Top 5: Totally Sensational Tapas Bars in LondonBy Josie Ayre
Looking for a tasty nibble this week?
Tapas is all the rage at the moment – small plates, some good red wine, it’s all so civilised. Be careful to find out really worth your time and money, as it can be an expensive way to eat. Here’s 5 tapas bars to suit any mood…
1. Indian Tapas Bars: Imli Street, Wardour Street
Sister to the Michelin-starred Tamarind of Mayfair, Imli Street specialises in tapas style dishes from the Indian sub-continent in the heart of Soho. The East Village loft inspired interior has a sprawling bar, which serves several signature cocktails alongside Indian and Japanese beers. The menu comprises of a variety of dishes, inspired by Indian street-food, highway and railway stalls, and coastal shack classics which will have you dreaming of India’s coastline. The Paneer Tikka, Railway Platter and classic Chicken Tikka Masala always make it onto my plate.
2. Traditional Tapas Bars: Navarro’s, Charlotte Street
Located on the social hub of Charlotte Street, Navarro’s serves some of the best and most authentic tapas in the city. With an interior so intimate you’d be mistaken for feeling like you’re sat in someone’s dining room, Navarro’s casual atmosphere lends well to the food on offer. The comprehensive tapas menu serves Galician style Octopus and Jamon Iberico with Rioja wine by the bottle, just like you’d find in the city of Seville, birthplace of the restaurant’s owners, Enca and Paco.
3. Italian Tapas Bars: Opera Tavern, Catherine Street
Just around the corner from Covent Garden and a stones throw away from the Opera House and the Theatre Royal, the Opera Tavern is the perfect spot for a pre-theatre dinner date of Italian and Spanish tapas style dishes. Perch on the bar and order the mini Iberico pork and foie gras burgers or Crab and saffron croquettes served with Piquillo Aioli to share before ordering a cheese board for dessert. They do take bookings and with plenty of space upstairs there’s a good chance you’ll get a seat without having to queue!
4. Modern Tapas Bars: Brindisa, Broadwick Street
“Brindisa” translates from Spanish to mean to raise your glass in celebration. So there is nowhere more appropriate than to toast your new job, friendship or simply the fact that you didn’t fall over today, than Tapas Brindisa Soho on Broadwick Street. Opened in 2004, Tapas Brindisa has been a consistent favourite among the tapas seekers of London and now has 4 locations over the metropolis. Well known for its extensive selection of tapas classics including Galician style octopus, Gambas Al Ajillo and Patatas Bravas, Brindisa has a constant footfall which is testament to its great tasting food. The Soho location doesn’t take reservations, so try your luck by turning up or head to Casa Brindisa South Kensington or Tramontana Shoreditch where bookings are welcomed.
5. Classic Tapas Bars: Barrafina, Frith Street
Consistently lauded as the best tapas restaurant in London, it would be wrong to leave Barrafina off our list. With an established location on Soho’s Frith Street, Barrafina will be adding a second restaurant on Adelaide Street in Covent Garden next month with seasoned chefs Nieves Barragan Mohacho and Jose Etura taking the helm. The first come, first serve policy at Barrafina ensures that there is almost always a queue of eager punters stretching out of the door, so we recommend avoiding peak hours if you’re not one for a good old fashioned British queue. With an L-shaped bar stretching around the kitchen, you can watch your chosen dish be cooked up right in front of you while chefs shout out orders and waiters serve up cocktails and nibbles to those waiting. Simple and honest Mallorcan and Catalan style Tuna Tartar, Octopus with capers and Morcilla Iberico ham with Quail eggs make up the menu, while specials change daily with each more enticing than the last.Click here for our recipe for a Super Skin Smoothie featuring avocado. Click here for our favourite granola bowl in London. Click here for breakfast ideas.