A Spanish tapas restaurant in Tooting.
It’s a lovely feeling when you study a menu and want to order everything. It’s even lovelier when you notice the reasonable prices, and realise you could do exactly that without having to raise a mortgage first. Yet talk of mortgages surrounded us at this tapas bar in Tooting, as the area’s seen a huge influx of new-to-London renters and first-homers. This demographic of up-for-it flatshares and the newly-coupled is creating a surge in fun, affordable places to eat and drink in SW17.
Why did Soho House’s Chicken Shop cross the road? To get to La Tapería, on the adjacent street corner. Over the road is Honest Burgers; around the corner is Mud, an Aussie-style brunch place and café. Geronimo Inns is currently converting a huge local landmark, The Trafalgar Arms, into a trendy wine bar. No wonder Tooting’s been called the new Shoreditch.
Yet La Tapería’s charm is more homespun than the bigger operators. A side passage and yard at the back have been covered with corrugated plastic roofing to make a beach shack-style extension; a marble-topped bar at the front dispenses simple but good cocktails; and a long corridor-like series of rooms connects the two, with an open kitchen halfway along. Sit near it and you can admire cool artistry in a very hot kitchen, as the chefs work with wordless concentration.
The menu’s the sort of thing you might find in Spain – if you’re lucky. Big prawns tasted as if they’d just been lifted out of the sea, then sautéed with chilli and garlic. Salt cod fritters arrived fresh from the fryer, perfectly seasoned and crisp with a fresh alioli. These are classic tapas, yet so often the simplest things are hardest to get right. A simple pan con tomate, sourdough bread rubbed with garlic and spread with crushed fresh tomatoes, relies on prime ingredients, and the version here matches anything we’ve eaten on the Iberian peninsula.
A few dishes show more invention, such as baby squid stuffed with Spanish black pudding. The appearance is striking, and the metallic taste of the filling adds an earthy edge to the seafood; textures and flavours of sea and land meet on a plate.
Little Tapería was lively and filled with smiles on our Friday-night visit. Despite not taking reservations, the staff were able to squeeze us in. As we left, good-tempered lines had formed both here and at the adjacent and equally modish Chicken Shop. Who would have thought that Tooting Broadway would become a place to pasear the time?
|Venue name:||The Little Tapería|
143 Tooting High St
|Cross street:||Nutwell Street|
|Opening hours:||5-11.30pm Mon-Thur; 5-12.30pm Fri; 10am-12.30pm Sat; 10am-11pm Sun.|
|Transport:||Tube: Tooting Broadway|
|Price:||Meal for two with wine and service: around £70.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:26
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Went for a friend's 40th there and food was delicious. Especially the lamb cutlets, fantastic and such a cute place.
This is one of the best restaurants in Tooting, always really busy even early on in the week all the dishes are so tasty. Great for a lunchtimes with their 2 for £7 dish deal, the cocktails are also fantastic.
This is simply my favourite restaurant in Tooting. The food is simple, outstanding and varied. Madeleine who is one of the owners has created a gem of a restaurant with friendly staff, an eclectic bar and best of all a chef who's culinary touch is awesome!!
An absolutely brilliant find - some of the best Spanish food I've tasted outside Spain. You have to book in the evenings but this is a rising star in Tooting's renaissance!!!
The dishes are unusual and delicious, and the staff are all friendly. This place has an amazing buzz to it, and I've loved it every time I've been for dinner there.
Delicious! Can only hope they will start doing brunch again but in the meantime their tapas are amazing.
Great atmosphere with fresh food and changing menus and authentic Spanish tapas plus a great cocktail menu. Delish!
Great service, delicious food and cocktails and amazing atmosphere! All you could ever want on your doorstep.
Amazing food. Great atmosphere. A wonderful place for a special evening out without having to go into the big city. Love it!
Great food and cocktails at really reasonable prices but get there early to bag a table as it's very popular!
Delicious, interesting food. Lovely, fun, social atmosphere. Just what you want from a great local spot!
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