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“A Christmas Day fiasco” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Almeida Restaurant & Bar

Almeida Restaurant & Bar
30 Almeida Street | Islington, London N1 1AD, England
+44 20 7354 4777
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Ranked #1,848 of 17,879 Restaurants in London
Price range: $68 - $83
Cuisines: British
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Private Dining, Reservations
Description: Come and dine at Angel and Islington's hidden gem, a charming neighbourhood restaurant serving classic French cooking with a modern touch.
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“A Christmas Day fiasco”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Normally the Almeida restaurant in Islington, London is a very good restaurant and I have enjoyed eating there. For that reason I booked my family in for a Christmas day lunch this year for the second sitting in mid-afternoon. We arrived on time and were greeted by a very harassed lady who quickly took our coats and showed us to some sofas near the bar. The dining room appeared to be packed. She gave us a drinks menu and a wine list saying as she rushed away that someone would take our drinks order shortly. 15 minutes later nobody had been near us and so I apprehended a waiter who took our order for Bellinis. 10 minutes later we were shown to our table but still no drinks had appeared but I could see them sitting on the bar. I pointed this out but still no drinks appeared. I fetched them myself but at £11 each I was not best pleased. Although we had pre-ordered our food as requested when booking, a waitress appeared and said that we needed to order again, which we did. We then had a 4 course meal plus coffee.
The toast which came with the ham hock terrine had been made some considerable time earlier and was like leather and inedible. The terrine was good. The butternut squash soup was unremarkable.
The mulled wine and pear sorbet was good.
The vegetables with the main course were awful. Brussel sprouts had hardly been cooked at all to the extent that it was not possible to cut through them. The roasted parsnips were soggy and yet undercooked and the red cabbage was overcooked. The roast potatoes were not of the standard one would expect in such an establishment. The turkey was barely warm.
The dessert was advertised as "Christmas pudding, brandy cream". What was served was a pale coloured oblong sponge cake with some whipped cream. The cake was very brittle and shattered when attempts were made to cut it and there was absolutely no hint of brandy in the cream; it was inedible.
The coffee and mince pies were good.
Throughout the meal we were served very brusquely across the table with the waitress reaching across in front of other people without a word spoken, our wine was in a bucket being shared with another table and we had to keep getting up to fetch it. Many other things were unacceptable and so I called the front of house manager over and went through my concerns. Throughout he remained polite but appeared somewhat punch-drunk; it seems that I was not the first guest to express serious concerns. I informed him that I would not be paying the discretionary service charge and added that they had done serious damage to their brand image. It seems that they had completely overstretched themselves and seemed to have an attitude of to hell with the customers. I was not offered any reduction in the bill, which I paid and left. On the way out 2 other nearby tables made the unsolicited comments that they had heard me speaking with the manager and they agreed with everything that I had said. Shambles and rubbish were words offered.
I paid £257.50 for 3 people.
This restaurant is still probably very good away from a holiday period but this disaster seems to have been the result of sheer greed in packing as many tables in as possible without the resources in the kitchens or front of house to service them. I have written this review because I react very badly to being ripped off.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Claire F, General Manager at Almeida Restaurant & Bar, responded to this review, January 9, 2013
Dear Sir
I am the manager of Almeida Restaurant and I was very sorry to read that you did not enjoy your experience with us recently. I would like to apologise for the service and food quality flaws on that day and how this affected your overall enjoyment of Christmas lunch.
We always endeavour to give every one of our guests the highest level of service, however, that clearly has not been the case in this instance. I would like to apologise personally and find out a little more about your experience with us. I would therefore greatly appreciate if you could contact me directly. My email address is: clairef@danddlondon.com
With best regards,
Claire Follea
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Singapore, null, Singapore
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Great fun restaurant but not really accommodating”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012 via mobile

I went to this restaurant on December 5th. The moment you enter you are made to feel that you are in a very friendly environment. The staff was excellent and one of them was like singing whilst recommending dishes which was so cool.

The chocolate dessert recommended were to die for. As I was allergic to most meats save for chicken or turkey I had asked for the chef to put on his or her thinking cap to come up with something healthy and delicious. I was persuaded to eat what was on the menu which was a minor drawback for me.

Overall my experience was good.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Canada
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Lovely evening”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

Friendly welcome on a Thursday evening, even without reservations. Wine, food and service were all consistent with Almeida's high standard - a warm and special place.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
131 helpful votes 131 helpful votes
“Excellent salmon!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

This is great restaurant. I went with a group of friends. And as we were a large party, they were able to do a set menu of 33.50 for three courses. Which was really good value for money.
Among the starters available, was this wonderful warm cooked salmon. Possibly the best and tastiest warm cooked salmon I have ever had. Fantastic!
Otherwise main course was pretty good. They did venison. Yummy.
Lastly, service was very good too. Staff are attentive, friendly, and courteous. And provide discreet good service. Yet without seeming claustrophobic. And there was no rush to hurry up and pay the bill.
All in all, a large comfortable restaurant. Serving good tasty food. At affordable prices.
Fantastic! I would recommend the Almeida. And definitely would come again.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Top Contributor
516 reviews 516 reviews
254 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 138 cities Reviews in 138 cities
188 helpful votes 188 helpful votes
“well executed modern French food avaialble to 11:30”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

excellent for after nearby theater, had all vegetarian dinner and it shone, well prepared, fast service, even though i wonder why the bread disappeared after i had one slice and was never asked if I wanted additional- good wine by the glass selection- this si not a low cost option

Visited November 2012
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