Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Feb 28 2012
Some of the friendliest staff we’ve encountered in London dispel any notions that this wine bar might be stuffy about its commitment to the grape. That doesn’t mean it’s not serious: it offers 25 wines by the glass, 300 by the bottle, all available to take away. This Soho branch is the most recent to open, in May 2012; there’s also the original in Farringdon and another in Marylebone. On our visit, an Austrian ‘wine flight’ for £10 promised an interesting exploration of the country’s lesser-known styles. The on-tap prosecco (£3.95 a glass) is particularly popular with the after-work crowd who cram in to the informal ground-floor bar; if you want to eat in more peace, reservations are allowed for the quieter upstairs room. Both levels are charmingly yet sparingly decorated, with bare brick walls and huge old French advertising posters. And it’s when you’re dining that the appeal of Vinoteca really becomes clear: even without the fabulous wines, it would still be a great restaurant. Dishes such as mussels, clams and john dory with chorizo, or barnsley chop with greens, are excellent combinations of light, bright flavours – and go perfectly with the recommended wines. Top-quality cheeses and continental meats are sliced by the plateful and make the ideal accompaniment to a reviving afternoon drink.
Vinoteca 53-55 Beak Street
- Venue phone:
020 3544 7411
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun. Meals served noon-10.30pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun
Tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus tube
Main courses £10-£21. House wine £15.50 bottle, £2.70 glass
- 53-55 Beak Street
- 020 3544 7411
- 53-55 Beak Street
Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:1
I have been to Vinoteca Soho 3 times and have never been disappointed. This time I booked ahead at pretty short notice on a Thursday evening and went for the full dining experience. We started with scallops to share, a well made classic. The hake with samphire and bavette steak were also very good and competitively priced. But as expected it is the wine that really sets Vinoteca apart. The Gruner Veltliner was outstanding, I would urge anyone who hasn't tried this star Austrian white to give it a go, crisp and dry but wonderfully complex and aromatic.. On previous occasions I have had a Spatlese (late harvest) German Riesling and a similar Aussie white, all outstanding. I am a qualified sommelier. I have worked in countless bars, restaurants ect and am very impressed with the quality of the wine at Vinoteca, there is clearly real passion involved. The staff are also very good, know the wines (there are many places were they dont) and give the impression of being happily and fairly employed. I should certainly like to try the other branches.
When I go to a place to wine & dine, I don't care if the fish I'm gonna eat sleeps at the bottom of the sea or the grapes of the wine I'm going to drink are picked only by women at night, or if you slice the chorizo in an old hand-cranked 1950s Berkel slicer (all things I was told by the staff while I was there). Because I'm going to let you all people in on a secret: All these things and details won't change the flavour of my fish or the taste of the wine, and my chorizo will be the same chorizo it was before touching that 1950s vintage machine. Some people (the owners obviously do) think that these kinds of things "add to the atmosphere". And when someone sells you an atmosphere upfront, you know there is gonna be a problem somewhere down the line. And here's the problem with this place: very nice atmosphere, very helpful and knowledgeable staff (they sure deserve a tip), nice unknown wines (which helps to sell them so expensive; I saw one from my Spanish region selling for £50/bottle which you can get in any Spanish supermarket for less than €7. But hey, well done!), but what's important: the food is way below average and the prices are very high for what you get. We paid £90 for two people, one bottle to share, two dishes. For this price you wine and dine quality in a lot of restaurants in London. The success of the place (it's the third one already) only tells about the low standards of the average diner in London. Anywhere else in Europe (Spain, Italy, France, Greece) a place like this wouldn't last a week.
Can't understand the fuss abut the food, I've been to Vinoteca Soho twice and the food has always been scrumptious. As for the service, maybe it's 'cos of my good looks but they treated me in a very warm, informal friendly manner, definetly not fake or pretentious - so rare in Soho by the way. Thoroughly enjoyed the expereince, I was very lucky obvioulsy.
The wine was good, a buzzy place but I agree with the comments about not eating there - my food was awful and I had to send it back for being cold and even after it was heated I couldn't eat it. Go for a bottle of lovely wine, there are lots of great choices that are nicely priced but the food is overpriced and nothing special.
Wine was ok and this place is rather a bar beacause the food was just terrible...Sorry guys but I won't have diner ever again at Vinoteca.
Great atmosphere, a very good selection of wines at competitive prices and friendly customer service. Perfect for a relaxing evening out!
I was really looking forward to trying this place out last week (friday) but unfortunately, we were bitterly disappointed. My husband arrived there for 6 and I later got there for 6:15pm and it wasn't busy, but during our stay for 45mins. We were asked 3 times buy the waiter, about whether we will be eating, when our friends arrived, as they would need the table back. We've told them several times that they suppose to be here the same time as us, but unfortunately they were running late because of work. i know this is soho in all, but being hassled for a table when most of the tables weren't filled is not a good look on them. The waiters were obnoxious and rude, not only to us, but i'd also noticed this with the table next to us. There was an air pretentiousness and although the place looked inviting, it certainly was not. The bar snacks where nice, however the prosecco on tap was flat... and when I quizzed them about this, one of the waiters rolled there eyes up and gave me a mumbled answer... Well excuse me, im sorry i didnt know prosecco comes in different forms. I thought prosecco was sparkling, but there was nothing sparkling about it, apart from the price... which i now know why... Shame....I'll be interested to see what other people think.
I've been a fan of the original Vinoteca in Farringdon for years, for it's atmosphere as much as anything, and I've been impressed by the gentle transition from 1 to 3 restaurants across the city. The staff are unfailingly engaging and well informed - you're greeted as someone who shares their passion for food and wine. Soho has a a huge front window for people-watching and nibbling of catalan almonds with a Vinho Verde. Grilled mackerel with rhubarb, chilli and lovage is inspired, the bavette never lets you down and the panetone bread pudding is the best I've had.
I was lucky enough to walk past Vinota at lunch ... looked at the menu and decided to go back for dinner - what a great decision. The service was amazing, very attentive. As soon as we arrived (waited for a table) we we're offered a glass of prosecco (reasonable price £3.75 each). Soon seated at our table the small menu (who needs 100's of options) was easy to pick from and all offerings married to a suggested wine. (There are so many wines by the glass or by the bottle!) Following our bread and olive oil, our main meals (no room for starters) arrived hot and we're soon demolished! Room was made for pudding along with recommended pudding wines. . . and the quality found in our mains maintained. In addition, they DO allow you to book (the upstairs tables can be booked in advance, downstairs is walk-in’s) which is refreshing as it allows you to 'pre-plan' and not spend your evening waiting in a queue! Fingers crossed this experience will be repeated when I go back, and it's not just because it's just opened :)