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Restaurants, Spanish Bermondsey
4 out of 5 stars
(24user reviews)
jose_credit_tricia de courcy ling.jpg
Tricia de Courcy Ling

Time Out says

José Pizarro (formerly co-founder and head chef of Brindisa) has done a fine job here of creating a very genuine, slightly rustic local Spanish bar. The decor is plain brick, timbers and tiles; seating is mostly on stools, with barrels to stand glasses on; and there’s a no-bookings, doors-wide-open attitude, albeit while being firmly planted in trendified Bermondsey. This, his TV appearances and books have cemented his position as the most prominent Spanish chef in Britain, but what stands out here is his expert attention to sourcing and getting the basics right, ahead of culinary adventurism. You won’t find any great innovations, but you will be treated to perfect, fantastically fresh renderings of the kind of classic traditional tapas that are too often let down by routine reheated preparation, such as crisp-outside, creamy-within croquetas, deep-flavoured tortilla and saltily bittersweet padrón peppers. Prawns came perfectly flash-fried in powerful but never overpowering garlic and chilli, and the renowned Ibérico ham and other meats are from Maldonado, one of Spain’s most esteemed artisan producers. Wines cover a desirable fine-quality range, all available by the (well-priced) glass. The admirably unflustered staff are experts in space management, but we wonder how long a place so regularly packed can stay in such a small setting.




Address: 104 Bermondsey Street
Transport: Tube: Borough tube or London Bridge tube/rail
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Users say (24)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:15
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
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1 of 1 found helpful

Great atmosphere, simple but delicious tapas menu. A real feeling of the best tapas experience you might have in Spain!.

1 of 1 found helpful

Loved it. Busy at 1.30pm on a Saturday afternoon, but they soon found space for our party of four and the crowd made for a good atmosphere. Food was excellent - really authentic, very tasty, swiftly delivered. Favourites were the croquetas (spinach on the day we visited), squid from the specials board, tortilla and baby chicken. Definitely worth the wait for a stool or somewhere to perch.

1 of 1 found helpful

The tapas at Jose is amazing, but its very much a bar/cafe and not a restaurant. I've only been twice because there is always such a queue and the lack of space means that its not very comfortable having a glass of wine whilst waiting for a table. Although the informal seating and busy vibe is part of the appeal, having more seats and/or space around the bar would make it a more enjoyable place to eat . Its not like they wouldn't be able to fill a few extra tables!!

1 of 1 found helpful

What does Tapas mean to you or to anyone? Small plates of food served with a drink? It’s not just the food. Obviously the food is good. For me, it’s the food and everything else that goes with. If you have been to Spain, You will tend to notice, how the Spaniard just sit around with vin and cervecas and their tapas, chatting away with no worries of everything that’s happening around them. I always been a great lover of cultures who sits down and spends time to enjoy the food and the company they are with. It saddens me something that we do not have this culture in London. Even in Asia, even how very over productive they are, time is essential for making money. They still take time to have their lunches. A proper lunch at most time with friends or even just on their own. I want to introduce, one of my favourite tapas places in London. The food is good, but what I like about it is, it feels I just stepped into a tapas place in Spain. No reservation says Jose. Yeap, Jose’s tapas bar. This little tapas place in Bermondsey brings me back to times good times in Spain. Wine barrels as table tops, simple tapas dishes, and all good Spanish wine by the glass. I went to Jose yesterday, had a few tapas and drinks over long chats on a summer’s day (in London). It was perfect. Simple Spanish food and culture. A good way to experience Spain in London. I highly recommend Jose for exactly what I said. SIMPLE SPANISH CULTURE!!!


From the outside the place looks frighteningly packed and since there’s no reservations allowed you may question the wait. But it was fine we had a glass of wine by the heat lamp while waiting - and I think once inside you appreciate the tapas bar feel when everyone is cozily tucked in. The croquettes made with squid ink and the Iberico pork steak were the standouts.


Spanish cuisine is everywhere in London, but this is José Pizarro’s first solo establishment which brings to the table a clean modern Spanish cuisine with its’ white marble and long timber tables.

What we had:

  • Croquetas caseras
  • Padrón Peppers, Cornish sea salt
  • Short Rib with sweet potato mash
  • Lamb with potatoes and purple slaw
  • Salted caramel chocolate molten pudding

This place can get incredibly busy, it reminds me of big boisterous family gatherings where people are crowded around large long tables, sharing food, wine, and stories. The croquettes change according to seasonal produce and are crispy without being heavy. The padrón peppers I always get as they’re deliciously moreish - always ensure that they come out charcoaled and piping hot! The large plate portion sizes are pretty big here so one large plate can easily be shared between two people and subsidised with some tapas on the side. The lamb indeed fell apart and was super tender; however the short rib I found could be a little more tender. The flavours are rich and perfect for bread dipping. I would pass on the chocolate pudding as it wasn’t particularly memorable. Overall, they have a great range of wine and sherry so you can wash down all that tapas and the staff are friendly and attentive with helpful knowledge of the wine.

Tip: The space is a little crowded and on top of that it gets quite busy, so get in early or make sure you have a booking.

Good For: large groups, business dinner, date night, catch up with friends

I've been coming here since it opened and it's remained consistently good. Pizarro is the place I'll go for dinner when there's an occasion, but this is the place I find myself stopping by most frequently with a friend or two for a drink and a bite after work. If I can't vote for both, it has to be this one. So far it has never delivered anything less than was promised.

I always want to go to José, but so does everyone else! The crowds at the bar make you feel like you are tucked away in a corner of Andalucía, but if you're lucky enough you can bag a seat by the window and watch the comings and goings of Bermondsey Street.

I really do think this is some of the best tapas I've had in London. The fig, sheeps cheese, and honey being a real highlight. It's a very teeny tiny venue and so you'll likely be standing, but this just adds to the wine-bar nibbles atmosphere that traditionally tapas should have! 

My local tapas - we stop by only just when it's about to close so we don't have to wait for a table / bench.  This means so dishes some dishes are no longer available but you can't have it all.  I love the attentive service and how fresh and tasty the food is.  But why aren't there more seasonal desserts on offer or something simple like vanilla ice-cream with pedro ximenez?  that would be a great way to finish off here!

I lived in Spain for 3 years as a child so Spanish food is a massive passion of mine. To find a good Spanish tapas restaurant that has that Spanish authentic feel can be quite difficult but not with Jose. I love this place. This place is always busy lunch time to closing and it isn't surprising! They have a brilliant selection of wines bu the food is amazing! When you go order one of everything you really won't regret it! Enjoy!

Nice little place in a vibrant neighbourhood. The food was just about right on our visit, but nothing to write home about. Free water was a nice touch though.

The number of times I want to dine hear compared to the number of times I have, isn't a good figure! With just 19 covers, no booking, you just have to turn up at odd times, cross your fingers, and hope! Sometimes, the gods are on your side, love the staff as much as I love the staff! The food is excellent, very much a couple sort of place, if you get in then do try the dishes, but remeber you need to leave to let others in!!

went on a quiet bank holiday night, so actually got to sit down, with 3 other people. food was absolutely SPOT ON, from the amazing olives and tempranillo, to our favourites - the pork belly fillet, mackerel escabeche and prawns with peppers. we ordered about 10 dishes in total, and were well fed, though not overly stuffed :) which is easy to do with the quality of food here, but the kitchen was closed! very friendly service, one of the most pleasant meals, and at around 35pph with wine + service, was very very well worth it. i hope it's always good as this, because i plan to go back, A LOT.

Best tapas in town if you can get in (and that's a big if!). I've eaten here several times since it opened and as I work nearby, it's not a big deal to stroll up at lunchtime or just after work, but if I had taken the trouble to travel across London to try it out, I'd be very disappointed not to get in. I cannot fault any of the dishes and enjoy the buzz of the venue and friendliness of the staff. Like the touch of free sparkling water too. Tried the sister restaurant, Pizarro out for the first time today and I much prefer Jose.

Been eating and drinking in here since it first opened, and have no fault with the food, drink and general service. Today, however was an eye-opener - had an irate, reactionary customer run after me - after I brushed passed him (impossible not to in a space so small) thinking I'd taken his wallet from his back pocket (when he'd put it elsewhere) No defence from the staff, whatsoever. Stuff like this leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. So, to end - great food, great drink, but be careful not to brush past anyone, lest you be treated like a criminal.

They simply can't cope, waiters don't write down the order so you get dishes you didn't order and you don't get dishes you did and they add them to the the bill anyway. The bill was a work of fiction. Certainly not cheap and seriously uncomfortable. If your idea of fun is eating and drinking in the equivalent of a railway carriage then you will enjoy but it's not for me.

Loved it! a wee bit pricey but in terms of quality you really get what you pay for! Place was busy so it was standing room and there was an art to getting and holding onto your space but the the food and Manzanilla were well worth it and the atmos was great.

Brilliant, was there last night, great food and atmosphere! It's a little cramped, and most people were standing, but it adds to the casual, relaxed feel. Food was wonderful, friendly staff and great interior.

0 of 1 found helpful

Too busy, food wasn't great and the manager was a bit lost...

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