Locanda Locatelli

Churchill Inter-Continental, 8 Seymour Street
Marylebone, London
Tel: 020 7935 9088 Marble Arch 0.1 miles

© Locanda Locatelli

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Matthew Fort's review of Locanda Locatelli (The Guardian)
Jay Rayner's review of Locanda Locatelli (The Observer)
Giles Coren's review of Locanda Locatelli (The Times)

David Collins

Michelin Star Restaurants in London

Locanda Locatelli reviews

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Went there in January 2010. Will not go back.

I found Giorgio Locatelli's 'Made in Italy' one of the best Italian cookbooks ever written (and it's a pity it's not even translated into Italian). The recipes are great and not overly complex, while the narrative and the memories and family histories give it a feeling of warm folklore of the Italian provinces. Locatelli comes out of the book as a honest guy, truthful to his origins, who puts poetry into his food.

So when I went to Locanda Locatelli I expected to find poetry in the food. Well, no, I didn't.

We started with an ox tongue which was simply too salted, accompanied by unremarkable vegetables, and was sent back to where it came from. The second starter was a rocket and artichoke salad, but the artichokes were not the fresh ones but those conserved in olive oil. Uhm, something wrong here...

For mains we went for a risotto al castelmagno and gnocchi with truffle. The risotto was well done, possibly technically flawless... but also soulless. No poetry in that, not a single verse. The gnocchi were frankly too oily and too cheesy - definitely not Michelin style.

The desserts were plain OK. But you would expect more than that from such a restaurant. The wine list is impressive, but the (approx) 10 times markup on the price of the specific barbera I chose is frankly not justified.

So, Giorgio, I loved you book, I didn't much like your restaurant. The service is probably the best thing about it... but I went there for exceptional food, not for service.

Useful review? 1
 by alessandro.palmero, 14 Jun 2011
Fantastic place - the food is amazing, the best Italian restaurant in London. The sommelier will help you match wine with the food and the staff in general are very attentive and professional. Super busy place, so if you are going for dinner I suggest you book at least 2 weeks ahead. Giorgio Locatelli e' mitico!

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 by ibrusat (8 reviews), 07 Nov 2010
Went to Locanda Locatelli today for lunch for the first time. It was also my first time ever in a Michelin-starred restaurant. For some reason on the way there I had the feeling I would be disappointed and unfortunately I was right. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing to complain about and the food was nice... but that's it, just nice. I was not blown away as you would expect to be in such a 'prestigious' place. I also realized that the high prices were there to pay for all the unnecessary staffing costs (one waiter holding a tray while two others place the plates on the table is a bit over the top).

I live in Leicester and often go to an Italian restaurant called 'Firenze' which serves the same style and quality of food for pretty much half the price - worth trying out. Although I did not have a bad time at Locanda Locatelli, I will not be rushing back.

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 by maxmummolo, 18 May 2009
I thought the food was completely tasteless and extremely over-priced. When they presented the bill, they advised service wasn't included and I can see why as there wasn't any. A complete and utter disappointment and the food equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes.

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 by AManWhoKnows (2 reviews), 26 Jan 2009
Well, my fish was a wee bit overcooked (but still nice), our champagne could have been a little cooler, and it would have been good if they had served the main dish my date requested. That said, the service was faultless and apologetic about the order mix up, the surroundings beautiful, and we had a nice evening there. I still don't quite get the hype though - with the exception of the interiors, you could have been in a really good local resto.

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 by Milla (46 reviews), 14 Oct 2008
Very, very disappointing. Incredible that this restaurant has been awarded one Michelin star. It offers an Italian kitchen revisited for British taste (sorry, but as an Italian I feel obliged to say so), is absolutely not creative (a simple trattoria chef in the outskirts of, say, Verona, has much more imagination), and uses too much spice (garlic everywhere, but that's what foreigners expect from Italian restaurants...).

Service apparently good (good show) but committed several errors (such as forgetting to bring the wine list, serving from the wrong side, etc) which are not tolerable in an establishment with such high ambitions.

Conclusion: probably a good choice if you have money to throw away and like Anglicised, average Italian food - as many of the VIPs that allegedly like this restaurant.

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 by gvissani, 04 Oct 2008
Yesterday our boss treated four of us to lunch at Locanda Locatelli. I was the one who chose the place, but frankly was very disappointed. The food was poorly presented, tasteless and well overpriced, the service was polite but not friendly... I now know why all the celebrities keep going there - with the quality of their food, it's quite easy to be a size 0!

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 by luzjacobs, 13 Sep 2008
Superb!! I can't believe the negative reviews! Three of us went there last night and it was the best meal we have eaten in years. The service was friendly and impeccable - no over zealous waiters topping up your wine after each mouthful. Celine Dion was at the table next to us, but we were treated the same as her. To start we had asparagus, carpaccio and squid - all delicious. We all tried different pasta dishes for entrees: ragu, sardine and prawn - each was cooked to perfection. The desserts were to die for and even the coffee with accompanying amaretti biscuits was superb. There is a wonderful ambiance in the restaurant and we loved it. We will be returning as often as possible.

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 by nicolabenson, 10 May 2008
How disappointing. The food ranged from average to bad, the service was cold and unfriendly (although efficient).
The highlight of the meal was a fresh mozzarella ball with tomato salad - the cheese itself was fantastic, but involved no genius from the chef. Our langoustine spaghetti was so 'blah'. One of the mains, a lasagne with cod, was downright disgusting. The veal was OK (only just), the lamb excellent.

Expensive, with service designed to make you feel like nobody. The highlight was the celebrity spotting: Camilla Parker-Bowles with her sons, Boris Becker and, of course, Giorgio himself.

Useful review?
 by foodie77 (2 reviews), 29 Apr 2008
Food was tasty but would agree with comments that it was overpriced for what it was. Value for money has to include the service when being considered. I would also agree that the service was not as I expected. For those who have vindicated the service in the reviews below I would just like to point out that they all state that they are regular diners at Locanda Locatelli. I think being a regular diner ANYWHERE you would receive (and expect to) exceptional service. I think the comments on service not being as expected have been posted by individuals visiting for their first time - and now consequently have no reason to return.

From my experience I saw the warm welcome and quick service regulars received. Regulars were greeted as old friends, seated and served immediately. For the first time diner the service was less refined and quite stop-start due to there being so many different people responsible for our table (a wine waiter, food waiter, water waiter, bread waiter), and the hand-over between them was not seamless (as, for example, it is at Claridges). Our wine arrived before our water, our bread arrived with our starter.

Overall, no matter how delicious the food is, the service and ambience are equally important reasons to return or, in this case, not. To be kind, it was a busy Friday night and everyone has an 'off' night, or perhaps there may have been new staff. To be more blunt, regulars on the same night visibly did not receive this treatment. Maybe there are sufficient regulars that there is no need to convince new diners to return?

Lastly, as beautiful as the decor is, the space is cramped. The tables around the edge of the room (as in the picture on this site) are very close together and need to be moved for people to be seated and causes tense moments as you hold on to your wine glass as the regular sat next to you squeezes their well-fed bottom out to hug the maitre'd for a second time!

If you do wish to go to try the lovely food, here are a few tips:

1. Hug the maitre'd effusively and pretend to be a regular, even if you are not (takes a bit of nerve but should provide results!).

2. When booking, request a table in the main floor and not placed around the edge of the room. Tables in the centre have enough space to allow diners to leave the table and use the facilities if required!

3. If seated in a table around the edge, make friends with the couple next to you (you will hear all their conversations anyway, and that way you can join in!).

For exceptional service for first time diners, private romantic conversations and room between tables, go somewhere else.

Useful review?
 by abcd1234, 16 Jan 2008
Five of us were there for lunch recently. Food was good, service not so good. We were waiting for 10-15 minutes for the waiter just to clean the table and change the plates.

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 by Edward Antonyan, 13 Sep 2007
I went yesterday to dine for the first time. Amazing food, superb quality. The service was great, in a friendly atmosphere. The waiter had an excellent menu knowledge that had my friends and I eagerly anticipating the food with mouths watering. This is what I call food heaven! Keep going like this, Giorgio. BRAVO!

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 by zacapioca67, 30 Jul 2007
The food is excellent and the staff very professional. One of my favourite restaurants in London.

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 by rea (19 reviews), 29 Jul 2007
Wonderful, as always. Service and food still great on my recent visit last week. This has always been the case on each of my regular visits, so I cannot understand the negative reviews on this site.

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 by FRAMMY (3 reviews), 11 Jul 2007
Really good - but not as amazing as everyone claims. It's good for celebrity spotting but you get better Italian at the River Cafe.

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 by missfine (24 reviews), 19 Jun 2007
Wow! It's interesting to see the same negative comments made by the same people on other websites! Diego? What ya so angry about??? A disgruntled ex-employee prehaps? Or maybe a jealous business rival? This is the only way I can comprehend these comments. I eat here on a regular basis and every time is better then the last. The food is simple, clean and exactly what you would get in Italy. Bravo Locatelli!

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 by bella64, 15 Jun 2007
I have eaten at Locanda Locatelli on three occasions and each experience has been a real pleasure. Both Giorgio and Plaxy are very welcoming. On my mother's birthday Giorgio came out of the kitchen to welcome us and prepared an absolutely delicious lunch, which was second to none! It was a really special day, and one which none of us will forget. I thoroughly recommend them.

Useful review? 1
 by Blueeze (2 reviews), 07 Jun 2007
The most lovely Italian waiters. Gorgeous food and fantastic wine list. Roast goat as a special was superb. Child friendly and celeb full! I will be a regular.

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 by Anonymous, 31 Mar 2007
I have been to Locanda Locatelli many times and am surprised with the reviews on this website. It is the only London restaurant that offers a wonderful and extensive wine list where the house wine starts at £12. The staff have always been friendly and courteous and the food is just magnificent. What people forget is that this is northern Italian traditional food, with carefully chosen ingredients, not fancy, poncy French cuisine. I suggest that the reviewers go to places like The Ivy or Nobu and then write about overpriced average food, served by snotty robots!

Useful review? 1
 by osa, 30 Mar 2007
I love Locanda Locatelli. It's been a regular and favourite of mine for the last six years. The gnocci with truffle is 'to die for' as is the rabbit in parma ham with polenta. Even the most simple of salads is heavenly. Exquisite food in exquisite surroundings, with brilliant service (Roberto is a diamond). Unlike many restaurants of celebrity chefs, LL actually lives up to all the hype, never fails to deliver and leaves you planning your next visit. You won't be disappointed! Save some room for the handmade chocolates that arrive with the coffee - they're the best in the world!

Useful review? 1
 by Moo Moo (23 reviews), 30 Mar 2007

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