Ballaró

154 Haverstock Hill , London, NW3 2AY

SquareMeal Review of Ballaró

It’s no wonder the well-heeled denizens of Belsize Park parked on Ballaró’s lime-leather seats are smiling. Sicilian chef Carmelo Carnevale (ex-Novikov Italian Room) and his front-of-house partner certainly know what they’re doing – the welcome is warm, the glasses are chilled and the salt-baked sea bass is served with a sense of occasion. The restaurant takes its name from the famous food market in Palermo, and Carnevale has an Italian’s reverence for quality ingredients, cooking food from his native island with a light touch – ‘no schtick, no gloop, no pretension’, according to one visitor. Elegant marinated tuna with borlotti beans, vanilla and Trapani sea salt might precede Sicilian couscous with seafood or rack of lamb with pumpkin, braised radicchio and orange-blossom water; after that, there’s tiramisu or pecorino with honey, while the wine list offers plenty of choice – as long as it’s Italian.

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Belsize Park Tube Station 305m

Chalk Farm Tube Station 708m

Address

Address: 154 Haverstock Hill , London NW3 2AY

Area: Hampstead Belsize Park

Opening times

Mon-Fri 12N-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-11pm (Sun -9.30pm)

Nearby Landmarks

Screen on the Hill 406m

Roundhouse 875m

Details

Telephone: 020 7586 1107

Website:

Cuisine: Mediterranean Italian

7.7

Food & Drink: 8.0

Service: 8.2

Atmosphere: 7.4

Value: 6.8

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Charlotte W. 15 October 2014

Ballaro closed summer 2014.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Mark T. 16 January 2014

We went as a foursome for dinner. It's everything you could ask for and more. Everybody chose something different with glasses of wine recommended by the very knowledgeable sommelier and we were all were very happy. The starters all tasted great especially the Frittura of calamari with the addition of chickpea pancakes simply divine .The mains were stunning, the lamb was cooked to perfection and very tasty, the fish was full of flavour and if it’s true that an Italian restaurant is as good as its pastas then Ballaro is certainly an excellent place to dine. It's all the extras and the superb service that make this restaurant stand out above the rest.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Ross1 23 December 2013

We recently tried out the new Ballaro restaurant in NW3. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly and we always welcome a new local restaurant in the area. Unfortunately we were most disappointed with the high West End prices and also the final delivery was quite bland and not a restaurant I would return to. To my surprise my starter had a hair in it and my main course, the Baby Roast Chicken with Sun Blanched Tomatoes, Peppers and Potatoes was quite tasteless. My friend had the Pasta with truffle which was small and shockingly priced at £25. Ballaro needs to rethink its pricing, quality of food and sizes of portions.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Fred D. 10 December 2013

A beautiful, special restaurant – warm, friendly service, delicious, genuine and unpretensious Italian food. Excellent quality of ingredients with generous portions. Finally a restaurant that is worth going back to!!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Luca C. 10 December 2013

We are delighted to have dined at this new spot in our area. We were really missing a good Italian restaurant in Hampsted/Belsize Park. We have enjoyed the experience, testing excellent Italian dishes based on fresh ingredients. The quality is extremely good and that makes dining there a wonderful value for money deal. My wife and I went there for my wife’s birthday. We are both foodies and we love Italian food (a given in my case considering my origin). The service was excellent. We let the sommelier chose the right wine for each of the course and we were really happy with his decisions. The chef was so nice to come to the table to wish my wife happy birthday. Really nice and extremely polite. Definitely recommended.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Skyros J. 16 November 2013

Great food and charming service Small flavoursome portions – no risk of getting too full. Bright green foam seating – quite squashed in and I learned all about my neighbouring table's men problems Eyebrow raising bill. 50% of the £245.00 bill for 4 was the cost of 1 bottle of wine and two beers plus mandatory “service charge”. In the genial excitement of arriving and settling in no one thought to ask the price of their ‘recommended’ Italian beer – it is £17.00 (that is seventeen pounds) a bottle and a middling bottle of ‘recommended’ white was £48.00. So …charming, pleasant but £245.00 for four people for supper was a little rich… even with the sicilian smile. My advice : we came specifically from four parts of London for supper, we are not adverse to spending money but I think it best to just forewarn people if a bottle of beer costs £17.00 (it doesn't appear on any price list) and an average bottle of wine that costs £16.00 wholesale shouldn't be sold at £48.00 when you also add on a £30.00 mandatory 'service charge". I accept the cost of the refurbishment was high, but perhaps spread your recovery of capital out over more time and covers.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

rachel s. 03 November 2013

A fabulous upmarket restaurant. Not cheap, but delicious, lovely service and very warm atmosphere. The food is really excellent, authentic Italian food. This is not the place for a cheap pizza out with the kids – it's a really high quality, beautiful night out.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Julia B. 31 October 2013

I agree with John this is just what the neighbourhood has needed for such a long time! An authentic Italian restaurant!! The all experience was so great that we have been twice already because we love it so much! The food is of very high standard without being pretentious! You could taste the freshness of the ingredients and the flavours really come through! We love the broad bean soup and the frittura with chickpeas pancakes. The couscous is simply delicious. My husband who is more of a meat eater loved the veal belly and the duck both cooked and flavoured perfectly! The prices are very reasonable for the standards and also for all the freebies that you receive (breads with olives, pates, cheese and sundried tomatoes and a palate cleanser before dessert)! I wish them all the success they deserve!!! Keep up the good work!!!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

John B. 14 October 2013

This is just what the neighbourhood has needed for such a long time; you would go a long way throughout NW3 for better dining. No chain, no bustle, no hustle, no schtick, no gloop, no pizza, no pretension, no music! Just a carefully judged menu, fine Sicilian cooking, top quality ingredients, delicately and inventively balanced flavours, cool contemporary surroundings and friendly warm service – with a sensible, short but interesting wine list to match. Sicilian cous-cous with langoustine and shell fish, tuna carcpaccio and sweet roasted peppers, subtle pasta parcels with smoky tomatoes, and more and more. They promise regular menu changes, which means we will be back, – quite often. Bravo Ballaro!