Buonissimo 1 Albany Road, Harborne, Birmingham - Timo 343 Kensington High Street, London W8 - Arancia 52 Southwark Park Road, London SE16

Arancia 52 Southwark Park Road, London SE16, tel: 020 7394 1751 Squeezed into what was once a corner-shop in Bermondsey, this buzzy, cheerful, honest place serves good homely Italian food at prices you cannot resent. The menu changes weekly, but anything with baccala (salt cod) or granchia (crab) is worth trying. And look out for the pumpkin gnocchi, or the maiale arrosto (roast pork) and spaghetti with anchovy, chilli and garlic.

Timo 343 Kensington High Street, London W8, tel: 020 7603 3888 From those wonderful people who brought us Zafferano comes this cosy but classy Italian local. Service is intelligent and considerate, and the balanced cooking bears some of the classic hallmarks of one-time Zafferano chef Giorgio Locatelli. The true test of simplicity – tortellini in brodo – is lovely, while main courses such as veal chop and artichokes, and calves sweetbreads with agrodolce sauce are also good choices.

Buonissimo 1 Albany Road, Harborne, Birmingham, tel: 0121 426 2444 Ask locals which is the best Italian in town, and those who can pronounce Buonissimo will probably say it. This smart, family-run restaurant uses organic and free-range produce where possible, with vegetables from the Model Farm in Herefordshire and beef sourced by the Rare Breed Society. Expect corkscrew pasta with pine nuts, rocket and tomato; a torta of layered cheese and aubergine, and slow-braised lamb shank with rosemary and red wine jus.