El Pirata

Restaurants , Spanish Mayfair
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(4 user reviews)
5 Love It
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 (Ming Tang-Evans)
Ming Tang-Evans
 (Ming Tang-Evans)
Ming Tang-Evans
 (Ming Tang-Evans)
Ming Tang-Evans
 (Ming Tang-Evans)
Ming Tang-Evans
Venue says: "Enjoy two tapas dishes of your choice, bread and alioli and a soft drink, house beer or a glass of wine for just £10.25. Available noon–3pm."

Suited types flock to this Mayfair tapas bar, which does a recession-friendly £10.25 set lunch deal that includes a glass of wine. The menu is solidly macho with the odd rogue element (couscous, pancetta, risotto). Service from our Burgos-born waitress was cheerful and sweet-natured.

Lunch is aimed at the time-poor. Dishes arrived with almost indecent haste, crowding the tiny table. The tortilla is among the best in London, and we liked the rich chorizo-laced lentil stew. But fried chicken with garlic and parsley didn’t pack the promised punch, and a fresh, if inauthentic, tricolore salad was unseasoned and let down by poor-quality mozzarella. Dull sliced bread struck another low note, as did the whiffy basement toilets.

Coffees, a shared plate of top-notch Spanish cheeses with quince (we couldn’t face the fried bananas) and two extra glasses of vino blanco brought the bill to £45 for two. El Pirata’s old-school cooking could do with more brio and consistency, but the friendly prices, informal ambience and attractive setting – a chocolate-toned room enlivened with Miró prints – made us inclined to linger.

Eat at the outside tables in summer or sit at the restaurant’s snazzy bar, but avoid the gloomy basement.


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El Pirata says
El Pirata has reigned supreme as one of London’s top tapas bars and restaurants since it opened in the heart of Mayfair in 1994 – El Pirata is firmly established as the favourite place for people who value a superb location, a wide selection of authentic Spanish tapas food, sophisticated yet informal surroundings, friendly professional service and above all…value for money.

You can relax at the superb mirrored bar with a drink or two whilst enjoying the atmosphere of the Spanish influenced decor. Inside the restaurant we serve food both
upstairs or downstairs, choose from our Tapas menu where each dish is individually priced, or if you’re not too familiar with Tapas, choose from our two fantastic set menus. At lunchtimes enjoy our special lunch menu which offers great value; two tapas dishes, a bread roll and alioli plus a soft drink or a glass of wine for just £10.25 – great value!

Downstairs is ideal for parties and gatherings of up to 60 people. If you prefer a private area for either that important business dinner or a more romantic setting for that more intimate meal, you will find our two private alcoves perfect.

When the weather’s at its best, our four alfresco tables are an instant hit, but you’ll have to be early because they are snapped up fast!

As you would expect at El Pirata, we know our wines and stock some of the very best from Spain. There’s bound to be one to suit your taste and budget. We also carry an extensive range of sherries as well as sangria.
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Venue name: El Pirata
Address: 5-6 Down Street
Opening hours: Meals served noon-11.30pm Mon-Fri. Dinner served 6-11.30pm Sat
Transport: Tube: Green Park or Hyde Park Corner
Price: Main courses £13.95-£17.95. Tapas £1.90-£10.95. Set lunch (noon-3pm) £10.25 2 dishes incl glass of wine. Set meal £16.35 8 dishes
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Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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Emma P
Staff Writer

Maybe there's been a change of chef since the last reviews in 2013 - we went with a small party and shared dishes so got to try quite a bit of the menu. Everything we ordered was fresh and delicious, from strips of steak to calamari, asparagus to tortilla. The only thing I wasn't so keen on were the meatballs, which tasted like a dusty cupboard to my palate (my fellow diners disagreed with me though). El Pirata was busy on a midweek evening and has a friendly atmosphere, so definitely worth a try if you're in the area.


A cualquier cosa llaman tapas , fatal y el servicio deja mucho que desear.La tortilla fria un desastre,para olvidar, como español me senti decepdionado.

Blanca Diaz

I have eaten at this restaurant quite a few times over the years and yesterday I paid it another visit with some friends although I had not been there for a while. The restaurant is always busy and the atmosphere is quite relaxed but I was surprised by the changes in service and food. To start with the waiter was really pushy trying to get us to decide on a drink just after we sat down at the table. Within 5 minutes, he came back to ask about drinks three times. When we finally managed to glance through the drinks menu and decided on a wine he broke the news that they did not have it. We chose another one (red wine) and when served it was extremely warm, detail which we brought to his attention. He offered to bring a bucket with ice, something you do not normally do with a red wine, but would not offer to change the bottle instead. In any case, we did not give much importance to this fact and went on by choosing tapas from the menu. I must say I felt very disappointed, and being Spanish, I was embarrassed when the food was brought to the table. The presentation scored a 0 not to mention the stinginess on the food quantity. You get a fuller plate but just going into any bar in Spain drinking a beer and eating the free tapa served. And unfortunately, this was the theme around all the tapas we ordered. The monkfish was a tiny piece cut in four small cubes served in a small plate and even then the plate looked really sad and empty but the cost is £6.05. And for the people who review the restaurant and think that paying those amounts for the so called “tapas” is good value for money I would ask them to think again. I felt totally fooled and ripped off. And in all honestly, London is now hosting very good quality and authentic Spanish tapas bars across town and in very nice locations to feel the need to go back to El Pirata of Mayfair again. A real shame!


Staff are super friendly, food is amazing, great atmosphere. Will be back for sure.