A Bit Casual Eating Out London

Tapas in London – Three Top Spots to Try

February 23, 2016

A certain someone once proclaimed that dining ‘tapas style’ was his favourite way of eating. This might be controversial as I know the small plates ethos isn’t for everyone but I would happily agree with him here. It’s absolutely perfect for someone like me who suffers from incredible plate envy, has major menu indecision, and quite frankly, sometimes just wants to order everything. With tapas, you technically can… if money was no object. That’s really the only downside to this wonderful way of eating, get too carried away and sometimes the bill can sting you!

So to save you from diners regret and tapas induced crimes against your bank balance, I’ve got three places where you should splash your cash for small plates of goodness. Of course, London is loaded with Spanish tapas restaurants but here are a couple of my favourites…

Barrafina – The Toughest Seats to Score

Possibly the most well known tapas restaurant in London, nabbing a seat at any of Barrafina’s three sites is quite a challenge with their no reservations policy but I promise you, the food is worth the wait. The menu has a great selection of all the classics with a modern twist, but we went wild for the offal options. We’ve been so excited by the resurgence of offal on menus these days and never turn down the opportunity for some nose to tail dining! It may seem off-putting but when done right, these odds and ends are delicious.

It’s tough to pick highlights from an almost flawless meal but if I must… the perfectly crumbed, creamy lamb’s brain, the smokey chargrilled lamb’s kidneys, and the impeccably fresh prawn and bonito ceviche. With all the seats at the bar, everyone gets a front row view of the chefs at work; the orders are relentless which makes for an exciting watch and vibrant atmosphere!

Tendida Cuatro – The Romantic Spot

Tucked away in Fulham is an elegant, dimly lit spot which is ideal for a date night dinner! Part of the Cambio de Tercio group of Spanish restaurants, the specialty at Tendida Cuatro is tapas and paella, but we stuck to the small plates. We couldn’t go past some of our favourites including boquerones, gambas, and patatas bravas while also indulging in some grilled items such as the succulent lamb chops and asparagus with romesco sauce.

Those were all splendid, however, the most surprising dish was the simply titled, tomates 8hrs; with very little expectation of what the dish would be, we ordered it more out of curiosity than anything else and I’m pleased we chanced it. There were several types of dried tomatoes, each bringing a different level of sweetness and tartness, which was complimented with balls of creamy goat’s cheese and cubes of basil jelly; not something we’d ordered before but definitely something we’d order again on our next visit!

The Little Taperia – The Neighbourhood Gem

Situated just around the corner from our flat, I was thrilled at the arrival of The Little Taperia; it added another welcomed gem, and cuisine, to the Tooting dining scene, and I’m pleased to see it’s always busy! I liked the succinct list of offerings here; too many menu items always makes me wonder how successful they can be at sending them out. But even with such a tidy list, we had trouble selecting as it all sounded very appealing… pig’s cheeks, arroz negro, salt cod fritters… where to begin, well with cocktails and boquerones, naturally.

Then we were on a roll; their famous morcilla scotch eggs were a must, a tortilla seemed a safe bet, as did the garlic prawns, and pinchos morunos with chimichurri sauce. However, the highlight for me was the Txipiron baby squid stuff with morcilla, definitely a must order dish. We rounded off the meal with a slice of their Santiago tart, which for those unfamiliar is a slightly zesty almond cake, not too sweet but still quite decadent and tasty!

There you have it, my top picks for tapas in London… even if small plates isn’t your thing, the style of food itself is always flavoursome and comforting, so look past the plates and dive in!

I am always on the hunt for some new tapas spots… what are your favourites?

Barrafina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Tendido Cuatro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Square Meal Square Meal Square Meal

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  • Great post! I do think it’s hard to find good tapas in London. I really want to go to Barrafina!

    • Thanks Angie – I can’t believe you haven’t visited Barrafina?! The price tag does feel like a sting, especially when it’s so much cheaper in Spain but hey, needs must!

  • I love ‘tapas style’ dining too. Like you I get incredible food envy and find this is a great way to try more! 🙂 Still need to go to Barrafina – always looks incredible!

    • We had such a good time when we went – need to visit again asap! I just don’t understand the people who say they don’t like tapas… you get to try more dishes, what’s not to love?!

  • Slightly harder on the wallet, but worth every penny is Lobos Tapas in London Bridge…

    • Ooh thanks for the heads up – will add it to my tapas hit-list!

  • Pig’s cheek needs a better name. It’s delicious, but sounds like you’re snogging swine. Also, I’m too much of curmudgeon to wait for a table in a place that’s too precious to take reservations. I don’t know when I became so miserable, but it happened XD

    • I wouldn’t be adverse to a quick porky snog! It was touch and go as we were there on a Friday night but we went early, gave ourselves a limit on how long we’d wait… and we scraped through just fine!

  • Mmm I loved Barrafina too, their duck egg brioche is a real thing of beauty ! xxx

  • I love Barrafina, with Drury Lane being my favourite followed by Adelaide St and surprisingly the Michelin-starred Frith St one last.

    I like Boqueria in Brixton but that little Taperia is going on my list because of that squid photo!

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

    • I really like Boqueria too – it was one of the first tapas restaurants we tried in London and I think it’s probably time we revisited! I remember it being pretty good! We weren’t sure what to expect with the squid but it was a very pleasant surprise!

  • That squid from the Little Tapiera looks incredible. Look two squiddy comments on your blog in one day. Not sure if it’s my screen but you can’t see the whole photo of the squid on the righthand side or any of the other photos on the right…why?????? Why are you denying me squid photos!!!

    • Oh no, not the squid… that’s my favourite dish!!! Thanks for letting me know, it’s happened to me once or twice before too so I’ll look into… still making tweaks!

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Barrafina and yes, so annoying that you can’t book ahead. Never heard of the latter two but they look and sound wonderful! I love the look of the La Santiago tart and boquerones at The Little Taperia, so lucky that it’s a local for you! xx

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure

    • No reservation restaurants are so annoying as I’m not usually organised enough to book ahead and not patient enough to wait – we got really lucky turning up fairly early though! I was a little skeptical about the tart but it was a lovely, and surprisingly light, way to end the meal!

  • I had completely forgotten about the dodgy path to the loo – sorry for omitting that one! We’ve been when it’s quiet but they still managed to build a lovely atmosphere… hence the romantic vibe! Haha well I’d call my (almost 30) self an old peep these days 🙂 Glad you still enjoyed it though!

    • The Introverted Chilli

      No I would agree it is romantic. Also great portion sizes.

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