This isn’t a hidden gem. Sorry. But I don’t care. Star chef Yotam Ottolenghi is a worldwide success with his cookbooks and TV shows, but his flagship restaurant on Upper Street in Islington is amazing. I go regularly and I have never been disappointed.
The Ottolenghi take on Mediterranean food is fantastic and somehow still new, fresh and exciting despite his success. He mixes cultural influences and ingredients to a dazzling effect yet 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 normally book, but whatever time you come you will not be disappointed. They are open for breakfast (go – it’s fantastic), 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.
Go. Join the queue if necessary, but go, as it really is that good.