Restaurants , Spanish Soho
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(17 user reviews)
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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
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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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".

Maggie W
Staff WriterStaff Comp

Great spot, wonderful service and very yummy! Go early and expect a bit of a wait, but seriously worth it!


Apart from a disagreement about what temperature white wine should be served, this was a very enjoyable meal experience. Delicious selection of tapas and very enjoyable to sit at the bar and watch everything being made (as long as one doesn't engage in discussions about wine...).

Lauren R

Loved it - enough said. Great food, atmosphere and wine. I still loved it despite having to queue for nearly an hour and a half.

Tiago Almeida

Great quality tapas but because you can't book in advance it's really hard to get a table which can be quite annoying, nevertheless it's worth to wait!

I lived in Spain for 8 years and I can recommend this place as a must go to all Tapas lovers in London. :) 

Amy M

If you are looking for a private dinning room experience... Look no further. Barrafina is the perfect place to celebrate your birthday. Tucked away downstairs from the busy resturant is this amazing dinning room that can accommodate 12-32 guests. It has a private bar, open plan kitchen and surrounded by wine cellars if you want to hand pick your wine to your cuisine. There are a number of feasting menus to choose from to suit any budget and taste with free flowing wine. Check out the menu I went with in my pictures. We had soooo much food and got to try so many of the amazing things on the menu. I hosted my 30th birthday here and the staff were absolutely lovely. I had a present table and my friends brought balloons. No need to do a table setting as they do it all for you even with place cards. They allowed me to leave my gifts and cake and pick them up the net day so I could go out dancing afterwards with having to carrying everything.


Good things come to those who wait - and boy oh boy will you have to wait, no less than 1 and half hours to get a table here. It's not even the case that the early bird get's the worm - I arrived at 5.30, and still had to wait until 7! This did however mean that I got to spy what Gizzi Erskine was eating on the table next to me though.... We opted for one of the cheapest wines, but this was still delicious. When my mother and I were eventually seated we went for some pane con tomate to start, which exceeds even the most imaginative expectation of tomatoey bread you might have. We then shared the prawn and mushroom fritatta, the rabbit shoulder, some Iberian ham and then the donuts for pud (articulated so Authentically no?). My only complaint was the pud - which did not compare with traditional Spanish churros. Every other mouthful was a flavour sensation, and Gizzi certainly agreed as she jovially selfied away all evening.

Martina S

Buzzing place with excellent Michelin star tapas. We visited the Frith St branch again for dinner on a Monday night at 8pm in the hope that it would be quieter (visited past 10pm at the week-end and did not manage to seat before closing, just got to order smaller dishes and wine standing) but we still had to queue for about 1h30 on the night (although you do get told the waiting time when arriving though so it's up to you). The queue looks quite disheartening at first but is made more bearable as you can order drinks and snacks while you wait. I would not go with more than three people (two is ideal as most seats are at the bar). We started by ordering some perfectly chilled and balanced dry Verdejo white wine and snacks. The pan con tomate and ham croquetas are sumptuously rich and deeply flavoured. Once seated you are not rushed and get to truly enjoy the full food experience. Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable describing dishes in detail to us before ordering. We opted for a selection of tapas from the various categories (fish, meat, tortilla etc..) Every single item had the consistent quality and depth of flavour of top ingredients and care. The octopus capers was particularly mouthwatering and well balanced, warm, juicy and tender, the Chipirones (fried baby calamari) were nicely salty,garlicky and crunchy (although maybe a little touch too salty), the Morcilla Iberica (a type of spanish black pudding) with quail egg that my partner ordered was a perfect balance of seasoning and acidity and, although I am usually not a great fan of black pudding, we ended up almost fighting over the last mouthful. In the end we felt our patience got rewarded, we'd forgotten the wait and and had a truly enjoyable night. The food is the type of beautiful food that makes you happy as you sip wine, chat and laugh surrounded by a warm and busy atmosphere. It's michelin star excellence in an informal laid back setting. Make sure you're in no rush and treat yourself to an exciting tapas experience.


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


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.