Please note, Almeida is now closed. Time Out Eating & Drinking editors, Jan 2017.
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:3
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:2
It was a while ago but the Rillettes served (kept?) at room temperature? Big NO NO. It is a nice place but far far FAR from being in the "best" category... Jean-Christophe Lanoe - French, Parisian and a Londoner since 1988.. before you ask. ;-)
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.