The best tapas restaurants in London

Whether you can or cannot pronounce jamón Ibérico, we can all agree plates of boquerones, tortilla and patatas bravas are the best. Check out our guide to the best tapas restaurants in London

We like Spain a lot. The weather, Picasso's paintings, and most importantly, the tapas. Small plates of irresistible morsels that can keep you grazing for hours, particularly when accompanied by copious cans of cold Estrella.

The word tapas describes the style of serving food, rather than any specific dishes, with the word 'Tapa' literally translating to small dish. So technically anything can be tapas – even your weird afternoon snack of a peanut butter and olive sandwich counts. Although, you can expect some classic dishes which are permanent features on the menu at any taperia, such as pan con tomate or croqeutas de jamón.

If you do choose to leave the shackles of peanut butter-based snacks, London boasts a host of amazing tapas restaurants, serving up crowd-pleasing plates of patatas bravas, padrón peppers, jamón Ibérico, and pan con tomate. Here is Foodism's round-up of the best.

Bibo Shoreditch

45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT

Based in the Mondrian Hotel, Shoreditch, Bibo is a lively and stylish spot to grab a tapas lunch or dinner. Headed up by Andalusian chef Dani García, expect crowd-pleasing classics like charred padrón peppers, pulpo a la Gallega, and oozing tortilla. It would be rude to go out for tapas and not eat your body weight in croquetas, and the jamón Ibérico ones at Bibo should not be missed. García's culinary prowess is recognised around the world, so we're pretty chuffed he's finally landed in London.


10 Adelaide Street, WC2N 4HZ

You can't talk about Spanish food or tapas in London without mentioning Barrafina. It's been awarded a Michelin star, and you'll often see queues outside the door to bag a seat. At Barrafina you can expect classic Spanish-style counter dining, which is perfect for getting up close and personal with your fellow diner. There are four Barrafinas in London now – Frith Street is the original location, but our favourite is in Covent Garden branch, where the menu skews more toward unusual dishes like milk-fed lamb's brain and crispy pig's ears.

The Counter at Sabor

35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR

Best tapas London: Sabor

Sabor is the baby of ex-Barrafina chef Nieves Barragán, who co-founded this much-loved tapas spot with José Etura. Much like Barrafina, Sabor also flaunts a Michelin star, serving up tapas inspired by the cooking of Barragán's mother. Share the counter with chefs and choose from a daily changing menu inspired by tapas from across Spain including the Basque country and Catalonia. The fish here is prepared by the in-house fishmonger so expect killer plates of monkish tempura, arroz negro, and cuttlefish pappardelle. If you can't get a table (they only accept walk-ins) then head upstairs to Asador which you can book, for wood-fired Galician seafood.


18-20 Southwark Street, SE1 1TJ

Best tapas London: Brindisa's deli counter in Borough Market

Brindisa is another name synonymous with Spanish food in London. Both a restaurant and a brilliant retailer of Spanish food, Brindisa has been around for more than 30 years, celebrating authentic cooking from around Spain and sparking the capital's love affair with tapas ever since. Pop in for plates of pan con tomate; juicy gordal olives; and griddled cuttlefish, and restock your pantry with gigantic jars of beans while you're at it.

Lobos Borough

14 Borough High Street, SE1 9QG

We're glad Lobos is slightly hidden under the arches in Borough Market, because anymore obvious and it would be far too busy. Expect God-tier tapas here, served up by a team formerly of Brindisa (see above for their credentials). The menu is a lineup of tapas classics: croquetas; garlic prawns; salt flecked padrón peppers and grilled octopus to name a few. The menu leans towards mighty and meaty, with much of the produce sourced from Borough Market. Wash it all down with cava or sherry, and you've got a delightful evening on your hands. If you want to stay more central, there's a Lobos Soho, too.


104 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UB

Best tapas in London | rice with gambas as José

José Pizarro is undoubtedly one of the most influential Spanish chefs in London with a string of incredible restaurants under his belt. Having co-founded Brindisa, José was his first solo venture before opening Pizarro and several more. It sits neatly on the corner of Bermondsey street with a cult following meaning it's often packed with tapas-hungry stomachs. José is about as authentic as it gets, where you can eat either standing or perched on a bar stool, fino sherry in hand of course.

The Tapas Room

Unit 8, 133 Deptford High Street, SE8 4BX

View on Instagram

When Pop Brixton's Donostia Social Club closed we were pretty sad, so you can imagine our elation when it came back with a slew of restaurants in Brixton, Tooting, Battersea, Peckham, and now a sunny little spot outside Deptford station called The Tapas Room. This latest iteration is more wine bar with small plates than straight-up restaurant. Our pick? A warming bowl of fabada asurianas (morcilla, pancetta and white beans) or boquerones with fennel and lemon oil.

Poster Bar by José

Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

View on Instagram

Fill your mind with art; then fill your belly with tapas from none other than José Pizarro with a post-exhibition lunch at his new outpost, the Poster Bar at the Royal Academy of the Arts in Piccadilly. Pizarro has two new spaces on the site, the more informal all-day tapas spot Poster Bar, and then José Pizarro at the RA, which offers more substantial dining. Swing by from 5:30-8:30pm for Pintxo Fridays and nibble on the ultimate Spanish finger food, famous across the Basque region. Expect miniature versions of iconic Spanish dishes served on a piece of baguette and skewered with a toothpick.


67 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0AR

View on Instagram

When you think of tapas, Scotland doesn't immediately spring to mind, until you think about Escocesa. Located on Stoke Newington High Street, Escocesa is owned by Stephen Lironi, a Scottish-born record producer and owner of Bar Esteban in Crouch End. The restaurant team is all Spanish and has racked up experience at the likes of Barrafina, Moro, and Morito, which they put to good use: Scottish seafood gets the Spanish treatment, alongside classics like tortilla, patatas bravas, and pan con tomate. There's an extensive sherry list, too.


9 Seymour Place, W1H 5BA

Lurra burst onto London's food scene in 2015, with its focus on cooking old cows (Galician Blond cows which are reared to enjoy a full life outdoors in Northern Spain) gaining serious critical acclaim within weeks. Taking influence from the traditional charcoal and wood grills "Erretegia" found all over the Basque Country, expect to eat beautifully marbled beef on the bone, amongst sizzling plates of grilled octopus, presa Ibérico and whole Cornish turbot.

Salt Yard

54 Goodge Street, W1T 4NA

View on Instagram

The Salt Yard group – which comprises Salt Yard, Ember Yard, Dehesa and Opera Tavern – takes inspiration from the food and wine of Italy and Spain: squid and sherry; pumpkin tortellini; sage butter and crispy morcilla croquetas to name but a few of the delicious delights. All of the restaurants are located in Soho, making them the ideal meeting place to graze with a group.


325 Brockley Road, SE4 2QZ

View on Instagram

Adding to South London's not-so-secret slew of great restaurants is L'Oculto in Brockley. It's the sister to the award-winning restaurant Little Oculto, which has since closed. But that's OK because its second edition is in a larger space, yet still preserving the same lovely low-key vibe of its predecessor. Chow down on some tasty larder bites including Spanish charcuterie and cheeses, or tuck into plates of tortilla, lamb skewers with pepper ketchup, and deep-fried skate. There's also a shop inside to restock your kitchen cupboards with bottles of extra-virgin olive oil and Rioja.


32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE

View on Instagram

Tapas are designed for sharing, but the food at Morito is so good that you'll want it all to yourself. There are two outposts: one on Exmouth Market (next to sibling restaurant Moro) and one on Hackney Road, and they're both as brilliant as each other. It's trademarked by decidedly rustic Spanish flavours, with salt cod croquetas, crispy patatas bravas, and slivers of jamón Ibérico on the menu. The attractive all-Iberian wine list features some delicious sherries – be sure to look out for Morito’s annual ‘seafood and sherry’ festival.


25 Ganton Street, W1F 9BP

View on Instagram

Dehesa is another jewel in the Salt Yard Group's crown, serving up charcuterie and tapas inspired by the cuisine and wines of Spain and Italy. It boasts the largest heated corner terrace in Soho, making it the perfect spot to take refuge after a hellish day at Primark Oxford street with some plates of chargrilled chorizo, charred calcots with romesco, and cider steamed muscles. All washed down with a glass of vermouth of course.


27 D'Arblay Street, W1F 8EP

View on Instagram

Copita encapsulates everything wonderful about Spanish tapas bar culture. It's a lively and social spot where people meet to eat delicious tapas over good wine. The menu is seasonally influenced, showcasing weekly and daily changing specials, including artichokes with ajo blanco, burnt aubergine with labneh, and buňuelos de bacalao. Almost all the wines here are Spanish, alongside a merry selection of cava, beer, and vermouth.

Bar Kroketa

21 Beak Street, W1F 9RR

View on Instagram

This one is for the croqueta lovers out there (not sure who isn’t, to be honest), as Bar Kroketa literally specialises in these Spanish fried morsels. Alongside a hefty selection of croquetas, Bar Kroketa also serves up bar snacks and small dishes including its famed crab toastie, gildas, padron peppers and traditional tortillas. With a mind-blowing selection of croquetas to choose from including migas and lardo, piquillo pepper and Manchego and even sweet ones filled with chocolate and salted caramel, it's the perfect spot for post-work food and drinks in the centre of the capital.