Ottolenghi Islington

287 Upper Street , London, N1 2TZ

8 reviews

48 Cafes Islington Barnsbury

  • Ottolenghi
  • Ottolenghi
  • Ottolenghi

SquareMeal Review of Ottolenghi Islington

Armed with one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks & a daunting shopping list of esoteric ingredients, you could try your hand at any of the dishes on offer in his highly desirable cafés. But why would you, when it would mean missing out on the visuals? The chic, all-white interiors & counters loaded with salads, savouries, cakes & oversized meringues – heck, even the queues – are as much a part of the experience as the food. Not that the zingy, eclectic flavours ever disappoint. Ottolenghi’s distinctive cuisine sans frontières makes for a melting-pot menu that might feature Indian roasted aubergine with turmeric yoghurt, Middle Eastern lamb kofta with manouri, pistachio & saffron yoghurt, or a Franco-Italian wild mushroom quiche with pecorino. Brunch & dinner menus are available at Islington only.

Are you the restaurant owner?

Click here for Links & Logos

6.8

Food & Drink: 7.6

Service: 7.1

Atmosphere: 6.5

Value: 6.0

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Gemma J. 29 September 2016

I bought the cook books for the other half, and bye gosh, did we enjoy cooking the recipes together. So much in fact, we just ad to try the restaurant. Oi oi Ottolenghi! The food, wine and waitresses skirt length were all spot on!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Dorian A. silver reviewer 29 January 2015

Ottolenghi were very helpful in booking us bar spaces, as the table we had booked was for 9.00 rather that 7.00 and they were already fully booked for that evening! Once settled at the bar with a fortifying drink we had a surprisingly tasty meal. Ingredients were familiar but served with a spicy twist. Even thought we were served tapas style portions we still managed to overeat - a lesson for a future visit. This was definitely high-end dining and the prices reflected this, but was finally worth it .

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Elliot L. 09 January 2014

Great food, great atmosphere and a very interesting menu which allowed you to experience lots of different flavors in one meal. I definitely want to go back!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Polly B. 10 May 2013

Didn't have to wait too long to be seated, and although there was some confusion with the waitress on the champagne we were ordering, we did finally get it. A confusing amount of floor-staff and wasn't so keen on the decor. It was kind-of a healthy fast-food chain look. I have to say that the visual food displays and book display whilst waiting were wonderful, and I did want to purchase everything. They did ask if we wanted bread when we ordered, yes we did, the bread arrived and so did our order. It was far too much, and far too quick. A beautiful selection of bread but we couldn't eat it, or have the time to appreciate it. It was all delicious however, and creative, I just felt a bit rushed.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Ilana V. 02 March 2012

Sitting in this place reminded me of the Emperor's new Clothes. People pretending oh this is all wonderful wonderful because it's the ‘in thing’ to like noveau cuisine restaurants when infact they come out starving, having handed over a large sum of money but yet still they pretend it's all wonderful because they don't want to be seen as the person moaning about the ‘fantastic new chef in town’. Back to reality – what you get in Ottolenghi is miniscule sized food – the 3 ‘courses’ put together wouldn't even make up the size of a normal starter. My main mean was 3 cubes of cheese – this is frankly just a complete insult, and I had to pay £12 for the priviledge. The starter was delicious but once again, so tiny it shouldn't even be called a menu item, the main meal – 3 cubes of cheese (some main meal!) was not particulary nice, and I've had better cubes of cheese in my life for about 50p. The desert I had – cheesecake – was okay but nothing special and far too salty. The only people for whom it would be worth coming here is extremely rich anorexics – plenty of money to waste and a few nibbles to call ‘dinner’. No chance of getting fat here. Worth mentioning that some food, like my starter was as I said very tasty but there is aboslutely no need whatsoever for the shockingly tiny sizes and if they just made them normal sized portions and introduced real main meal sizes it would be quite a nice restaurant (still not the best).

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Shu bronze reviewer 28 May 2010

I arrived at Ottolenghi full of anticipation after strong recommendations. Undeniably the food is good. Interesting flavours and textures blended with fresh, high quality ingredients. However, a good experience needs more than good food, especially at the prices charged here. The menu is broken down between food from the counter (about £8) and food from the kitchen (from about £10). They are starter size and you do need 3 portions to not leave hungry. I had to be out of there in 50 mins, which I thought would be fine when half the menu was food from the counter that just had to be scooped out. I had to wave the staff down 5 times to give me a menu, take my order, find out where my food is (x 3). With the exception of one waitress, all the serving staff looked like they would rather be somewhere else instead, confused sneering for smiling, avoided eye contact to make it easier to ignore me, and exuded a ‘you are so lucky we have let you in to taste our food’ attitude. 5 minutes before I had to be out of there, my hot dish finally arrives and I literally bolted it down. Though I refrained from kicking off, clearly I was not a happy customer. I took my bill to the manager to pay and despite standing there for a few minutes whilst the card went through, she did not ask at all how I enjoyed my time. Maybe she didn't want to hear or could care less. Restaurants that have a good reputation can sometimes take themselves too seriously and up their own ass. In a city packed full of restaurants offering great food at reasonable prices, to my mind Ottolenghi is seriously over-priced. I will not be returning.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Anne M. 01 April 2010

They do lovely cakes and salads – shame about the service, which is just unpredictable. I often have to think twice about going in because I'm not so sure what I'm going to get when I arrive…nice friendly service or confused, slow and rude. I've had both but mainly confused and slow. I'd rather pop across the street and be treated nicely.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Angus N. 30 November 2008

At first I was a bit uncomfortable (it's not like we had to wait for a table, 5 minutes later and we really really would have). Was it the stack of yummy mummies parading through the place, catching ones eyes? I don't know, I was meeting an old school friend for lunch and we'd normally be happy with a cheese sanie… Once sat down there was a lot of fun to be had though. The menu, packed with special flavours and combinations, made me chuckle. Its variety and interest made me think, “I want to eat here every lunchtime, forever. Apart from days when all I want is a cheese sarnie”. They serve basics brilliantly but its the veg that will bring me back. Waiters knew their stuff (we both had a lot of questions) and were ever handy, skilled even, with suggestions. For a lunch date it would be the best ever. For blokes to have met up and still rate it as excellent, not a bit poncy, well I think that says it all.

 1  

Ottolenghi Islington is included in the following SquareMeal lists