Last month, our friends @LondonEating flew to Madrid for a weekend of sunshine, food markets, wine and jamon. Now that they’re back in Blighty, we tracked them down to chat about London’s top tapas bars.
Welcome back to London! How was your trip?
We struggled with the 40° heat but Madrid is a beautiful city, full of galleries, food markets and tiny back-street bars where you can get a great glass of wine for a few euros. We took a ‘tapas, taverns and history’ tour with Madrid Food Tour which was fantastic – highly recommended for a food-focused intro to the city.
So, if we’re looking for great tapas in London, where should we start?
If we could only pick one, it would be Barrafina – either the Frith Street original or their restaurant on Adelaide Street, which took the number one spot at the National Restaurant Awards this year. It can be tricky to get a seat, but the good news is that they’re opening another restaurant on Drury Lane this month.
We also love Bar Tozino, a jamon bodega under the Maltby Street arches, and Camino for classic tapas dishes like gambas al ajillo and huevos rotos. Iberica in Marylebone does wonderfully creamy black rice with seafood and other Spanish dishes with a modern twist. Then there’s Josè, Salt Yard – the list goes on!
Are the best tapas bars in central London then, or are there some neighbourhood gems?
There are some really good affordable options outside of Zone 1, like Boqueria on Acre Lane, Black Pig with White Pearls in Stokey, and our local favourites – Bar Esteban in Crouch End and La Fabrica in Finsbury Park. We’ve also heard great things about Bravas Tapas in St Katharine’s Docks.
Are there any new tapas bars we should add to our To Do list?
Where can we find the best croquetas in London?
The croquetas at Josè are some of the best I’ve had anywhere. Depending on the day, they range from the classic ham to salt cod or blue cheese and honey, but they’re always perfect. The Serrano ham croquetas at Iberica are also very good and if you’re in Covent Garden, Opera Tavern do lovely crab croquetas.
Has tapas hit London’s street food scene yet?
Yes indeed! We’re huge fans of Donostia Social Club who sell Basque-inspired dishes and pintxos from a blue-and-white van at street food markets and Pop Brixton. Their scallops with pisto are incredible.