Hardly a hidden gem this one, seeing as star chef Yotam Ottolenghi has had a worldwide success with his cookbooks and he can now be found on TV screens, but even so his flagship restaurant on Upper Street in Islington is amazing.
I go regularly and I have never been disappointed.
Mixing influences and ingredients to a frightening but dazzling effect Ottolenghi somehow makes it all work, look amazing and taste even better. It’s hard to properly describe the food as the influences and tastes are so varied so it is probably easier just to give a couple examples: how about ‘pan fried plaice with dill risotto, mixed mushrooms and rosemary oil’? Or ‘roasted pumpkin with sun dried tomato dressing, chickpeas, red onion, cumin, feta, barberries and herbs’.
I could have picked anything as an example as it all sounds and tastes fantastic… and I haven’t even mentioned the cakes and pastries!
Dinner is rightly very popular so I have booked in the past, but whatever time you come you will not be disappointed. They are open for breakfast (it’s lovely), lunch and dinner.
There are a few other, smaller, locations to what I presume will be an expanding Ottolenghi chain in Notting Hill, Kensington and Belgravia but the Islington branch is the largest and the only one to open for dinner in the evenings although Ottolenghi has now opened a ‘proper’ restaurant (Nopi) if you can’t get in at Islington.
Go, queue if necessary, but go as it really is that good.