Locanda Locatelli 333

8 Seymour Street , London, W1H 7JZ

10 reviews

50 Italian Marylebone

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SquareMeal Review of Locanda Locatelli

Hall of FameSquaremeal London Hot 100 2016

Giorgio Locatelli’s influential HQ is mentioned so often in conjunction with the phrase “best Italian in London” that it might start going to the celeb chef’s head. Apart from temporary closure in 2014, his “polished and luxurious” restaurant has delivered gorgeous consistency and discreet A-list dining since opening in 2002. The pale interior (all cream leather, gentle lighting and beaded curtains) offers a murmur of privacy for the enjoyment of reassuringly expensive and beautifully cooked dishes with Michelin-starred status. Start with a summer salad or ox tongue with salsa verde and egg, before sampling mostarda-crusted pork fillet with borlotti beans or juicy monkfish with walnut and caper sauce, but don’t sidestep the magnificent home-made pasta (chestnut tagliatelle with wild mushrooms is a “delicious” standout). Clever touches work especially well at dessert, witness a violet jelly and strawberry sorbet served alongside vanilla cheesecake. It’s all incredibly assured: intelligent, simple, seasonal and alive to the way customers want to dine, while the vast regional wine list is a paean to Italian viticulture. “Everyone has to eat here once,” insists a fan.

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8.3

Food & Drink: 8.5

Service: 8.5

Atmosphere: 8.1

Value: 7.2

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 18 October 2015

A trip to this restaurant is always special, and we were curious after the re-opening earlier in 2015. Gliding to our table, we were presented with the longest homemade bread sticks, glasses of Champagne and such a large bowl of different breads we couldn't possibly do justice to them all. We focused on seasonal treats including taglierini with fresh Umbrian truffle (heavenly), and homemade chestnut tagliatelle with wild mushrooms (delicious). We both had the main course of roast monkfish with walnut & caper sauce and samphire - perfect juicy tender fish with creamy nutty sauce and tangy capers - so good. And the thinnest, crispiest, fried courgettes. Really, that should have been enough but we were seduced by fig cream, vin cotto sauce, lemon crumble and almond ice cream for dessert, and the tasting plate of Italian artisan Gobino chocolate, both of them elegant and luscious. It hasn't changed very much, it's still polished and luxurious, calm with gentle lighting that is intimate but highlights the food, surrounded by people who are enjoying the food and the company - conviviality indeed.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 03 February 2014

Expectations inevitably run pretty high for a restaurant that has a celebrity chef with a Michelin star and remains one of the hardest to get a table in, despite having been open for close to twelve years. Notwithstanding the booking process (forget impromptu dining here; telephone bookings only, and preferably one month in advance), we very much looked forward to our visit to Locanda Locatelli, somewhere we have eaten close to ten times since its opening. And while the experience could broadly be described as excellent, there was perhaps a palpable lack of a wow-oh-my-god-this-is-totally-amazing factor that one might expect given all the hype. Giorgio Locatelli may be the among the best Italian chefs cooking in London today, but in terms of the truly sublime, there are a clear handful of places that would rank above it in terms of overall experience. What makes Locanda Locatelli great? In summary, its sense of effortless yet timeless chic and classiness, very Italian one might say. The lighting and furnishings create a warm and calm atmosphere and the tables are sizeable and suggestive of luxury, if perhaps a little too closely placed together. The main event is the food and the broad composition of the menu has remained unchanged, namely eight-ten each of antipasti, pasta and mains from which to choose, a strong emphasis on Italian-sourced ingredients and classical combinations. When our bread basket was brought to the table we joked that its range, opulence and quantity were almost such that one didn't need to order starters. Nonetheless we did, although it was disappointing to learn that several of the dishes (from starters through to mains) were unavailable that evening. This was a Saturday night and clearly the place was busy, but you might think that a restaurant of this stature and experience would be able to plan better. Despite the setback, my second-choice starter of artichoke salad was superbly fresh and enhanced by the shallot dressing. My comrade also enjoyed her chestnut, chickpea and chilli soup, although could not help but remark the seeming absence of any chilli. For the mains, I was highly impressed again with my calf’s kidney (fried to perfection, medium-rate), potato purée and lentils, a wonderful combination. My partner also highly rated her gnocchi. We enjoyed these dishes with an exceptionally good bottle of Brunello, already showing some complexity despite just three years of age. The wine list is heavily biased towards Italy as one might expect, but there is a good range both in terms of region, and more importantly price-point. Price conscious diners can find some good options here for under £30. We still had room for puddings (tiramisu and a chocolate tasting), again both excellent, although we did note that the gap between receiving these and being given some chocolates with which to finish was surprisingly abrupt. Almost full marks for Locanda Locatelli, but there is no room for this place to rest on its laurels.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

London Gourmet platinum reviewer 29 January 2013

One of the best high-end italian restaurants in town. I would say the food is somewhat more classic and refined (similar to say zafferano but by now probably a touch better) than the top-notch but slighly “simpler” dishes you'll get at say river cafe or theo randall (they're great though, don't get me wrong – just a slightly different take). Like the other top places it is always down to the ingredients that make the dishes work. A really good venue both for lunch and dinner with attentative service.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Scott M. 12 March 2012

I got taken here by my wife on Friday 10th March for my 30th Birthday and it was truly one of the best meals if not the best I have ever had! I had wanted to go for some years as I am a huge fan of Giorgio Locatelli and so when we walked in, it was a complete surprise as I had no idea I was being taken there. The welcome was excellent, very warming and completely un-pretentious which is always a danger with places of this calibre. We had a lovely table and overcame some delicious bread and oil of sublime quality. The wine list is all Italian naturally but not a problem; working in the wine trade, this presented me with a problem – what could I possibly choose!!?? I went for a 2006 Brunello di Montalcino as I had already picked my main dish and so knew this would be a great match. My starter was scallops with celeriac puree, lovely, light and almost palate cleansing in a strange way, very pleasant experience. Next came the pasta ribbons with chicken livers and crispy sage; I am a HUGE pasta fan and offal fan, this was excellent, the sauce was rich and highly tasty without being too rich and claggy. Main was braised ox cheek with polenta and seasonal vegetables; ox cheek was like butter and the sauce of bitter chocolate and red wine was every bit as luscious as I thought it would be, portion was excellent given its £30 price tag, cooked to perfection, and the polenta was well prepared and only a small amount needed. Dessert was chocolate and pistachio fondant with milk ice cream and toffee sauce; perfect end to the meal. All ended with espresso and house chocolates which themselves exquisite. The fact it was my birthday meal did heighten the evenings atmosphere and enjoyment, but with that said, it was still probably the best meal I have ever had. Can’t wait to go back again!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 04 March 2012

Locanda Locatelli serves the best Italian food outside Italy I know. It is seldom that a celebrity chef so directly delivers what he promises. The restaurant is a true pleasure, of course this level comes at a price but it is a truly very good effort. The menu covers the classics but allows for some slightly more innovative dishes as well. A top pick in London. This impression was recently re-affirmed. Italian in London? Look no further.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Rob B. 05 November 2011

Truly one of the worst meals I've had in London in quite some time. Veal was like leather. The special cod starter was like an average fish pate. A real disappointment.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Grumbling Gourmet platinum reviewer 14 October 2011

Locanda Locatelli oozes money. The staff, the decor and the clientele. They all scream, in a modest understated way, that if you have to ask the price of anything, you shouldn't be here. Now beating up a restaurant on Portland Square, next to Little Arabia and just up from hedgefund-land, for its pricing might feel a tad unnecessary. It's like attacking the child infused atmosphere of a Harvester during the middle of the summer holidays or as someone less verbose than I would put it, like shooting fish in a barrel. That being said, I feel it's important to make the point, as unless price is entirely and utterly irrelevant to you, pricing this steep can easily get in the way of even a very good meal. Baccala’ Mantecato, that Venetian treat of salt cod blended with olive oil to a smooth paste with the lightest hint of the sea came with aromatic pomodoro tomatoes, watercress and a crumble of tasty polenta crisp. A rustic winter classic, scoffed by the ton as a way of getting the most out of the preserved fish in leaner months. A beautiful and expansive starter with tons of contrasting flavour, followed a vast and interesting breadbasket, opening well, but at £14.50 a plate, enough to give all but the most homesick of Venetians a moment's pause. We both went for a pasta course as our main, my guest sampling the Strozzapreti pasta, a rougly rolled penne style ideal for holding a thicker tomato sauce full of olive and spicy soft n'duja salami. I went for perfectly cooked risotto over, slightly salty, duck ragu, served with a handful of girolles. It was good ribsticking fare, the kind that you'd expect at any trattoria across the Italian countryside, but with both at over £20 a plate when you pay the main course ‘supplement’, a little (or a lotto) on the steep side. The carne and pesci selections are also often recommended by regulars, small selections of pan fried or char grilled fresh fish and meats with simple accompaniments. As you'd expect, the wine list is aimed at the high end, but there are a number of reasonable surprises and it's telling that they've won a number of awards for the long, well thought out (predominently Italian) list. It's not just the obvious regions they cover, we went for a Nero Di Troia from unfashionable Puglia in the South, it's bright blackberry and prune notes with only a hint of tannin balancing perfectly against the rustic tomato and meat sauces. You'll find a few below fifty a bottle, but you have to look hard. Despite the vast number of night clad servers, roaming and floating between the soft white clad tables and gold banquettes like exclusive, sleek and designed water taxis through the Venetian canals, the attention to detail was mixed at best. The water server seemingly over-compensated, leaning across us to refill after every gulp of (not offered until asked for) tap, for the stingy smear of Sicilian extra virgin, poured, providenced but never topped up and the long, long wait to get the bill. Minor quibbles sure, but, as with the food itself, the caveat has to be that you expect better for the price.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Mariella P. 24 May 2011

This is food my mama used to make. Its food her mama used to make! I have had four dinners here in three weeks (am trying to get as many lovely evenings out before my twins arrive in early june) and I am not only a very lucky woman, I am astounded at the level of professionalism. I am an Italian who spent her childhood listening to my family discuss what they were eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not understanding the importance as a child. Now I get it! Giorgio Locatelli's flair for keeping everything simple, tasty, nutritious and clean is un-surpassed. This is truly Italian food, in a glamorous and sleek operation that I can only imagine will continue to thrive. The bread basket is heaven on earth – prehaps the only fault was that it was impossible to leave it alone. No cover charge for bread! And what bread! I had the sole (on the bone) which was the freshest fish I think I have ever eaten in London. It came on a bed of vegetables that were al dente and full of flavour. The service was seamless and the (half glass – pregnant remember) red wine that I had with my pasta – kid goat ragout – starter, reccomended by the sommelier, was top notch. Everything faultless. Love you, Locanda Locatelli. Get those high chairs ready – we're coming back en famille!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Tiara silver reviewer 03 March 2011

A good choice for dinner, lovely food, really authentic. I think if you are a foodie, then this is your place, as the chef does Italian very well. Location is right behind Oxford street, so very central. Ambiance, I wasn't convinced. I'm more of a Chelsea type, but it seemed a bit flat to me. Food was the absolute highlight, so go for that. Go elsewhere for a scene.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Sabrina's Passions platinum reviewer 24 January 2011

Whilst it may not be cheap, I have always found the service at Locanda Locatelli to be excellent. In fact it was the service that from day one, drew me in and encouraged me to make repeat visits. The food is excellent and LL is home to the best scallop dish I have ever had… The Capesante Al'Aspretto di Zafferano is a revelation of carefully balanced flavours. Plump scallops with celery and a saffron vinaigrette are a great way to kick off the meal. The one thing about LL is that the food is pretty simple. If its innovative, stylised cooking you are looking for then you are better off spending your money elsewhere. My Italian friends blast LL for what is essentially overpriced and very simple and rustic cookery… But where quality is concerned, there is no scrimping here. The standard of cookery is excellent, even if the skill involved isn't overly complex. I always like to choose fish when I eat here but depending on the time of year, they do a mean pork and also veal chop, cooked to perfection, juicy and succulent. I am always happy to pay those prices for beautifully cooked and prepared food. The only down side is that the dining room is a bit lifeless, which is why I prefer to lunch here as dinner's lack ambience.

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