Just by chance I had an amazing experience in an elegant restaurant with real Spanish food. I have been to a few Spanish restaurants in London and had a chance to travel around Spain - Hispania is definitely one of the very few places in London where I will definitely come back for wonderful choice of tapas - I really enjoyed soft and juicy chicken wings, real Serrano ham with pantumaca and amazingly perfect empanada gallega, but my favorite has to be, full of flavour- Arroz negro (black rice). Friendly and relaxed atmosphere yet very professional and elegant. I would definitely recommend it to my friends and most certainly come back there myself!
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Posted: Mon Feb 4 2013
By Susan Low
Hispania's imminent opening in the heart of the City has been trumpeted for months, but at last it’s flung open its rather grand doors. The décor is reminiscent of a Spanish parador, with high ceilings and a huge sweeping central staircase that would have done Scarlett O’Hara proud. The downstairs comprises a wine bar to one side and a dining area to the other, the latter with tasteful sideboards laid out picturesquely with fresh bread and preserved goods in jars. Less coherently, antlers adorn the back walls and guests are treated to a soundtrack that veers erratically from C&W to R&B (we didn’t know whether to whinge or weep).
On our visit the upstairs restaurant was still making its slow journey to fruition – we had been told the new chef had arrived (weeks after Hispania opened), but the restaurant was still not open. Tapas was the only option. The menu played it safe with dishes that aren’t likely to surprise or frighten the City clientele, such as meatballs with mashed potato, or lentils with duck confit – neither of them very Spanish. More typical were the platters of Spanish cheeses and hams; the jamón Iberica, served with country bread rubbed with tomato was great. From the daily specials menu, a big crusty wedge of tuna empanada was just the way we’d enjoyed it in Spain; but a goat’s cheese and orange salad, with its insipid salad leaves, was bland.
For a wine bar, the wine list earns only a ‘could try harder’. There are only 15 wines, all Spanish, and a mere two sherries by the glass. The wines are decent enough, but the descriptions baffling, including a light, zippy white Txacolí described as ‘syrupy’ (it’s anything but) and a glass of rather good full red Ribera del Duero described as ‘bloshy’.
The intention is good, but on our visit, it clearly had a long way to go before it can become a notable a destination for food or drink.
Average User Rating
4.5 / 5
- 5 star:8
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:1
I recently had dinner in Hispania with a group of friends and we had the best Spanish food in London. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try authentic high quality Spanish cuisine. The food is simply amazing. The service is excellent and the atmosphere is elegant and inviting. We had a lot of different dishes and shared them and all them were spectacular. We started with some outstanding ham and Manchego cheese. I love ham and this one was really good and nicely carved! We also had some of the delicious Hispania croquetas and an amazing tuna tartare. I also loved the tempura asparagus with a tasty sauce (Romescu) and the pantumaca (bread with tomato). We ordered a dish called "Secreto Iberico". You have to try it! It's a very fine piece of pork meat with a nice apple sauce. Just delicious! We all had a delicious cold soup called "Salmorejo". I loved it and it was very refreshing, perfect for a warm day as the one we had! Don't miss the "Arroz Negro", we all loved it. Very nicely cooked rice with seafood (as good as the one you can get in Spain!). Dessert anyone? Yes!!!! We ordered "torrijas": A-m-a-z-i-n-g!! It's the Spanish version of "French toast" but 10 times better :) Did I forget anything? Wait! The wine selection is great and we were not disappointed with the wonderful Albarino we chose. I also loved the decor: subtle lights, beautiful paintings and colors. It's a great place for meeting up with friends, a romantic dinner, business meeting ....special celebration or just a casual drink at the end of the day! I'll definitively be back next time I'm in London.
Hispania is probably one of the best things to have to the dining scene in London. The Timeout review is unjustified in my opinion. I spent about 4 hours at Hispania. Starting off at the bar with some croquettas / some Jamon Iberico and an awesome Albarino set the stage for the evening. Since, it was Monday evening it was quiet enough to get great attention. For dinner, we started off with the salmorejo (which is variation of the Andalucian Gazpacho) with quail egg was quite unique. The black rice squid was essentially out of the world and I will savor its flavor for a long time to come. Other dishes that stood out were the "El secreto" flavorful pork cuts with honey,the asparagus tempura and the fried calamari. The food was no doubt excellent but what is more important I think Hispania has recreated a bit of Spain in London - its fine food, wine culture and history. Highly recommended for any Hispanophile!
We found Hispania to be a really atmospheric place with warm and attentive staff, and the food was of a very high standard. We didn't have to wait long after ordering for the food to arrive (although it was early evening), and there followed a succession of beatifully presented and exquisitely cooked tapa, definitely a cut above the usual tapas offerings. Will definitely visit again and would happily recommend Hispania to anyone.
I come a lot to this restaurant because they serve all the tapas I like and make great recommendations to join the food with great wines and sherrys. It is a vibrant and reliable choice. I am especially addicted to the cheese bites,the special croquettes (amazing flavour!!),the secret iberian pork loin, and the paellas. The relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome makes every visit enjoyable. My friend and me really like the decor of the restaurant - iberian with a modern twist.
I went to Hispania last week and I loved it. The space is really impressive: modern and sophisticated but also relaxed and much warmer than some other trendy city places. The food was outstanding. I specially enjoyed the delicate crunchy cheese bites, the black rice and the croquetas. Everything tasted fresh and homemade and the portions were generous. The service was welcoming and friendly. As a proud Spaniard (from the north) I felt immediately at home and I would recommend this place to anybody interested in good spanish food in a stylish, smart atmosphere, far away from typical cliches associated with touristic areas- which you often find in other tapas bars.
just a quick note to tell you about my experience at Hispania; it was precisely an experience, visual and culinary at the same time, don't remember to be so astonished at a restaurant layout, smart, modern and even somehow preppy. Good looking clientele, indeed. As per the food, I am a bit surprised with the review, I might have been lucky but most dishes were particularly tasty, been in Spanish restaurants several times and Hispania is possibly the best one in a couple of years: rounded dishes mixing traditional products with modern techniques -guess the chef is a fan of Adria; keep on with the good job. In summary, wonderful food and atmosphere; coming back in a couple of weeks for my birthday party!
I was at Hispania last week with a group of friends after work, and being Spanish and knowing the Spanish food very well, I have to say the experience was really good, really authentic Spanish food cooked and served by Spanish people. We were given a nice table for four, the service was attentive and very friendly, the menu had some of the classical Spanish tapas and some new things. We went for the classics and tried the tortilla that was very good, the croquetas that were really creamy, probably the best croquetas I ever had in London, a very generous plate of Iberico jam with pan-tumaca, and a black rice that was amazing. Most of the wines in the wine list are really affordable, in general, both the food and the wine had great value for money. The place and its decortation is really impressive and I am sure this is going to become the best Spanish food restaurant in London very soon. I strongly recomend it to all the Spanish food lovers.
just came back from there - excellent. I am _not_ Spanish plus the person I went with didn't eat meat. We ordered the anchovies, calamares, toffee crisp cheese things (yep go with it) and black rice. All really nice intense flavours very delicate a million miles away from the stack 'em high sell 'em cheap approach by other tapas bars. If that's what you're after, then yes avoid this place. Service ever so slightly haphazard but I'm sure they'll sort that out. I give it 4 stars and no, I didn't complain to the manager.
I really love Tapas and spanish food, but Hispania is a joke! Place is nice, and I work close by so I really wanted to try what I thought could by new "cantine". First, despite stating they have finally a full kitchen the menu was disappointing : few tapas, missing classics such as pulpo gallego... Then, we tried a piece of cheese they offered when we arrived and thought we would probably get poisoned. We ordered various tapas : patatas bravas where french fries with ketchup and some other sauce definitely not homemade, meatballs were not even cooked or warm and covered by a disgusting sauce, salad looks like the one from pret a manger across the street minus the taste, croquetas de jamon were probably coming from lidl and got in the microwave 2 minutes before, and tuna tartare had no taste at all. We dont usuallycall the manager, but this time we did : first answer are we are all spanish - and? that does not justify the taste or the quality, second was ok sorry - I would have appreciate a commercial gesture or even a " I will talk to the cook but NADA. Seriously stay away