RestaurantsLondonBloomsburyWC1

survey result

Summary

£103
£££££
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“For extravagant excellence”, look no further than this “quirky”, “proper old-school French” establishment near Gray’s Inn, where “splendidly off-the-wall” patron, Otto Tepasse, “is at times both chef, sommelier and confidant”. “Old-fashioned silver service, rich dishes (including the signature ‘canard à la presse’), a wine cellar that seems to have no limits, and waiters who prep the sauces in front of you” all make for “great theatre and superb food. It’s slightly bonkers, but brilliant. Maybe wear elasticated trousers!” Top Menu Tip – “the scallops sealed in their shells, with the obligatory caviar, with puff pastry is a dish of the year”.

Summary

£98
 ££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Unique and outstanding!”“don’t be fooled by the unprepossessing exterior” of Otto Tepasse’s very “individual” venture, near Gray’s Inn: “one of London’s better restaurants”. “Inside you find an eclectic, comfortable, old-fashioned interior” (“akin to the ambience of a country antique shop”), where le patron (much in evidence) and his “charming” team deliver “comforting and traditional, beautifully prepared French dishes”, as part of an old-school and “romantic” experience that’s “semi-theatrical in a very good way”. “Their signature dish – ordered in advance – is Duck à la Presse”: “quite a performance and possibly the richest three courses you’ll ever eat” (safest “to be sampled only once in a lifetime!”). Other Top Menu Tips – “exceptional tournedos Rossini and steak tartare”.

Summary

£91
 ££££
4
Very Good
5
Exceptional
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“A wonderful throwback to those halcyon days when you didn’t think of what you were eating and just tucked in with reckless abandon!” – Otto Tepasse’s “quirky” dining room, near Gray’s Inn, offers a masterclass in “unashamedly old-school French gastronomy” (most famously duck or lobster ‘à la presse’). Not only is his personal, eccentric approach welcome in an ever-more homogenous world, but it’s “also a wonderful reminder of what traditional, classic French cuisine is like and why it has led the world for as long as it has as the gold standard in culinary skill”. The famed ‘canard à la presse’ itself is “staggeringly good – a wonderful experience with plenty of theatre”. “A unique experience in London” and “very memorable”, but “not to be repeated often if you care about your waistline or artery linings!”

Summary

£73
  £££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“A joyous celebration of how restaurants used to be and how they should be”; “eccentric Otto” is “a breath of fresh French air”, and his “gift of showmanship”, “traditional service” and “classic Gallic cuisine” – all in a “pleasant and old-fashioned”, if slightly “faded”, dining room in out-of-the-way Bloomsbury – is part of a nowadays “unique” approach that most diners feel is “always a wow”. “Otto’s duck and lobster à la presse is superlative” (he’s recently added pigeon too), “the steak tartare is London’s best” and such culinary throwbacks form part of a “magnificent”, unreformed, old-school menu. Caveats? – some of the food is “devastatingly cream-rich – not all modern eaters could manage it” – and “though it’s all very likeable, watch out as the bill stacks up quickly”. “But it’s one-of-a-kind”.

For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at Otto's?

182 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8EW

Restaurant details

Yes
12, 28
No dress code
50
Yes

Otto's Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of Otto's Restaurant in WC1, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of Otto's restaurant.
michael b
Really weird set up. In a good way. And it ...
Reviewed 2 months, 16 days ago

"Really weird set up. In a good way. And it would all be an expensive waste of time if the food and wine weren't so damn good"

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Kieran C
A pretty extraordinary meal, all presented ...
Reviewed 4 months, 11 days ago

"A pretty extraordinary meal, all presented in a very fun way. Very expensive of course, and for the price, the restaurant could maybe do with some redecoration. Hope to go back though to try some of the other ultra-traditional epicurean, escoffian delights."

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What the Newspaper Critics are saying

The Sunday Times

Giles Coren was invited as a guest “to quite the most extraordinary (and extraordinarily huge) meal currently available in London”.

“It’s a famous and famously crazy restaurant — top of some lists of the best restaurants in Britain, entirely absent from others — presided over by a wonderful crazy man called Otto Albert Tepasse.”

“But, listen, you can’t afford La Grande Bouffe at Otto’s. And nor can I.”

Giles Coren - 2024-02-22

Evening Standard

Jimi’s ES magazine colleagues David Ellis and Joanna Taylor doubled up as David initiated Joanna into the charms of La Grande Bouffe at a French restaurant that is by no means new, but which has suddenly caught the attention of reviewers.

Boasting that this was his 19th visit – some of which he can barely recall through the alcoholic haze – David reports that “astonishingly”, the experience is different every time. “It is a menu of duck and lobsters, every part of them squeezed and crushed into extraordinary dishes, of sweetbreads, of livers, of scallops, of blood sauce, of caviar, of crêpes Suzette… each course more improbable than the last.”

Often described as “mad” – including by the Standard’s headline writers, and the Times’s a few weeks back – David prefers to call Otto’s “spellbinding”. “You come for last meal-on-earth territory. I’m just getting an awful lot of practice in.”

Joanna was quite happy to call it “mad” – “That’s because it is.” But she certainly enjoyed the “sheer, incomparable indulgence” of the squeezed duck and lobster juices, while the “crisp, featherweight potato clouds named pommes soufflé are nothing short of a miracle”.

David Ellis - 2024-04-29

Prices

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Pudding
£23.30 £40.50 £12.50
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £29.00
Filter Coffee £3.95
Extras  
Service 12.50%
182 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8EW
Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
Tuesday6 pm‑10 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm
Thursday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm
Friday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm
Saturday6 pm‑10 pm
SundayCLOSED

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