Where to eat the world's best tiramisu

Whether you’re after a classic tiramisu or a daring interpretation, these are the top spots to try it in Italy and the UK.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019,
By Felicity Cloake
Making tiramisu at I Tre Mercanti.
Making tiramisu at I Tre Mercanti, a smart deli in Venice that serves the dessert in 25 different flavours, including apricot and liquorice, coffee and sambucca, and tropical fruit.
Photograph by Simone Padovani

Italy

Le Beccherie, Treviso
This restaurant’s claim to be the birthplace of tiramisu may or may not be true, but it remains a great place to try it. The ‘Beccherie classic tiramisu’ version uses just the original six ingredients, while the ‘wrong tiramisu’ features a mascarpone mousse, coffee cream and prosecco jelly, a nod to another local product. The original restaurant closed in 2014 — but the new venture, bearing the same name, uses the first owners’ recipe. 

Pompi, Rome
With typical Roman bombast, the Pompi patisserie chain declares itself the king of tiramisu — a claim that might raise a few eyebrows in Italy’s north east. Similarly eyebrow-raising is the range of flavours, from the classic to twists like hazelnut, pistachio, strawberry and pina colada. It even does a gluten-and lactose-free version. 

I Tre Mercanti, Venice
If you time your visit to this smart deli well, you’ll be able to watch its signature tiramisu being put together. Then, choose from 25 flavours, including apricot and liquorice, coffee and sambucca, and tropical fruit. They’re more like tiramisu pots than traditional layered desserts, but no less delicious for it. The shop is also a good source of other culinary treats, from cheese and truffles to local wine. 

Trattoria Tiramisu, Taormina
Sicily may be at the opposite end of the country to tiramisu’s traditional heartland, but you’ll still see it on menus here. This busy little restaurant near the ancient Porta Catania is a good bet in a touristy area, serving a gloriously light, and generously portioned, tiramisu. Its signature dish, though, is pennette alla mimmo: pasta in a mildly spiced cream sauce.

UK

Newell Restaurant & rooms, Sherborne
This former pub has only been open since March, but it’s already making waves, with The Sunday Times’ restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin describing it as ‘quietly wonderful’. The dessert menu features tiramisu — not just a classic version but an intriguingly tropical coconut take too. The latter features biscuits soaked in coconut milk and Malibu, coconut cream and mascarpone, and a topping of toasted coconut.

Gloria, London, UK
Everything about this mega-kitsch restaurant is good fun, from the ritzy, pink-mirrored decor to the risqué cocktail mugs. The mascarpone-rich tiramisu — served in billowing, if unceremonious, dollops — is surprisingly light for something so creamy. This means that even after Gloria’s famously rich spaghetti carbonara — served tableside from a wheel of Parmesan — you’ll have room for a spoonful or two.

Forza Win, London
London has a lot of great tiramisu, but this version, served in a converted Peckham warehouse that’s at the authentic end of fashionably distressed, is one of the best value. If you turn up between 6pm and 7pm you can get a plate of pasta, a drink and dessert for £16. The tiramisu is homemade, right down to the coffee-soaked sponge fingers and the curls of shaved chocolate on top — and for £4 extra you can get a shot of amaretto to go with it. 

Ynyshir, Machynlleth
On the North Wales coast, just outside Snowdonia National Park, Ynyshir proudly declares that it serves ‘alternative British snap’. Judging by the number of accolades chef-owner Gareth Ward has earned — including a Michelin star and Chef of the Year at the Good Food Guide Awards 2019 — it does so with aplomb. Dinner features ‘around 20 courses’, one of which might include a deconstructed take on tiramisu, featuring frozen mascarpone and marsala wine — a dish described by The Guardian food critic Grace Dent as ‘bedazzling’.   

Published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller Food

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