Talking of tapas means conversation over tapas. Small little plates equates to sharing and passing around, choice of dishes means asking your dinning partners what they want to eat, giving your suggestions, and letting the conversation flow as you nibble the night away. Still not full? Order some more, add the alcohol and let the evening roll on. Tapas, the best invention ever to come out of Spain. Marie Teather hunts down the best tapas restaurants in London.
1 El Pirata
Punters argue this is one of the best tapas bars in London. Set in the heart of Mayfair, El Pirata is renowned for its wide range of over 50 delicious tapas as well as its contemporary a la carte menu.
This welcoming bar is often packed with a lively crowd enjoying dishes as they sit at the elegant, mirrored bar or alternatively in the private dining alcove for a more discrete occasion.
5-6 Down Street, Mayfair, London, W1 7AQ
020 7491 3810
2 Meson Don Felipe
One of London’s first tapas bars yet Meson Don Felipe’s tapas restaurant is still heaving each night over 20 years later. Not wanting to change a winning formula the menu has changed little in the past 20 years and includes croquetas, gambas al alioli, jamón y queso or paella,
Wine is imported in from Felipe's own estate including the 2005 Muga Reserva and the Manzanilla Sherry ‘La Goya’ Delgado Zuleta which makes a great appertife or dessert wine, while the live music garentees an unpretentious and lively evening.
3 Fino Restaurant
Renowned Spanish favourite Fino Restaurant is just off Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. Serving inventive tapas including seafood cooked on an authentic Spanish plancha, Fino also offers speciality dishes such as the whole leg of Pyrenean milk-fed lamb to roast suckling piglet. Open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday, Fino boasts twice-daily changing menus and a bar for cocktails and pre-dinner sherries.
4 Tapas Brindisa Kitchens
Set in a vibrant corner of Soho, Tierra Brindisa is an intimate and relaxing kitchen-bar and restaurant with extensive tapas and food plates. Dishes include traditional cured Brindisa foods of bellota ham, farmhouse cheeses, fish and also a wide range of cooked and fresh dishes.
The extensive wine list focuses on wine that goes well with the dishes and also includes a selection of sherry and dessert wines. Quality wines are bias tends towards those made with indigenous varietals, often from lesser-known areas of Spain.
The kitchen takes pride in its ingredients and has been an adventurous food importer, of some of the finest foods from Spain for the last two decades.
5 Salt Yard
The award-winning Salt Yard serves modern tapas inspired by the flavors and produce of Spain and Italy. Tapas are complemented by charcuterie and cheese boards and offers a wide selection of excellent wines and sherries. Located close the Goodge Street tube station, Salt Yard draws in those there to do business over lunch, tourists enjoying a pre- or post-theatre meal and Londoners out on the town. Flexibility is key at Salt Yard and guests can enjoy a full spread of tapas, a glass of red wine and a plate of cheese, a coffee and a delicious pudding, or even just a perfect martini and a handful of Marcona almonds.