The 'recommend Paesan to a friend' comes with a few caveats. The corner location means plenty of natural light and the rustic-Italian interior with an open kitchen gives good vibes. The food, for the most part, was good-very good (there was a problem with the squid, and the focaccia was not evenly warm - still cold base, but warm top). However, the other dishes were fine. The service was enthusiastic and helpful, but there could be a better attention to detail, as per the focaccia above and, although there were very few people in at our early pre-show dinner, some of our dishes sat plated up for some time before being ferried to us.
With these details fixed it would be easy to recommend Paesan.
Let’s start with the good stuff : food was very good. The rest was a total mess. Front and back of house clearly overwhelmed by a busy Friday night. Seeing this place is always full, not sure what went totally wrong. 3 hours to get through a very very noisy dinner. The waiter did what he could, poor lad. No managers in sight. Toilets filthy...,should I go on. And when we complained the service charge was waived...laughable...and not the waiter’s fault. Perhaps you should follow Jamie’s Italian. Not coming back sadly.
Incredible food, atmosphere and impeccable service. They didn’t have Tiramisu on the day as they had a busy night the day before. However the waiter made it happen. Amazing.
The worst service I’ve ever witnessed the lady front of house was nothing short of rude and really should be moved out the back so she can learn to smile first. Food was a bit flavourless and considering the price came to £100 for a few starters mains and bottle of wine I’d expect a way higher quality.
Wouldn’t go back in a rush or reccomend to a friend.
Always love this place - great food, great service, and great atmosphere!
First of all, love Paesan. Great location on Exmouth Market, nice decor, always a good menu.
BUT, two things:
1. The menu is SO hard to read. Yes, my eyes are not great after a long, stressful week, but the menu is written in the tiniest font I've ever seen, and in dim light I had no choice but to embarass myself in front of my date using my phone to magnify the text. Can you PLEASE consider bigger text?
2. Our waiter was nice but his English was terrible. Everything I said I had to repeat myself three times. Actual quotes:
Me: "Hi there, we're ready to order."
Him: "More water, yes ok."
Me: "No, ready to order. Food. We're ready to order food."
Him: "Oh ready to order what would you like?"
Me: "She would like the sea bream"
Him: "The chicken? Okay one chicken."
Me: "No, the sea bream."
Him: Looks confused at the menu
Me: Points to the sea bream item "the sea bream, here"
Him: "Ah okay, the sea bream!"
Me: "And I will order the same thing"
Him: "Okay, sea bream to share, thank you." *turns and walks away*
Me to date: "Did he just say to share?"
Date: "Yeah, he definitely did"
Me, getting up and walking back to the kitchen: "We want two orders of sea bream, right?"
Him: "AH! Two orders! Okay, so you don't want to share?"
The food is always good here, and the menu a bit different from a bog-standard Italian! Once again, though, the service could be better.
Nice restaurant, nice food and helpful waiter. We got a table outside which was lovely as the weather was nice but seats were a bit hard - no cushions/padding. The restaurant was empty when we arrived but after a while another couple arrived and we were asked to share two menus (between four) as the waiter needed two menus for the the other guests. Not sure what would have happened if any more customers arrived. Also our first wine choice was not available and the second one offered wasn't to our taste. Overall a nice place for a casual dinner outside in the summer.
Firstly they could not find our reservation.
Service was slow although there were many waitresses, but they were talking between themselves.
Starter was excellent, but after that everything was downhill.
I don't know what happened. Used to be my favourite place. The food was just average this time. Some dishes inedible
Service not up to our previous visits, but it was a busy time. Good food again, though, with interesting Italian regional cuisine.
Second time to this restaurant when in London and not disappointed. The sharing platters are lovely. We both really enjoyed our mains - spaghetti meatballs and rosemary roast chicken. And the service is great. Need to book.
Overall this was disappointing. Perhaps I should have trusted my gut instinct, when I arrived I felt that overall it looked and smelt like it needed a good clean, we gave it a chance, it was okay, nothing special (especially not for the price) and given the location there are far better Italian restaurants within walking distance (i.e. Polpo West Smithfield).
The menu is fairly standard, the home made focaccia was nice, the antipasti was average, again mains - pasta nothing special. £110 later, a bottle of average wine, fairly average food, I wouldn't bother going back.
By the way my gut instinct was right, the toilets were grim, the black leather seats were damaged, it smelt a bit like a nightclub. I can't imagine it will be there for long.
My Italian housemate wanted to try this place and I was a willing companion. I had one of the best fish dishes I can remember having - the grilled hake with cherry tomato and spinach, accompanied with a glass of white and the chocolate mousse special for after. It was a perfectly well rounded meal, full of flavor and texture. I am not sure that my housemate was impressed with her choice which was two smaller plates (from memory the arancini and the burrata). Have booked again for when my mum visits in May.
food was simple and delicious with good ingredients. staff were very nice but were too hands off - and i never thought i would say that - we had to call them over a lot to order drinks. But that said the only thing that would make me think twice about going back is the loud music. turn that down just a bit and i’ll be in for dinner every night ! it’s a million times nicer than the horrible santore restaurant at the other end of the market !
I’ve been to Paesan before and it has been great, however this time it was very disappointing!
Our pasta was over cooked and lacking in flavour and the service was very slow.
Definitely wouldn’t be going there anytime soon!
A lovely restaurant- friendly staff and tasty food. I felt it was quite pricey for pasta and coffee but all in all a lovely place.
I had great hopes of Paesan. The staff were lovely and provided good service, however the food just didn't cut it - burnt focaccia and lukewarm steak. The bathroom floor was extremely wet and I slipped and fell. A disappointing Valentine's dinner location :(
Fantastic meal, great vibe. Service was excellent and the waitress was fantastic. Menu was extremely interesting and all the food we ordered was delicious.
The menu could include more food you would expect at an Italian restaurant, like pizzas and lasagna. They also included a 12.5% service charge on our bill, which is quite uncomfortable even though we usually tip anyway.
I love this place. It's cosy and easy. We went on this occasion as a pre-theatre dinner. We did seem to be there at a busy time as lots of other people must have had the same idea, but the staff were very courteous and obviously aware that this was the plan for lots of customers! Lovely food and I really like the atmosphere. Great location.
The pappardelle was too thick, the fish broth had far too much lemon juice, and we were there an hour and a half before our main courses arrived.
Exceptional quality food - southern Italian specialities in particular. Could do with a few more waiting staff at busy times as service can be slow.
Food was very disappointing. Arancini and pasta was unsalted and bread was stale. Service was very poor and we had to get up to get our waitress several times. Definitely do not recommend
We booked pre-theatre; the menu offered a good range of both vegetarian and meat options and was of a high standard. The waitress was both friendly and efficient. The kitchen is visible but not intrusive and as we had an early setting we could see our meal being cooked.
Lived up to our first visit. Excellent Italian food (I love the fact they credit the region) and very friendly service. I think I'm about to become a regular!
Lovely interior and good, friendly service. Our food was good but missing the wow factor. We had pasta and bruschetta and although it was all perfectly nice, I think I was hoping for something a bit more. I would return, but choose something different from the menu next time.
The food was great, lovely selection of interesting dishes and wines. Service was pretty rubbish - had to ask to order drinks and food, and most of the waiting staff were more interested in talking to each other and standing around than serving their customers. The seats were very ripped and did not feel comforting. Overall the great food saved the place, but I would not go back.
The food was delicious, however the service a little sloppy by the manager. The young female waitress who took over our table was much better. From the outside you'd not want to go inside. Still inside its very appealing. Having the kitchen open is the done thing in restaurants the kitchen doesn't look the cleanest the chefs whites were filthy. Restaurants =germs
excellent food and fantastic atmosphere as always.
Excellent food in lively room. Staff friendly and working hard to serve everyone in packed Christmas week. Good value.
Food was excellent (we had pasta) – the bruschetta was just the right amount for two to share as a starter. Staff weren't super-attentive (except for the manager), but it was a busy night. Food took a little longer than we'd like, but got a free glass of wine because of it. The prices were very fair, and because the main servings were quite large, we wouldn't have needed the starters had we not been so hungry. The restaurant is charmingly decorated, casual and friendly. Would definitely go again.
I booked Paesan for my dad's birthday dinner, and though the food was fine, the service and overall experience left us disappointed. We had booked in advance for 5 people, but when we arrived there was no table ready for us though the restaurant wasn't very busy.
A male waiter tried sitting us on a table for 4, and it was only because the couple next to us said they were leaving were we able to all get a seat. The waitress was friendly, but the food took about an hour and a quarter to arrive, with many tables that came in after us getting their food a good half hour before us. I think the waitress had to remind the kitchen about our order.
I ordered meatballs and polenta, and though averagely tasty it was very dry and definitely needed more sauce. My dad had chicken which he seemed to enjoy. All our meals could have done with some vegetables too, as it was purely a lump of chicken on the plate. The music was way too loud and rock themed, which was a bit jarring for an Italian restaurant. Overall, a poor to average experience. I don't think we'll be returning.
New kid on the block in Exmouth Market. Excellent food from a wide ranging menu. Service was seriously under pressure though, and we had to wait a bit too long for our order. Nonetheless, we will return at a quieter time as the cooking is divine, which is what really counts. Toning down noise levels would also be good.
Superbe Italian food. I have yet to find better
Food was ok but I would not go on a weekend evening again. I might try during the day as this restaurant was recommended by a friend for good regional Italian food. Menu had interesting selection but service and experience was disappointing. We had to change our booking from 5 to 3 people, notification of which they seemed not to have received through opentable the day before, so only knew when I phoned to check earlier on the day. We were sat at a table by the door on a chilly night. I asked if we could move along because of the draught but no- the 2 tables next to us were apparently booked out for the evening. Later, 3 ladies who had been waiting for a table were sat at the empty tables( they had been empty since us being there ) next to us after having to press staff to let them sit somewhere!
Nice food, good service in an excellent area for bars and restaurants.
Have really enjoy Paesan. Have been multiple times, bringing family and friends for a nice night out. Food is quite good, ingredients fresh and they do the staples well. Not a huge wine list, but most of the bottles are in the standard range. Service is quite good, although my score doesn’t show it. The folks there near to learn how to keep customers. So when a server makes a mistake (an obvious accident) that impacts your patrons, correcting with a bought back drink or comp’d app is how you handle a situation. Sadly, it will be quite some time (if ever) until we return again.