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23 Catherine Street
Opera Tavern closed permanently
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StreetSmart - London restaurants
Best Spanish restaurants in London
Pre and post-theatre dining
SquareMeal 2 Stars
23 Catherine Street
Covent Garden Tube Station 328m
Temple Tube Station 495m
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane 40m
Duchess Theatre 62m
Mon-Fri 12N-3pm 5-11.30pm Sat-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
While it was impossible to reserve a table even at 6pm pre-theatre, I scored two seats at the bar which offers the same menu. The cleanliness, service, attentiveness, food quality and wine selection are all outstanding. Always considering vegetarians, I am impressed by the selection offered to vegetarians beyond patatas braves and the unimaginative fare at other restaurants. I was tempted by the entire vegetarian selection as well. The selection of Spanish and Italian wines, cheeses and hams is a fantastic touch. The high-end wine glasses make it a pleasure to spend £13 on a glass of Chianti despite the small measure. Busy as the restaurant was, the food was timely, presented elegantly and plentiful compared to a typical tapas joint. The croquetes were divine and the waiter also convinced me to order a squid ink risotto croquette dish served on a bed of tapenade, simply delectable. The patatas bravas are normally quite dull at most tapas restaurants but these were crispy, tasteful and interesting served in the shape of hand-cut chips. The iberico ham is out of the world, well worth the spend. Well worth turning this into a regular haunt in tourist-trap land. Keep up the good work.
Food + drink: 4
We went for a late night Friday dinner at the Opera Tavern, it was delightful and the food was delicious. Being a vegetarian it can be difficult to find suitable tapas restaurants (often the vegetarian options are very standard and lack inspiration). But the Opera Tavern has a fantastic selection of really interesting ingredients, the courgette flower was especially delicious. I did go with a meat eater – who also enjoyed the range of choices and the fresh nature of the ingredients. The service was good, it does get a little busy, and due to the shape of the room, it can feel very loud upstairs. I would recommend requesting a corner table – as you are seated very close. However I don't think this impacted our meal or experience – the atmosphere was lively and everyone seemed to be enjoying their dinner. If you a looking for a glass of white wine to start (that is reasonably priced) I would highly recommend the White Rioja. All in all I was incredibly impressed with my meal, and would return in a heartbeat. For all those veggies out there – definitely give it a try. (The sister restaurant Dehesa is also very good).
Opera tavern is nestled in the middle of bustling theatre land in Covent garden. This place is a buzzy wine bar and casual restaurant upstairs (not posh, just chilled). I am a great fan of Tapas Brindisa and all things tapas style, so was happy to discover this high-end Spanish tapas and wine joint. Owned by the popular Salt yard people, this place has got it bang on target again. The food is fab fab fab. Highlights include the dinky iberico porky fois gras burgers (2 mini ones per person, order one each and be a Joey from Friends), mouthfuls of porky, luscious burger like no other. The patatas fritas were more like moreish mini chunky chips accompanied by garlicky aioli and bravas sauce (carbohydrate heaven mini style). Graze on a delectable charcuterie or cheese board or go for multiple attractive mini mains eg yum duck, seared lamb, scallops. The list is never ending. Not cheap but worth the extra dosh for outstanding Spanish tapas. This is a perfect watering hole, post-shopping, pre-theatre, after a film or just for a catch up with a girly friend, all watered down with lashings of deep red Rioja.
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