Whether you’re a lover of Spanish cuisine, cava, tapas or simply just enjoy small plates, London has some of the most diverse menus and ingredients you can taste outside of Spain. Our latest list recommends our absolute favourites…
Without a doubt THE best tapas in London. Since opening in 2007, Barrafina has seen queues out of the door for their perfectly executed Catalan small plates and relaxed vibe. Prop yourself up on stools and watch some of the best chefs in town plate up your meal in front of you. If I could try everything on the menu, I would, but a few dishes I definitely recommend trying are the Courgette Flower, Chicken Thigh with (incredible!) Romesco Sauce, and Crema Catalana for something sweet. Found in two locations, Covent Garden and Soho, both restaurants are always buzzing. You can’t book unfortunately but snack on some of the flawless ‘para picar’ with a glass of Spanish wine and you’ll forget you ever had to wait.
Chef Diego Jacquet wanted to show London the best of Argentina, so brought his exclusive catering to England. Thank goodness he did. With flavours from all over the country, Zoilo, Jacquet’s second opening, is a culinary journey through various regions that isn’t just ‘meat on a stick’. There’s some tempting seafood and empanadas alongside the more traditional asado, all of which makes it difficult to choose. The restaurant’s unassuming, and the portions hearty with the right bit of Latino love to keep you coming back for more. Definitely not budging from our list.
Iberica is the perfect setting to enjoy tapas and wine in the sunshine. With its floor to ceiling windows, the restaurant is light, airy and a relaxed environment to enjoy the traditional flavours of Andalusia. Cured meats are without a doubt the best reason to visit and the air-cured beef cecina should be at the top of your list. The diverse menu showcases traditional dishes such as the ever-popular patatas bravas with modern adaptions like the chorizo lollipops with pear aioli. Other locations are Canary Wharf and Farringdon.
Found on Regent’s Street, Bilbao Berria focuses on Northern Spanish flavours in the form of Pinxto bites. Due to the nature of the relaxed canapé type dishes, the restaurant has a sociable and cosy atmosphere, which is popular for after work dinner or a late night meal. One dish you must try is the Basque chorizo wrapped in filo pastry and piquuillo peppers.
Pix is famed for its easy dining experience - there’s no menu or ordering, just plates of ever-changing tasty dishes to help yourself to. All pintxos are priced at either £1.95 or £2.95 so its great value and perfect for a post work dinner with friends. You can try Pix at four locations, Covent Garden, Soho, Islington and Notting Hill.
Since opening in 2013, this little place has seen Londoners make the trip to South-West after hearing fantastic reviews of a new Spanish cuisine haven. They do a great value set menu (lunch is 3 courses for £12.95) and sharing platters, but the tapas is what Alquimia is really all about. The Gambas al ‘Ajillo’ is easily one of the best dishes on the diverse menu, and the recently introduced aubergine served in rosemary infused honey, is brilliant.
Ametsa is a Michelin starred Spanish restaurant found in the Halkin Hotel, where the food is absolutely stunning, and the tapas menu served in the Halkin Bar is just as delicious! Enjoy refined tastes of Spain on the à la carte menu, or for the ultimate Ametsa experience opt for the tasting menu (which I highly recommend) where the beautifully plated dishes showcase what the restaurant calls ‘New Basque Cuisine’. Each dish on this menu is served with wines specially paired by Ametsa’s sommelier. They even do a Spanish version of afternoon tea, which is definitely worth trying.
If you’re a fan of Spanish tortillas, look no further than Arbina. At just £5, the chorizo tortilla is fantastic, as is the rest of the menu, which is freshly prepared in front of you including some of the best quality pintxos you’ll find in London. The service is impeccable and definitely adds to the charm of this hidden gem.
José tapas and sherry bar is intimate, cosy but always busy, which you’d expect from a traditional Spanish tapas bar. Owned by chef, José Pizarro, the menu clearly has influence from his experience working in some of London’s most prestigious Spanish restaurants, which is why it’s become so popular, so quickly. The menu is often adding new additions along with old favourites (which are some of the best on this list). These include the seabream, duck egg and Ibérico Pork Fillet, along with an impressive wine and sherry list. Unfortunately they don’t take bookings but you can enjoy snacks at the bar while you wait.
And who said tapas has to be Spanish? Polpo is the definition of small plates and if you’re looking for something a little different (but equally delicious) try here for Venetian tapas. Dishes include crostini’s, meatballs, pizzette and salads all washed down with prossecco. I highly recommend the octopus potato salad and the Cicheti plate and ANY of those wonderful desserts. You can also find Polpo in Soho, Chelsea and Notting Hill.
In our London’s Best Tapas list, we mentioned that Social Wine & Tapas would be opening in early June, because we knew it was going to be good. The cosy wine bar has some of the best bar snacks you can imagine, from the suckling pig with sherry caramel to the grilled sardines with citrus yoghurt the delectable modern tapas dishes are so good it may even have to join that list! Wine is the key ingredient here though, with a menu of over 100 to choose from and help from the waiting staff who are all trained sommeliers. It doesn’t take reservations and is very popular already but we highly recommend joining that queue!
Morito is a small tapas and mezze bar serving a variety of beautifully fresh ingredients. The menu is reasonably priced for a really high standard of food, including dishes such as salt cod croquetas, spiced lamb chops and a crispy aubergine and feta salad. Sister restaurant, Moro, next door is equally brilliant.