Restaurants from Spain: The seal of approval to look for next time you want authentic Spanish food

Top-quality ingredients, ground-breaking chefs and plenty of sherry to wash it all down, here's where to head for an authentic taste of Spanish cuisine.

Updated on • Written By Ellie Donnell

In association with
In association with Restaurants From Spain

You no longer have to book a holiday to Spain to experience truly authentic Spanish cuisine, with some of the best Spanish restaurants located right here in the UK. From humble yet heroic specialities such as tortilla de patatas and pan con tomate, to Valencia’s much-loved rice dish, paella, the rise in popularity of Spanish food has led to a spurt of incredible restaurants popping up all over the country.

It’s a trend that Marcos Fernandez, the CEO of Ibérica Restaurants and Arros QD, is acutely aware of. "In the last 15 years, we have seen an explosion of Spanish food in the UK. Both restaurants and retail are now striving to provide a true reflection of our [Spanish] gastronomy, which is increasingly what British customers are looking for."

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Restaurants from Spain Seal

But what exactly makes the best Spanish restaurants in the UK, well, the best? Every single restaurant in this list has been accredited with the Restaurants from Spain Certification, which recognises restaurants that offer high-quality Spanish food and drink and an all-round authentic dining experience. Launched in 2020 by Spanish government promotional body ICEX Trade and Investment, the accreditation is designed to establish a certain level of quality for consumers, while also providing a benchmark for future restaurateurs looking to promote Spanish cooking in other parts of the world. You can find the certification all over the globe, including a host of accredited groups right here in the UK, which can easily be recognised by the Restaurants from Spain logo.

For chef and founder of Tapas Revolution Omar Allibhoy, it’s a huge step in the right direction for the representation of Spanish cuisine in the UK. “I am so glad that the Restaurants from Spain seal of approval is now live and accessible for all Spain-loving guests, as well as those looking for a real taste of Spain. This certificate will give them the confidence and assurance to visit restaurants that champion the best Spanish products and that merit our traditions, like we do in all nine of our Tapas Revolution restaurants’’.

Not only does every single one of the hotspots in this guide serve standout dishes, they also strive to offer the best possible experience across every element of the restaurant. From serving wines sourced from a range of regional producers to employing chefs that specialise in Spanish cooking, while always using the highest-quality ingredients.

Yes, it takes a lot to be considered one of the best Spanish restaurants in the UK, but these very special restaurants have all surpassed the mark. From acclaimed Spanish chef Jose Pizarro’s string of eponymous restaurants, to independent joints such as Curado Bar and Hispania, discover the very best of Spanish cooking in the UK with our round-up below.

Pizarro Restaurants

What: Jose Pizarro, aka the Godfather of Spanish Cooking, is the eponymous owner of this London-based empire of Spanish restaurants. After giving up a career in dentistry to focus on cooking, he opened his first restaurant in 2011, Jose, a small tapas bar in Bermondsey, before going on to launch Pizarro (go figure) in the same year. Since then, there’s been no stopping him. Jose’s restaurants are all built around the ethos of simple, seasonal food served with Spanish wines and sherries in atmospheric yet unpretentious dining rooms. He says: "Having the seal of approval from Restaurants of Spain is a huge honour, particularly because their vision resonates fully with my own. At my restaurants, my goal is to source the finest available ingredients, to respect the integrity of every ingredient and to bring people together over a shared passion for delicious food and create wonderful memories together". Diners can enjoy the restaurant's popular Russian potato salad - served in a neat disc of mashed potato and topped with confit tuna. Although, don't order too many dishes for mains so you can experience the impressive Tarta de Santiago de Peter, an almond sponge steeped in sticky raisins and caramel
Where: Various London locations

Book now – Jose Pizarro at the RA

Book now: Jose Pizarro The Swan Inn Esher, Jose Pizarro Broadgate, Pizarro, Jose

Ibérica

What: Ibérica's story began back in 2007 when owners Marcos Fernandez Pardo and Nacho Manzano embarked on a mission to introduce authentic Spanish cuisine to the UK which, at the time, they felt was largely underrepresented. It was built around the concept of taking the best ingredients and traditions from their homeland to create an authentic Spanish experience for customers - and it worked! Ibérica now has seven restaurants across London and Leeds where it serves a host of classic and contemporary tapas dishes. The classic tapas plates include Spanish tortilla, pulpo, croquetas and patatas bravas, while the restaurant's own twist on tapas include options of roasted pumpkin with labneh, fried egg and sauteed ceps, twice-cooked lamb and ribeye with confit leeks. 
Where: London and Leeds

Book now – Marylebone

Book now: Canary Wharf, Victoria, Farringdon, Leeds, La Bodega

Hispania

What: For elevated Spanish dining, look no further than Hispania in the City, which is set over two stunning floors in Lloyds Bank’s former headquarters. It’s a grand affair, with lofty ceilings, large columns and a central spiral staircase. The menu meanders through hot and cold sections before reaching signature dishes, stews and 'rices'. The arroz negro is always a popular shout, with its rich savoury notes coming from squid ink, while sweet prawns and cuttlefish ensure it's perfectly balanced. While the food offers a selection of classic Spanish dishes and tapas, the wines are an equal match - sourced from the most renowned vineyards in Spain. 
Where: London

Book now – Hispania

Arros QD

What: Everything at Arros QD revolves around the six-metre wood-fired stove, where head chef Quique Dacosta brings his passion for paella and wood-fired cooking to life. Bringing the warmth of Valencian cooking to Fitzrovia, diners can expect big flavours and modern flourishes from its unique dishes, as well as a Mediterranean wine list the length of your arm. A paella to share is a must (we love the classic Valenciana with rabbit, chicken, Garrofó beans, rosemary, veal and herb stock) but make sure to try a few 'extras' too. A side of confit artichoke is wonderfully earthy, while the wood-fire tiger prawns with brava sauce are heaven on a plate. 
Where: London

Book now – Arros QD

Camino

What: Camino is all about capturing the liveliness and vibrancy of an authentic Spanish tapas bar. The idea was sparked on a road trip across Spain in 1984, when founder Richard Bigg fell in love with the contry's infectious culture and wanted to bring a piece of it back to the UK. Everything about Camino is as authentic as it can be: executive chef Nacho del Campo hails from the capital of the Basque Country and only uses the highest-quality ingredients in his traditional dishes. Think plates of the best jamon ibérico, classic patatas bravas and sauteed octopus with saffron potatoes. It also serves some of Spain’s best beers, and a carefully selected list of Spanish wines. Plus, the restaurant regularly organises staff trips for the team to meet its suppliers and experience the culture so that everyone who plays a part in your dining experience is truly invested.
Where: Various London locations

Book now – Shoreditch

Book now: Monument, King’s Cross, Bar Pepito

Grupo 44

What: 44 Group comprises a host of restaurants across the south of England and Wales, including Bar 44 and Asador 44. The former focuses on quality ingredients served simply and with a modern touch, where equal emphasis is placed on food and drink. Asador 44, meanwhile, is a Spanish grill and wine house in Cardiff where you can sample suckling pig, fresh fish and whole legs of lamb cooked over charcoal. It also has its own online shop, Mercado 44, where you can buy artisan Spanish products to experience at home.
Where: Cardiff and Bristol

Book now – Asador 44

Book now: Bar 44 Cardiff, Bar 44 Penarth, Bar 44 Bristol

Tapas Revolution

What: Launched in 2010, Tapas Revolution is a relaxed Spanish restaurant with sites up and down the country, from Bath to Birmingham. Expect uber friendly service and a focus on classic tapas dishes, from croquetas de jamon to gambas al ajillo (prawns cooked in a terracotta pot). Not to mention plenty of sangria, Spanish wines and cervezas.
Where: Various locations

Book now – Bath

Book now: Birmingham, Bluewater, Brighton, Lakeside, Liverpool, Sheffield, Westfield, Westfield Stratford

Curado Bar

What: Curado comes from the Spanish for ‘cured’ and is a Basque-style bar specialising in jamon and pintxos (small snacks). It also boasts its own separate wine bar, Vermut, where it serves three styles of wine (vermouth, montilla-moriles wine and sherry) including a number of options on tap. Enjoy alongside a selection of cured fish, meats and cheeses.
Where: Cardiff

Book now – Curado Bar

You know what goes really well with tapas? Wine! Check out these fine wine shops that do delivery in London.