Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
Over the last five years, London’s tapas bars and Spanish restaurants have exploded, from fashionable Soho stores to Shoreditch’s hipster hangouts. From Basque to Catalan, we’ve selected 10 spots that are perfect for a variety of Spanish drinks, tapas, or fine dining dinners.
Named after the Barcelona market, Boqueria is a basic inside with long columns of tables and a silly slate declaring the specials of the day. Located in Clapham, a friendly area south of the river, the restaurant serves delicious tapas plates with a contemporary twist. Traditional tapas favorites such as croquette and Iberian ham include roasted suckling pig with parsnips and applesauce, hake with shrimp and mussels, and ratatouille taros. For dessert, try traditional Santiago almond cake and ice cream. All meals here are skillfully presented with a swirl of garnish and sauce to match the modern aesthetics of the restaurant’s decor.
Copita’s soft lighting, chocolate-brown exterior, and outdoor table are perfect spots for romantic drinks and summer dinners. Located in the heart of Soho, it serves exquisite small plates of unconventional tapas, from sherry-boiled pork cheeks to pique and white truffle duck yolks or eggplant stews. The restaurant is named after a small wine glass, so it has an impressive list of Spanish wines and sherry. The desserts match the tones of tapas and come in small sizes, so it’s a good idea to try a few. Both custard tart and rosewater ice cream are highly recommended.
Under the red brick arches of Maltby Street, the entrance to Bad Gino is surrounded by a striking display with heavy velvet curtains on the sides and ham hanging from the ceiling. Inside, dim lighting and functional decorations serve delicious Iberian cuisine. The restaurant began as a stall at Maltby Street Market and eventually expanded to arched locations such as Bodega. The menu is small but perfectly formed. Tasting one of five chopped ham selections with a bottle of Moritz, a native Catalan beer, or a selection of tapas of the day.
This as of late opened tapas bar is claimed by Brothers Sam and Eddie Hart, who are well known in the London café scene.The pair is vaguely looking at the reservation, so it is on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to its central location in Barrafina, it can be difficult to secure a table. Once inside, it’s worth the wait, with a great selection of Mallorcan and Catalan dishes, including average coca, and a wine list full of Malorkina (Mallorca pizza) and Spanish favorites. The layout is an open kitchen and seats overlooking fresh vegetable and fish shelves, making meal preparation a familiar experience.
Behind the restaurant, with Spanish cuisine, and the sparkling white front of Marylebone, Donostia serves classic cuisine with a Basque twist. The interior is stripped and modern, with white and blue tiles, marble counters, low wooden chairs and bar stools overlooking the open kitchen. There is also a terrace where you can enjoy summer meals outdoors. The menu includes a cold platter of meat and fish and a large tapas collection. Try black squid ink aioli on the cheeks of crispy cod, or traditional Basque marinated octopus. The dessert is as real Basque as the main and includes triha (fried bread in milk and spices) and txokolatea (chocolate and orange mousse).
José is a sherry and tapas bar on the street corner of Southwark’s trendy Bermondsey Street. A lively and casual spot with chocolate-brown interiors, atmospheric lighting, and high bar stools placed around high tables. The menu has a wide range of tapas, from the standard (patatas bravas) to more adventurous (patatas bravas). The list of pistol crispy duck eggs), classic Iberian ham, and daily specials changes. With a wide selection of sweet and dry Spanish sherry, the atmosphere matches that of an authentic Spanish tapas bar. Here, you’ll stand around a barrel prepared to help you stand up, ask for a drink, or hold a tapas plate.
This Charcuterie bar and restaurant focus on meat sourcing and skills. A typical salt yard dish is a delicate tattered zucchini flower stuffed with cheese and seasoned with honey, but even the basic ones are cut up from lightly charred bread to noceleria olives. After that, we release one of the recipes every month so that we can recreate their specialty at home.
Markets, restaurants, tapas, and Brindisa are, first and foremost, food importers, bringing ham, cheese, and other Spanish culinary staples to London. However, with five restaurants in the city, Brindisa Kitchens justifies its position as the home of authentic Spanish cuisine in London. Located in the foodie’s paradise Borough Market, the restaurant Tapas Brindisa London Bridge presents Brindisa’s ingredients and traditional recipes in a cozy environment with pictures of the Spanish countryside and cheerful red walls. The ham is sacred on its own or sprinkled with olive oil and pomegranate seeds, and with the combination of toast, the chicken liver is completely juicy and crispy. The location of Rupert Street, where the bustle of SoHo and Chinatown meets the bright lights of Piccadilly and Leicester Square, is to cook on fire inspired by the Castilian-Leone culinary Assador. Skilled ham carvings, precision charcoal cooking, and artisan cheeses line up with a sensational selection of seasonal tapas and picotees. Be sure to sit down at the 360-degree dining counter and watch the open kitchen theater.
Kingscross Camino takes pride in its credibility. Twice a year we send staff for a reconnaissance trip to Spain to prove their qualifications. Head chef Nacho del Campo creates menus inspired by the diverse culinary cultures of his home country, offering them in a modern style with an emphasis on punchy flavors and full-bodied presentations. Highlights of the King’s Cross menu include pancetta-wrapped cornish monkfish and leek gratin and rich romesco sauce, and pigeon breast with creamy pearl barley and torta de la Serena cheese. For brave patrons, there is a roasted Segovian-style piglet. This can accommodate up to 12 people and must be notified 48 hours in advance. A full Spanish breakfast, on the other hand, proves that Spain has better brunch than most people. Many late-night events offer the opportunity to enjoy Camino’s extensive cocktail menu.