The route between the Almeida theatre over the road and this D&D London restaurant is a well-trodden one: visit of an evening and there’s an exodus before curtain-up. The pre-theatre menu here, then, is often just that – and is excellent value at £17 for two courses, £20 for three. Those without a show to rush to can take more time over the sophisticated cooking, which is broadly modern French with a few excursions around Europe and Britain.
On our last visit, Cornish pollock was paired with golden sultana and cauliflower couscous, and a risotto was rich with wild mushrooms and parmesan; both were from the set menu and served beautifully in glazed pottery dishes. Such thoughtful touches set the standard high – crisp water biscuits with the cheese were seeded and clearly own-made; the charcuterie board is a rustic plank of rillettes, terrines and scotch eggs, all produced in-house.
The open kitchen looks on to a discreetly elegant, modern room enlivened by a vast, colourful mural and broadsided by a small bar with its own food menu. As a special-occasion alternative to the many restaurants in Islington, Almeida is a star.
NOTE: As of mid-September 2014, the restaurant has reopened after an extensive refurbishment. Among the changes is the elimination of a printed wine list in favour of suggestions from the waiter to fit in with your meal and budget, with the additional option of inspecting their 'Wine Wall,' where all the wines on offer are on show. There were also some changes to the menu.The Time Out Food and Drink Team.
30 Almeida Street
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-2.15pm Tue-Sun. Dinner served 5.30-10.15pm Mon-Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Angel or Highbury & Islington|
|Price:||Main courses £18-£22. Set meal (lunch Tue-Sun; 5.30-6.30pm, 9.30-10.30pm Mon-Sat) £17 2 courses, £20 3 courses|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:2
I'm so torn about Almeida. I really want to like it. It's in my favourite area of London, nestled down a quiet side street in leafy Islington, just off the bustle of Upper Street. It also serves up some pretty delicious food (on the whole). I kicked off with a curried wild sea trout with cauliflower, pomegranate, bhaji and raisin that was so incredible I honestly wouldn't have felt any shame in licking my plate had I been dining alone.
Whilst that was the highlight of my meal, the courses that followed were also lovely even if they didn't quite live up to my starter. (A creamy Lobster farfalle with mussels and a lemon posset with berry compote and a citrus beignet if you were interested. It's worth noting that if you ordered the posset for the beignet alone you would not have been disappointed.)
My fellow diners weren't quite as enamoured - one described their steak as 'just fine' which is not really what you want at somewhere charging you £28 for the pleasure.
The main problem we had with Almeida was the distinct lack of atmosphere - there is no music at all. Seriously none. You could hear a pin drop. This might be fine if the restaurant was packed out every second of every day but when we arrived we were one of two tables. They then sat us so close to the other table that I could have rested my chin between their shoulders should i have needed a little rest between main and dessert. The decor is nice but a bit...meh. We all agreed that it felt a little like eating in an airport lounge. A very nice airport lounge, a first class emirates lounge, but an airport lounge none the less.
Having said all of that the staff were great. One of the pickier eaters in our number sent back her pudding (vanilla rice pudding, poached peach, raspberry, verbena, almond) because it just wasn't what she was expecting and a replacement pudding was brought out, no questions asked and no eyebrows raised. We did, however, wait about twenty minutes for our bill to be brought out which felt excessive given there were four tables filled in the entire place.
So i'm torn. Some really great food, some 'just alright' food and a bit lacking in atmosphere. We paid £40 a head and that was with a 40% discount. It felt a bit much considering there are some amazing little restaurants on Upper Street where you can eat, drink and make merry for under £20. If dinner out is a once in a while treat, I'd say maybe go elsewhere.
I ate there for lunch yesterday. The starter Beetroot and goats cheese ...was a few veg - mainly sliced, the beetroot was paper thin and the goats cheese was aerated one inch lump ( as little as they could get away with, then filled with air so imagine that inch of cheese, then half it!
The main course was a joke. Swilling in over salty sauce - the largest ingredient, half the plate were 3 mussels in their shells, the tortellini was just the ONE, the fish was 2 inches long and there were a few other bits. It was a starter parading as a main course.
The 2 courses were £19. The attentive waitress occupied herself with filling up glasses of water (tap water) but which they charged at £2.25) a bottle. Add the 12.5% service and don't expect to escape for under £24. But you will need to grab a sandwich to fill you up! The restaurant was empty except for my table and about 6 other people.
I have dined in many fine restaurants, and I have to say that my experience here ranks top of my list! Right from the moment we stepped into the restaurant we felt pretty special... the receptionist was warm and friendly, and ushered us into a section of the restaurant that was set slightly apart (at a lower level) from the rest of the restaurant. The decor was original and understated- some cool and quirky black and white framed photos provided us with a lot of amusement, the lighting was initimate, the atmosphere relaxed and informal, with a slight tinge of decadence. The food was to die for, and the presentation excellent! But the one thing that really topped it all off was the service- our waiter was attentive, friendly and imminently professional. We went as part of an offer, which generally means in many restaurants that you get a sub-standard service- this was definitely not the case here, and I highly recommend you go and give it a try as you will fall in love with it as I have! :-)
We had a family dinner at the Almeida last night and whilst the room is lovely and the service good, making for a very pleasant atmosphere, the food was extraordinarily bland, making it the defining feature of the evening for all the wrong reasons. Devoid of flavour and seasoning, 'gratin' was served as mash potato with cheese on top. The word from everyone at the table was that their meal didn't really taste of much. Far be it from me to advise a professional chef on how to do their job, but I would certainly recommend he stage some kind of reacquaintance with salt, like, now. One of the diners was asked by a waiter how they had found their meal; on informing him of it's blandness, he stuttered, said he would inform the kitchen and then walked off before asking anyone else at the table. If this sounds overly negative I should say we had a very nice evening, but that was all about the company, not the food. As if to suggest we hadn't quite got the joke, the bill came. Far too expensive for such average fare. Comedic in fact. And by the obvious seriousness with which this establishment takes itself, I'm certain it's not the experience they had intended to provide. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes with good service and an atmospheric room. If it's a great meal you seek and good value, you shall not find it here.
I was shocked to read the below reviews of Almeida. I dined there last weekend for lunch and had a lovely afternoon. The staff were attentative, friendly and knowledgable. The service was efficient and there was a great atmosphere in the restaurant which is a wonderfully bright and open space. Most importantly, the food was delicious! I also had the crab terrine starter which was superb. Subtle flavours and creamy textures ( and no tough bits of avocado in sight!) For the main I had the mushroom risotto (a choice which was greeted with great approval from my charming waitress). The dish was incredible. My partner had the duck which was tender and cooked to perfection. For dessert I recommend the passion fruit tart with yoghurt sorbet which is absolutely splendid, refreshing and full of flavour! The value for money is excellent. 3 courses and a bellini for £27.50. They could really get away with charging more but I commend them for keeping their prices affordable, especially as they are a lovely, local restaurant. All in all I would definitely eat there again and have recommended it to several of my friends already.
Weekend Lunch: 2/3 courses £20/£25 & extra bottomless Prosecco £15pp
Offer includes unlimited Prosecco with your meal for an additional £15 per person.This offer is subject to availability.Offer valid until Aug 31 2016
Pre/Post Theatre Menu 2/3 courses £19/£22
From a set menu, subject to availability, as displayed in the booking interface. Not available in conjunction with other offers.Offer valid until Aug 31 2016
Tasting menu: 6 courses at £47.50
Enjoy our tasting menu at £47.50 per person, or £72.50 with the wine pairing.Offer valid until Aug 31 2016