José Pizarro at the RA

Spanish, Tapas·
££££
·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of José Pizarro at the RA

Silver Award

The greatest restaurants, much like truly great art, leave a lasting impression on the beholder long after the meal is over. We experienced such an effect when visiting Spanish chef Jose Pizarro’s restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts, a fitting location for a meal that has lingered in our minds ever since.  

Two seconds spent within the Senate Room confirmed that this isn’t your average museum café. Our eyes were drawn upwards to the sky-high ceiling painted in dusty tones of pink, blue and gold, and this soft-toned colour palette is highlighted repeatedly via duck-egg blue seating and sage green crockery.  

Beguiling interiors might spur you to sit down, but the food will encourage you to stay. The menu consists of hot and cold tapas plates designed to be shared. Two or three per person were recommended by our friendly waitress, and once ordered, they turn up fast.  

Nothing arrived as we expected – in a good way. Russian potato salad, a popular dish in Spain, was served as a neat disc of creamy mashed potato topped with vinegary capers and thin slivers of confit tuna. While a Caeser-like treatment of baby gem changed the way we looked at lettuce forever: every leaf was evenly coated in a cheesy dressing and studded with toasted hazelnuts. From the hot plates, a wedge of toast topped with Sobrasada, Mahón cheese shavings and a lick of honey functioned as a Spanish (and far superior) take on cheese on toast. While prawn fritters were soft and meaty and served with a subtly zesty aioli. Finally, we implore you to order the Tarta de Santiago de Peter, an almond sponge steeped in sticky raisins and caramel, then topped with PX sherry ice cream.

For about £25 a head, you can eat like a king, but we encourage you to book. By the time we arrived the restaurant, expectedly, was packed with people who had already got the memo. This place is fantastic and will most certainly stay with us (until our next visit). 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Spanish, Tapas
Ambience
Lively, Romantic, Traditional, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Dates, Romantic

About José Pizarro at the RA

For lovers of Jose Pizzaro’s existing restaurant ventures, with tapas bars on Bermondsey Street and Broadgate Circle, as well as a gastropub in Esher, you’ll be delighted to know that he’s now opened not one, but two restaurants in the heart of Mayfair.   

The slightly fancier of the two is Jose Pizarro at the Royal Academy of Arts (known as Jose Pizarro at the RA), which has taken over the stunning Senate Room. With huge sash windows that let in plenty of natural light, pink and white walls and high ceilings, guests can enjoy their Spanish feast in supremely grand surrounds. 

Pizarro says: "When you see art, it's all about how it makes you feel… your whole body responds, it's the same with food – well, good food anyway! The creativity and soul that you find in food and art is the same… you get the same excitement. To be able to bring the two together makes me so happy – it's an incredibly proud moment for me in my career." 

Open from 11:30am-6pm, guests can choose from the a la carte menu for a selection of hot and cold tapas dishes. Cold options start at £3.50 for nibbles, such as sourdough and olives, along with the likes of jamon Iberico, pickled white anchovies, smoked sea trout with salad roe and a cheese selection complete with pear compote and quince.  

From the hot menu, which starts at £5.50, the list of quintessentially Spanish dishes continues. Take your pick from pan con tomate, spicy prawn fritters with lemon allioli, honey toast with Sobrasada and Mahón cheese, slow-cooked chorizo in red wine and confit leeks in burnt butter. The list goes on, with each dish as tempting as the last.  

It’s useful to note that from 3:30pm the restaurant runs a reduced menu, although we’re promised it’s just as lovely as the full offering. This includes seven savoury tapas plates, plus nine sweet dishes – perfect with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee. Choose from walnut tart with yogurt ice cream, basque cheesecake with peaches or saffron custard with sherry vinegar and crumble. We challenge you to narrow your choice down to just one.  


FAQs

Where is Jose Pizarro from?

Jose Pizarro is from Extremadura in Spain.

Helpful? 0

How much tapas should you order per person?

Portion sizes will vary by restaurant, but typically, two to three tapas per person is a good amount.

Helpful? 0

Location

The Royal Academy, 6 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, London, W1S 3ET

020 7300 5912

Website

Opening Times

All day
Mon Closed
Tue 11:30-18:00
Wed 11:30-18:00
Thu 11:30-18:00
Fri 11:30-18:00
Sat 11:30-18:00
Sun 11:30-18:00

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