Little can rival the Hart brothers wonderful Barrafina restaurants, of which there are now three. The original on Frith Street has moved over to its new and larger premises on Dean Street and, alongside the Dury Lane and Adelaide Street sites, still boasts some of the finest Spanish tapas food in town. The fresh seafood, meats and vegteables are cooked right before your eyes while drinks range from sharp fino sherries to rich Spanish reds.
With its canary-yellow walls, rich wood and marble, Barrica looks and feels like a genuine Spanish hangout. The style may be laidback but in terms of offerings, however, this place is the real deal. Enjoy 16 sherries by the glass, ranging from the intensely sweet to the bone-dry and salty as well as an expansive wine list and authentic classic tapas plates.
With four joints around town, including King's Cross with its own Bar Pepito, and venues in Monument, Black Friars and Bankside, Camino may sound like a chain but each venue delivers a unique experience, all inspired by a trip across Spain back in 1984 from north to south. That wasn't the last time the team made the pilgramage though and their renewed enthusiam is evident in each dish and wine offering.
Boasting consistantly great cooking, Ember Yard is the type of venue you'd happily unbutton your trousers for and order another of those small delictable plates. With ribs that fall off the bone, tender octopus sweetened by a tangle of peperonata and flatbread oozing smoked butter the tapas here is unforgetable. Add to that the great wines from the likes of the Basque Country and Catalunya and you have the complete package. Ember Yard may have a slight Italian influence but, we'd say, that's no bad thing.
The true taste of Spain is captured within this tiny Bermonsdey corner bar which focuses on a small menu of mouthwatering tapas and sherry. The menu has dishes like baby chicken, potato and romesco sauce, Ibérico pork fillets and boquerones en vinagre while the wines are completely sourced from Spain from Cadiz to Alicante. Informal, jostling and always busy, José is about as authentic as they come.
High-quality artisan ingredients provide the backbone for this menu which is one of the pioneers of the capital’s new Spanish scene, and forefather of Dehesa, Ember Yard and Opera Tavern. Split over two floors the upstairs functions as a bar with plates of cheese, meats and Londoners siping sherry. Descend to the dining room below with its tempting dishes and cosy atmosphere.
Focusing on traditional dishes done well, and set in a stunning location on Great Portland Street, the Marylebone Iberica is flooded with natural light, great tapas and a healthy selection of great Spanish wines. With a take away deli next door, if you don't manage to fit in the cheese plate there's always an option to gorge later as well.
Sherry straight out of the barrel, sweet wines, rich Spanish reds and dry whites, all topped off with more jamón ibérico than you could feast upon for a month. This is such a perfect addition to the London scene and one which we don't visit enough. Take a date to get close to on the intimate bar spots or book in for dinner and really dive into this mouthwatering cuisine - lighter than winter stodge but all the more enjoyable for the warming accompaning booze.