The Soho original for flawlessly executed tapas - part restaurant, part theatre, and with a no-reservations policy that means you're almost certain to queue.
If proof is needed that tapas is fashionable, the queues at Barrafina are it. And there will be a queue: bookings aren’t taken and hopeful diners can expect to wait at least an hour, any evening of the week. Yet seldom does anyone leave Barrafina disappointed.
The place is part restaurant, part theatre, in which diners play a part. Your role begins the moment you join the line for one of the 20 or so stools around the L-shaped bar. Nibbles and drinks are served as you wait – service is excellent. The chefs, stars of their stage, shout out orders, grill, fry and plate up their creations.
The owners, brothers Sam and Eddie Hart (who also own Fino), know a thing or two about Spanish food; their mother grew up in Mallorca and they spent summers there as children. Barrafina’s menu is studded with Mallorcan and Catalan tapas dishes, such as juicy, crisp-skinned grilled chicken thighs served with exemplary romesco sauce, and coca mallorquina (Mallorca’s answer to pizza), piled high with spinach and studded with pine nuts and raisins. A main course-size dish of tender octopus was given extra zip by capers, and toast with alioli was a simple, garlicky treat.
Wines by the glass showcase some of Spain’s best modern winemaking.