Restaurants , Italian Covent Garden
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(3 user reviews)
2 Love It
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A Covent Garden veteran - one of the first determinedly modern Italian restaurants in London.

Established in 1985, Orso was one of the very first restaurants in the modernising of London's Italian restaurant scene. Instead of the old-fashioned trattoria with candles in a round-bellied Chianti bottle and heavy sauces on everything, the emphasis turned to highlighting ingredients through relatively simple treatment in the kitchen.

Thirty years on and that approach still dominates. Expect, then, antipasti such as vitello tonnato (roast veal with tuna dressing and fried capers) and buffalo mozzarella with slow-roast plum tomato, basil and aged balsamic leading into pasta dishes including asparagus and ricotta ravioli with mascarpone, lemon zest, petit pois and mint, and linguine al granchio - made with crab, garlic, parsley, chilli and lime. 

Secondi options range from roast pork belly with cabbage and an olive oil mash to calf's liver, fillet steaks, fish specials and branzino - a dish of herb crusted sea bass fillet served with green beans, crushed potatoes and a sun-dried tomato butter. Desserts keep things traditional too - think affogato, panna cotta and an authentic tiramisu.


Venue name: Orso
Address: 27 Wellington Street
Opening hours: Noon-midnight daily.
Transport: Tube: Covent Garden tube
Price: Main courses £12.95-£27.50. Set meal (noon-6.15pm daily) £16.75 2 courses, £19.50 3 courses incl coffee.
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Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:1
1 person listening
Helen W

This restaurant has changed hands and is now serving keenly priced, delicious food in an enjoyable atmosphere. Difficult to find such good quality at such reasonable prices in this area full of tourist traps. 


We must have hit Orso on a bad night. My wife's grilled Saddle of Lamb was so tough I couldn't cut it with my knife. The waiter did have the grace to take it off the bill. The wine I ordered never arrived (except on the bill). Overall we felt the food was ordinary and the service desultory - particularly annoying since there were only three tables occupied. The ambience is pleasant enough - maybe we'll try again and have better luck on our next trip to London.