Edinburgh's best Spanish restaurants
Amidst the popular and varied Shore dining quarter, Tapa remains a popular choice with locals and those who’ve sought it out and made it a favourite under their own steam. Sevillan chef Paco Martin Romano offers a choice of food which is authentic and significantly removed from the familiar choices at a chain tapas bar. Try, for example, the chistorra (a form of chorizo) hot dog served with mustard salsa, the Iberian pig cheeks braised in red wine or the Galician octopus in orange and pine nut vinaigrette, washed down with one of an impressively-chosen range of red and white Spanish wines.
Serrano Manchego is a bright and airy corner tapas bar which has made a healthy impression upon locals during its tenure on Leith Walk. The tapas are prepared behind the bar and on display at the counter, including classic Spanish flavours like manchego cheese, serrano ham, prawns cooked in paprika and chorizo in red wine, with less familiar octopus salad or anchovies in olive oil and garlic. You may well want to take a group of friends to sample a few of the relatively pricey items without breaking the bank and to enjoy a drink together, but bocata sandwiches and an all-day Spanish breakfast help with a more café-like atmosphere during the day.
El Quijote’s compact nature lends itself to a certain homely sense for those who have managed to bag themselves a seat. Part of this intimacy comes from the feeling that you’re dining in someone’s front room, but even more is inspired by the genuine sense that you’re eating real, homespun Spanish cooking, an impression which is enhanced when you discover that the group of owners are from the country themselves.
Set in a snug corner basement room close to the Water of Leith and on the boundary between Stockbridge and the New Town, Rafael’s is a restaurant which is infused with the personality of its owner and head chef Rafael Torrubia. His air of personable informality extends to the menu, which is a short list of daily specialities chalked up on a blackboard and presented to the customer at the table. It means there isn’t an extensive choice, but rather a sense of variety and novelty for regular visitors, while Torrubia still builds in a decent choice amidst the limited options.
Lasal's menu is a hard-working affair, trying its best to cover as much ground as possible across different Spanish styles, which means it ends up being a good all-rounder rather than a place which can be picked out for doing any one style better than anywhere else. In saying that, good quality isn’t shirked on, and this family-run place deservedly prides itself on its selection of imported Spanish meats, paella choices and Spanish omelettes. The menu also includes a range of a la carte options and a tapas list which tours the palette of Spanish flavours from manchego cheese to tortillas and grilled octopus.