Ottolenghi is everything you would expect a world-class restaurant to be in terms of flavor, creativity, and presentation, without the snobbery. Chef-owner Yotam Ottolenghi is as skilled with cake as he is with salads and meats. He creates bold flavours (fig frangipane tart, butternut squash, tahini and red onion salad, English beef with coriander mustard) and lets them take centre stage in his minimalist restaurant. The bright, white space is open for three meals a day everyday of the week.
Ottolenghi has been on the London scene since 2002, and is one of the London greats. He pens a weekly column for The Guardian. His signature flavour profile is a heady combination of Middle Eastern influences (Syrian, Turkish, Lebanese, Iranian, Israeli) on a Western canvas. He was brought up in Jerusalem and trained as a chef in London, although he had originally come to town to get a Phd. He’s authored four best-selling cookbooks. We recommend all of them.
With kids in tow, the most fun thing to do at Ottolenghi is to order coffee and cakes to go. Take your treats out front and people watch from the red bench, or stroll to a park for a picnic.
You’re right between two lovely green spaces: St. Mary’s (12th c.) church gardens and Islington Green. If you love what you’re tasting for breakfast, come back for lunch or dinner. They do take out boxes with superb salads, or you can eat in, but for that you’ll need a reservation.
287 Upper Street, Ottolenghi.co.uk