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“What happened to the atmosphere?”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Orso

Orso
Ranked #1,803 of 22,367 Restaurants in London
Price range: $19 - $32
Cuisines: Italian, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Families with children, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wine and Beer
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Covent Garden
Transit: Covent Garden
Description: The finest Italian cuisine comes to Covent Garden. Opened in October 1985, Orso is a wonderful restaurant in the heart of London's West End. From the beginning, the aim was to bring authentic Italian cuisine to Covent Garden and Orso delivers. Orso takes pride in using only the freshest and finest ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil, arugula, puntarelle, porcini mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella and white truffles, when in season and sourced in Italy. But it is not just about the ingredients; each meal is prepared to perfection, served on hand-painted Italian tableware designed by Designers Guild, and accompanied by a selection of fine Italian wines. Orso is the perfect destination for the London diner, offering bustling but attentive service, a lively atmosphere and a tempting menu.
London, England
Level Contributor
189 reviews
151 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“What happened to the atmosphere?”
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Some years ago when I was sports editor of a national Sunday Newspaper our editor was a big fan of Orso Restaurant, tucked away downstairs in Wellington Street. They were good days and good fun but we all move on and I left this restaurant behind until I took my family there to celebrate yet another birthday. I expected it to be heaving especially as it was Poppy Day, always busy in London. It was, sadly, two thirds empty and this on a Sunday lunchtime. What made it even stranger was that the food was as I remembered, excellent and enjoyed by our entire group, ages ranging from five year old twins to my rather advanced years. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I took a famous footballing personality there before Christmas, again it was quiet but once more the food and service were very good with the crispy garlic bread as good and as popular as ever.
Pricewise it was not outrageous so I was perplexed as to why a good restaurant in the middle of bustling Covent Garden was being ignored. The recession? I doubt it as other popular restaurants in London were, at the time, bursting at the seams.Maybe all it needs is a lick of fresh paint, something to liven it up, especially as it is in a cellar.
It is, however, back on my list and at least I know I can get a table when I want one!

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank thewriter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
“Good on paper but didn't live up to it.”
Reviewed January 8, 2013 via mobile

We went for the Saturday brunch which sounded really good when the food arrived it failed to live up to the descriptions. The food lacked flavour and was tasteless. The sorbet was very tarte & bitter tasted like lemon juice. Very disappointing would not be coming back.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 186338Deb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Absolutely Appalling”
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Booked online in advance as part of a one night stay in London on New years day for my girlfriend and I which was a fairly straightforward efficient process.

Upon entering the restaurant, nice ambiance, quite a quaint intimate feel, although signs of mould on the tiled wall side almost resembling a mens urinal which was somewhat off putting.

Service efficient and polite which was the only positive on an otherwise atrocious evening. We opted for the pre-theatre 3 course menu at a very reasonable £19 but once the food arrived we realised why it was so cheap. My starter, a cheese based tart tasted to quote my girlfriend of "feet" and was incredibly dry. For the main I had fish whilst my girlfriend had pork, again both of which were bland, dry, incredibly fatty and had very little taste. The accompanying sides were also completely bland and added nothing to the meal whatsoever.

Finally we managed to get through to the dessert which again was disgusting. The sorbet tasted as though someone had scrapped out the ice from the inside of the freezer, whilst the tart was dry and tasteless.

I subsequently complained to the waiter who was kind enough to knock one of the meals off and apologised for the poor food we experienced but in all honesty you could not pay me to go back.

The only hope I have for this restaurant is if their a la carte menu is completely different from the choices available on the pre-theatre menu.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
123 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Underwhelming”
Reviewed December 23, 2012

Went for a pre-theatre dinner here and wasn't impressed. Had a slightly grubby feel to certain areas which I didn't like, with mouldly stains on the dirty old white tiles. Not sure what this place used to be but it had a kind of gents-toilet vibe going on. That said, the actual main meal we had was pretty good if unimaginative. The lemon sorbet though for dessert was a total disaster. If you chiselled out ice out of a freezer, squeezed a Jif lemon on it and put it in a cheap metal bowl then you have a good idea of what this metallic-tasting stuff was. Regretted going there - wished I'd gone to Bella Italia over the road as it looked a lot better.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank tmansfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bergen County, NJ
Level Contributor
88 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Reliable Italian In Covent Garden”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

This restaurant is convivial and welcoming-very similar to its New York City sibling-great pastas-individual pizzas-reasonably priced wines-unpretentious

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank worldtravellerbill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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