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“Good quality ingredients but decidedly average otherwise”
Review of Barrafina

Barrafina
Ranked #160 of 22,692 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $72 - $72
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast
Neighborhood: Soho
Description: Barrafina is an authentic Spanish tapas bar located in London's Soho. It serves a traditional but contemporary, regional a la carte menu and there is a daily blackboard of specials, created by Executive Head Chef, Barragan Mohacho. Barrafina operates a first come first serve queuing system, and does not take reservations for their 23 stools. However, part of the fun of dining there is eating little bites and sipping on something delicious while making the line. The kitchen is open and guests are close to all the action and drama while their food is prepared.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Good quality ingredients but decidedly average otherwise”
Reviewed December 17, 2012

I decided to visit this restaurant after reading all the great reviews during a short business trip to London and had high expectations. Unfortunately, it was decidedly average. Barrafina is a pretty small establishment with seating only at the bar which surrounds part of the open kitchen. Some people would enjoy the experience, myself I prefer not to come out of a restaurant smelling of cooking and feel in the need of an immediate shower.

On the Sunday evening that I went there was already a 30 minute wait after only opening for 45 minutes. Thankfully I was on my own so got seated immediately. The restaurant is supposedly a ‘high end’ eatery but is decidedly lacking in many areas.

Firstly service – while I got seated immediately, it took another 10 minutes before I was actually served. The servers take the orders from behind the bar so it wasn’t as if they couldn’t see I was waiting. Secondly – the menu was entirely in Spanish – which is fine if you can read Spanish but not if you don’t!

So it was a case of looking at what other people are ordering and seeing what looks tasty. I ordered the octopus, spinach and pancetta tortilla, and the rump of lamb. The restaurant clearly uses high quality ingredients which is highly commendable and the cooked dishes certainly look very appetising however it is very average in the taste test. Even the quality ingredients can't compensate for the lack of flavours. While the octopus was soft and not the usual rubbery affair, there were only 8 small bites for £9. The only flavouring came from the paprika seasoning sprinkled over the top but otherwise bland. The tortilla was very salty due to the pancetta and was very watery in the middle. The lamb was the biggest disappointment, while it was cooked to perfection, the miniscule piece of meat (only four bites for £10) was drenched in a watery sauce which again was bland. Each plate took about 20 minutes to be served (you are only served one dish at a time) – as I’ve mentioned it is a small establishment with limited seating and seeing as its tapas – the waiting time for each dish was too long.

My biggest complaint is the fact that they charge a 12.5% service charge but nowhere on the menu or website does it tell you this so you only find out when the bill comes. I don’t mind paying a 12.5% service charge if the food, service and ambiance are worth it, in this case it most definitely was not.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank StrathNickster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
    Food
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    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Oman
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best tapas in london”
Reviewed December 15, 2012

we have to go there every time we go to london. very friendly staff, amazing food, great atmosphere. although u'll have to wait an hour or more to get a table on weekends, its totally worth it. i'd queue hours for their stuffed zucchini flowers

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank loola93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
180 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Excellent tapas”
Reviewed December 15, 2012

Arrived first so got choice of where to sit at the small bar of around 25 stools. There are no reservations and the place does get busy (there was a queue as we ate) so make sure you time your visit right. The menu is written on your paper place mat, there are also other specials of the day available. We were advised about 2 - 3 plates each, it does depend on the size of the dishes ordered though. All of plates were very good but the real stand out where the tortilla's. we chose 2 varieties: Jamon & spinach and prawn. They were both as good as either other. I'd revisit just to order that! The service was friendly and efficient. This is an excellent tapas restaurant.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SG1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Pre or post theater tapas, or anytime...Barafina's!”
Reviewed December 10, 2012

My love and I happed upon this place via Yelp. We are both foodies, have traveled extensively-- and really enjoy tapas. Since we were on our way home to the US from Zimbabwe and feeling a little jet laggy, we didn't feel like a super late night, so decided on lighter fare before seeing Billy Elliott at the theater. Barafina is small and we are lucky to arrive at half five-- just in time for the last two stools at the counter. By six, the place was jammed, and no wonder. The food, wine and service were excellent. Sitting at the counter was a blast-- the owner and prep cooks plating the foods were directly in front of us, while delicious smells wafted from the kitchen in back. This is a high- energy place, and the prep cooks made me dizzy. We ordered six tapas and a bottle of Rioja Reserva. Each plate is served separately, and no sooner had we finished one, than the next appeared... Perfectly timed. All are hand-made from the freshest ingredients. On our server's suggestion, we tried the special that night-- barnacles! Admittedly I found it hard to get beyond the fact that I might be eating the bottom of an old boat, but still they were good and definitely unique. Their tortilla was exceptional. I hope we get back to London soon for some more tapas at Barafina.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank kdinesDenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not worth it”
Reviewed December 10, 2012

While the restaurant was pleasant, the tapas disappointed and did not taste as good as they looked. There are numerous much better tapa places in the area.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Sophie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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