Zeffirellis (Ambleside)

Zeffirellis is one of the largest vegetarian restaurants I've been to and it's pretty much always packed, so they must be doing something right. They've opened another vegetarian restaurant in Ambleside since I was there last it seems, though vegan choice there appears to suck.

Prices are reasonable (very good value if you go for a meal+cinema deal) and food quality generally quite good. I'm not convinced that they've majorly changed their menu since I first visited in '06 though, which could get a bit boring.

The decor is pretty garish - they've obviously spent quite a lot of money on it but for me it's only just on the right side of tasteful. Furniture is of good quality as is their cutlery (Robert Welch), but a design that feels like children's meets steakhouse (very bizarre).

Service is alright and food is mostly Italian (style). None of their pizzas are marked vegan on the menu, but all can be made vegan if you ask them to remove the cheese.

The photos in this review kind of suck - my new 3D camera takes lowsy 2D pictures at the best of times, let alone in low light.

We ordered a couple of starters, one of which was great, the other not so. A mixture of sweet and standard potato wedges with salad and tomato sauce:

was pretty good. Not the best wedges of all time, but above average. Tomato sauce was a bit boring and tasted like it was from a jar (they've a choice of other things but most are non-vegan). The salad was well dressed.

Never have I had focaccia that's tasted so like Tesco value white sliced bread. Both of us agreed that it was terribly underwhelming. Olives were alright.

I had a puy lentil rissole thing, because I remember it being really good in the past:

This time round though it was less so. It was too dry and the dish just really lacked something.

I didn't think their pizza was up to scratch compared to previous visits either, but Cherry loved it and I didn't get to eat much of it!

We shared a dessert of summer pudding and hummous:

Only kidding - it's "cashew cream". It tasted OK and it's nice that they've made an effort to have a vegan cream, but it could have done with being smoother as it was very hummous like in consistency. The summer pudding itself was very good indeed - one of the best I've had.

The bill came to £33 exc drinks. Slightly higher than average, but not painfully so.

It's a shame that they've only one vegan dessert (exc sorbet - groan) and the menu doesn't change much, but if you're in the area it's well worth a visit. If it's raining outside then the cinema deal is totally worth taking advantage of. As the weather was stunningly gorgeous during our visit however it'd have been a crime to have been sitting in the dark watching a film.


  1. Very honest review. We had pretty much the same experience when we went there not too long ago. Except for their Vesuvian red bean Chilli, I found most of the other dishes we'd ordered quite lacklustre. Maybe it was a one-off as they were incredibly busy that evening!

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