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The 100 best restaurants in London: Spanish

Looking for the best Spanish restaurants in London? Here you’ll find our favourite places serving spectacular Spanish cuisine

If you're a fan of intense flavour and a bit of sunshine on your dinner plate, you'll need to visit these Spanish restaurants in London. They range from crowd-pleasing tapas joints to Michelin star restaurants, but the food throughout is muy rico.

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A stool around the marble bar of this animated tapas joint is still one of Soho’s hottest seats due to the authentic menu, feel-good vibe and sheer spectacle – dishes are cooked before your eyes. Pick from assured versions of the tapas top ten – including tortilla, croquetas and pimientos de padrón – plus daily specials dominated by bracingly fresh market catches, then watch as a tight brigade of unflappable chefs delivers the goods. Despite the crowds waiting on your seat, rushing you through a meal is anathema here. Just as well, because it’s all too easy to keep ordering more, and the excellent by-the-glass wine list encourages experimentation. But be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait. There’s are equally brilliant branched on Adelaide Street, near Trafalgar Square, and on Drury Lane.

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Despite its odd location amid Acre Lane’s tyre workshops and charity shops, Boqueria has deservedly built up a devoted fan base spanning Clapham, Brixton and beyond. Its friendly, all-Spanish staff ferry spot-on tapas and raciónes to the chattering crowds in the light, modern dining room. Hits include saffron-tinged cod fritters, melt-in-the-mouth ham croquetas and jet-black rice with squid and mussels. The atmosphere is always high and the prices refreshingly low – just two of the many reasons Boqueria continues to ride the crest of the capital’s Spanish wave.

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This warm and inviting nook in the heart of Soho manages to be both authentically Spanish and admirably cliché-free (apart from the giant hams dangling from the ceiling). High communal tables, a clattering ambience and rapid-fire service make it a perfect post-work pit-stop – as does the exquisitely considered wine list, which offers nearly everything by the glass and carafe. The menu, inspired by the day’s market, mixes top-notch charcuterie with well-balanced dishes such as scallops pepped up with tomato relish and olive mayonnaise, or braised pig cheek with potato purée – all at restrained prices.

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Ember Yard

The Salt Yard Group have produced some stunning but little-known restaurants such as Dehesa and Opera Tavern, going from strength to strength as they add new branches. Taking the Italian-Iberian small-plates ethos of Salt Yard, but with the cooking done over smoky coals, Ember Yard goes one better. The ground floor is a wine bar and restaurant with lots of warm woods; if you’re in the basement, try for the bar counter. Every tapas flavour combination is a winner; tender octopus coated in a peperonata sauce, say, or Ibérico pork ribs grilled to melting softness.

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Blending Moorish flavours from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East, Sam and Sam Clark’s restaurant has been a popular Exmouth Market eatery for over a decade now. Expect aromatic dishes jewelled with nuts, herbs and dried fruits, plus hearty peasant-style stews, spiced roasted meats and seafood. If they’re all booked up, pop in to their tapas offshoot – Morito – conveniently located next door.

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José Pizarro’s jovial tapas bar, José, has been rammed since it opened; this larger, smarter offering has proved a second Bermondsey Street hit for the chef and restaurateur. The dining room accommodates all occasions with its friendly, anything-goes feel and its mix of curved booths, communal tables and casual perches at the bar. Meanwhile the food – a mix of tapas, larger plates and daily specials, all inspired by that morning’s market trip – gives a modish slant to Spanish regional specialities, from fideuà (a Valencian paella made with vermicelli) to Segovian suckling pig or milk-fed leg of Castilian lamb. The wine list champions cava, so best find something to celebrate.

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The Borough

The Providores & Tapa Room

Peter Gordon is the father of British fusion, and his charming split-level restaurant – a precursor to his Kopapa in Covent Garden – duly mixes a wine bar and small-plates outfit downstairs with a more formal dining room upstairs. The menus might read like a word-association exercise (are you ready for smoked Dutch eel, orange freekeh, capers, baba ganoush, sesame miso dressing, pomegranate and crispy buckwheat?), but the seemingly random ingredients in each dish – often with a Southeast Asian bias – confidently deliver a sucker punch of flavour. The cellar has an extensive list of New Zealand wines, with a tempting selection by the glass. It’s a perfect fit for this longstanding fusionistic enclave.

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