Restaurants Kingsland
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(13 user reviews)
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If you’ve ever uttered the phrase ‘Let’s go for a quiet drink on Kingsland Road’ on a Saturday night, then you’ll know it’s a stupid thing to say. Every pub and bar within a mile of Dalston Junction is so rammed with cool kids discussing their portfolio careers that long straws in the drinks wouldn’t be a bad idea given the lack of elbow room.
The sheer foolhardiness of our plan hit us as we trudged past one overflowing watering hole after another on a recent Saturday evening.

We only ventured into Rotorino on the off-chance that a brand-new venue might be able to squeeze us in at the bar. Amazingly it did. The slickly designed space looks more like something you’d find in Soho than E8: booth seating, wood panelling and a clever mix of raw brick and striking blue patterned walls. The clientele are a little older than you’d expect to find in Dalston, and guess what? You can hear yourself speak. So we stayed a while, appreciating our Dolcetto d’Alba, as recommended to us by resident wine consultant Ruth Spivey from the Italian-focused list.

Even just a few weeks after opening, this collaboration between chef-restaurateur Stevie Parle (of the Dock Kitchen on Ladbroke Grove), Ruth Spivey (of pop-ups Wine Car Boot, and Street Vin Wine at Hawker House) and Jonathan Downey (of last year’s Rotary Bar and Diner pop-up), has a lot of polish. A return visit to eat didn’t disappoint.
Inspired by the food that Parle encountered in southern Italy, the menu features classics such as Sardinian fish stew (burrida) and Sicilian chickpea fritters (panelle). There’s also a handful of interesting pasta dishes including casarecce with a spicy sausage and red wine ragù, topped with crunchy fried breadcrumbs – a traditional, frugal alternative to parmesan.

A flash-cooked hanger steak, imbued with smokiness from the wood grill, was so tender the knife slid through it. Compared to the fiery ragù on our casarecce pasta, though, the accompanying chilli sauce could have done with more of a kick. Also from the grill, a Middle White pork chop was marinated in lemon leaf and zest with myrtle, then served perfectly charred on the outside, tender in the middle. Fried new potatoes with rosemary and garlic made a satisfying accompaniment.

Up there with some of the best modern Italian restaurants in London, Rotorino’s a great addition to any Dalston portfolio.

Venue name: Rotorino
Address: 432-434 Kingsland Road
E8 4AA
Opening hours: 5pm-midnight Mon-Fri; 11am-midnight Sat, Sun.
Transport: Dalston Junction Overground
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £75
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
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Jo Gowans

This was truly one of my favourite restaurants. I'm a big fan of sharing plates, which allow me to try as many different dishes as possible. The watermelon salad was an unexpected treat, the hanger steak delectably moist and earthy and the grilled octopus was one of the most delicious things I've had the pleasure of eating. On my last visit ordering from the main menu, many of my most loved dishes had disappeared - I've got my fingers crossed that once back in season they'll return. At a friend's birthday we were served a set menu, and I found it on the whole greasy and extremely salty. It's stopped me coming back. I'm sure I'll give Rotorino another chance soon, but I'll be giving the group menu a miss. 

Jennifer S

My friends and I went here last night for my birthday dinner. I dug the crisp flatbread the waitress laid on the table for starters to begin, seasoned with herbs and brushed with olive oil. I was just feeling peckish so got the celery caponata and the pumpkin gnudi for 5.5 and 8 pounds respectively. While the flavours were lovely, a delicate mix of capers and diced eggplant and celery for the first and a rich cheesy taste in the soft pillows of dough gnudi, the portions were MUCH smaller than I expected for the prices. (As a comparator, you get generous portions for the same prices - and phenomenal flavours- at Copita del Mercado in Aldgate East). I would recommend getting another tapa if one is really hungr or a main as I definitely wanted more food after my minuscule two portions. My husband got the three toasts with garbanzos, spinach and another topping I can't recall. This was lovely as well, especially the garbanzo and spinach pieces: garlicky and olive oil greatly enhanced the flavours. 

We had to rush out but the staff was kind enough to surprise me a tiny cannoli with a candle atop. I have never liked cannolis, even as a native NYer (I know travesty), but this was delicious! Creamy and buttery and I loved the chocolate bits.

The service was fine, nothing spectacular but not awful. Keep in mind it's quite loud. 

I don't know if I would return just because the portions and prices are mismatched.

Lucy Loo

I went to Rotorino with my friend for her birthday on Tuesday night and immediately loved the place as soon as we walked in. The decor is absolutely stunning, and it has a great buzz about it, even on an early weekday evening.

We were sat in a booth and the staff must have seen my friend opening her birthday card as they immediately brought us a glass of prosecco to celebrate. That was the start of the best service in any restaurant I've had this year, our waitress looked after us impeccably the whole evening. We ended up spending three hours there and had four courses of delicious food. We started with mozzarella and orange salad and pigs head terrine, followed by pumpkin gnudi and beef cheek pasta, then a shared main course of sasso chicken and chocolate cake to finish. Our lovely waitress then brought us a 2nd dessert of hazelnut tart with a candle for my friend....!

So much food we could hardly move, but it was all exceptional and a fantastic overall experience. I'll definitely be back again and again.


I keep going back for the pretty interior. And the food too obviously – basic Italian fresh flavours. The menu could use some more surprising elements and ingredients though. The service has been both very bad and very good. Perfect location for a weekend dinner, followed up by drinks next door at Pamela or The Haggerston.

Luisa G

Bitterly disappointed. I'd heard good things about this place, and then I went. My main meal portion of pasta was finished in 5 spoonfuls. I was absolutely starving after, and the waitress told me that they'd been told to cut their portions down by half. I will not, ever, be going back again. 

Hayley J

The atmosphere really gets warmed up in this chic bar/restaurant around 8pm. The bar is a cool spot to have a couple of drinks and I had a yummy gin cocktail - recommended by the friendly bar tender. 

To start, I enjoyed the burrata, so so so creamy and so so yummy, and the sausage. Only small criticism is that the sausage portion could have been a bit bigger. For mains I had a perfectly cooked piece of chicken with truffle. DELICIOUS. The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked. 

I love Rotorino, request a booth if you're going with a small group or take a crew and enjoy some delicious wine. You won't be disappointed! 

Jane H

Had a fantastic meal here today. Delicious panellle, gnudi and stuffed chicken. And really friendly attentive service. We are going back. It doesn't look too welcoming from the street but you step into another world when you get through the door.


Food and atmosphere was amazing and the staff was friendly, can't wait to go again!


Food and atmosphere was amazing and the staff was friendly, can't wait to go again!

Jimmy D

I have always trusted TimeOut for their great and useful restaurant reviews. However, when I found this place to take my girlfriend out for a birthday dinner, the waitress we had really let us down.

Initially the waitress was quite pushy for us to order wine before we had even chosen our food (we had literally just sat down), and when we finally did come to order wine, we asked if there was any cianti by the glass. To which the waitress replied, "do you want something like a cianti, or is that the only wine you know?". This was disturbingly rude.

Throughout the rest of our time there she never once asked how the food was (even when the main turned up cold), and even argued with a girl at the table next to us when she mentioned her main (the same as ours) was not cooked properly.

On top of which the restaurant had no music and the light above the booth table flickered so much it was hard to look across the table.


Fantastic place - great food, great service and great atmosphere. Nicest meal I've had in a while!

Jamie K

Hidden behind those blinds is a fantastic restaurant with delicious food and cracking service, finally a grown up restaurant in Dalston.

Vanessa M

Absolutely delicious, great service, excellent wine list.  Will definitely be back!