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“Highly disappointing”

Ottolenghi - Islington
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Ranked #317 of 23,877 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $74 - $74
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Reviewed August 7, 2014

When I say that I live in Islington, the standard response is "oh, you MUST go to Ottolenghi's". I therefore went with high expectations... and was very disappointed.

The first thing to say - it's really not cheap. I checked the menu on the website before I went, but what they do not mention on their website is that they advice you to buy 3 dishes per person - I thought I was checking the price of one main course, not a third of one. I paid £50 for my meal, and I drank tap water the whole evening.

The second thing I didn't like is that they bring the cold dishes straight away, and then the hot dishes arrive 30 mins after, when they have been cooked. This means that you are likely to end up with all of your veg to eat first, and then all of your meat arriving some time after. I personally prefer to mix it up.

Thirdly, the atmosphere. Perhaps some people find it funky, but if I am paying that much for dinner, I would prefer not to be doing it sat at plastic seats, elbow-to-elbow on a large table with no breathing space between me and the friends I am with, and the parties on either side of us. It feels very much like they have squashed us all in as tightly as possible. Also, along a similar vein, don't expect to have the table for the whole evening. They will be keen to rush you in and out as fast as they possibly can. And although one of the side-effects to that is exceptional service for the waiting staff, if you were hoping for a long catch-up with friends, this is not the place for it.

And the food itself? Once I had stared at my salads for half an hour waiting for the main meal it was accompanying, it was nice. But not more than that. With the one notable exception which was the dessert, and that was to die for. So in the future, I shall be going to Ottolenghi's for coffee and cake in the afternoon, or not at all.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank EleanorH856
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 4, 2014

after enjoying many home-cooked meals from Ottolenghi cookbooks and recipes, i was expecting something out of the box, but was disappointed. so my reaction reflects my expectations (important disclaimer).
the friendly waiter started by describing their approach, involving shared small dishes, selected from cold starters and hot dishes, and it was likened to tappas. we shared four of the starters and two of the hots. two of the starters were fabulous, one very good and one a bit ordinary. the hot dishes were both absolutely fantastic and reflected very creative use of ingredients. so the food was good. but after four starters we wanted a break, which we only got by sending the 'mains' back (which they happily did, but we both felt we were being rushed). the only desserts on offer were a selection of cakes - no doubt fine if you like cake, but this did not suit me. we passed on dessert. i was also disappointed with the wine list. perhaps i just chose poorly, or perhaps there was no wine on the list that matched what i said i wanted. the seating arrangement also would not suit everyone. we had a table for two against the wall, which was fine. but others were on a long table in the middle, with couples opposite each other but immediately adjacent to one or two other couples or groups.
overall, not a very satisfying dining experience.

Thank turneretti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2014

The food was delicious - we shared 4 dishes from the counter and 5 from the kitchen, the oat cake, tuna and lobster were the stand out dishes. Only comment would be that the dishes were quite small for the price paid, but they were delicious. Desserts are amazing - we had one each and the chocolate tart is wonderful. As it was my Mum's birthday they put a candle in her cake, which was a nice touch. Would recommend for a special occasion!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Alexandra H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2014

The first thing to say is that the food was wonderful, great combinations of unusual ingredients cleverly put together. The service was attentive but not overbearing and the staff were helpful and knowledgable.

The food is served as tasting dishes, no starters as such, so pick 5-6 dishes (between 2) and dive in. There's a selection from the kitchen and the cold deli selection.

One thing to note is the majority of the seating is at two long tables down the middle, with only a few tables for two. Initially we were put on the long table which wasn't really what we wanted as it was a birthday celebration. After a bit of a complaint the manager, who was really helpful and accommodating moved us to a table for two.

Most definitely worth a try!

Thank Stephen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2014

Lunched here today and as ever the food was outstanding.Fresh interesting and innovative salads , expertly balanced flavours with taste surprises and combinations contained in every bite. Choice of proteins, beef , chicken, salmon and a couple of vegetarian options. We had the seared sirloin which was perfectly judged and spoon tender. Desserts - where to start, what to choose? Everything looked delicious and the chocolate caramel tart and peach and almond meringue were worth every single calorie. Coffee - just OK - can't understand why with food at this quality and to which the obviously devote immense attention and care they never seem to be able to produce a decent espresso. Next time I will get the fresh mint tea
Service was friendly and helpful. The lunch deal is a steal for food of this quality. Looking forward to my next visit!

Thank Mmctee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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