The Story of La Gaffe

How it Started

In order to escape military service, Bernardo Stella left Italy during the heat wave that was engulfing Italy in the summer of 1957. He travelled to England and found the cooler, green fields of Kent re-energising. He had found his Eden.

In 1958 there was a military raid in a Cypriot village, where freedom fighters had sought refugee in the local church. A very young Androulla Stella fought back and disarmed an English soldier. To escape retribution Androulla came to London.

In 1959 Bernardo moved to London to work in a French restaurant. Here is where he met his future wife Androulla.

Their love began when the chef put a live lobster on Androulla’s back and she fainted. Whilst the staff were laughing, Bernardo rushed to her aid with a glass of water and a gentle pat on the cheek, followed by a furious telling off to the culprit. They have been together ever since.

After much looking for the right establishment, on March the 5th 1962, they opened La Gaffe in Hampstead in a building that was once the site of a shepherd’s cottage (dating back to 1734!) And here we have the Genesis of “La Gaffe”, meaning the mistake. The name arose from the reasoning that for a Cypriot and an Italian to open a French restaurant in north-west London could only be a “Gaffe”.

From modest beginnings of only a few tables constructed from barrels, drinks bought from the pub next door, Bernardo taking orders and with Androulla doing all the cooking, La Gaffe began. Over the years La Gaffe has expanded and introduced the popular guest accommodation in 1976 and the superb value wine bar in 1986. La Gaffe prides itself as being a warm, welcoming, family-run business where neighbours and regulars become part of the family.

The hard work of Bernardo and Androulla has been acknowledged with many accolades over the years. The Stella family and long serving staff are justly proud of providing decades of continuous service to the local community and travellers the world over.

Benvenuti a La Gaffe e Buon appetito

  • Express and News, December 5, 1969

    click to zoom La Gaffe restaurant London 1969

    La Gaffe Restaurant London 1969

  • Express & News April 7, 1967

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    La Gaffe French Food in 1967, Eating out in Hampstead London

  • Feb 16, 1967

     Restaurant in Hampstead London

  • A review in 1966

     20th May 1966 La Gaffe Review

  • Memories of Montmartre

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    Memories of Montmartre

  • Express and News Friday, April 20, 1965

     Eating out in London at La Gaffe

  • La Gaffe Menu

     Restaurant Menu

  • The Evening News and Star, Friday, July 10, 1964

     Bernardos Little Empire - French Food in Hampstead London 1964

  • La Gaffe Entrance

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    Entrance to La Gaffe in the 1960s

  • Oasis Restaurant Menu

     Oasis Restaurant

  • Diners at La Gaffe

     Diners at La Gaffe

  • A French Restaurant Opens in Hampstead

    A French Restaurant in Hampstead - La Gaffe 

  • Express and News April 21, 1972

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    Eating out in London at La Gaffe

  • La Gaffe Delicatessen

     La Gaffe Delicatessen in the 1970s

No record found
  • Discreet Charm

     Discreet Charm in Hampstead

  • La Gaffe Nominated for Best London Restaurant

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    Nominated for Best London Restaurant in 1999

  • Cucommediografo May 1998

     Bernardo Stella wins the coveted Cocommediografo

    Award ceremony

  • Bernardo Stella Owner of La Gaffe

     Bernardo Stella at La Gaffe Restaurant in Hampstead London

    Owners of La Gaffe

  • Pirelli Classic Marathon

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    Pirelli Classic Car Marathon at La Gaffe Restaurant London

  • Hampstead Summer Festival 2015


    La Gaffe London

    Inducted into ‘Hall of Fame’ of Five-time Certificate of Excellence Winners on the World’s Largest Travel Site

     London, England – 21, May 2015

    La Gaffe London are delighted to announce today that it has been recognised as a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner.  The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. The ‘Hall of Fame’ was created to honour those businesses that have earned a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years.  Winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience. 

    Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence five years in a row and inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire team at La Gaffe and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Lorenzo Stella, General Manager at La Gaffe “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

    “Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years is a remarkable feat. TripAdvisor is pleased to induct five-time award winners into the ‘Hall of Fame’,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on consistently delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive an improvement to hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

    When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honourees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site.  To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

  • La Gaffe Anniversary


  • The New York Times

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    The New York Times - 100 Hotels under $150

  • Martin Bell at La Gaffe

     Martin Bell at La Gaffe Restaurant in London

  • Bernardo Stella – Marathon Runner

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    London restaurant owner runs in marathon  

    Restaurateur to run London Marathon

    Local Legend Bernardo Stella of La Gaffe Restaurant London

  • Which? Rates La Gaffe Best value for money hotel in London 2003

     Best Value For Money Hotel in London as rated by Which? Evening Standard - Best Value Hotel in London

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