You are so right about the compliments, it's become a bottle shop of choice for me when heading out to eat at friends.
7 St. John Street, Smithfield , London EC1M 4AA
- Farringdon Station (0.2 km)
- Barbican Tube Station (0.4 km)
- City Thameslink Station (0.5 km)
- Contact us:
020 7253 8786
- Opening hours:
Mon - Sun: 12:00 - 11:00
83 Southwark Street, London SE1 0HX
“The Table in Southwark is one of the hidden gems of the South Bank. Shaun Alpine-Crabtree, who with the architectural practice Allies & Morrison, founded the restaurant seven years ago and has recently overseen its evolution. New head chef Cinzia...” more...
17 reviews of Vinoteca in English
My favourite local restaurant! Food always great and large choice of wines. If you are not a real connaiseur like myself, don’t hesitate to ask friendly staff who will happily advice. Even when I did chose my own wine I was kindly reccomended to consider another option which went better with the food which worked out much better then my initial choice.
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Having tried the Marylebone branch previously I was hoping to have a really nice lunch at Vinoteca but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations.
The place itself is nice and light with wooden furniture and the staff are very friendly and attentive.
The letdown was the food. I'd happily come here and buy some wine to take away but it will be a while before I come back for food. It wasn't really bad, more like un-memorable and for the prices they charge I'd much rather go somewhere else. The starter of chargrilled razor clams was barely warm and quite bland. The main of bavette with chorizo butter was better with quite good quality meat but again a bit bland and under seasoned. I still can't see the point of the chorizo butter as it wasn't particularly nice and didn't add anything to the dish.
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Once in a while you come across a place you don’t really want to write up and Vinoteca is one of them. Why? Because it is a little gem and it’s already difficult enough to get a table with their no booking policy. But I wouldn’t have found it if it hadn’t popped up in several ‘my favourite London restaurants‘ lists of trusted food bloggers (Gourmet Chick, Londonelicious ) and I shall now also be a good and altruistic person for a change and share it with you too.
Vinoteca, as the name promises, is a wine bar with an extensive and well-priced wine list. You can also buy wines to take with you for shop prices. If you want to eat there, be prepared to wait as there are only about 10 tables. But there are more unpleasant things than having a glass of wine and some olives and looking forward to the pleasures ahead of you. Because let me tell you, the food at Vinoteca is well worth the wait.
I started with Scallop Ceviche with Pickled Radish and Samphire (6.50). The only criticism here was that I found the samphire slightly too overpowering for the mild taste of the delicious scallop, but this might have to do with the fact that I have not made up my mind quite yet if I actually like samphire or not.
My dear friend Naomi always shares here food with me (bless her) so I got half or her Five Bird Terrine with Red Wine Prunes and Toast (6.95). I have no idea what bird species would be in a five bird terrine, seems an awful lot of birds. Having said that, it was an absolutely wonderful dish, perfectly fitted to the sudden arrival of the autumn/winter. The fresh bread still warm and crunchy, the prunes sweet and the delicate game taste of the terrine a pleasure, all together perfectly fitting with the red wine we were drinking.
I don’t eat red meat very often, but this evening I really felt l like a good steak. The waiter told me that the Char-grilled bavette, chorizo butter chips & smoked ketchup (14.50) is the only dish on the menu that they don’t change, and after i have sampled it I am not surprised. It was pure bliss. The meat full of flavour and perfectly medium rare, the chorizo butter heavenly (and I don’t even like chorizo), the potaotes crispy and light and the smoked ketchup! Who would have thought that ketchup could taste so delicious?!
I was so immersed in my own main course that I have to rely on my friends’ verdict regarding the other two entrees: Naomi loved the rare venison haunch, swede cake, butternut squash & game sauce (14.50). It was the first time that I saw her eating swede. Vinoteca seems to be a place to try things that you usually don’t like, as they appear to taste good there!
Myriam could not compliment the combination of Blackened Cod with mustard sauce and belle pepper compote (14.50) enough.
We should have had enough food by then and we were pretty full indeed, but then we saw Ginger bread cheese cake and ginger ice cream (5.50) on the menu. I mean, no way one could resist a temptation like this! It was one of these desserts that stick in your memory. The mouth-watering cheesecake was Christmas packed in a dessert and would have probably been to sweet on its own, but together with the sharp and zesty ginger ice cream it was just perfect. I mean PERFECT. I paired it with the recommended sweet wine while Naomi and Myriam went for the heavy stuff in the form of cider brandy.
This was a hugely successful meal and if you have an evening where you are easy going and don’t mind waiting a bit, go to Vinoteca. The atmosphere is lovely and relaxed, you feel welcome, you get tap water with ice without even asking for it, it’s great value for money and you will leave a couple of pounds heavier but happy. That’s what good food is all about.
I had the pleasure of dining at Vinoteca which is a very wine orientated small little restaurant located in the Smithfields Market area. I had read and heard alot about it, and my other half and I thought that going there to celebrate the fact that I had just written a very difficult/boring exam would be a good way to celebrate.
We had tried to eat there before but they don't take reservations which I find incredibly frustrating and we were told on a recent Saturday night it would be a two hour wait. We thought a Wednesday night might be more succesfull and it was, but the no reservation system inevitably leads to a lot of people standing around waiting for a table and in an already small restaurant this is both hectic and annoying.
The menu appears to change daily and a good selection of British inspired dishes comes out of the tiny open kitchen. I noted that the head chef John Murray got his training in Canada and his bio includes Lee and Oliver and Bonacini Cafe Grill in Toronto (neither of which mean anything to me but may say something to those in Canada). Starters ran between GBP5.50 and 6.95 and mains between GBP11.95 and 14.50. I think this is excellent value for the food especially as portions are large. Each dish on the menu has a recommended wine and prices varied from a small glass of English wine for GBP3.45 to a large glass of French for GBP12.00.
Bread and olive oil was provided and both were amazingly light. I started with a ham hock terrine with piccalilli and salad which was spot on. I almost always order fish in a restaurant, but realized that the deep red we got while we were waiting needed meat and I settled on the bavette which was absolutely amazing (meat is handily sourced from nearby Smithfields market). My partner had a jewel coloured beetroot soup which had an excellent deep flavour of roasted beetroot and for his main he had a duck lasagne which he described as 'average'.
Overall the food was excellent (apart from the duck lasagne) but the Tayyabs like atmosphere leaves much to be desired. My partner spent half the night with a coat in his face, someone bumping his chair from behind, and we were sat practically on top of some stuffy German tax lawyers (sorry that's a bit stereotypical but well.. probably true). The no reservation thing (except at lunch apparently) is an issue, and would really turn me off trying to go again. However, it doesn't seem to be an issue for others as the punters queuing would attest to.
Decor: Wood tables, open kitchen, small and cute. There is a section devoted to wine you can buy and take home.
Price: Excellent for this quality and this area of town.
Food: Excellent except for one off dish. Portions are large.
Good For: Nipping out with your partner on a Monday night. Any other night and you run the peril of not getting in.
For full ramblings, go to http://thehappinessprojectlondon.wordpress.com
I’ve been meaning to go to Vinoteca for aaaages, having been told by a couple of friends-in-the-know how wonderful it is. When you find a restaurant that people go back to time and time again, you’ve definitely found a winner. And I have to say that having been, it has sailed to the top of my (as yet unwritten) “best restaurants in London” list.
So why did it take me so long to go? My problem was the “no-booking” policy. I get that this makes it more of a local restaurant, but dinners at Wahaca and Polpo failed because we didn’t want to wait 2 hours for a table (Polpo on a Thursday night) or we had to wait until everyone had arrived before we could put our names on the waiting list (Wahaca). Both me and my friends are guilty of rocking up to dinner late depending on our workloads so we’ve always gone for places we could book.
But the good news is that the wait at Vinoteca was fine. I went with Escobar and we rocked up around 7pm on a Friday evening, got a nice seat at the side bar (some people after us didn’t though) and nattered our way through half a bottle of delicious French white wine (see photo below – you can also see from Escobar’s lovely hand gestures how he felt about my taking blog photos during our meal). We were seated within around 30-40 minutes and it didn’t bother me one jot, I quite liked the pre-dinner drink aspect.
First, I loved the laid-back wood floor long-conversation vibe of the place. You weren’t rushed, service was lovely, it felt like a comfy French bistro inside. It was relaxed and homely – my perfect resto.
Then, the wine. It makes SUCH a difference to have a delicious well-priced bottle of wine served at the perfect temperature. At first the huge wine list was a bit scary, but we took a punt on a lovely bottle of white (2009 Coteaux de Languedoc from Domaine La Croix Gratiot although I was also thinking about an Aussie Verdelho) which was brilliantly priced at £19. When emptied, we had the recommended glass of wine per main course, again really reasonably priced and absolutely perfect with the meal (a deep red with the bavette and a light fruity riesling with the mullet).
I was also massively impressed at the food – right up there with the best I’ve had in London. To start, we shared toast with chorizo with quail’s egg and some amazing sauce that I can’t remember which was incredible – sooo tasty and warm and delicious. You know when food’s so good you make impromptu appreciative noises and scrunch up your face in appreciation? Just like that. We almost licked the plate clean.
And then Escobar had the char-grilled bavette (med-rare), chorizo butter, chips and smoked ketchup washed down with the recommended red wine . I managed to grab a bite and the meat was perfectly tender and juicy, delicious. I had the red mullet with samphire (sadly ran out but instead it was a herby thing) with a sort of bulghur wheat, washed down with the delicioso riesling. It was a fantastic mix of tastes and textures and absolutely delicous. I admit sometimes I find fish dishes a little dull but this was interesting and rich.
The amazing thing about all this? For a 3 hour or so meal, with two wonderful courses, a bottle of wine shared and two large glasses with the main, it came to a brilliant £40 each. So not an everyday meal but a nice meal out with friends, or your mum, or a date. And it is truly a local neighbourhood place - somewhere you could rock up for an impromptu bite to eat after work and have a chat, drink wine and eat superb food. I have never found a restaurant I wanted to return to regularly and could actually afford to do so, but this is it. I’m so pleased I found it!
Vinoteca. Vino Teca. It’s all in the name really. Vino, wine, the glorious grape. Rightly known and talked about for it’s fabulous choice of wines by the glass, this simple wooden floored winebar has a (albeit widely known) secret. The food here is pretty damn good too.
These guys pay a lot of attention, not just to the food and the wine, but to how the two combine. Their daily changing menu has glasses of wine matched to each dish that you are free to select should you want. And the cooking, like a good wine, is full of clear, well balanced flavours.
To start we had watermelon salad scattered with wibbly and light pink moscato jelly cubes, a gentle feta and shavings of black olive. This was super fresh and zingy, a real spritzer of a dish that got the meal off to a light start.
The other starter was a complete contrast. A fried morcilla, poached egg and green bean dish that was strong, savoury and delightfully oily. The morcilla was tip-top quality and packed full of bloody flavours. Yum. My only complaint was that the egg had been poached solid, and I prefer mine to be ready to burst with runny yellow yolk.
We then hit some meaty mains with relish. The guinea fowl above was moist and tasty – not overwhelmed by salty prosciutto. The romesco sauce was really more of a puree made from ground walnuts and almonds and lashings of chilli. They could have used a little less chilli for my taste, but the nutty texture was delightful and quinoa gave it a little wheaty bite.
Char grilled steak was cooked to medium rare perfection. The steak itself was fully flavoured and I think came from grass fed UK longhorn cattle which, given the intense taste and wonderfully (slightly) chewy texture sounds about right to me. My favourite type of beef. The chips were pretty fine too – crispy skinned, soft centred salty wedges that just made you want to eat and eat and eat… Nobody could keep their mits off.
Now for the wines. We started with some provencial rose – pale and elegant with a light and subtle fruity flavour and dry edge – and a vermentino from Les Arches, France which was all peach flavours and lightly blossomy aromas. With the mains we went for a Chillian pinot with the guinea fowl and a petite sirah from the USA with the bavette.
The former was fresh, fruity and gently complex with a long and tasty finish. More akin to a burgundy than a typical new world pinot. The sirah though, wow, it was a belter. Heady and deep, this was concentrated stuff. Alongside the almost over-ripe flavours there was an almost hypnotic aroma that drew my nose right down into the glass until I was virtually snorting the viscous liquid.
Vinoteca has jumped up the list of favourite eateries. The experience is so chilled out and everything so tasty, it’s just really good fun to visit.
Lovely and unqiue wine list with great selection. The tapas are reasonably priced and delicious (mussels in particular!). It gets a bit loud in here because the restaurant is so small, and service can be spotty because they're so busy - but I think it's worth it.
Um, I reckon the best thing about Vinoteca is when I receive a compliment on how awesome a bottle of wine that I bought from there is. This happens at a much higher frequency than with wine from other shops I visit. Two things seem to increase the odds of be appreciated for having such good taste in vino: knowledgeable staff and a small but kick ass selection of quality wines from around the world.
Not just a wine shop, Vinoteca is also a restaurant - a very good restaurant that I don’t enjoy as much as I’d like to.
There is a downside, if I’m popping in to shop for wine and the resto’s packed, there’s a chance I won’t receive the best service or - if it’s really packed - that I’ll be able to browse all the wines because there’ll be a table full of patrons in the way.
Still, Vinoteca’s one of the best wine shops I know of in London and is pretty much my default when I need to pick up a bottle or two.
Based in Farringdon, Vinoteca opened in September 2005, and has since been recognised as one of the best wine bars in London. The award-winning Wine Bar serves over 25 wines by the glass, changing every week, and over 280 wines by the bottle from around the world at great value prices. The seasonal British & European menu changes daily. All of the wines are available to take home from there Wine Shop in the same building.
The food has a wine to match on the ever changing menu. A true gem!
Deafeningly noisy on a Friday evening, this is a good night out for a group, but not if you’re looking for a quiet or intimate date. It’s really about the wine - a huge list full of interesting and obscure propositions. The food is somewhat disappointing: the descriptions are enticing but it’s not much more than graceless finger-picking stuff. There really ought to be a proper cheese selection to match the ambitions of the wine list. One thing that’s great: the freshly baked bread, sensational.
This little wine bar is tucked away in Farringdon and don’t count on getting a table unless you arrive early, yes, even on a Monday or Tuesday! They have an almost intimidating selection of wines and the wine menu reads like a book. I once spent ages trawling through while waiting for a friend. The best thing is that they serve a great variety of wines by the glass and you can buy them to take home with you. My husband and I attended a summer wine tasting there year before last (if I remember correctly) and definitely left with lighter wallets at the end of it. The food is also fabulous, the menu changes regularly and makes suggestions for wine’s that will go well with each dish. A friend has had the jammy idea of placing a wedding list there - really wish I’d thought of that!
the food here is seriously good. you would struggle to find anything this good in a proper restaurant let alone a wine bar. the highlights for me have been the bavette which is always superb but the soups are always really interesting. the wine….what can you say. some stand outs are the nergromaro and the solvenian white. i think the service is excellent almost every time i go and you can tell the people who work there absolutely love it which is the most important thing. they also do a great beer - Greenwich Meantime - which I cant recommend highly enough
I cannot rave enough about vinoteca. Strictly a wine bar but the food here is amazing. Simple European stuff but my fish served on fregola was amazing. The atmosphere is buzzy and it is always packed. The only sad thing is that in the evenings they don't take reservations so you have to try your luck. See my full review here www.gourmet-chick.blogspot.com
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