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El Cantara serves up Spanish and North African favourites in a Moorish-inspired, ground-floor dining room that mixes paprika-red walls, ethnic tiles and terracotta tableware with glowing lanterns,
decorative arches and tasseled cushions – plus the ‘unexpected bonus’ of belly dancers, flamenco singers and Spanish guitarists tipping up from time to time to entertain diners. The menu revs up
with sharing tapas (anything from a Moroccan chicken pastilla laden with sweet spices to Spanish classics such as gambas al ajillo and tortilla), while notable mains include rich, sweet lamb tagine
and Valencian seafood paella. The eclectic wine list offers crowd-pleasing Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio, although adventurous types may prefer a ‘bloody harissa’ cocktail. Two floors up, a tiny
shisha terrace and bar gets packed with hookah-puffing punters on warm nights, adding to El Cantara’s ‘fantastic, relaxed atmosphere’.
The Arabian Room is located on the first floor of the restaurant and seats up to 40. It leads out to a private terrace with space for an additional 30 people. The Tapas Room is the restaurant’s private karaoke venue; it boasts its own bar and space for 40. El Cantara also offers a semi-private dining room – the Red Room – that can seat up to 22.
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