Lina Stores (shop)

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London's definitive Italian delicatessen
Marked by its pleasing signature fountain green colour (both in and out) and renowned for top-quality salamis, cheeses, breads and home-made tortelloni and ravioli, Lina Stores remains, along with the one surviving branch of I Camisa (in Old Compton St), the definition of Italian food shopping in London. And positioned in gay- and media-mad Soho, it draws a colourful clientele. Original Genova-born owner Lina started her business in 1944, then shortly after moved from nearby Rupert St. to the current Brewer St. location. Thirty years later she retired, with members of her staff taking over. In 1978 they sold the business to the Filippis, whose daughter Gabriella and husband Tony Saccomani ran the operation from the early 90s until 2012, when their son-in-law Massimo took over. A major upgrade in 2010 fine-tuned the interior, thankfully with a certain regard for the original atmosphere. The shop's emphasis is on take-home Italian provisions, but the deli counter also offers takeaway lunch possibilities, both savoury (excellent sandwiches) and sweet (superlative home-made canoli etc), with tables outside in the alleyway. And you can now sip on an espresso while waiting. In May 2018 a full-throttle and local-feeling restaurant version of the deli opened five minutes away at 51 Greek St [see entry], with reasonably priced pasta and gnocchi dishes and desserts.