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Our Story

Where it all began

We've been on quite a journey over the last six decades which started in the rolling hills of Emilia-Romagna - the region of northern Italy which produces so many of the amazing foods which are key to the Italian kitchen. Prosciutto di Parma, Balsamico di Modena and Parmigiana all come from this part of Italy - and its where the inspiration for Ponti's Italian Kitchen was born.

Our founder Pino Ispani grew up in this landscape and it is where his love and passion for authentic Italian food was born. Pino left the village of Rabbini for London in 1957 - he couldn't speak English but his love of food was established and he found himself working in Marcantonio, a café in Lambeth run by his uncle Johnny Silva.

At just 19 years old Pino met an investor who loaned him the money to open his own café in Victoria - right next door to the busy coach terminal which was abuzz with activity in the 1960s. The Ponti's name was born and fast became known for excellent service, a relaxed ambience and fabulous Italian food.

A woman stood infront of a old fashioned shop till in black & white.

Authentically Italian

Pino's empire soon grew and in the 1980s he opened his own production kitchen, making pastries, ice cream and main meals - he supplied not only his own restaurants but also other eateries.

He introduced more genuine Italian dishes, served the traditional way and prepared with love and passion. His restaurants became hugely popular with tourists in Covent Garden and Oxford Circus and in Liverpool Street Station travellers could wait for their trains from the balcony at Ponti's.

Italian Casual Dining Today

Pino's son Stefano heralded the next generation of the family to run the business at a time when the culinary landscape was changing. Customers were travelling more, they wanted quality food but were not interested in stuffy suit and tie dining. Chic and casual dining was born and it was tailor made for Ponti's.

We don't follow the fashion at Ponti's but we do have a great instinct for doing things the right way. Stefano blended his cultural heritage with an authentic Italian dining experience - a refreshed name emerged Ponti's Italian Kitchen - and the flagship location in London's Oxford Circus was given a new interior and décor.

The dishes served today are synonymous with Emilia-Romagna, using many of the DOP and DOC ingredients that the region is renowned for the world over. That little piece of Italy that Pino brought to England in 1957 is still there and we can't wait for you to enjoy it.

Once tried we feel sure you will be planning a second visit, pronto.

The inside of an Italian restaurant