The Best Steak and Tuna at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market

When people ask me what’s the best new restaurant that I’ve recently visited, I answer simply Macellaio Exmouth Market. Meaning butcher in Italian, it’s located in one of London’s top foodie haunts, pedestrianized Exmouth Market.

exmouth-market-londonAs the street is pedestrianized, it’s as pleasant to eat outside as it is inside.

Macellaio Exmouth Market
In addition to the front terrace, there’s also an attractive rear patio for sunny days.

The decor is very atmospheric in a rustic style, the brainchild of founder Roberto Costa. He is passionate about Italian cuisine and his ethos is to use the very best ingredients, cooked in a simple manner so as highlight the natural flavours.

What really catches the eye though, is the butcher at the front of the restaurant. Diners at Macellaio can select their steak at the butcher counters before it is cooked.

Macellaio Exmouth Market chef
We were warmly greeted by Eugenio, the manager, who explained the concept to us and talked us through the menu. Macellaio Exmouth Market specializes in steak and blue-fin tuna. The latter is known as the “steak of the sea” and prepared in four quarters, just like beef. They buy their tuna directly from Italian tuna fisheries, to ensure that they are completely sustainable. This is the second of the UK Macellaio restaurants, with the other one being in South Kensington, but the only one to have a dual focus on tuna and steak. There’s also a new flagship restaurant coming soon on Union Street in Southwark, which will include an in-house bakery.

Macellaio menu at Exmouth Market
If you’re happy to leave things in Eugenio’s capable hands, he will bring you a selection of surprises. Things kicked off in style with some delicious cicchetti. These small bites are the Italian equivalent of tapas and perfect for sharing. I hadn’t tried bottarga before, it’s a salted, cured fish roe, often prepared from mullet but in this case from tuna. It was a revelation, eating tuna that looks like steak but has its own very distinctive taste.

exmouth-market-cicchettiTo go with our lunch, we sampled a robust red Muralia Manolibera Maremma Rosso 2014.

Made from the Sangiovese grape, it’s a medium-bodied wine, recommended as working equally well with fish and meat. You may notice the steak knife sticking into the table, that’s a fun thing that the waiters do and certainly sets the tone for the meat feast to come.

Macellaio review, Exmouth Market
The Muralia went nicely with our succulent beef carpaccio. This melted in the mouth, it was so tender and the extra virgin olive oil seasoning was really fruity. The meat at Macellaio Exmouth Market is kept in ventilated cellars at 0o to 4oC, which makes it extremely soft and flavourful.

We both loved the creamy texture of the burrata – it’s not actually on the menu but do ask for it as you definitely won’t regret it!

macellaio-cheeseOur next dish was spectacular both in presentation and taste. Flambéed at the table, battuta is a spectacular steak tartare with a spicy gorgonzola cheese topping. Although I’m not usually a steak tartare eater, this was made much more enticing by the quality of the meat and the contrast of the creamy cheese.

macellaio-flambeMacellaio Exmouth Market have a way with tuna, just like they do with meat. Their tuna tartare is a delight – incredibly fresh and seasoned with capers, basil, Taggiasca olives, onion, extra virgin olive oil and salt.

Our waiter brought us an impressive piece of sirloin steak that he’d selected for us. You can really tell the quality just by looking at it. Macellaio choose female animals aged over 3, and work only with artisan farms to ensure that they are treated well. The result is extremely tender meat, that is very low in cholesterol and fat.

Once cooked, it was served with a flourish from underneath a silver cloche. It was funny to see this formal dinnerware in such a rustic restaurant. Quite a few cloches were carried out to the very casual front terrace, I guess it was a surprise for passers-by!

Our steak was the perfect size for sharing at 400 grammes. Though it may look rather pink, it was cooked just right. Paul even tucked into some of the fat, which according to him has the best taste, though I was on a health kick.

Alongside our beef steak, was an equally impressive grilled tuna fillet. Unusually served with strawberries and balsamic vinegar from Modena, it was an absolute treat. The tuna tasted really fresh and the hint of sweetness from the strawberries and balsamic vinegar balanced its saltiness well.

where-to-eat-exmouth-marketWe also enjoyed some perfectly cooked purple sprouting broccoli, enlivened with fresh chilli…

restaurant-exmouth-marketand my favourite side, a Sicilian caponata of grilled marinated vegetables. Any vegetarian diners would certainly love this dish, and could ask for it in a much larger size, and there’s also a tasty pasta with pesto, potatoes and green beans.

That delicious balsamic vinegar made an appearance again for dessert, complementing a creamy cheese cake with homemade jam. Paul loved the latte dolce fritto, a Ligurian sweet friend milk dessert that reminded me a little of churros.

As you’ve probably guessed, Macellaio Exmouth Market made quite an impression on us both and it’s somewhere that I’ve been recommending to anyone looking for a great steak or tuna restaurant in London. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some lounging to do!

Macellaio RC Exmouth Market, 38-40 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE


  • This does look delicious! Looks like a lovely setting too!

  • The food looks delicious! I am so jelly

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • Wow! It’s like the best restaurant you’ve never heard of. Some of those dishes are my absolute favourites and I love the rustic setting!

    • Ha ha, that’s very true! I think with the opening of the Southwark one we’ll be hearing a lot more about them

  • I’d love to spend a whole afternoon on that lovely sunny terrace! The bites look so yummy. I love tuna tartare and this one looks so fresh.

  • I love the presentation of the food! I am not really sure about beef carpaccio but the rest looks so delish!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • This sounds perfect for me. Even though much of the time I eat a virtually vegan diet, I do still eat meat and fish, in fact when I dine out I very often have steak. And I love it rare. The problem in England though is that chefs don’t seem to believe me and always over cook it. I went to a very nice restaurant in London the other day and asked for it bleu and it was still over cooked. I’m sure this wouldn’t happen here though and I dying to find out! The sooner the better.

    • In that case you’ll love it! I know that in British restaurants, burgers often have to be served well-done but here it’s cooked exactly as you want it

  • What a gorgeous + yummy meal!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Paola

    Interesting place, the food looks delicious!!!
    Kisses, Paola.


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  • Fabrizia Spinelli

    Sounds like a perfect diner!
    Fabrizia – Cosa Mi Metto???

  • Am all about a good delicious meal and the steak and tuna look mouth watering! I love your dress too!

  • I do like the knife in the table. It says “we know meat” in a very “don’t mess with me” kinda way 😉

    • Ha ha, it certainly does! They also have cutlery coat hooks on the bar which are cool

  • The place and food looks absolutely stunning! Would love to visit some day!

  • That tuna tartar looks absolutely amazing. I’ll be happy to try something like this. Nice place for a good food, thanks for sharing!

    • I loved the tuna tartare, one of the best I’ve tried. Have a great weekend, Cvetina

  • Alfredo Ciano

    Italy is Better Dear Suze…

  • My friend went here the other day and was raving about. The food looks utterly delicious! Need to pay them a visit!xx

  • The knife darted into the table certainly does set the tone! As always, my eyes lit up at the sight of dessert – the creamy cheesecake looks delicious.

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

  • Ah I got so excited when I saw the title, thinking it might be based in Exmouth, Devon which is where I’m headed today :p but it looks so delicious, I would definitely be happy eating the caponata and pesto pasta w/ beans and potatoes – they’re two of my favourites! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

  • How have I never heard of Exmouth market before?! I’m not a red meat fan but I love the concept and the tuna looks delicious. I look forward to their bakery opening as I have a weakness for all things bread and pastry related!