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“King Alfonso X ‘The Wise’ would be proud of this establishment.”
Review of Barrafina

Barrafina
Ranked #203 of 23,571 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $72 - $72
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night
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.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

My heart breaks every time I get asked to go to a tapas restaurant outside the Spanish borders. While the food is on the whole a good approximation of the right stuff, the experience is totally unlike the well-established, unpretentious social gathering that is Spanish tapeo.

Arriving promptly (5:40pm) at the doorstep of Barrafina we were met by a short queue. The ever so “no reservation policy” is practised here and my blood boils every time I am met with the back of someone’s head in a queue rather than a smile and “Here is your table Sir” entrance. But on this occasion, in a foodie sadomasochism way, I feel this fits the bill. What true Spanish tapas bar has tables with white linen clothe and silverware? Instead a sign of a good tapas bar is where everyone is packed in so tightly electrons are shared amongst them. This place was bursting to the seams with noise, smells,-organised chaos.

“Hey Chicos,entran dentro” - our cue to take a seat by the bar. During our “short” 40 minute wait we had chorizo and potato chips. Not what I imagined, it is actually a thin small chorizo sausage wrapped with a thin crisp potato blanket like a springroll but a really good springroll. It had a kick from the spices within and the crisp of the potato had the right thickness, it was very morish. A glass of Cuatro Rayas 2011 complimented well, fruity and smooth.
At the bar, like true Spaniards, we stuck straight into the food. The cod croquetas, were two balls of delight, crisp on the outside and a rich velvety gooiness oozing cod inside. Simple but accomplished. The chipirones- little fried squids, were crunchy and not draped in oil like many tapas bars do. The dish with all the bells and whistles was the octopus with capers. The octopus was cooked to perfection; tender and melt in the mouth moment- this was the highlight of the night. The salt cod a la Romana was another little triumph on plate. Bite size chunks of golden fried cod with a rich hollandaise type sauce, with a sprinkle of paprika to give that extra little lift. The pork belly was executed well and the girolles underneath gave a decisive balance to the dish. You cannot go into a tapas bar without trying the sardines. Two on a plate, packed with flavour, grilled to perfection. The patatas Bravas a very good interpretation, with their own home made sauce, makes a change to the usual fries and ketchup show. To end our culinary whirlwind delight, we had the crema catalane – Spanish version of the crème brulee. This was a faultless dish, the sugar thin as an ice sheet, the super smooth cream underneath had a hint of orange, I did not want to end this journey. The bill for three people came to £110.00 inc. service.

In Short: Tapas go back a long way in Spanish history. Some argue they were an invention of Spanish King Alfonso X ‘The Wise’. If King Alfonso X were here today, he would make Barrafina his local watering hole and enforce a law that everyone must go to Barrafina.

Don’t miss: The octopus and the crème catalane.

Pass on: Nothing.

Suggestion: Get there early i.e. 5:30pm. Expect tight spaces, but the chef is front of you is casting his wizardry over the food. Whilst waiting in the queue grab something light to eat with a nice glass of wine, the time will fly by!

Adios!

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1  Thank Aubelisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 13, 2013

We have been to Barrafina twice in the last month.Besides sitting outside because it was so crowdy. The best tapas ever. Try the salmon cerviesa.

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Thank fred1122
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

The quality of the food at Barrafina is simply the best,
We had the clams in olive and garlic, Spanish omelet with sea food, chorizo and potato,Pimientos,
Ham Croquetas,Gambas al ajíllo,
The service is prompt.
I have been never been disappointed at Barrafina
Simply the best tapas in london

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Thank SPS1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

This place is so fun and so charming and so delicious!
There aren't too many seats, so get there early. We had to wait about 30 minutes, but we had a couple drinks and a couple tapas while we waited. Barrafina is an experience in itself with the chefs right in the open preparing what you are about to eat. I highly recommend the grilled octopus, ham croquettes, and for dessert Crema Catalana. It's a vibrant, festive atmosphere with a top notch staff attending to your every need.

Thank DellaM211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

I think that this is the restaurant that I have enjoyed the most in the last 18 months in London (better than J Sheeky, Trinity ...). It's not fancy but it really is great food with a good atmosphere.

My wife and I dropped into Barrafina early on a Wednesday evening. It happened to be our wedding anniversary but that's by the by. We arrived around 6.15 which was fortunate as the place is tiny (30 covers maybe?) and it was packed by 6.30 (and for the rest of the night until we left around 9.15).

The food is tapas style and we ate most of the specials menu for the evening which included mussels, razor clams, scallops, a few baby artichokes, a big prawn, skate, sea bream and a couple of puddings. All washed down with a few glasses of Spanish wine. All of the food was really really good (no exceptions).

The service was great. I think that we got a bit lucky and ended up sampling a few wines as the waiter had a common interest but all of the staff were great.

It's not fancy, basically you sit at an L shaped bar and people bring you great food and wine. Make sure that you get there early because (as above) it's very popular and you might have a long wait. YOU CAN'T BOOK BY THE WAY. It's not cheap but it's definitely worth it.

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Thank Bowth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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