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Restaurants, Spanish Redland & Cotham
4 out of 5 stars
Bravas, Bristol, Cotham

Sample classic Spanish small plates at this tapas bar and restaurant, where the focus is on authenticity

These days, it's rare to walk down the street in Bristol and not hear Spanish voices, such has been the level of migration to the city in recent years. However, the best Spanish bar and restaurant in town is owned by English couple Kieran and Imogen Waite (who can also be found at their San Fransisco-inspired café, Bakers & Co, in Gloucester Road).

The pair may have been born in Bristol, rather than Barcelona, but authenticity is taken very seriously here. Every January, they take their staff to Spain for research, and 2015 kicked off with a visit to Malaga – home of Bravas favourite fried aubergine with molasses (£2.90) – to meet producers, sample new products and source authentic recipes.

The tapas bar, which stretches almost the length of the room, displays the day’s dishes. Patrons can pull up a pew and sample the likes of chorizo cooked in cider (£5), chicken and spinach croquettes (£1.50 each), tortilla and alioli (£3.20), and, of course, the patatas bravas (£2.90) – here the potato is thinly sliced, rather than cubed, and served with a fiery sauce. 

Start your evening in Bravas with a gin and tonic, sherry or cava, follow that with a Rioja, and, if you fancy it, try the Estrella Damm Inedit beer created by El Bulli’s Ferran Adria.

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Bravas says
At Bravas we serve simple, freshly prepared, high-quality Spanish-inspired dishes intended to be shared along with a great selection of Spanish wines and ice cold beers in frozen glasses.

We visit Spain frequently and are always amazed by the fresh, unpretentious, inexpensive food in local tapas bars. This is where the idea for Bravas came from; where customers will feel the welcoming atmosphere of a local pub but the quality of food you would expect in a great restaurant. A sociable space where people can feel relaxed and at home, coming in alone, with a partner or with friends. The food we offer is tapas, with a menu that changes daily, taking advantage of the fresh and seasonal products available, therefore using ingredients that are both at their best and good value.

Bravas is unlike anything else in Bristol! Warm ambient lighting and an open kitchen where people can see, hear and smell their food being cooked. The kitchen is adjacent to, and behind, the bar with seating running the whole way along, giving people a front row view of the action.
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By: Betty James


Venue name: Bravas
Address: 7 Cotham Hill
Opening hours: Tue-Wed 5-11pm; Thu 5-midnight; Sat-Sun noon-midnight
Static map showing venue location