You cannot move in Soho these days without finding a recently opened top quality tapas bar. It appears that London has begun a new love affair with all things Spanish. What makes the majority of these tapas places worth a visit is their attention to detail. It appears that the owners of these establishments have studied Spanish tapas culture with tremendous intricacy. You are more likely to find Andalusian Sherries and Iberican hams than sangria and chips in these places!
This page will provide an overview to the tapas restaurants in Soho. Check out the listings for some of Soho's most popular tapas bars. They are simply listed rather than categorised - in general, tapas bars are reasonably similar in style and do not vary too much in terms of price.
Each listing provides a short description of the tapas bar followed by the address, telephone number and official website link for the restaurant. Before checking out the specific listings, check out my specialist advice on what to look out for when you are choosing the tapas bar that you would like to head to.
What to expect from the tapas restaurants in Soho
Tapas seem to be the current flavour of the month in London - throughout the city new and interesting tapas bars are popping up, offering a wide varieties of tapas. Nowhere is this truer than in Soho. In recent years new tapas bars have opened in some prime locations across the area.
When deciding which tapas joint to head to there are a few things to take into consideration. Firstly, how many people are you planning on eating out with? Some of the tapas bars in the area (see the listings below for exact details) are perhaps not really suitable for large groups - they have a limited amount of seating. Also, at some of the tapas bars, such as Barrafina (see below), the only seating is along a bar where you can watch the chefs at work. This makes for an entertaining evening. However if there are more than two of you, the group will be sitting in a row, which doesn't make for easy chatting.
Also, you need to consider whether you mind waiting for a table. As is the traditional Spanish way, alot of the restaurants do not take reservations. This means that you will need to queue whilst you wait for a table - this is fine if you are looking forward to a cold bar and a plate of salted almonds but it's not much fun if you're dying for some dinner.
It is worth remembering that when you are in Soho, you are close to Covent Garden - Covent Garden and Soho are neighbours in terms of areas of London. In Covent Garden you will find even more tapas bars to choose from. See our Guide to Places to Eat in Covent Garden for further listings of tapas bars in Central London.
Listings for tapas bars in Soho
Barrafina was one of the original and one of the best to start the tapas revolution in Soho. If you have ever been to Barcelona, chances are you have heard of the legendary Cal Pep tapas bar. The owners of Barrafina certainly experienced it - in fact, they loved their experience there so much that they decided to take it as their inspiration for their London tapas bar. It is small space with all of the seating along a long metal bar. You cannot book here so you will need to queue. The well-executed and classic tapas ensure that it is worth the wait.
Barrafina Tapas Bar
54 Frith Street
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7440 1486
Website: Barrafina Tapas Bar Official Link
Brindisa are a company who started their life as a shop and small restaurant in Borough Market. They have had boundless success and opened a new venture in the heart of Soho. It is a small and intimate restaurant. Its popularity means that you should try to book about one week in advance (particularly if you want to eat there at the weekend). Brindisa are a company famous for importing one of the best of Spanish ingredients - so you can expect a truly authentic experience here.
Tapas Brindisa Restaurant
46 Broadwick Street
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7534 1690
Website: Tapas Brindisa Official Website
Remember, Soho is more than just restaurants - it is also a place to head for a night out on the town. In Soho there are a great number of wine bars, pubs, cocktail joints and nightclubs to choose from. Take a look at our Guide to bars in Soho for more ideas on places to head for a drink. And check out our Guide to Soho Clubbing if you would like some ideas for a night out in the area.
Pix is a perfect example of the growing popularity of tapas culture in London. They offer a regional and specific type of tapa - the pincho. This is the tapas that that you can find in the Basque region of Spain. As you enter the restaurant you will see that the bar is lined with plates of buffet style food. You will simply need to take a plate and take your pick from what you fancy along the bar top. Hold on to the little toothpicks that are stuck into the top of each canapé style nibble - this is how the staff will calculate how much you owe. It is a novel and exciting way to enjoy a snack or your dinner - an enjoyable place to head with a group of friends.
63 Neal Street
Tel: 44 (0) 20 7836 9779
Website: Official Pix Bar Website
Fernandez and Wells:
Fernandez and Wells is a tiny place to head for a truly Spanish style experience - limited seating, a glass of wine and a small plate of a Spanish treat to share. You won't miss this Spanish bar when you spot the legs of ham hanging in the window. You will be able to get some Spanish classics here like grilled chorizo and manchego cheese.
Fernandez and Wells Food and Wine Bar
43 Lexington Street
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7734 1546
Dehesa Charcuterie and Tapas Bar:
Dehesa sits in one of the densely populated areas of Soho when it comes to restaurants and it holds its own. It is a large and welcoming space with large wooden tables that are ideal for groups of friends coming here to tuck into some sharing plates. You will find a menu full of interesting take son tapas classics alongside beautiful wooden platters of authentic Spanish meats and cheeses.
Dehesa Charcuterie and Tapas Bar
25 Ganton Street
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7494 4170
Website: Dehesa Tapas Bar Official Website
The tapas revolution in Soho does not appear to have stopped with Spanish food. So popular is this sociable new way of eating that other nationality restaurants are following suit. In particular you will find a whole host of Italian restaurants selling small sharing plates. This is an ideal option if you are not particularly in the mood for Spanish food, but you are looking for variety. For listings of some Italian small plate restaurants, see our Guide to Italian Restaurants in Soho for more details.
Soho offers a great variety of places to head to enjoy a truly Spanish tapas experience. They are delightful places to head for anything from a romantic meal for two to a lively evening out with a group of friends. Have a careful look at the options listed above and choose the options that best suit the sort of night that you are looking for.