All Reviews by Saddler
222 North End Road, West Kensington, West London, England
An old friend: comfortable but needs a change
11 Apr 2016
I have been to 222 so many times, I was surprised to find that I had never written a review - so here goes! What I really like is the atmosphere; it is in a cosmopolitan part of London, by no means salubrious and, to be frank, not the sort of place you would expect to find a vegan restaurant. Despite that, it seems to do very well, with a genuinely varied clientele: locals, students, tourists who have made the trek (probably having found it on Happy Cow)and people like us who like the idea of everything being vegan. The owner, Ben, is often there and always friendly. The food is OK without being special, though ironically, my favourite dish is Ben's Special, a type of stir-fry. In fact, when I first went there, more than 10 years ago, I would have said the food was on the good side of OK but the menu has barely changed since. I have no idea why this is - I know people have favourites but there is nothing wrong with feeding in a few new ideas every now and then. As a result, I do not really look forward to another visit with much excitement, though I do usually enjoy myself.
The service can be variable. I guess the staff are mostly casual and there is certainly a high turnover, which leads to an equally high variability in the standard of service. For example, when we were last there at Christmas, they brought me the wrong order - no misunderstanding, just a mistake.
In summary then, if you have never been, do go, perhaps for the buffet which I have heard is excellent value (though I doubt that menu changes either). The food is fine, without being outstanding. And, Ben, if you are reading this, think about some new dishes.
44 Cloth Fair, London, England
27 May 2012
Amico Bio does seem to be a paradox when one reads the reviews. This was our (my vegan wife and I) second visit and we have been disappointed both times. The first time was a couple of years ago so, since we were visiting the Barbican, we thought that we would try it again, particularly in light of the recent good reviews.
The first thing to say is that it is a very attractive restaurant with a real Italian feel and in one of those lovely historical London back streets, ironically close to Smithfield meat market. I think what the owners are trying to do is to create a vegetarian version of Italian food, so I guess to have the real experience, one should go through the whole menu with starter, pasta, main and dessert, accompanied by suitable wines.
We both started with deep fried cauliflower. It was very greasy, probably because the oil was not at the right temperature. The accompanying salad was too salty, which I suppose is authentically Italian but not to our taste. The main courses: I had something called Seitan kebab, which was like a bready spring roll full of plain vegetables. My wife had aubergines but they were again greasy. Neither dish showed any sort of imagination. For dessert, we had home-made vegan ice-cream, which was fine; in fact, the chocolate was very good indeed. To accompany all this, we had a bottle of house white wine, which was perfectly acceptable on a hot summer evening.
So, I just do not know what to make of those reviews that say it is the best vegetarian restaurant they have been to - there is a better one (Carnevale) just a few minutes walk away. But, it does seem reasonably popular and it does have a great atmosphere. But the other part of the paradox is that many reviews say it is expensive: we had 3 course each plus wine and the bill was under fifty pounds, which is inexpensive by London standards. Perhaps there are really two places, one expensive and attractive and the other cheap and not so pleasant. I should go to the former if I were you!
Luis de Vargas 4, Seville, Sevilla, Spain
Friendly but uninspiring
21 Feb 2010
We visited the restaurant on a wet Monday night in February so it was perhaps not totally surprising we were the only people there. The staff could not speak English but there was an English menu and they were certainly very friendly. The menu has plenty of choice for vegans, and the starters were OK and the desserts were good, although the former were a little greasy. The main courses were certainly substantial but rather plain and uninspiring. Also, we tried the organic house red wine, which was served too cold and did not seem of high quality. I suspect that the beer would have been a better choice as might a lunchtime rather than an evening visit. It is worth saying, also, that the restaurant has a pleasant ambience. In summary, although I would not go out of the way to eat there, if you are in Seville, it is certainly worth trying.
16 Lancaster Quay, Western Road, Cork, Ireland
11 Jul 2007
Cafe Paradiso is an extraordinary vegetarian restaurant for two reasons. The first is that it is, bar none, the best restaurant of any type in Cork. If you look at the list of places to eat at the tourist office, it is top of the list. The second reason is that they seem almost unaware of what vegan food is. Most of their meals are not suitable for vegans, even where it would be trivially easy to make them so and there is a super-abundance of cheese based recipes. In a place like Cork, one should be glad there is vegetarian food of this quality prepared with such care, but why cannot they try just a bit harder with the vegan side?
135 Whitecross Street, London, UK, London, England
02 Jul 2007
Although I live near London, I had never been to Carnevale. It is easy to miss; from the outside it looks like a shop and it is close to the city, an area that tends to be deserted at weekends. My wife, who is vegan, went on a wet Saturday night in June and it was half full. The people are friendly, there is plenty for vegans, including desserts (note the "s") and the food is beautifully prepared and presented. This is probably as good a place as there is for food in London. The only drawback is its size.
Via della Vite 14, 4th floor, Rome, Italy
28 Feb 2007
The restaurant claims to be a "Naturist Restaurant" but, fortunately, we were able to keep our clothes on!
We visited Rome in February and this restaurant on a Monday night: perhaps unsurprisingly, it was very quiet, with only one other couple the whole evening. The staff were friendly and, although the waitress spoke little English, she was happy to fetch the cook who seemed more fluent. They were helpful on identifying vegan dishes, although there were not so many and we thought that the food was pleasant enough but rather straightforward. It looked as if it would be better for lunch rather than dinner.
Paseo Infanta Isabel 21, Madrid, Spain
29 Feb 2008
For those who do not like to eat very late, Madrid is an awkward city and this place is no exception. But having had an (early) meal at a dreadful pizza place the night before, we thought we would go to a proper restaurant. Looking at the earlier reviews, we had no trouble getting in and, on a Thursday in February, it was about half full. It is fine as a place and the owner was friendly and spoke adequate English. But I find it hard to square the glowing descriptions of the food quality in some of the reviews. One thing to say is that they barely undertood what being vegan meant, let alone cater for such people. Only one dish, the slices of seitan, was vegan but no desserts and, amazingly, none of the salads. So, with no vegetables served with the main courses either, it was a flat meal for my vegan wife. The food was eatable and tasty but hardly gourmet and not well presented. After this, we stayed in and cooked for ourselves the next two nights. By the way, many of the supermarkets have large health food secitons with a wide range of vegetarian and vegan products.
Ilica 72/1, Zagreb, Croatia
21 Jan 2012
My wife and I visited Nova on a Thursday night in January. To be honest, we were not expecting too much, despite the good reviews. But the meal turned out to be quite exceptional, amongst the best vegetarian (vegan, in fact)food we have ever tasted in any restuarant anywhere in Europe. The portions were generous without being overlarge and the taste was outstanding. A few people have commented that the prices are a little high - we did not find this, certainly not compared with London prices. For two, three-course meals, including three glasses of wine, we paid about 60 euros. For food of this quality, no one can call this expensive. And we ate a la carte - the set meals are even less expensive. If there was a downside, it was that there were so few people taking advantage of what was on offer. Please don't let this place close - it has been open for 20 years and should be around for at least another 20. A few other features are the menu in English as well as Croation and the wonderful selection of vegan desserts. If you are in the vicinity, don't miss out!
The Barkers Building, 63/97 High Street, Kensington, West London, England
01 Jul 2013
There is a great deal good to be said about SAF. The ingredients are well selected, properly prepared and presented in an attractive manner. The menu is modest in length (a virtue in my book)but has enough genuine choice to please most people. The staff were friendly and attentive and the service prompt. It is not tha cheapest place but by no means the most expensive, not in London terms. The reservation one might have is that it is alongside a large food hall on the upper floor of a largee food market. However: (a) it is possible to sit, as we did in a section that makes that less apparent and (b) the food hall, though not vegetarian, is a cornucopia of food delights and is a treat to walk around itself. With that reservation, this is a splendid place and thoroughly recommended.
21 rue Duret, Paris, France
Best in Paris
28 Oct 2010
The Gentle Gourmet is by far the best place to eat in Paris for both vegetarians and vegans; the latter are well served since all the food is vegan. It is essential, of course, to book in advance. It is also essential to realise that this is not a restaurant; in effect, one goes on a dinner party blind date, where both the food and the comapany are unknown beforehand. In our case, both were excellent and, in fact, the element of surprise about the food was a definite plus. It is possible to say in adavance if there are things you do not like or are allergic to.
In our case, the owners joined us for drinks but not for dinner. But they were lovely to talk to; they have just established a French Vegan Society and were in the process of organising a Vegan Fair.
In summary, provided you are happy to dine with other people, this is an absolutely wonderful experience. Do not miss it!
40-41 Dean Street, London, England
Good food, well presented
28 Feb 2011
I visited Zilli Green for the first time last week, a Wednesday in February, with my wife who is vegan. I had been intrigued by the mixed nature of the reviews, ranging from excellent to mediocre. Our experience was very good indeed, with really tasty food served in an attractive manner and with plenty of choice for vegans even amongst the desserts. My wife is still praising the tagliatelle with truffles after almost a week. My choice of burger was less adventurous as a main course and was fine, although I wish I had been more adventurous. Even on a midweek day in winter, the place was pretty crowded even before 7pm, so it is advisable to book. My only quibble was that they put an "optional" tip on the bill and, for us at least, did not point it out. Although it is described as optional, it stays by default, which I thought a little shabby. But, otherwise, highly recommended.
14 rue Venture, Marseille, France
Bright and airy
29 Jul 2007
We approached this place with some trepidation, half expecting it to be closed, given the earlier review, but on a Wednesday lunchtime in July, it was open and doing a good trade. The dining room is bright and airy, decorated in traditional Provencal colours, and the food is presented via a buffet with 5 or 8 euro plates. There was a wide range of food to choose from, some cooked, some cold, and a few desserts. Although the woman at the counter was unsure about what was vegan, she was very friendly and, after she had checked, it turned out almost everything was. It was all very tasty food and the vegan desserts were excellent. Only useful for lunch but recommended.
24 Boulevard de La Bastille, Paris, France
03 Nov 2012
My wife, who is vegan, and I had dinner there on a Saturday evening in November. Trade was brisk but the place was never quite full. Almost all those present were English speaking, which perhaps indicates, as ever in Paris, that most vegetarians are tourists. The cafe is smart and had a pleasant atmosphere. The staff were helpful, very friendly and they spoke English very well, when required. The menu had genuine choice without being too long to make one suspicious and, since we knew they did not serve alcohol, we took our own wine, which actually made the meal much cheaper than if we had had to buy a bottle there. I think our bill 62 euros, which for Paris is not bad for two, three-course meals.
So, there is a lot to be pleased about. On the down side, we did not feel that the food was "gourmet" as many of the other reviewers felt. In our book, burger and chips (french fries) are not gourmet; two of the choices on the menu were versions of that dish. Not that there is much better elsewhere in Paris and the food was by no means bad (the desserts were excellent) but it is just that the experience could be so much better with relatively little extra effort. They have a wonderful place; now let's have some real innovation in the cooking.
Overall then, the Gentle Gourmet is highly recommended if you are in Paris; you will not find anything better. And if the owners are reading - just push the menu a little harder.
Via Margutta 118, Rome, Italy
Style at a price
28 Feb 2007
This is, in many ways, an astonishing place. It is a very stylish restaurant, complete with pianist, pleasant decor, fancy food arrangements and very well-dressed clientele, and which is 100% vegetarian. The portions are quite small but very good indeed, although they bring a pre-starter without telling you that you have to pay extra for it. Unlike some reporters, we found them to be not very helpful with vegans. There is a 4 course vegan menu but little on the main menu is vegan. But, on a Saturday night in February, it was packed and booking is certainly recommended. It was not cheap and, for two people eating 3 courses with wine, don't expect much change from 120 euros.
18 Rue de la Bucherie, Paris, France
08 Jun 2007
This is the 4th time I have been and this year, in June, it had been re-decorated, without losing its ambience. It really is a very nice restauarant and, in my experience, it is just about the best you can get in Paris, which is not as good as in many other cities. The staff are always friendly and can speak English and there is plenty of choice for vegans. In the Happy Cow list, it is described as not being 100% vegetarian but I have never seen anything non-vegetarian on a menu there. If you have only one night in Paris, go to Le Grenier and you can stroll around Notre Dame afterwards and maybe even take a look at the famous Shakespeare and Co bookshop, which is around the corner.
24 rue Rambuteau, Paris, France
08 Jun 2007
My wife, who is vegan, and I visited the restaurant on a Friday night in June. We had booked for 7:30, and they were turning people away by 8pm, so booking is advised. The menu, and the people, are very vegan friendly and there is a good selection of food. The place itself is very narrow, which leads to some furniture rearrantgement whenever anyone wants to come in or get out, but that sort of adds to the charm of the place. We spoke French to the staff who repled in very clear French. I think they could speak English too. The menu had both languages. The food itelf was fine although not inspiring. Despite their reputation for food, The French do not do vegetarian food too well. But it was pleasant enough and, if you are staying in Paris for more than a day, I would certainly go there
45 Lexington St, London, England
One of the best in London
11 Jul 2007
Mildred's may not (quite) offer the best vegetarian food in London but it is one of the best places to eat. As the other reviews say, there is no booking and it can get very busy but, in a way, that's part of the fun and it does mean there is a lively atmosphere and, personally, I like to be in restaurants with people enjoying themselves. The menu is varied though does not change much with time and the food is well presented and tasty. And, as someone else has mentioned, it is a pleasure to find a choice of vegan desserts. Not to be missed if you are in London and vegetarian.
1 bis Rue Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Albi, France
23 Aug 2016
My vegan wife and I had one night in Albi and noting that the two specifically vegetarian restaurants were lunchtime only, we tried the Papillon, remembering to ring through to warn them. The owner/chef and waitress were both helpful and he really went out of his way to offer us an excellent meal. They have a vegetarian menu anyway but, for my wife, he produced a varied and substantial vegan salad, followed by a dish of quinoa, mushrooms etc and a dessert of a poached pear. I also had a salad, with Mozzarella, followed by pasta with a pistol sauce and as good a chocolate mousse as I have had for a while. The presentation of the food was fine if unspectacular but the taste was excellent. The restaurant itself has a pleasant ambience with a few tables outside in a small, quiet road. If you are spending an evening in Albi, you can always have a pizza or a salad but it really is worthwhile making an effort to find this place for something just a little more interesting. And it is not expensive.