• Restaurants
  • Spanish
Critics' choice
10 Love It
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Michelle Grant / Time Out
Michelle Grant / Time Out
Michelle Grant / Time Out

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.


Venue name: Barrafina
Address: 54 Frith Street
Opening hours: Tapas served noon-3pm, 5-11pm Mon-Sat; 1-3.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road tube
Price: Tapas £4-£18.50

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
3 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful

Great tapas and atmosphere but the queues are very long, any day, any time, and it spoils the experience somewhat. Saw Bill Murray of Hollywood fame the last time I was here and he seemed to be enjoying the Rioja and Jamon! It almost made up for the 45 minutes of shuffling along in the queue.

1 of 1 found helpful

Deserves a better review from TimeOut, in my opinion. As described below, "consistently excellent".

ryan g

Simply the best Spanish food around, amazing wine selection and always a great atmosphere, would go here again and again.

St John B

Excellent tapas in a great location. Yes the queues can be bad but once you've got a seat the wait is worthwhile. It's got a great buzzy vibe and the pan con tomate is excellent!

Fred R

Excellent food, great selection of fish. I would recommend sitting towards the entrance as you get a great experience. Be ready to wait though as its first come first served.

Howard S

If you arrive have its opened, you will wait 1-2 hrs, best tip is arrive 15 mins before opening. Food is excellent, order at least 7 dishes for 2 of you, don't go as a group as they will not set you together. Finally menu of the day is on twitter


Firstly everyone needs to go here expecting to queue. If that's going to bother you, even if the food is delicious then this isn't for you. The queue moves relatively quickly so if you're happy to wait then you're in for some of the best tapas London has to offer. Everything was so delicious paired with really good wine. Service was really friendly and our waiter had a great sense of humour. Would eat here again in a heartbeat.


Overrated! Food is good but not excellent. Croquettes were too cheesy and salty. I love cheese but the cheese flavour was too strong in this dish. Chorizo with potato and watercress also too salty. Tortilla with gravy?! reminded me of Sunday roast not days in Barcelona. Oyster ceviche was excellent as was the Iberico ham (but super expensive at 18.50 a plate). Friendly staff but let down by the food.


Some of the best spanish food you can get in london. It's not for everyone - it's really rowdy, and you often have to wait for ages to get a table if you get there after 6.30pm(!), but this is what I love about it and I have been several times over the last couple of years. The food is consistently excellent, especially the fish which changes daily, and it has great staff who always seem to be enjoying themselves. if you are precious about bustling and atmospheric places and want a quiet meal, go to tapas brindisa on broadwick street - completely different experience and vastly inferior in my opinion.