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When it opened in the mid-80s, Orso was a star-studded, post-theatre haunt & a pioneer of new-wave Italian cooking. The celeb crowd has moved on, but this ‘basement hideaway’ still exudes a
certain charm, & remains a pleasantly dressed-down choice for dinner amid photos of the stars. Readers welcome the ‘genuine spill of attention & hospitality’ from staff who serve up
colourful terracotta plates of rustic Italian food such as veal & parmesan meatballs, buffalo mozzarella with roasted tomatoes & grilled courgettes or minestrone with pesto. The daily
changing menu also has a decent selection of pizzas & pastas (all around the £11 mark), while special set menus (pre-theatre is £17/19 for two/three courses) offer further value. An all-Italian
wine list ticks off the regions, but doesn’t come cheap.
One of the best places to find a variety of food in London is Covent Garden. Awash with restaurants and deals, it is hard to decide where to eat in Theatreland and the surrounding areas. Orso is a fully established restaurant and has been welcoming customers into its 1950s Milanese style basement restaurant for 30 years this year. Formerly an orchid warehouse, the soft lighting, white tablecloths and relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere is a welcome haven from the madness of Covent Garden...
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