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“Great food makes you forget everything else” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Barrafina Tapas Bar

Barrafina Tapas Bar
2 Bligh St, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia
+61 2 9231 2551
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Ranked #1,497 of 5,486 Restaurants in Sydney
Price range: $4 - $27
Cuisines: Tapas
Dining options: Lunch, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Reservations
Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Great food makes you forget everything else”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

Barrafina is in an awkward part of the CBD, and its location on the corner of Bligh and Bent streets has been home to a revolving door of cafes over the years. Hopefully Barrafina will hang around for a bit longer to deliver lots more of its Spanish-inspired tapas goodness!
It's all hard surfaces and industrial minimalism on the inside. Frankly, it seems a bit thrown together and slightly dysfunctional for the staff (whatever is in the cupboard that the waitress has to climb up on the bench top to get several times a night really needs to be put somewhere a bit lower!). But it's comfortable enough, and there's a few outside tables if you don't mind sitting down to eat on a busy intersection.
The atmosphere is pretty jolly. There's a bar section separated from the restaurant by imagination only and its a bit of an echo chamber. It feels mean to not say nice things about the staff but I got the impression they would have been delighted if someone at our table spoke Spanish. There was a lot of pointing and a few repeats and even a couple of wrong orders - but I got the feeling they really were trying hard.
The food makes it worthwhile though. A great range of small, tapas and main sized meals as well as sides. The produce is fresh and delicious and whoever is doing the cooking really knows their business. The dishes came out quickly and they all looked and tasted spot on. Our table had a bit of everything - standouts being a soft-shelled crab slider (who knew!), the crispy fried chicken and an unctuous slow-cooked lamb shoulder. We slightly over-ordered so I'm not even sure if they have a dessert menu. We each shelled out just over $50 each for more delicious food than we could handle a a couple of bottles of wine. Not bad for downtown Sydney.
I imagine that there's a crowd at lunch time, but if you happen to be caught in the CBD at dinner time, I reckon this could be go-to treat. My only concern would be that whoever is in the kitchen is destined for better things.
Barrafina is making the most of it's location by offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. It takes bookings and apparently the Italian restaurant serving out of the bar next door comes under the Barrafina umbrella.
Don't go for the atmosphere or service, but be prepared to want to go back for the food. Yummy!

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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43 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

Went here on a voucher and we were very pleasantly surprised at how excellent the tapas were - not your "average" style tapas but excellent - servings were a good size, service was excellent. The calamari were superb and the pork belly a real treat. Will definitely be spending some time here again.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
176 reviews 176 reviews
128 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Hit and miss”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Have dined here for lunch on previous occasions and thought food was tasty and good value. We tried dinner and unfortunately had not such a good experience. The restaurant does have a nice lively atmosphere and the bar area was quite full but there was space in the restaurant. Service was dubious due to the fact we found it difficult to communicate with our waitress and we felt we spent the evening having to ask for everything, almost to the point that it got embarassing and frustrating for us and the staff who at one point instructed us to have patience in such a way that we were quite taken aback. The food came quickly but I seemed to remember portion sizes being a bit more generous- 4 small prawns for $19 and scotch fillet at $39 that was surprisingly about 20% fat. We had about 5 dishes and shared desert and that was sufficient. Drinks are quite pricey and even though drinks were probably just under half our bill I didnt think for what we paid that we got good value for the quality and quantity of food. The company made it an enjoyable evening but don't think I would rush back for dinner, a quick snack with drinks at the bar or lunch if the service/quality gets back to its previous form.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Food was good, service hit and miss”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013 via mobile

Went twice in April, first for dinner with my partner to try it before hosting a work lunch the following week. Dinner was on a Tuesday and a little quieter. Food was pretty good though the service a bit slow and average.
Proceeded with the work lunch and we had good food again though service was again mixed. Being tapas I asked the first waitress if they could do us a selection and she simply said "no" (respectfully I think her English is a work in progress, a sweet Dutch girl) then a colleague asked another waitress and she said they could... The food that came out was great but a huge abundance and with it not being cheap and a tapas it would have been better to have sample and then order more if it was required, I stopped eating just half way through and I consider myself to have a healthy appetite.
Still, food is really good, the soft crab sliders in particular are amazing.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Nice tapas, drinks pricey”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

I enjoyed the tapas (went there on a deals.com) voucher, small servings of a large selection of items from the menu including prawns, scallops, lamb. Drinks were pricey at $12 a glass for sangria or about the same for wine. Atmosphere was quite buzzy and funky. It would be a nice place for a work function or similar.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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