Restaurant Reading Berkshire

L’Ortolan Reviews

The restaurant has proudly held its Michelin star since 2003

Surrounded by beautiful grounds in the elegant setting of a former vicarage, L’Ortolan is secluded yet easily accessible, being only five minutes from Junction 11 of the M4.

Food and Drink Guide

Fabulous Experience

It was a lovely experience as always but having visited a number of times before we felt that portion sizes of food, petite fours, and the glasses of wine in the wine flight were all smaller. The restaurant was not full and everyone was placed in the same area rather than being a little spread out.

Andrew M. The Fork

Continues to impress

Had an excellent luncheon at L’ortolan. The food was delicious, and the wine pairing made the lunch special. Many thanks to the chef and the very attentive service from all members of the team.

Robert J. The Fork

Modern French with a twist

Beautiful food, in taste and presentation, by staff who were enthusiastic about their role and rightly proud of what they were bringing to their customers. Lovely setting particularly the bar area which was decorated in an inviting fashion, and comfortable. The dining area could use some of this ambience, perhaps a touch of dark dramatic decoration would work well to bring the 2 rooms together.

Terri L. The Fork

Amazing Evening

Consistently great food , excellent service in a lovely setting.

Jackie M, Squaremeal


What a wonderful evening. The warm greeting sets the evening in motion. We both had the gourmand option with their fine wine selection. Each of the courses were exquisite. And served with style and an accompanying wine to complement the experience. Sylvan and James mainly looked after us and deserve a special mention. So too the sommelier. I need to save some pennies to repeat the experience but a return visit is guaranteed.


High-level Performer

A “consistent, high-level performer” – this Grade-II listed Victorian rectory near Reading became a restaurant in 1978 (as the ‘Milton Sandford’) and has held a Michelin star for much of the intervening time… until February 2022 that is. Despite the Tyre Men getting cold feet on the place, the feedback in our annual diners’ poll has remained constant, if not perhaps being as plentiful as it was. “New young chef James Greatorex is innovative, offering very tasty dishes, using seasonal ingredients and a particularly good-value lunch menu”. For some tastes though “the dining room could do with a makeover… it’s starting to show its age a bit”.


Extraordinary & Memorable

Lovely venue. Good was delicious and the cocktails were good too. We had the tasting menu with the classic wine pairing. Was amazing and left absolutely stuffed. All in the meal was around 3 hours but we had a drink in the lounge before our mealWe didn’t feel rushed at any point and the service was very attentive.Our night was just over £400 when you add in service. Not a regular trip based on this but well worth the visit for s special occasion

David, Restaurant Guru

Excellent Experience

Without going into details it was a excellent experience, with guidance on each course. The downside was that it required at lot of attention, mainly my wife, in managing the cooking of a course. But it was a great experience, a quality food, portions were a lot bigger, almost better than in-house. It was a good relief given the lockdown environment.

Clive C, Restaurant Guru

Pure magic!

We visited on a Friday lunchtime and had the Menu Gourmand. The menu was incredibly creative, full of wonderful fresh ingredients, each one a taste sensation in our mouths. We kicked off with a tempura oyster, and each course after continued to amaze us. We can single out the Scottish langoustine and 40 day aged Yorkshire beef as particularly splendid. The Clementine dessert was out of this world. You have to try it, no words can describe the courses adequately. The wine flight to complement the food was superb, delivered by a sommelier who knows his stuff. I tried ice cider with the cheese course that I’d never heard of before, and it was amazing. Everyone who we interacted with were ambassadors for the restaurant and the customer experience was superb. We’ve eaten in some high end restaurants and today’s experience including the booking experience and keeping in touch has contributed to an outstanding visit. Thank you, we’ll see you again!

Trip Advisor Member, Trip Advisor

Our return to Fine Dining

This visit was our first return to L’Ortolan since lockdown. I’m pleased to say that it has not lost any of the elements that we know and enjoy on our visits to this exceptional resturant.

The food is beautifully presented and tastes as good as you would expect from a resturant of this standard.

The attention to detail show by the staff was faultless.

F2973ZYthomasg Trip Advisor

Outstanding Service

We had lunch here to celebrate my wife’s birthday. Everything from the setting, drinks, food and of course the service, was fabulous. Lucian was great and we really liked the information he shared around the wines we selected (with his expert advice). A special mention for Susanne, whose service was outstanding.

Simon Dumbleton, Restaurant Guru

Was fabulous

Absolutely amazing, so lucky to have a place like this on our doorstep. The food was divine, the service was first class. We had the 7 course Gourmand menu, it was fabulous – if you have anything to celebrate (or just fancy treating yourselves) I would recommend l’ortolan. We will be back soon!

Victoria Smith, Restaurant Guru

Just wow

Just wow! An overall fantastic experience from start to finish. From the first little appetiser you will be blown away with a huge flavour sensation that will only get better and better as your meal goes on. Opening you up to flavour combinations you would never imagine working together but in reality it’s delicious. Also all the staff were fantastic and extremely attentive, could not fault them. Can’t wait for my next visit!

Alexandra Burke, Restaurant Guru

Evening was Superb

The meal last evening was superb. Probably the best meal I have tasted in some time. Outstanding. Staff as usually were wonderful. Great wine and drink advice.Service was perfect. I think they excelled themselves.

Michele Urry, Restaurant Guru

Special Experience

Wow. Really special experience here. Phenomenal food and wonderful service. Well worth the journey. Very excited to return in hopefully the not too distant future.

Samuel Harman, Restaurant Guru

Interesting and Delicious

Had a great night here with friends. Service was warm, unpretentious, and extremely professional. Chef’s menu + wine pairings were interesting and delicious!

Jenna Whitnall, Restaurant Guru

Fantastic Fine Dining

A fantastic fine dining experience. There was an extensive range of high quality and delicious food. An excellent venue for special occasions.

Matthew Harwood, Restaurant Guru

Incredible Experience

We went to L’Ortolan after being given a voucher. We will definitely be back! We were at the Chefs table and it was a joy to meet the members of the kitchen team and see them at work. The food is incredible and the service was faultless through all 7 courses. One of us had the wine pairing which was really interesting as we learned lots about some less well known wines. The steak was out of this world and the sweetbreads were wonderful. Soufflé was outstanding too. Would thoroughly recommend.

Jo Martin, Restaurant Guru

First time!

First time we have been here, such a lovely experience in food loved every minute of it. The service was fantastic great characters who are very friendly and know their menu. The foie gras isn’t to our taste but the restaurant manager changed it to a vegetarian dish which was very very nice. Overall a great evening great food and drinks we loved it thank you

Crawford King, Restaurant Guru

Meal to remember

We had a 7 course taster menu and it was a taste experience that was delicious. My wife and I couldn’t celebrate our Golden wedding anniversary due to the covid lockdown. So with our son and daughter in law we celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary at L’Ortolan. Thank you L’Ortolan it was a meal to remember.

Eric Robson, Restaurant Guru

Great food

Certainly worthy of Michelin Stars, great food from a really young chef still on his twenties. The future looks good. The foie gras which arrived as a whole liver followed by Guinea Fowl and pear soufflé, delicious, nicely served with wine from an extensive list.

Colin Middlemiss, Restaurant Guru

First class.

Had a fantastic evening at L’Ortolan the ambience, service food and wine were all excellent, if you have plans for a celebration or just a good night out give them a call!!

Paul R Trip Advisor

Genuine, attentive, world class service with unique food and wine pairings

Two people birthday dinner. The service was fantastic. Attentive but not annoying and all genuine and heartfelt. The sommelier was a pleasure to observe and it was just the right balance of creativity with the dishes and wine pairings. I think it’s excellent value for this quality of food, wine, service and atmosphere in a beautiful brick building and lovely garden entrance. We really enjoyed the experience and will recommend this to all our friends. Thank you to the team who clearly take pride in the experience you create. We think you are world class

Trip Advisor Member, Trip Advisor

Enjoyable lunch

Food was excellent and the service from the attentive waiting staff couldn’t be faulted. For my wife’s birthday lunch we opted for the five course tasting menu, very reasonably priced considering the standard of the cuisine. Bottle of Moldovan white wine was fairly expensive but it turned out to be a good choice. All round highly recommended.

Globetrotter Reading Trip Advisor

Family Dinner

I have not been here since Alan Murchison was here, so maybe 2012/2013. We visited on Saturday 25th February. The food was excellent, we had the menu gourmand, blown away by the pumpkin and the monk fish courses. The wine list catered for all, albeit it is a Michelin star restaurant, so no “cheap wines” as one would expect. The staff were excellent, the French chap from Brittany was an excellent front of house, warm, charismatic and engaging, delightful chap. The only slight downside was that I felt the conservatory area was shabby and dated and the gents toilet was also the same, very tired with a dented waste bin……not really in keeping with a Michelin star restaurant. Other than that the venue, food and ambiance is highly recommendable.

Dwilts Trip Advisor

A memorable meal at the chef’s table

For my husband’s birthday I was looking for a special meal out – one that would be truly memorable We found this at the Chef’s table at L’Ortolan.

Initially, sitting directly opposite pass, can feel a little daunting but with the friendly welcome from Chef James and his team coupled with a glass of fine wine or two, we soon settled in for what proved a glorious 10 course tasting menu. We opted for each course to be a surprise which meant learning about it from the chef’s description of the provenance and cooking approach, bringing each course to life (figuratively, not literally!) The food itself was of an incredibly high standard, made even more special by seeing the intricacy in how it is presented on the plate (yes, the use of tweezers!)

The wine list was large and tempting and the service from all those we spoke to was the right balance between professional yet friendly.

Thank you to the whole team for an incredible evening.

sarahwN6098BB Trip Advisor

My number one favourite

Love this place it is my number one favourite. Been here a couple of times and also enjoyed the Chefs Table Experience. Staff are amazing and informative about the dishes and wines.

Holly Lyndon, Restaurant Guru

Lovely lunch

Lovely lunch with wife. Well looked after and delicious food! Will definitely make time to go again!

vithuran rahunathan, Restaurant Guru

Absolutely Stunning

L’Ortolan was absolutely stunning, the monkfish and the Quail where my two favourite dishes. The staff where lovely and very welcoming.

Sam Batting, Restaurant Guru

Great meal at L’Ortolan

My wife and I had a great meal at L’Ortolan last night. We had the tasting menu (with wine flight). All the dishes were interesting and very enjoyable; the cheese board rounded the meal off perfectly! Service was very good and we got good introductions to all the plates and wines. An amazing place for a special occasion.

James McQuaid, Restaurant Guru

Just Excellent

Excellent food. Even the vegan version was very tasty. Loved it. The staff were very helpful too.

Rumana Merali, Restaurant Guru

Family Celebration

Visited here with the family to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I mean what’s not to like when you’re having an 8 course tasting menu. Absolutely delcious… every course a triumph… looking good enough to eat, but a work of art too. We were treated very well, service was excellent, setting great too… drinks a bit pricey, but this is expected. Not a bad word to say. Scrumdiddlyumptious!!! They also charged the Tesla whilst we spent the best part of two and a half hours dining. Thoroughly recommended for a real treat of a meal.

tom allen, Restaurant Guru

Wonderful Evening

We had a wonderful evening at L’Ortolan.We experienced the tasting menu with classic wine pairings. The food was excellent and was paired beautifully with the wines. A highlight was the ice cider pairing with the foie gras, such an amazing flavour.The service was exceptional, they were so attentive but not over bearing. Alex in particular was warm, funny and made the night even better.Thank you very much, we will definitely be back.

Cat Mitton, Restaurant Guru

Wonderful Time

Haven’t been very often but absolutely transcendental experience every time. Special shout-out today to Alastair and James and to the head sommelier (whose name I embarrassingly did not remember but I did very much enjoy hearing about his overweight cat). Wonderful building, wonderful food, wonderful wine, wonderful staff.

Vic L, Restaurant Guru

Our favourite restaurant. Visited today with family, Food was sublime, service attentive, fun and funny. A memorable day. Thank you!!!

Brendon Walsh, Restaurant Guru

Great food, great wine, really fun night

We took some good friends of ours to enjoy the amazing food at L’Ortolan during a rare visit, and we all absolutely loved it! The food was all fantastic (we were all arguing and disagreeing as to our favourite courses) and Lucien was his usual charming self delivering many great wines, and no question was too small when we wanted to know more. We had a fantastic evening, and I already can’t wait to return.

cerisq Trip Advisor

Excellent Lunch

Excellent food and very good service, including excellent drink and cheese recommendations – thank you!

Richard H Trip Advisor

Excellent personalised service and amazing food

We chose to eat from the menu gourmand and were amazed by the food throughout.

Lucian in particular was fantastic – he was patient and helpful when speaking with my mum, who was unsure what wine she would like to drink. He made her feel incredibly special on her birthday.

The service was impeccable from the moment we arrived. Professional but remaining friendly.

Highly recommended. We’ll certainly be back (again!)

AshMould25 Trip Advisor

Chef’s table

What a fantastic experience.
Could not be faulted from start to finish.
The food and wine were amazing.
The attention from James and all his staff on a busy night was second to none.
Would recommend to anyone.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Teddyteeth Trip Advisor

Great afternoon lunch with wine

Excellent service. food was really good and creative. Fine Wine pairing was one of the best we’ve experienced. We’ll be back.

141carolineh Trip Advisor

Wonderful Lunch

Visited L’Ortolan for a birthday lunch with friends. We have been before & it certainly . did not disappoint. The food is very good, every course an experience. The staff are so nice, nothing is to much trouble.

C5499ZWlindaa Trip Advisor

On point

We hadn’t been to L’Ortolan for a little while, however an approaching birthday and a gift voucher prompted us to revisit this January. We were not disappointed. The service was excellent, attentive but not intrusive. The food was a total delight, completely delicious and so tasty. The sommelier was fantastic , and he got the wine pairings spot on for our dishes. An experience to be repeated sooner rather than later.

racy975 Trip Advisor

Another fabulous experience!

The welcome was warm and the pre lunch gins with petit fours were delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed the 5 course tasting menu; each course was described precisely and did not disapoint. The sommelier assisted with the wine choice, giving a synopsis of each wine. I definitely recommend this unique restaurant, especially for a special occasion.

ColetteW654 Trip Advisor

Beautifully curated garden

Set in a beautifully curated garden, from the moment of arrival, L’Ortolan delivers on the expectation for something special. The menu itself is well priced for the value you’re getting, is varied with classic land and sea combinations, seafood vegetarian and meat courses, and each one combines flavours so wonderfully that every course made me pause and think in amazement. They are also presented in creative and surprising ways, namely the caviar white chocolate which is definitely worth the supplement.Service is impeccable, the staff is knowledgeable and helpful and always around if needed.I don’t understand how they only have one Michelin star, since I’ve been to two start places that would not match up with L’Ortolan.

Rick Baum, Restaurant Guru


Wednesday to Saturday
First arrival 12 midday to last sitting 1pm

Tuesday to Saturday
First arrival 6.30pm to last sitting 8pm

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