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Lisa's is a relatively new restaurant on Portobello Road in Notting Hill, not far from the centre of the market famous for antiques and vintage clothing. The restaurant is run by Lisa Wallén, a Swede with a background in marketing, restaurants and events management. It is open Tuesdays to Saturdays until midnight and until 5 pm on Sundays.
Lisa's is popular with expat Swedes and some locals. It is usually busy on a Friday night when they have live music, often with a jazz influence, and on Saturdays when they sometimes have a barbecue or a special event. Midweek it can be very quite and so, for example, when we visited on a Thursday night we were their only customers.
In good weather many people choose to eat outside as the restaurant spills on to the pavement. In the main inside area they have some high level tables against the walls with wooden stools. At the back of the restaurant there is a conservatory/atrium, which can be pleasant when candle lit in the winter, but it can get hot and stuffy in the summer. Most of the furniture has come from the Portobello Road Market and has been hand-painted.
They have a small well-stocked bar and their cocktails are popular. It has more the air of a tapas bar than a restaurant.
Lisa's tends to polarise opinions. For some Lisa chasing her dog, Rocky, round the restaurant makes the place fun, friendly and homely. For others, the restaurant isn't quite clean enough and the owner chasing the dog around the restaurant is simply unprofessional. Like the Market's vintage clothing, it isn't for everyone.
We have enjoyed some good Swedish food at Lisa's, but the bill can mount up quickly. Starters are £8.50 or £9 and even meatballs are £15, compared with just £9 at The Salt Bar in Macclesfield or £12.50 over at the Stockholm Deli on the other side of London. Amazingly, there are no mid-week deals to tempt customers, so it is not surprising that it is often quiet on a week night.
Ignoring the price factor, the quality of the food is generally very good. Their skagen with marinated red onion is excellent and their cod with brown butter and grated horseradish is as good as we have had anywhere. Their fish gratin (£16) is loaded with cod and salmon and is nicely finished off with a white wine and lobster sauce.
A so called discretionary service charge of 12.5% is added to bills, which seems steep as it is not exactly fine dining. Service can be slow and although the staff are friendly some lack adequate training knowing very little about their menu, so they are able to do little more than carry food to the table. For 12.5% I expect more.
Recommended for lunch/brunch if you are nearby or for a light bite and drinks on a Friday or a Saturday night, otherwise too expensive.
Address: 305 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W10 5TD
Nearest tube station: Ladbroke Grove
Other reviews: TripAdvisor
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