Herein, we describe a case of a now 28-month-old boy who presented at the age of 17 months with four episodes of recurrent vomiting and somnolence during a period of four months with increasing severity. A comprehensive clinical and metabolic evaluation revealed normal blood pH and blood glucose, normal cerebral computed tomography and electroencephalogram but an elevated plasma ammonia concentration, which raised the suspicion of a urea cycle disorder. The combination of elevated urinary orotic acid and plasma glutamine with normal citrulline suggested the diagnosis of ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, which was confirmed by molecular genetic testing revealing the novel hemizygous mutation c.535C > T (p.Leu179Phe) of the OTC gene. After restitution of anabolism by administration of parenteral glucose, substitution of citrulline and detoxification of ammonia with sodium benzoate, the patient recovered rapidly and is in a stable metabolic and neurological state since then. This case underlines that the diagnosis of a urea cycle defect should be considered in the differential diagnosis of recurrent idiopathic vomiting in combination with unexplained neurological symptoms also beyond the neonatal period due to the possibility of mild or atypical late-onset presentation (e.g. OTC deficiency in hemizygous males).