Spanish Restaurants in Soho
1. Barrafina Spanish restaurant in Soho 26-27 Dean Street - W1
“The perfect alternative to a trip to Spain!” – in fact “the food is better than in Barcelona” in the branches of the Hart Bros’ small chain, which pays homage to that city’s Cal Pep with its small (no more than 30 covers) bars in Soho and Covent Garden (and – arriving in autumn 2018, in the trendy new Coal Drops Yard development in King’s Cross, alongside a covered and heated terrace separately branded as ‘Parrillan’). Confidently ‘surfing the Zeitgeist’ – no other individual restaurant, never mind group, has ever achieved such an outstanding and consistent level of support in the survey, over many years. There’s “no booking and no fuss” – “you often have to queue” (though drinks and nibbles help enliven the experience) and seating is “counter-stye” at the bar (“which works less well for any kind of group, but for couples is ideal”). With its “bold Spanish flavours” the tapas selection is “arguably some of London’s best food at any price, and remarkable value” (while by the same token “watching the chefs at work is brilliant” – “there’s nothing theatrical, but it’s mesmerising seeing experts so engrossed in their stations”). “The wine list is short, punchy and perfectly complements the food”, “staff seem to be having as good a time as the clientele” and the overall effect is properly “effervescent”. Top Tip: “always go for the daily blackboard specials, especially the fish”, which is “cooked to a tee and beautifully seasoned”.
2. Ember Yard Spanish restaurant in Soho 60 Berwick Street - W1
“Delicious tapas from the Salt Yard crew” – as the name suggests, this smart Soho outfit has a “focus on open-fire cooking”, and ratings bounced back this year, with praise for small plates that are “often special and surprising”.
3. Rambla Spanish restaurant in Soho 64 Dean Street - W1D
“Big flavours (and decent-sized portions too)” help inspire only positive reviews for Victor Garvey’s “superb new Catalan venture” in Soho, which delivers “accomplished” cooking and “excellent value for money”. This said, numerous newspaper reviewers have gushed about the place bigtime, and there is the odd caution that “although it’s above average, it’s not quite as exceptional as some well-known critics might wish you to believe”.
4. Aqua Nueva Spanish restaurant in Soho 240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll St) - W1
The Spanish neighbour to Aqua Kyoto shares all the characteristics of this roof-top operation – terraces, clubby decor, dazzlingly central location – and generates even less feedback that its sibling! Such as there is however paints it in a good light this year.
5. Dehesa Italian restaurant in Soho 25 Ganton Street - W1
Part of the Salt Yard Group – this “lovely little dining room” off Carnaby Street has won a reputation for its “excellent quality” Spanish and Italian tapas. All reports here remain upbeat, but – while the most enthusiastic feels the cooking “never fails to impress” – since the departure of Ben Tish, the chain’s chef-director, ratings have slipped and the most sceptical regulars feel the “food has fallen from delicious to mediocre”.
6. Tapas Brindisa Soho Spanish restaurant in Soho 46 Broadwick St - W1
“Arrive early to avoid the queue”, especially if you visit the “very busy” original Borough Market branch of this well-known and “consistently good” tapas chain, which “rarely drops the ball and is a safe bet for a swift and enjoyable meal”. Of the other branches, the South Kensington one is very pleasantly located near the tube, with extensive pavement seating: “go on a summer’s day and sit outside, watching the world pass by”.
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