Tasty fried potatoes, juicy olives, spicy chorizo... with so much variety it's no wonder one of the favourite ways to eat Spanish food is with tapas – a tempting array of different dishes. You'll find excellent tapas bars across London, including some high-end hangouts.
Spanish restaurants in London offer all sorts of regional specialties and popular dishes, from seafood specials to Michelin-starred food.
Enjoy some of the best tapas in town at one of Barrafina’s excellent restaurants in Soho, Covent Garden, Drury Lane and Coal Drops Yard. Take a seat at the marble-top counter and watch as the chefs prepare expertly executed dishes in the open kitchen. Favourites include ham croquetas, classic tortillas and delicious seafood, from razor clams to grilled squid.
Where: Covent Garden (10 Adelaide Street, WC2N 4HZ and 43 Drury Lane, WC2B 5AJ), King's Cross (Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4AB), Soho (26-27 Dean Street, W1D 3LL) and Waterloo (2 Dirty Lane, SE1 9PA)
Like its sibling tapas bar Barrica in Fitzrovia, Copita excels in small Spanish plates packed with flavours and top-notch ingredients. Try its famously unctuous and moreish almond soup ajo blanco, which is served with beetroot, grapes and dill. Other favourites include the grilled squid and black ink risotto, and the braised pig cheek with chocolate sauce.
Where: Soho (27 D'Arblay Street, W1F 8EP)
3. Ember Yard
Indulge on wood-fired grills and exquisite tapas at slick Ember Yard in Soho. The buzzy atmosphere and intimate, low-lit setting make it the perfect place for a relaxing Spanish feast. Standouts include the chargrilled octopus with paprika aioli and Ibérico presa with romesco sauce. The cocktails are incredible too.
Where: Soho (60 Berwick Street, W1F 8SU)
4. Aqua Nueva
Experience innovative, contemporary Spanish cuisine with a killer view at Aqua Nueva, in the heart of the West End. The swanky rooftop bar and restaurant overlooks Regent Street, the London Eye and The Gherkin. Inside, the décor is equally striking, providing a chic blend of contemporary styles.
Where: Regent Street (30 Argyll St, W1B 3BR)
5. José Tapas Bar
Share some fantastic Spanish small plates at lively José Tapas Bar on Bermondsey Street. Top chef José Pizarro puts together a daily changing menu of regional tapas alongside a wide-ranging sherry and wine list. For a full-on Spanish dining experience, head to Pizarro, the chef’s second restaurant on the same street.
Where: Southwark (104 Bermondsey St, SE1 3UB)
6. Lobos Meat & Tapas
Carnivores should head to the rail arches near Borough Market for seriously good meat-based tapas. One of the best tapas restaurants in London, Lobos Meat & Tapas specialises in prime Ibérico cuts, charcuterie and delicious plates of smoky charred meat.
Where: London Bridge (14 Borough High Street, SE1 9QG) and Soho (42 Frith Street, W1D 4SF)
Embark on a culinary journey across Spain at Michelin-starred Sabor in Mayfair. On the ground floor, experience a daily changing menu of fresh fish and regional Spanish dishes at The Counter. While upstairs, El Asador offers delicious specialities from Galicia and Castile, cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven.
Where: Mayfair (35-37 Heddon St, W1B 4BR)
8. Opera Tavern
Tuck into tapas favourites, including Ibérico ham, Padrón peppers, patatas bravas and Galician octopus, at Opera Tavern, one of the best tapas bars and restaurants in London. A fixture of Covent Garden’s pre-theatre dining scene, this inviting, dimly lit tapas joint also offers a wonderful array of cocktails, wines and sherries.
Where: Covent Garden (23 Catherine St, WC2B 5JS)
Enjoy the spectacle of Spanish jamón carving in popular Spanish restaurant and tapas bar Camino. Come in for breakfast churros, an indulgent graze on cava and tapas, a seriously good wine with fresh meat and fish from the charcoal grill or the best Spanish vegetarian dishes.
Where: Shoreditch (2 Curtain Road, EC2A 3BL), Monument (15 Mincing Lane, EC3R 7BD) and King's Cross (3 Varnishers Yard, N1 9FD)