Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Otto's

Silver Award

Squaremeal London Hot 100 2016A destination for fans of quirky French opulence, much-loved Otto’s is built on the knowledge and warmth of its eponymous owner – it’s also “fantastic fun”. The interior is a homely mishmash of velvet banquettes, black and white photos, odd statuettes and low-hanging vintage lights, with its biggest draw – two vintage presses (duck and lobster respectively) – displayed centre stage. Pre-order the “not to be missed” canard à la presse, and you’ll find Otto doing the necessary prep over an improvised ice-bucket stove when you arrive. A numbered duck appears for inspection, then returns glistening and golden to be carved tableside and pressed for the glorious sauce. Alternatively, bag a bargain set lunch of scallops with broad bean purée and boudin noir, followed by roast partridge with wild mushrooms and yet more commendable saucing. Puddings such as chocolate praline charlotte often come with a flaming flourish, while Gallic rarities and bargains naturally dominate the wine list at this “French treasure”.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cosy, Fine dining, Fun, Glamorous, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Traditional
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions

This venue also offers

Private Group Dining



182 Gray's Inn Road, Clerkenwell, London, WC1X 8EW

020 7713 0107


Opening Times

Tue-Fri 12N-2.30pm Sat 6pm-10pm


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12 Reviews 


02 June 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
True Hidden Gem

A real French restaurant! Hidden gem. Wonderful food and service. Loved the eclectic decor. Would recommend for a date night or romantic evening. I went for a business lunch and it was delicious but it's more of a place to lounge and savor the food. 

Andrew G

08 July 2019  
Wonderfully authentic French cuisine.

Adam L

27 June 2018  
Visited for first time this year and it's simply stunning.

Matthew F

28 May 2017  
Duck dress, lobster press, incredible wine list and Otto the best proprietor in the biz.

Sue H

09 May 2017  
Excellent and well priced wine list, attentive service, and good food in a quirky setting. The food never disappoints, and the pressed duck (needs to be pre-ordered) is a piece of pure theatre.

Sue H

16 May 2016  
Quirky decor. Wonderful food, and service. Foie gras a speciality.

Peter W

21 February 2016  
Food & Drink 4
Service 5
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 3
Lacking atmosphere
Our reservation on a Saturday evening normally a busy time for quality restaurants proved to be a delight for the 6 members of staff on the floor looking a tad bored. We were 2 of 15 other diners, not a lot of conversation or the normal buzz one would expect. All of the above aside and we should talk food and drink, limited menu with very good wine list with a small selection of 1/2 bottles, very good for those wanting to try 2 or 3 different wines with a very well presented French meal. Unfortunately, not a fantastic meal, but a reasonable meal. 7.1/2 - 10

Lucy H

27 January 2016  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
A real gem!
Really enjoyed Otto's, food and service was excellent, a real find I will definitely be back! A really good French treasure.

Monika S

29 October 2015  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4.5
Go for duck 3 ways
I know I have already raved about this restaurant in my previous review but I had to update you on the Canard a la Presse, which I have now had the good fortune to devour. This has to be pre-booked as they fly these top of the range ducks from Paris. First, it is presented to us raw, feathers and all, which my mother in law seemed to enjoy. Then our little duck was sizzled in front of us in towering flames and showmanship and then the piece de resistance the sparkling shiny solid silver presse. This contraption with the help of mother in law crushed the beautiful rich ducky juices to create the jus of all jus. The duck liver is served 1st fried with cognac and jus on toast, 3 mouthfuls of extreme French richness. Then, the star dish in its glory, sliced pink and finely with fluffy pommes soufflés and clean yummy green beans with that wonderful rich deep us. Final course sauted duck leg with salad. This is the best duck I have ever had.

Richard E

28 July 2015  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Couldn't be more French if you stuck a beret on it, gave it a triclour to wave and got it to spit on Chris Froome
Pootling down the Gray's Inn Road a few weeks back, I noticed a commotion outside a dry cleaners. On closer inspection, it turned out that what appeared to be a bullhorn wielding goose was actually directing its ire at Otto's, a discretely fronted restaurant of French origin. I found out later that this "peaceful" protest was because Otto's has the affront to serve foie gras. Duck foie gras, but foie gras nonetheless. I had to try it. On closer digging, it seems that whilst some people may not like how ducks are treated to create one of the dishes, Otto's is most famous for how its ducks appear in another dish: Canard de Rouen à la Presse. Given that this was a client dinner, and you have to order the duck well in advance, I cannot tell you how this tastes, but the two lads at the next door table who ordered it seemed to enjoy it, and it is nothing if not a piece of theatre to see it prepared. The duck is first presented to the table in its raw form. It is brought back in two courses: first the breast is sliced thinly and then the legs, deboned and grilled. But it is the making of the sauce for the breast that is the theatre: the carcass of the bird is crushed in the ornate silver press, and the juices that have been squeezed out heated at the tableside with the duck's roasted livers, some Cognac, Madeira and stock to form a rich gravy. It looks great, and at Otto's they'll allow the diner to give the press a good turn but, having had this dish in France, I confess it is not really to my taste (and at a-hundred-and-forty of your finest English pound notes, is as rich as the sauce). For those who haven't had the foresight to pre-order, there is plenty to choose from. Scottish smoked salmon is sliced at the table from a whole side; snails are smothered in butter and, judging by the smell wafting over as the dish was presented to one of my companions, no little amount of garlic; the three cheese soufflé light and cheesy; and the foie gras was rich, came with buttery brioche and was perfectly accompanied by a glass of Montbazillac. Mains too were excellent: steaks cooked as ordered, the rabbit neatly trussed and the lamb declared perfect. We hadn't really left enough room for desert, but that didn't stop one of our number ordering the crème brûlée and six spoons, and it was as fine an example as I have tasted. Interestingly for a restaurant where the mains sit nicely in the high 20's price bracket, the wine list presents good value for money: there are plenty of wines by the glass, a very good selection by the half bottle, and the bottles themselves start at less than many of the mains, although of course there are the odd trophy wines at the upper end too. Even these, however, are at a price that says: "come on, you know you want to", and I am sure that many do. On a Monday night in late July, you wouldn't expect a restaurant to be full, but there was but a single table empty. Even so full, service is discrete and professional, but on hand when needed, overseen by the unflappable Otto himself. I would wholeheartedly recommend Otto's; it is a love letter to French cooking of a bygone era, and absolutely none the worse for it.
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