  – tomato, chilli and olives. The light and fluffy base was graced with juicy toppings and it didn’t take long to hoover up. The rest of our selection consisted of fennel, almond & curly endive salad (£5), rosemary roast potatoes (£5) and one of the best dishes that has passed my lips this half of the year! Chickpea, spinach and ricotta meatballs (£6). Oh my! Soft, creamy, flavoursome balls of joy covered in a tasty tomatoey sauce.  How these have not been in my life until this day I do not know?!  The fact that I could look at a meatballs menu and still order was thrilling in itself (vegetarians love being included).

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

Not forgetting the carnivores and pescatarians among us there were an array of dishes ranging from pork belly, flank steak, cod cheeks and duck ragu. Plus the restaurants namesake marinated baby octopuses.

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

We foolishly skipped dessert, tiramisu, nutella pizzetta and flourless pistachio and almond cake were a few of the sweet treats on offer. Instead we opted to end our feast in classic Sima and Maria style with a fresh mint tea.

Polpo Chelsea

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

The food certainly lived up to the hype and combined with the reasonable prices, it’s easy to see why Polpo draws in the crowds. I was impressed with the hospitable and swift service too. Russell Norman’s Venetian tapas chain sensation can be found on nearly every corner of Central London, Soho, Covent Garden, Notting Hill and Smithfield. Along with its sibling restaurants Polpette, American  styled Spuntino and Polpo at Ape and Bird. Plenty of places for me to add to my foodie hit list!

Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea

Have you ever dined in one of the many restaurants in Chelsea? Is there a restaurant you’ve been itching to go to? Did it live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments box below.


Polpo Chelsea | 81 Duke of York Square | London | SW3 4LY


Polpo London | restaurants in Chelsea


  • RHT_Stephen 8th May 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Polpo sounds lovely and the food looks delicious, I will have to add that to my list of restaurants next time I’m down in London

    • Sima Sthanakiya 8th May 2016 at 8:55 pm

      The chilled out casual vibe tops it all off. You’ll definitely have to check it out on your next visit!

  • Milly 8th May 2016 at 9:15 pm

    This place looks lovely and Arancini is one of my favourite starters. Will have to check it out!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 8th May 2016 at 9:22 pm

      So many delicious bites. You’ll need to add it the list of restaurants to visit.

  • Ana De Jesus 9th May 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I am a fellow vegetarian and I am rejoicing with you! This is wondrous news, the chilli and tomato bread look absolutely heavenly!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th May 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Oh Ana isn’t it a dream when you go out for a meal and you have choices as a veggie at a restaurant. You so need to look this place up! x

    • Dynamic Bohemian 10th May 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Talking about vegetarian – you should def check out this recipe I reviewed for Healthy Fried Quinoa (instead of rice). Super yummy! I’m not vegetarian – but I realize the benefits of practicing it some days –

      • Sima Sthanakiya 10th May 2016 at 12:48 pm

        Thanks for the quinoa tip. I’ll have to give a whirl! x

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes 10th May 2016 at 8:04 am

    Awesome pictures. This looks like the cool chilled out place that I would love.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 10th May 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Jemma. It’s like eating at your own kitchen table, but someone else has done the cooking – Bliss!

  • Dynamic Bohemian 10th May 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Ok your pictures are awesome considering it looks like it was a low light atmosphere. Food looked delicious, too!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 10th May 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks so much – I have to thank my GX7 for helping with the ‘low light nightmare photo situation’ in restaurants.

  • Nanie Ali 12th May 2016 at 11:10 pm

    These looked yums! I’m gonna give it a try when I go to UK next. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 13th May 2016 at 9:52 am

      Oh you so must! There are loads all over London.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    About Me

    About Me

    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More


    Let’s be social

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

    Get news and exclusives right in your inbox!

    Privacy Policy


    Please note, this site contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my full disclosure here.


    November 2019 – Hamburg | Seville | Grenada

    March 2020 – Panama

    Awards & Ranking


    Trips100 - Travel Blogs