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Oct 21, 2008 10:27 AM

Ottolenghi has the best salads in London. Discuss.

I had a very quick dinner at Ottolenghi (Islington) last week and have been meaning to post about the meal and the restaurant ever since. I think this place, while certainly not under-the-radar, doesn't get nearly enough bandwidth on Chowhound. I would go so far as to say that anyone who is in London for more than a day or two should grab a bite there. Their vegetable dishes/salads are so creative and well-executed. If there were a "Best Salads, London" award, I would nominate them.

Since we only had a very few minutes, my boyfriend and I chose from the heaped platters displaying all sorts of gorgeous prepared foods. My favorite plate was a salad with red endive, grilled peaches, macadamia nuts and a dressing which included orange blossom water. It was utterly delectable and so unexpected! I can't get it out of my mind. Also delicious was a salad of big chunks of moist, perfectly-cooked eggplant topped with a dollop of gussied up hummus. Really substantial for an all-veggie salad. Protein came in the form of slices of seared tuna. I'm butchering the descriptions, since the ingredients in each dish were much more complex, but hopefully this gives some idea of what they're up to.

Dessert was nearly impossible to decide on, since they were displaying about 15 or 20 tantalizing options. I had a cloud-light piece of cheesecake with a toffee topping. My boyfriend had a mini-passionfruit meringue tart. Both excellent. I wish I had enough stomach space to have one of everything, so it's probably good that there isn't a branch nearer to me.

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  1. Have to say I found the prices at Ottolenghi outrageous. Also the seating on a huge communal table is inappropriate for such a highly priced restaurant. The service was terrible as well.

    I like the salads at Kastner & Ovens.

    4 Replies
    1. re: feddie207

      Wow, I didn't think the prices were bad at all, given the quality. Can't say enough good things about the service we had. Last week, we were in a huge hurry and both waitresses raced around like madwomen to take care of us. I'm with you on the communal tables, though we've always managed to score one of the small ones. I think it's a cute idea and maybe okay to have communal seating as an option, but mostly when I'm going out to eat, I just want to chat with the person or people I came with and don't care to be distracted by the neighbours.

      I'm curious to try Kastner & Ovens. Thanks for the rec.

      1. re: peelmeagrape

        Just out of curiosity, what's the average price of a salad?

        1. re: zuriga1

          I'm not sure, as I didn't pay, but my sense was about £8 or £9. I hope someone who has more definite information will jump in. The desserts I know were £4-£5 each.

          1. re: peelmeagrape

            yeah i think they're abt £9 for a choice of 3. which is pretty expensive. but i agree w/ that they are v nice

    2. I haven't actually been to any of the restaurants as they're not in parts of town I visit regularly, but I have the cookbook and everything I've made from there has been wonderful. I especially like the creative stuff they do with vegetables.

      1. In terms of the best salads in London, I think that that they often come at Middle Eastern places. Adonis on Goodge St (its closed now) had great salad with pomegranate dressing. The tiny (but awesome) Iranian place off Edgware Road (can't recall the name) also served fresh fresh salad with fresh mint and lemon dressing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: feddie207

          I agree Ottolenghi is expensive (about £8 for the combination of 3 salads) but it is really innovative and delicious food. I would agree that they are the best salads in London and I also agree with Greedy Girl that the cookbook is fantastic (and a cheaper way perhaps to have the Ottolenghi experience).