Barrafina Adelaide Street

Spanish, Tapas·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Barrafina Adelaide Street

Silver Award

Mixing authenticity with confidence and urban gloss, Barrafina’s lively theatreland outlet shows its glamorous side with huge windows, glittering mirrors, chrome and steel. The action centres around a curved marble-topped bar – an intimate, chatty and exuberant space overseen by hard-working chefs and helpful staff “who really know their produce”.  

Readers confirm that “the quality of the food is always excellent”, especially if you’re hooked on familiar rustic classics such as Padrón peppers, tortillas, prawn croquetas, Ibéico ham or suckling pig roasted in a traditional tin tray. There’s luscious seafood with rice and cod catalan (lightly cooked fish with pine nuts, plum sauce and slivers of crisp skin), while pan con tomate arrives as a generous dollop of chopped tomatoes and green herbs instead of the usual scrape of tomato and garlic on a slice of bread.

For something more adventurous, try the crispy fried pig’s ears with chimichurri sauce and tabasco mayonnaise or roughly chopped tartare of lamb’s heart with quail’s egg and dill oil emulsion. Other top calls range from milk-fed lamb’s brains in a coating of panko crumbs with a rich dollop of tapenade and tomato sofrito to butifarra (rustic pork sausage) served with trinxat, a Catalan wintertime patty of cabbage, black pudding, rice and garlic.

Puddings include cujada (a lighter version of pannacotta topped with a crumble of honey and caramel), although we can’t resist the heavenly crema catalana – little bonbons of filo pastry filled with runny crème caramel and dusted with icing sugar. Fabulous Spanish regional wines, specialist sherries and cava complete a triumphant package.    

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Spanish, Tapas
Cool, Cosy, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Special Features
Counter dining
Perfect for
Food Hygiene Rating


10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4HZ

Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 17:00-23:00
Wed 17:00-23:00
Thu 17:00-23:00
Fri 17:00-23:00
Sat 17:00-23:00
Sun Closed


Share your thoughts with other diners

Write a review

11 Reviews 


12 March 2023  
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 1
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 1

I visited Barrafina on 21 February 2023, sat on a barstool at the end of bar with a friend and put my small black backpack at my feet at 8pm. There is no other place to keep a small backpack so all customers are required to this.

As we got up to leave at 9.30pm, i noticed my backpack wasn't there. We then found another old backpack that had been left behind which somebody used in case they were challenged on stealing mine.
The restaurant have confirmed that they have no duty to protect their customers possessions and that professional thieves operate on their premises. Their CCTV is completely useless as well and they do not control or check thieves operating in the restaurant.
I can't believe that a Michelin starred restaurant is willing to allow thieves to steal its customers possessions and not act in any way. The MD of all Barrafina restaurants confirmed that its customers can't expect protection against theft on their premises and must rely on their own insurance. They also said that this is the same for all Harts Group restaurants so do no visit Quo Vadis, El Pastor, Parillan, The Drop or Bar Daskal as they won't protect customers from theft on those premises either.

And to top it all off........the food has gone really badly downhill as well.

Andrea L

03 August 2019  
Delicious tapas, bar service.

Lesley B

26 July 2019  
Tapas that you would queue for!

Miranda F

26 July 2019  
This place is amazing! Such a great atmosphere, lovely service, all the descriptions of the food are well explained, and can see it all being prepared.

adrain G

28 June 2019  
Excellent fresh fish from the specials board. And helpful service when choosing from the main menu as well.

Alex G

17 May 2019  
Food & Drink 3
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 3
The trouble with tapas (yet again)

The Spaniards were well ahead of almost every other nation when it came to the concept of ‘sharing plates.’ The term tapas is indeed as ineluctably associated with the country as bull fighting or Sangria. Nowadays, bull fighting is, of course, considered distinctly cruel and unnecessary, and the same could arguably be said of the pairing of orange juice with red wine. Yet tapas lives on. And rightly so. Small dishes mean diners have the opportunity to sample a wide range of offerings and see the full extent of a chef’s talents. However, where are those talented chefs? Not in London. I have yet to sample tapas anywhere across the capital that comes close to what might be consistently available in even the most humble of Spanish establishments. Barrafina did little to change my impression. Sure, the décor of the venue (we dined at the Adelaide Street branch close to Covent Garden; there are three others) and its vibe were cool, but the quality of the food was notably inconsistent. Diners sit in full view of the chefs – this is performance cooking at its best – around a horseshoe-shaped counter in a glass-fronted and light space. If only the food, however, was as good as the performance. For every flash of culinary brilliance, there was also a disappointment. Pan con tomate (i.e. bread with crushed garlic, olive oil and tomato paste) is often a yardstick by which to judge Spanish venues and in this respect Barrafina did not disappoint. The bread was appropriately crunchy, the tomatoes juicy and intense with the flavour and blend of ingredients in balance. So far, so good. Plaudits also for the artichokes with aioli, which tasted as fresh as you could expect. Ditto for the anchovies. However, cuttlefish croquetas were instantly forgettable as were some greasily unpleasant butifarra (Catalonian sausages). Both more aptly belonged in the same era as Sangria. An inventive white wine blend from Galicia accompanied the tapas, but the red Tempranillo-Cabernet blend which was paired with our corn-fed chicken main failed as much as the food. Bland and unremarkable would be a succinct summary. There is so much that is good about Spanish cooking and the chefs clearly know what they are doing at Barrafina. Just a bit more consistency is necessary. If other cuisines can perform well across a spectrum of shared dishes (Japanese – both traditional and modern – being an exemplar), why does Spanish in London fail to do so? The challenge is there.

Connie L

03 August 2018  
Quality of the food is always excellent and the atmosphere truly transports you to Spain!

Stephen W

27 March 2018  
Outstanding, affordable Michelin starred food!

James M

31 May 2017  
Just the most interesting and delicious menu in London. Always superbly cooked and the staff attentive, enthusiastic and helpful (Drury Lane pretty good too!) Buzzing both at Lunch and dinner.

Natasha G

16 May 2016  
Amazing tapas, best i've had outside of Spain. Service is spot on, the staff are extremely enthusiastic about their menu and the specials are always to die for. The razor clams and Mozambique prawns are a must when they have them. Sitting around the open bar watching the chefs at work, taking in the buzz of the place, I could be back in Valencia!
Book a table

Visit their website

Sorry, you cannot spend SquareMeal vouchers here yet.

Other restaurants we like near Barrafina Adelaide Street

Trafalgar Square


Cinnamon Bazaar
Covent Garden

Cinnamon Bazaar

Check availability