El Pirata

Restaurants, Spanish Mayfair
3 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
El Pirata

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.



Venue name: El Pirata
Address: 5-6 Down Street
Transport: Tube: Green Park or Hyde Park Corner
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Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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What an adorable Spanish tapas restaurant in the heart of Mayfair offering over 60 tapas dishes, al fresco dining and fantastic service. The atmosphere is fantastic and reminded me of a restaurant I visited in Barcelona – beautiful bar area, low lighting and traditional / rustic decoration.

There is a really good choice of dishes on the menu – obviosuly more tapas focused but there are some larger plates (paella!) and set menus at very reasonable prices (£18-23). We opted for a mixture – to begin with we had padron peppers, pan con tomate and serrano ham – all absolutely delicious.

Given we were hungry, we chose another 6 tapas dishes – spanish chicken and rice, croquetas de jamon, patatas bravas, marinated deep fried fish, calamares and prawns in olive oil, garlic & dried hot chilli peppers. I particularly loved the croquetas and the prawns! All were very reasonably priced between £5 and £7.

What really stood out for me was the service – so friendly, efficient and helpful! The prices are very reasonable for the quality and atmosphere – recommended.


London has plenty of tapas restaurants, and this one is reasonably priced for Mayfair (especially with the lunch special, including two tapas, a drink and bread.. But the pescado tapas wasn't so much fried as soggy, and the chicken in sherry sauce was mostly skin and bones. But the wines are nice and the atmosphere pleasant and buzzy. Go for the location and wine in case the food is quite ordinary.

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.

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.

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