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A Fiesta of Spanish Restaurants in London

Tapas and paella can be fairly grim if they're not done properly – here's the places we've tried recently in London.

Paella in London (image: Pixabay)


Barrafina — Drury Lane, Covent Garden

  • Barrafina is a small chain of tapas restaurants in London.
  • I'm often at the Drury Lane outlet in Covent Garden before heading to the theatre.
  • It's a small space, generally jammed full with people, but the friendly and efficient team behind the counter effectively manage the queue for seats and keep everyone plied with drinks and snacks.
  • The food they're serving is modern, fresh, and delicious.

Boqueria Tapas — Acre Lane, Brixton

  • This is one of the top favourites of Brixton locals.
  • After you've been here a few times you'll be greeted like members of the family by the friendly and effusive staff.
  • Boqueria Tapas delivers great Spanish food – perfect for sharing with friends or a larger group.

Brindisa Tapas — Southwark Street, Borough

  • One of the long-standing destination restaurants within Borough Market (just beside London Bridge), Brindisa Tapas gets pretty much everything right.
  • I like this place for breakfast, but they also do interesting and intelligent tapas-style food throughout the day and evening – recently I've tried their quail with plums, and their clams in a green sauce; really delicious and a long way from a basic patatas bravas.
  • After work it's usually so crowded that you'll struggle to get a table, but you can always prop yourself at their counter to snack on chorizo and contemplate a glass of Amontillado while you wait.

Camino – multiple locations

  • This is a chain of restaurants with a number of outlets across London. I used to go to the one at Canary Wharf, but I think that’s closed down now.
  • Not bad in an emergency, but there's plenty of better places out there.

Dehesa – Covent Garden

  • Dehesa delivers classic Spanish tapas, but done really really well. 

Fernandez & Wells  – multiple locations

  • Now a small chain of cafe/restaurants, the Fernandez & Wells outlets generally follow a fairly appealing fit-out of a long wooden bar/counter, some small intimate tables lit by candlelight, and some perfectly chosen music to create a bit of ambience.
  • This instantly creates the kind of atmosphere of the perfect little local bar that you'd expect to see everywhere in Madrid but never quite find.
  • My default order is a plate of Salame Toscano and a glass of Amontillado: Heaven. Who needs Madrid?

Ibérica — Farringdon

  • Ibérica is slightly tucked away, around the corner from Farringdon Station. It’s a beautiful space, but a number of restaurants have tried their luck in this location without being successful. Ibérica however is a winner. 
  • It's always busy when I'm here, but the helpful and professional staff are pretty adept at finding a space for you to stand in the bar while they secure a table for you.
  • The menu has plenty of options and it's often difficult to know when to stop. Last time I was here, we shared some fresh squid and a chicken dish, both of which were outstanding. Plus there were cocktails, and then some dessert. One of the highlights for me was a gin martini garnished with an anchovy — a total revelation. 

Meson Don Felipe — The Cut, Waterloo

  • Meson Don Felipe is always busy – a firm favourite with the locals who live in the South Bank precinct.
  • It's loud and boisterous – small tables jammed closely together.
  • If that's what you're in the mood for, then you'll love this place.
  • I generally eat here with a friend and we snack on tapas washed down with fino, shouting at each other happily over the noisy din of this busy and vibrant restaurant. 

Tramontana Brindisa – Curtain Road, Shoreditch

  • The food here is really good — top-drawer tapas and modern Spanish cooking.

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