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, 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.
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|
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Average User Rating
4.5 / 5
- 5 star:16
- 4 star:8
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
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
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.
Ok so first things first - this flagship Barrafina has moved from Frith Street to Dean Street so if you're waiting in a queue on Frith you may be waiting a while longer than the average Barrafina guest... yes it's another no bookings restaurants (one of the originals) but boy is it worth the (1.5 hours on a Friday night) wait!
Half the fun is actually the anticipation of a seat - the people-watching is great in the evenings and they'll even serve you drinks and snacks whilst you wait for your seat. Top tip - always sit at the counter: you can watch the chefs make your food, have a looksie at your neighbours' orders and the general atmosphere is buzzy and fun.
Logistics aside, the food never fails to impress: hands down the best pan con tomate in town - I don't know what magic they sprinkle on top but it works and is possibly my favourite dish on the menu... apart from the croquetas, and the pluma (both cooked to perfection), and the tuna tartar (oh my god- the TUNA TARTAR!).
We topped the evening off with poached pears and a complimentary glass of sherry - the perfect ending. I actually don't think you can go wrong in Barrafina. There's a reason there are now three branches - the quality control is second to none - dishes were run past the head chef (checked by sight and taste) before being served, the service itself was on point and I've always had a great time whenever I've eaten here.
Thumps up from me!
One of my most favourite places in Soho, well worth a wait on a busy night. Absolutely everything they serve is fingers-lickingly tasty
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...).
Loved it - enough said. Great food, atmosphere and wine. I still loved it despite having to queue for nearly an hour and a half.
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!
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.
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.
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.