Opera Tavern 22

23 Catherine Street , London, WC2B 5JS

10 reviews

50 Spanish Tapas Covent Garden

  • Opera Tavern Covent Garden Interior
  • Opera Tavern Covent Garden Grill Chicken

SquareMeal Review of Opera Tavern

Although there are now several options for upscale tapas in Covent Garden, Opera Tavern was the first on the scene and remains one of the best. Set in a converted pub with an original Edwardian bar and cosy ‘theatre box’ windows overlooking the street, this outpost of the Salt Yard Group has real character. The trademark alliance of Spanish and Italian influences results in reliably appealing seasonal dishes, such as creamy burrata with smoked aubergine salad, tender Ibérico pig's cheeks with sweet butternut squash purée, or char-grilled octopus on a chickpea fritter with red pepper and vibrant mojo verde. Otherwise, impeccably sourced charcuterie and signature plates – moreish croquetas, garlicky patatas fritas with bravas sauce and deep-fried zucchini flowers drizzled in honey – never fail to please. The wine list leans more towards Italy these days, though there’s still a terrific selection of Spanish sherries from top producers such as Hidalgo. Friendly service is always spot-on too.


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7.2

Food & Drink: 8.0

Service: 6.9

Atmosphere: 7.0

Value: 5.9

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Madhur R. 02 May 2014

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: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Sanna P. 29 April 2014

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).

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Monikasays platinum reviewer 14 August 2013

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.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Vincent V. 09 August 2013

So, maybe its the fact that my expectations were extremely high given Im a huge lover of both Spanish and Italian food…but i found it a bit too hit and miss. All in all the quality of the food was good and the wine list extremely interesting(mainly because i like off the mainstream wines that are actually good!)…but a bit pricey! I think its probably perfect venue for an end o afternoon drink with a nice tapas(both the pata negra and the cheese are delicious)…also the mix of Italian and Spanish actually works well. My main area of disapointment was the fact that the dinner menu didnt have anything different and exciting…and the bill was that of a diffrent and exciting dinner. I will surly come back but most likely not for dinner as i find there are other Soanish?Italian restaurants that do the trick better…but as i said will surely come back…

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Becky C. 29 April 2013

This is a favourite of the team at work. The food is excellent… We a particularly in love with the Iberico pork and foie gras burgers. The menus are updated regularly and always filled with everything you want to order making it very difficult to choose. The service on occasions has let the side down. Most of the waiters and bar staff are really great but I have had a few incidents where I have left extremely disappointed with one or two; however the good still outweighs the bad so I will definitely return and would recommend others to check it out too. Sitting at the bar you get such great service and can really appreciate the amazing buzz this place has to offer.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Maggie bronze reviewer 10 April 2013

Opera Tavern is a fantastic spot to meet before a trip to the theatre in the heart of the West End of London. Offering a comprehensive selection of Spanish and Italian wines with a delicious tapas menu to boot. The bar downstairs is comfortable and if you're a fan of sitting up at the bar like me then you won't be disappointed. The staff are on point and very helpful, they will guide you through the wine list with ease and make personalised recommendations from the tapas menu. An obvious favourite amongst guests and staff alike is the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, aged 5 years, sliced fresh from the leg to order. While we waited for our guest to arrive we ordered a bottle of the Sela, Bodegas Roda Rioja and some bar snacks; Nocellara del Belice olives, Guindilla peppers, boquerones and rillions. Our waitress also told us of the day's special which was a pig head rillette served with some lightly toasted focaccia bread, pickled cucumber and fennel, we couldn't say no! Great combination of flavours and textures. Once our party was complete we turned to the tapas menu, we were recommended by our waitress to choose 2-3 dishes per person. The food really does speak for itself and if you bear with me i simply must list the dishes that we chose, in full, in all their glory… Smoked haddock and leek croquettes with orange and saffron aioli Steamed red mullet and gurnard with clams, Spring vegetables and wild garlic Braised oxtail with bone marrow, truffle mash and Pecorino Chargrilled Tropea onions with buffalo mozzarella, new season garlic, capers and fig balsamic Courgette flowers stuffed with goats’ cheese and drizzled with honey …and of course the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. It was just the right amount for three ladies dining early before the theatre, but i would go back again making sure i had no plans for the rest of the evening in order to work my way through the scrumptious menu. The service was lovely, attentive but not invasive and always with a smile. My only negative comment on the Opera Tavern would be the prices of the bar snacks, they are incredibly steep for the portion size that you get.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Neil M. platinum reviewer 25 February 2013

Although the bar downstairs is very nice and probably a bit more atmospheric and authentic for the Tapas feel, I prefer the comfort of the restaurant above. I also like that this isn't just Spanish Tapas but that flavours from France and Italy have also been combined into the format. This amalgam makes Opera Tavern pretty unique and the choice of dishes very interesting. The wine list is also very good and reasonably priced. The only snag with this kind of dining is that it's easy to get carried away ordering lots of great dishes and quickly rack up a large bill. It's also ideally located in Covent Garden where there lots of people but not many decent restaurants.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 0.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 01 October 2012

What a pity this little place would have a much needed addition to the ever problematic dining scene in Covent Garden… but it just doesn't hit home. The menu is complicated, it over-promises and under-delivers and service is not up to scratch either. It is rare that a good location plus very good produce add up to so little on the bottom line. Should we all become wary of ‘third restaurants’ from successful restaurateurs?

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Michael T. 17 June 2012

judging by the other reviews perhaps this place is better ala carte however our group of 9 were forced into a set menu – overall food was ok but with pitiful servings barely sufficient for a spoonful each- w wine it was over £60 each, and we left hungry- not impressed

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 09 February 2012

My new No1 for dinner with friends in Covent Garden. We managed to try most dishes on this modern tapas menu between us and I'll be back to try what we missed. Meats were most successful, with high points for juicy pork belly on cannelonni beans (complete with crackling). Surprisingly some of the more run-of-the-mill dishes were the tastiest: deliciously gooey-on-the-inside tortilla was a hit. Specials of the day really were special with ham croquettes and fried courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese and drizzled with honey still making my mouth water. Given the more experimental nature of the tapas there are a few misses: patatas bravas were presented with “originality” but looked more like chips to me and fish croquettes were just a bit too richly fishy. After such wonderful mains, the desserts came as a bit of a disappointment: we managed to order every single one so we can say with some authority the chocolate pud was the best but the others were a bit bland (we couldn't really identify what the cheesecake was made of and the panna cotta with orange sorbet ended up being a slushy mismatched combination) so spend your stomach space and your pennies on the mains. Good wide-ranging wine menu with plenty of dessert wines too. This is a great place with a group as you get to try so many dishes, but if you are in a couple ordering a limited number of dishes take the advice of the staff who are well-informed, helpful and not afraid to give their own opinion on what's best (but without being pushy). I thought the atmosphere upstairs matched the buzz of downstairs where we had pre-dinner drinks, although be warned the tables are close together so not a place for an intimate conversation. We each had several glasses of wine and came out stuffed with delicious food after a very pleasant, unhurried evening; the best £51 I've spent for a while.

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