Top 5 Tapas Restaurants in London

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Why not celebrate with a selection of the little Spanish sensations?

We're a greedy bunch here at London Calling. We love eating food almost as much as we love sharing our love of the array of dishes from different nationalities found on our Capital's doorstep with you guys. Then we found out that International Tapas Day is around the corner on 21 June. Part of the joy of tapas is getting to try a little bit of everything (unless like Joey Tribbiani, you don't share food) so we couldn't resist rounding up five of our favourite spots to savour some sensational Spanish dishes.

Bar 61, Streatham Hill

You’d be forgiven for never realising this little SW gem was rated one of the best Tapas bars in London. From the outside the restaurant looks unassuming, hence this writer walking past it every day for four years like the silly chorizo they are. However, the moment you step inside, Bar 61 charms you with its fun family-run atmosphere, excellent service and a delicious range of well priced tapas. The chorizo in red wine, delicate baby squid and ham & chicken croquettes are all definite winners, as is their cheese selection board that is both huge in size and in flavour. It may be a little more south of the river than some care to venture, but it’s well worth the experience.

Barrafina, Soho and Covent Garden

With three restaurants in the heart of London, Barrafina is one of the most popular tapas spots in the capital. With open kitchens so you can watch the masters at work as they whip up a selection of regional dishes, Barrafina covers all bases when it comes to Spanish cuisine. We’d recommend the seafood choices including classics such as grilled sardines or salt cod and juicy scallops, as well as their prawn and manchego tortilla. For a more meaty option, you can’t go wrong with their pork belly, ears and chickpeas, and to finish off then the poached fruit with Sangria sorbet is the perfect blend of flavour and texture.

Gintonica at The Distillery, Portobello Road

Portobello Road is famous for being the perfect place to find a treasure or two, and this is no exception when it comes to food and drink. Part of The Distillery, Gintonica puts an inventive British spin on some well-loved traditional tapas plates. We’d definitely recommend sampling their charcuterie and cheese selections, their take on patatas bravas with their “sauce for the brave”, succulent Iberico pork fillet with crispy ham and an almond & celeriac puree, as well as their tortilla with potatoes and 5 hour onions. With sister restaurant Tonica now in Exmouth Market, there’s no excuse not to tickle your tapas tastebuds. Plus, as a bonus that their name suggests, their Spanish inspired gin cocktails are the ideal accompaniment to truly get you believing you’re on holiday.

Miss Tapas, Peckham

As soon as you take your first bite of one of the tasty morsels on offer in Peckham’s Miss Tapas, it becomes clear that here is a place where passion is key. Started by Blanca Rowe, who also happens to be one half of our favourite Peckham #relationshipANDfoodgoals couple as her husband is Mr Bao, Miss Tapas is championing Spanish flavours combining both traditional expertise and inventive new dishes. From mushroom and truffle croquetas to the classic but amazing pan con tomate, not to mention the mouth-watering presa ibérica de bellota and the carefully curated selection of Spanish wine, Miss Tapas is the perfect place to relax and indulge in some top quality, lovingly prepared tapas.

Boqueria, Brixton and Battersea

When most people think of the tastes of Spain, Paella is usually at the top of the list. Luckily, you don’t need to travel all the way there (as nice as that would be) to enjoy a hearty helping of this delish dish. With two restaurants now proving the popularity of their culinary skills, it’s the Battersea venue where Boqueria’s paella prowess shines thanks to its inclusion of juicy king prawns, mussels and squid. With both restaurants serving up tapas including Iberian pork cheese in red wine with homemade hummus as well as the ever popular classic of tortilla espanola (or gorgeously melted in the middle Spanish omelette to you and me) and perfectly seasoned Padron peppers, we feel it’s only fair that you visit both of Boqueria’s venues to try the whole selection.