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Restaurants Bethnal Green
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(23user reviews)

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Housed in a former art gallery (which before that was commercial premises) on the corner of Mare Street and Vyner Street, Ombra aims to bring the easygoing atmosphere and casual food/drink mix of a Venetian bacaro to Bethnal Green. (It is next to the Regent's Canal, which is a start.)

On our visit we weren't hugely impressed by the simple dishes, which included grilled mackerel with polenta, sliced sausage and pasta with tomato sauce. We also found the hard wooden seating a triumph of style over comfort and were sat too close to a guitarist to make conversation easy.

But the range of Italian wines is good, and it's also possible to pop in for an Aperol spritzer (an Italian aperitif mixed with white wine and soda water).

Gallery-goers from Vyner Street will no doubt find it a useful place to socialise after a private view, but we can't recommend it on the strength of its food alone.



Address: 1 Vyner Street
E2 9DG
Transport: Tube: D6, 48, 55, 106, 254, or 388 bus
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £60
Opening hours: Open 8am-8pm Tue; 8m-10pm Wed; 8am-11pm Thur, Fri; 10am-11pm Sat; 11am-8pm Sun
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Users say (23)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:4
1 person listening

Such a disappointing evening - so sad after previous good experiences. After ordering a sizeable amount of food and drink, we were asked to leave the table we'd been placed at so they could get more covers that evening. It was deeply embarrassing to have to squeeze onto an uncomfortable set of stools. As an apology we were told they wouldn't add service charge - an unfitting end to an almost £100 meal. Sadly it will be our last visit, and I'd recommend others to reconsider.


If you are looking for outstanding food and efficient service then make sure to walk past this place and find your way to one of the other Italian restaurants nearby. However, if you are looking for a killer Aperol Spritz and the authentic aperitivo feel this is exactly the place you want to be. With a lovely sunny terrace (if the weather allows it) and a mostly Italian clientele this place takes you straight back to your belle vacanze in Italia! It is the perfect place to escape London even if it is just for a few hours!

Got to love they have fizzy wine on tap. I had the mixed cured platter and I felt some of the meats were a bit luncheony - not my cup of tea. The burrata was creamy and very tasty and the little bags of bread were really cute. I feel like the salads could have been given a bit more love rather than woody bits of lettuce with sparse amount of avocado. All in all the location is great, staff are friendly and the drinks are brilliant. 

Nope sorry.  Tried this place 3 times now as I live nearby, and each time been underwhelmed by the food and overwhelmed by the bill.  Uncomfortable, ramshackle, noisy atmosphere does not pass for 'charming' and 'authentic' any more.

At the least in an Italian you expect top notch ingredients and well cooked food.  But this is not the case here - the pasta was overcooked, the sauces one dimensional in flavour and the main courses are insultingly bad for the price.

If you want a good Italian, go to Lardo down the road.

The food is very good and simple. Real mediterrenean style which means simple dishes with very good ingredients and lovingly cooked. Yes it may be a bit pricey but in this area that is already normal - besides, it is not a canteen it is a restaurant!

The food is simple, cheap and rather good, with a continually changing, seasonal menu. The wine is top notch, and the Spritz perfect. When it's busy service can be a little erratic. I have never been disappointed with a dish at Ombra, and pop in often with my two daughters. They adore watching the fresh pasta being made. Child portions are available on all dishes, and child seats are available, and there's a baby changing thing in the washrooms! It can get rather noisy at night, but it is on the edge of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. And it has romantic view along Regents Canal. Just like Venice, but thankfully without the masquerade

I’m upset that I didn’t read some other reviews before I visited Ombra, it may have saved me from an incredibly disappointing meal and from wasting £50. I’ve never felt the need to write a review or indeed send a dish back up until this evening. One dish was virtually inedible and the other bland and just plain bad, having sent the meal back the chef refused point blank to take it off our bill as the waitress curtly informed us. This is one restaurant I will not be returning to or recommending to anyone I know.

My favourite place in East London to go for simple but excellent italian food. The menu is different every day, fresh pasta for 7-8 £, meat dishes are never more than 11 or 12 £. The chefs are italian, the staff are young and friendly, all my italian friends praise the food there. It's not the most comfortable place in the world, but it's unpretentious, honest and friendly and comes very close to a typical small restaurant in Italy. Perfect for popping in for a quick pasta. In the evenings it's a bit noisy, but again, very nice for having your 'spritz' before going out.

all is good there especially the staff, food ok, nothing special but acceptable within a narrow range. Main stupido is chef, never listened to his mother, so is a little macho and maximo last century. . once he moves to the feminine it will be superb....we wait, chef, once you move then we will enjoy what yr mother taught you to provide......good food, and joy. then relax............the tiny irishman...ilias

This place is fave of all the locals, the downside of this means it's increasingly hard to get a table. I think the Time Out review needs up dating. they've changed the furniture for one. The Negroni's are amazing. One suggestion... something on a lunch time menu for kids please?

chilled, unpretentious and a daily-changing menu based on what's fresh and available alone. Sometimes the portions can be a little small, sometimes things sell out, sometimes the choice isn't amazing - but somehow, on the strength of the atmosphere, it's friendly staff and the feeling that you somewhere more Mediterranean the second you walk inside, it never seems to matter. Oh yes, the aperol spritzes are so popular the prosecco is on tap.

Ok so we know we are not really the target audience, but we live locally, they have high chairs, and it was a lovely evening so we thought we'd try it with the kids. On arrival we checked before anything else if even though it was early, (6pmish), they could do some simple pasta dishes for the little ones, there was some conferring before it was agreed that yes they could- great, ordered drinks and settled down to wait, and wait and f888ing wait.......for over an hour, we watched for the first half an hour after we placed the order while the 2 chefs stood outside chatting to friends, after 45mins we were told the delay was due to a problem with the pasta cooker!??(pot of boiling water too tricky maybe?) kids went nuts, nice evening spoilt. Plate of cold meat took 45 mins from ordering, 4 bowls of pasta and tomato sauce 1hour. There was not another table ordering food. The front of house were nice, the terrace is nice enough but kitchen staff arrogant and rude. If you dont want kids in your place, just say..... there are plenty of other places round there that are happy to take the cash parents will spend if the kids are happy.

really great food, perfect atmosphere, service was friendly without being oppressive. we hate the chairs. i think the owner knows everyone hates the chairs. once they have new chairs, this would be a weekly hang out for me.

I have to say I agree with the Timeout review after having lunch here yesterday. As a bar it's quite nice, but I wouldn't bother with the food. Pasta dishes were overcooked and had hardly any sauce. My dish (sausages with polenta) was probably the best thing of the whole table, but it didn't exactly rock my world. The bread was very nice and the sandwiches did look good, but you can get a good sandwich in lots of places. Service was bad - the staff seemed to drift around the place in a daze, making it very hard to attract their attention. They brought the wrong wine after confirming very emphatically which one we wanted. I don't really know what people see in this place - maybe we were just unlucky, but I like to eat well so I won't be going back to eat.

I really don't understand this review! The food at Ombra is simple, delicious, original and honest. The service is great! The wooden stools are a bit uncomfortable but you can always swap them with normal chairs.

Very authentic italian good quality Italian food and a really nice, friendly atmosphere., Again, I dont think the Timeout review really got what this place was about.

I don't actually know what you had but we never spent 60£ for a meal for two. It is affordable, easy-going and friendly. Food is fresh, simple and sometimes amazing, sometimes just honest. It is not a standardised quality. Being a regular I can tell it is similar to home-cooking... the quality depends on many factors, especially the staff's mood. I wish there were more places like this in London: unpretentious!

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