This week we’re talking all things tapas.
There has been an explosion of Spanish restaurants popping up in London and we wanted to see how they measure up to the real deal. Freshly back from a weekend of eating in Barcelona, we decided to share our favourites, both from home and away.
As we all know, tapas are ‘a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks’ which can be served as hot or cold dishes. They are usually served in a relaxed manner, as and when they have been prepared, and offer diners the chance to try a variety of dishes over a long period of time. Many restaurants, both here and abroad, have adopted a more casual style of dining by incorporating open kitchens. This enables customers to become engrossed in the performance of the food preparation and become captivated by the spectacle to offer a truly unique dining experience.
You can always tell how good a restaurant is by how popular it is with the locals, so here are favourite busy spots to indulge in delicious tapas:
Our top picks in London are:
Barrafina, Frith Street, Adelaide Street & Dury Lane – each of these small, bustling restaurants are a must, but be warned you will most likely have to queue to grab a seat. Once seated inside, you are thrown straight into the thick of the action as the kitchen is open for customers to be enchanted by the magic that is put into creating the food. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen reflects the vast array of dishes, and offers diners to experience the slightly more unusual regional specialties that Spain has to offer, such as lamb’s brain and rabbit shoulder.
Morito, Exmouth Market – this small, modest restaurant is the sister restaurant to Morro and transports diners to the backstreets of Spain to offer truly authentic and delicious tapas. Another spot that doesn’t take reservations, it is advised to get there early to save disappointment. Once in, the menu showcases a variety of dishes which also have a Moorish twist, with flavors and ingredients to tantalise the taste buds. The menu offers true tapas favourites of croquettes and torilla as well as fried prawns and pork belly.
Our favourite spots to experience truly delicious and authentic flavours in Barcelona are:
True to the queuing form, La Flauta is a large and popular place with the locals, and served fantastic food. A small number of diners are able to sit ourtside on the street but inside offers a surprising number of seats, considering the queue. The menu is simple and the food is served fast and efficiently. Dishes such as a tortilla and croquettes, as well as broquettes (deep fried camembert coated in crushed nuts and sweet jam and sticks of prawn & calamari on thin slices of bread) are offered alongside the slightly odd, but surprising tasty, dish of fries topped with local ham and fried eggs. This is then ‘scrambled’ at your table to form a simple, yet delicious, dish.
La Boqueria is THE place to visit for any foodie
Boasting Europe’s largest and most famous market, La Boqueria is the epitome of Spanish gastronomy. Taking a taking a stroll through the small stalls is a true assault on the senses. It is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the true flavours of Barcelona offering everything from fruit, vegetables, olives, fish, meat and cheeses - something that will suit all taste buds. Here you can either choose to pick up small samples of food (from a shaving of local ham to fresh fruit juices), or you can take a seat at one of the small bars which are most popular for lunches but also offer smaller snacks. If you want to sit down, we recommend El Quim, which is always very popular and offers a selection of tapas as well as slightly larger dishes. Again, the croquettes and Patatas Bravas are the highlights. Another favourite in the market is Portic Boqueria, where we learnt what a Bombas was (a deep fried ball of potato with meat and covered in a similar sauce to that of Patats Bravas).