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Sam and Eddie Hart’s no-bookings tapas joint is still a yardstick by which lesser eat-and-run Soho hot spots measure themselves. Just a handful of stools surround the marble-topped, L-shaped bar –
a magnet for thirsty diners craving an ice-cold sherry or splash of Albariño to complement plates of rigorously sourced Spanish charcuterie and spanking-fresh seafood. Barrafina’s strength is its
authenticity, and the kitchen knows how to deliver everything from ham croquetas and tortilla to octopus with capers, grilled quail with allioli and ‘always special’ specials including juicy presa
ibérica (from the upper part of the pig’s shoulder) – all cooked in front of you by a high-energy team. The place also scores with its treasure-trove of Spanish wines from lesser-known producers –
note the indigenous grape varieties. Don’t be deterred by the crowds of hopefuls waiting for a seat: this tiny, class-act venue runs like clockwork.
The Hart Brothers’ wine list is suitably compact and no-nonsense. A dozen whites, 12 reds, a rosé, three cavas and six sherries is your lot. But nearly all the wines are available by the glass, and for such a short list there’s an impressive mix of ‘safe’ and ‘cutting-edge Spanish’, particularly in the whites. Clear, accurate, supremely easy to navigate and spot-on for its purpose.
Every time we walk past Barrafina on Frith Street in Soho the queue seems to be out the door. With limited counter seating and a couple of tables there are constant waits of over an hour. We decided to brave the wait one Saturday night and were pleasantly surprised when it whittled down quite quickly, from out of the door to seated in under half an hour. Perhaps we were lucky to join the queue when a raft of diners were coming to the end of their meals. The patience of the staff needs to be commended as at least twenty people stormed in expecting to be seated oblivious to the waiting diners along the wall bar, each being batted down and told to join the end and wait.Once seated the ever changing specials board was being updated in front of us. The whole lemon sole with dill vinaigrette caught our eye and it was a whopper. Fresh fish cooked on the bone with not much else and it didn’t need it...
More from Nomface »
Barrafina in Soho is one of those places I'd been to several times and then hadn't been for a good few years. It's still considered one of, if not THE BEST places to go to in London for tapas. Even today still has people queuing, sometimes for a good hour, from 12pm till late evening. As Mr D isn't a lover of Tapas, I jumped at the chance of seeing my cousin, Mr H whom is a fan. Barrafina was one of our top choices and he arrived around 11:50am on a Friday, and was already third in line (they open at twelve). By the time I arrived at 12pm a small snake was forming. Tapas gets such a mixed reputation amongst my friends for varying reasons, many exclaiming being 'too selfish to share' - their words not mine! Personally, I love it for the sharing aspect, the talking point the food gets around the table and also as I never know what I want. So, several mouthfuls of different dishes suits me perfectly. In this case, and also most other times I'm with Mr H, I left it to my cuz to order for us both - he's pretty good at that!...
More from S.W. Foodie »
Last week as a birthday gift, I visited Barrafina on Frith Street for the first time. Restaurant doesn't take reservations, to be sure we could get a table, we went there a little bit before opening times. I walked past the restaurant many times but I always thought there was an extra room somewhere! Now I understand why you should get there early to get a seat, restaurant is around 20 seats around the massive L-shaped bar.Probably one of my favourite spanish dish is croquetas, Barrafina's croquetas were perfect, I could have eaten both of them, but my friend is really into we share everything...
More from Frenchy love food »
There’s a reason for the no-reservations here. It’s part of that authentic Spanish tapas bar experience. Seats around the L-shaped bar remain as difficult to get as when it first opened. Turn up as the doors open and you’ll still somehow find yourself behind a crowd of people. If you don’t get a seat, you’re invited to form an orderly queue along the back bar. But worry not, the waiters here are so good, that you’ll have a glass of wine in your hand in no time. And the wine here is really good, and really drinkable. I’ve lost count of the times that I have promised not to drink more than a glass, and then have finished a bottle of the Calcari 2011 Pares Balta (£30) before I’ve even been seated. Sometimes I get so carried away that after a good session at lunch I convince myself that work can be put aside for the afternoon and that I’m in need of a well-earned siesta...
More from The Hungry Porker »
Barrafina is a small 20-odd seats tapas bar serving Spanish specialities in small plates..Barrafina is the sister restaurant of Fino, a already critically acclaimed restaurant in London which also competed in Ramsay’s Best Restaurant tv show...
More from Munch My Way »
Barrafina is on Firth St which is now quite the foodie street with Koya and Cerviche as its neighbours. It is tiny with bar seats only. I was there for an early lunch and was lucky to score a seat. Otherwise one would have stand behind the seated customers and have your tapas standing while you wait.I am a big fan of bar seats as it allows me to watch my food being prepared and to observe the seamless action that goes on in a bustling kitchen. In this case the bar seat was so close to the action that I could feel the heat from the hot plates in use...
More from London Chow | Where to eat in London »
I was happy that I had finally made it after months of near misses. Greeted by a plate of crispy deep-fried prawns, the recruitment consultant whose guest I was, had chosen wisely. They were incredibly fresh. I’m glad that I hadn’t noticed them earlier, opposite, in the iced display. They were so fresh that they were still actually moving. Not only moving, some of them were actually doing kamikaze dives off the side of the counter. It was a little piece of theatre that I wasn’t quite expecting...
More from Saying it straight »
Sunny Saturday afternoon, what better time for Spanish tapas at Barrafina. We’ve been there many many times, but not in the last 2 years or so. So it was a perfect occasion to retry Barrafina.A few years ago Barrafina was one of the very few modern tapas places in London. It received great reviews across the board and since then many other good modern Spanish tapas restaurants have popped in London (think Pizarro, Donostia and Opera Tavern). In fact the head chef of Barrafina moved to Donostia and is creating some tasty dishes over there...
More from FoodiesOnTheProwl FoodiesOnTheProwl »
A couple of friends and I headed to Barrafina for a quick dinner earlier this week. Situated on Frith Street in the heart of Soho, Barrafina is a small tapas bar that I've heard endless praise about.I have in fact been meaning to try it for quite a while, except every time I visit I've been met with a queue all the way to the door (and beyond!) and have been told that the wait would be at least an hour. As has become the trend here in Soho, Barrafina is strictly 'no reservations'...
More from the dinersaur »
Barrafina is a modern Spanish tapas bar in the heart of Soho. The restaurant has been around for a while and built a reputation of reliably well-made Spanish tapas. In terms of location it perfectly blends in among the mix of bars and restaurants in the area being a mix of both itself. Barrafina only has 23 bar stools and a few tables outside when the weather allows. Seating is based on a first come first serve policy, no reservations taken. This means that on a hot summer evening queuing time easily surpasses 1 hour. I can already say now before going into details that it’s worth the wait...
More from Drifting Epicure »
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