Reserve your table at Ottolenghi Book a table
287 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ
- Angel Station (0.5 km)
- Angel Tube Station (0.7 km)
- Contact us:
020 7288 1454
- Opening hours:
Monday - Saturday 0800-2300
Sunday - 0900 - 1900
13 Islington High Street, London N1 9LQ
“Tortilla offers deliciously healthy wraps and burritos as a take-away lunch for less than £5. The secret of Tortilla’s success is the combination of fresh New World flavours simply wrapped in a tasty tortilla and quickly served for diners to eat...” more...
17 reviews of Ottolenghi in English
The seating is kind of similar to Wagamama in terms of your proximity to other diners. Which isn't great considering the astronomical cost of the place (we paid £55 per head for mains, dessert and prosecco).
We were there on a weekday evening, and the staff were very nice, the food is in the main delicious (although less vegetarian options than you would expect given that most of their publicity is in the vegetarian domain).
Overall, I would come here occasionally but I'd definitely try to aim for a quiet period. And I really think they would do well to let people have a bit more personal space. The woman sitting next to me was on her own and clearly didn't appreciate my arrival, likewise I didn't enjoy the people on the other side of us listening in to every single word of our conversation.
Came here for breakfast and I spent the first five minutes picking all the bugs out of my fresh mint tea. Bleugh! However, the salads and cakes stacked at the front looked delicious and the staff were very friendly. Not Much choice for a savoury veggie but I had the scrambled eggs, which came more like an omelette, but tasted amazing.
Perhaps surprisingly, for a vegetarian who often hangs out in Islington, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Ottolenghi. The salads can be superb and the meringues are second-to-none, but the overall experience is a bit chaotic for an establishment charging so much for the privilege of eating there. I've often had to stand in a disorganised queue for what feels like a very long time when about to hand over a hefty sum for salad.
If you're lucky you can grab one of the pavement tables on a warm day and watch the world go by as you eat your very nicely-prepared food. But I'm not so keen on the canteen-style seating and the so-trendy-it-hurts chairs. Your best bet if you've not got in early enough to nab a good spot is having Ottolenghi as a take-away treat option.
The food here is so good that you don't really notice how much you are spending until you have spent it... And even then you don't mind.
I swung by this afternoon to pick up some salads for a friend up the road and the service I received was phenomenal. Notting Hill is more local for me, there isn't much between the stores -same awesomeness in the west and the north.
The chargrilled broccoli is transcendent. Try it even if you don't like broccoli.
I wanted to love Ottenlenghi. Adore it, marry it even. Everyone talks about how wonderful the food is. And how pretty the cakes are. And they're right. But goodness me the place is disorganised.
On one side of the door is the savoury takeaway stuff and salads. On the other side all the (tasty tasty) cakes. In the middle? A massive queue of people waiting to be seated for the restaurant. Which means no one can see what they'd like to order, no one can get to the food they want, and the staff can't talk to you because there are people and prams and children, (we're in yummy mummy heaven here) in the way.
Frankly I couldn't wait to leave, and we were only getting takeaway. While being herded about be the staff because well, there wasn't enough space to fit people. No kidding.
But the food is good. £4.50 for half a sandwich is taking the Michael, but the cakes we tried were as tasty as they were pretty. My chocolate and hazelnut ricotta thing was too heavy and I didn't eat it all, but everything looked amazing and I'd try it all again.
I just honestly don't want to come back at the weekends. I won't eat here, I'll pop in if I walk past during the day and it's quiet. But it's not enjoyable to be in here, and no amount of yummy cake will get my backside sat in a place I don't like.
I went here on Sunday with my mom and aunt who were visiting London for the weekend. Up until now i had been a bit put off by the price as its a small bit expensive for lunch on my limited student budget.
But when i tasted the food, which was absolutely delicious, i can now say that it is worth it. The food is full of flavour and so fresh and healthy. The coffees are a bit small, but similarly good.
My mom and aunt were so impressed and went back for cake and coffee the following day. (We couldn't fit in desert the day before.) They said the deserts were as fantastic as lunch had been. I get the feeling we will be returning again.
This is a great place to go for lunch. The food is delicious, which i do not say lightly, and its definetely worth the price.
The staff are friendly and attentive. The style of seating is a little crowded, not the place for a quiet romantic dinner (though apparently they are opening a more restuarnt type place in feb).
A normal plate with 4 types of salad is enough to really fill you up. Each salad was well balanced, flavoursome and a joy to eat. The deserts all look amazing and the one i tried did not dissappoint.
I would thouroughly suggest this place to anyone in angel/islington who is looking for a place that is dedicated to truly high qaulity food.
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I have been a big fan of Ottolenghi's food writing now for quite some time. A Saturday is complete once I have read his latest offering in The Guardian. I also own two of is books and often like to look at them, peeking almost as if I don't want to get caught, lusting after photographs of aubergine, dressed in yogurt sprinkled with pomegranate seeds glistening up from the pages like jewels. This man is the Hugh Hefner of food porn. Everything you want to have and one portion isn't enough. Ottolenghi is a playboy mansion for foodies.
His tarts are too obvious to go for. When I went there last week with my beloved we wanted everything. It was a polyamorous feast of the senses. A mezze platter of taste sensation only it was small plate eating.
Now I have to break this discourse in what would be somewhat of a food porn fairy tale to mention that small plates still equals big prices. But you know something, once in a while it is nice to feel delightfully ripped off.
The food we had was INCREDIBLE like really really incredible. I got off looking at the bread alone which OH MY GOODNESS it was good. His skills as a baker shone. The texture of the foccacia left me wanting more. The olive oil for the bread selection was also wonderful. Peppery yet smooth which allowed the sensual pleasure of the varying textures of the bread to be fully devoured as it seduced the mouth.
The 'No Carbs After 6pm' curfew was well worth lifting to eat this bread. OK if you were a coeliac this is the part where you will be yawning away. I don't blame you.
For our meal we shared some chargrilled courgette, with pecorino and truffle oil. Everything was offset and balanced against each other in harmony.
We also had some Artichoke, Raddichio and faro which was served with lemon and broad beans. Again he triumphed with that one!
We then had some scallops that were served on a thick pulse broth, and to top it were some tempura anchovies and some deep fried onion. This was a dish that shone out for me and the scallops were seared so they were meltingly sweet and almost caramel in places.
We also had some mackerel that was served with a beetroot and apple salad.
This too was nice but I was more into the scallops than anything else.
We had a glass of white wine to go with it....unfortunately I forgot the name but it was Italian and £6 a glass and was the only wine priced at that so go figure!
To end with My beloved had a chocolate tart thing and I had a tart that was white chocolate, lemon and raspberry.
Mine was lighter and the zingy tang of the lemon made the dessert clean tasting on the palate and was rather refreshing.
The chocolate tart had a little rum in and was nice but was rather dense. Definitely a dessert for girls who love chocolate. Whilst my beloved licked her lips and transported herself to a chocolate nirvana. I was having a dirty foodie romp with my tart which took me to nearly the realms of a dodgy fantasy. We were both in food utopic voyages that our tastebuds allowed us to have a collective yet individual dining experience.
The food was just as beautiful as is presented in the books. It reminded me of The River cafe in many ways. The simple food, bold flavours, simple presentation. But the freshness of the produce, the vibrancy on the plate and the effect on the tastebuds was astronimical.
I see the fuss and excitement about Ottolenghi restaurants and yes it was a little bit pricey I definitely want to go back, especially to experience what it is like at breakfast as well as lunch.
Next time I need to take a cake somewhere this shall also be one of my main ports of call. It simply has to be done once in a while.
Beautiful food for breakfast, lunch or dinner...though more expensive for dinner. Always busy, so don't be surprised by a 20 minute wait...rest assured its worth it.
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I love this place.The coffee was great and I impulsively purchased the Aubergine salad with a saffron yoghurt dressing with pine nuts and pomegranates.A weird combination but it tasted spectacular!!The lady, who I presume, was the duty manager was really lovely and friendly.The other 2 male waiters could be a bit more friendlier and less bored.But other than that this place is just Fab!!
After hearing some very positive reviews of this place we decided to try the Islington branch out for Sunday lunch. As expected the place was busy and we had to wait for 30min, but thought it'd be worth it (esp. after looking at the menu and the display of salads and mains). Indeed, food was really good, lots of vegetarian options, fresh and tasty but bit expensive and portions rather on the small side. Staff was nice and didn't rush us out, even if there were lots of people waiting for a table.
Overall a lovely place to have brunch, won't be coming here if I'm startving, but will keep it on my "treats' list
I only had tea and cake here so can't comment on the rest of the food but the rum and chocolate torte was divine. Don't know how much it was as I din't pay but I'm guessing it was pricey. Seats unfortunately were a bit uncomfy so if I'm on my own dime I may head for carluccio's instead!
I’ve heard so many good things about the food at Ottlenghi, and have ogled the cakes through the window before now. Unfortunately, I haven’t had particularly good encounters with the staff here.
The first time, I tried to go for tea and cakes with some friends, but the woman at the door was very snooty and dismissive, like we had to grovel or something.
There were plenty of free seats, but she said something about it being the changeover from lunch and said she could squeeze us in if we waited about 20 minutes.
We really didn’t like her attitude so took our business to Carluccio’s instead and had some very nice cakes there.
The next time I went, we did get in but they sat us right at the end of a large table (where we felt quite exposed – there was nobody else sitting on it, and there were tables for two available elsewhere).
They then started to move all the furniture around in a flurry of activity (they change it for evening service apparently). It was very disruptive and they completely forgot to bring us our order!
I had to go and tap someone on the shoulder to remind them in the end. They were very huffy and not very apologetic. Honestly!
I find the staff here very superior indeed (in a bad way), I don’t know where they find them. Perhaps they are out-of-work actors, they certainly act like drama queens.
I hope the food is worth all the kerfuffle, the cake certainly wasn’t. And it was very expensive too. I won’t hurry back.
The food in this cafe is really good but it’s not cheap and with a big table that everyone gathers around, it can be noisy and feel a bit too cramped for my liking. If you go in the morning they have brightly coloured dualit toasters on each table which looks really good and guarantees your toast is hot when you get it. The coffee is very good, cakes are amazing and the meringues (I think these are their signature piece) look incredible and taste very good indeed. They do great salads at lunchtime, they use the best ingredients and I guess that’s reflected in the prices.
Mr (or possibly Mrs, or even Ms… sorry Otto, I have no idea) Lenghi writes a food column in the Saturday Guardian mag in which he, or possibly she, lauds the virtues of fresh veg, herbs, and putting them together in clever ways. So far, so granola-eating Guardian-reading yawn, you might say, but the proof of the salad is in the mastication and in this case he, she, it or they have got it exactly right.
As far as I can tell, this little chain of eateries takes its influences and style from the Med… southern Europe and northern Africa, with lots of little spices and tangs to transform humble dishes into bold flavoursome experiences. I’ve only been to the Upper Street one but I’m sure the other outlets pull off this clever feat with similarly accomplished aplomb. I won’t even try to list dishes because they usually come with about 14 different ingredients which somehow pull together to create something very special. It’s fantastic for brunch or lunch, not wallet-shrinkingly expensive, and usually pretty friendly and welcoming.
A perfect place to take your loved one for a Saturday brunch-type canoodle. Top notch.
Sadly Islington is rapidly becoming a facsimile of every other high street in Britain with a dozen ubiquitous and soulless brands parading their tawdry wears and forcing a mono-cultural imperialism on our land. But rejoice, for Ottolenghi bucks the trend! Yotam Ottolenghi is a culinary genius and an advocate of Slow Food, ie he makes things on the premises, using good, clean and fair ingredients and he really knows how to cook. It is both a place to pick up provisions for takeaway e.g. amazing cakes, wonderful bread, sandwiches, home made crossiants, the best meringues in the world, amazing salads full of fresh and exciting flavours and so much more. Alternatively, you can eat at the long communal table and enjoy breakfast (a toaster is brought to your table and a panoply of amazing jams and fresh bread), lunch or dinner. The menu changes regularly and features local, seasonal delights with a largely though not exclusively vegetarian bent. It may be grim up north, but with Ottolenghi at least it's also yummy.
Comment 1 comment on this review
CousinMonks, 12 February 2008: Wow, a toaster at your table? Sounds like my kind of place.
Great review gerry - thanks.
This place is a real treat. Pure white walls, minimal chic furniture and a dazzling display of fine cakes make this a classy visit. Expensive but its worth it. Their merengues are renowned but everything is simply mouthwatering - you'll take forever to decide! Service is very helpful though.
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