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8 Seymour Street
Eating at Giorgio Locatelli’s Michelin-starred flagship brings you one step closer to la dolce vita – so writes a fan who adores this polished purveyor of “old-school glamour” and pure-bred Italian regional cooking. Beaded curtains, cream leather and dramatic domed mirrors create just the right amount of chic elegance, while neatly designed alcoves offer privacy for those who are at Locanda Locatelli for discreet assignations. Meanwhile, the kitchen delivers value, authenticity and culinary cred as it fashions an array of vivacious dishes inspired by provenance-led cucina rustica. Superlative hand-crafted pasta is the undisputed headline act (ring-shaped calamarata with monkfish, samphire, dry capers, chilli and lemon, for example), but everything at Locanda Locatelli is imbued with seasonal freshness – from a grilled vegetable salad with stuffed peppers, pine kernel and basil to roast grouse with stewed lentils and game chips. To round things off, try the Neapolitan ‘baba’ with Chantilly and orange cream or gorge on some artisan cheeses, offered lovingly with Italian honey. Service seldom falters and prices are “not ridiculous” – although you’ll need to shell out a pretty penny to do the patrician wine list full justice.
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SquareMeal 3 Stars
8 Seymour Street
Marble Arch Tube Station 271m
Bond Street Tube Station 551m
Marks & Spencer (Marble Arch) 226m
Odeon Cinema Marble Arch 266m
Mon-Sun 12N-3pm 6-11pm (Fri-Sat -11.30pm Sun -10.15pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
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
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.
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.
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