Spanish, Tapas·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of José

Silver Award

José Pizarro began his London career working for Spanish food importer Brindisa before launching his Bermondsey flagship Pizarro, then this little tapas bar down the road. So it’s no surprise that London’s best-known Spanish chef also knows his produce: the hams, cheeses and everything else here are exemplary. There isn’t a great deal of space and it’s standing room only much of the time, but that doesn't stop the tiniest of preparation areas (‘kitchen’ may be too grand a word) from turning out “amazing” croquetas, grills and assemblies. Beyond the patatas bravas, tortilla and Padrón peppers, we’re very partial to the cured tuna with almonds, baby chicken with potatoes and romesco sauce, chorizo al vino and figs with sheep’s cheese and honey dressing. A few little plates and a glass of wine or sherry is sufficient to set most people off in a good mood for the rest of the evening. It’s perennially packed, but the accommodating staff are as expert at dealing with crowds in confined spaces as Spanish bus conductors.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Spanish, Tapas
Cool, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Counter dining, Dog friendly
Perfect for
Food Hygiene Rating


Diners can experience an authentic Spanish atmosphere at José Pizarro's Bermondsey Tapas Bar. Pizarro has two resturants in the area but the Tapas Bar is unique in its no booking policy and counter-dining experience. As a relatively small space, its popularity makes it a busy, cosy dining experience with mostly standing room. 

The bar has a wooden, rustic and authentic atmosphere with a daily changing menu simply written on a black board in the restaurant. Pizarro prides himself on the use of quality Spanish produce and this is reflected in the daily changes to the menu. Diners are likely to find a selection of Spanish meats, cheeses and croquetas as well as some seafood and vegetarian options. The fact that the menu changes daily means that each experience is different which only adds to the lively, authentic tapas bar atmosphere. 

Alongside this authentic display of fine Spanish cuisine is a great range of drinks, from a huge selection of Spanish wines to both dry and sweet sherries. The drinks menu also includes a selection of beers and gins as well as some cocktails. The Spanish influence continues into the cocktail list with wine-based drinks and a Negroni; of course, the cocktail list finishes with an espresso martini for diners to enjoy alongside their desserts of the day. 

With an open kitchen, counter-dining and high-level seating, the overall atmosphere is lively and bustling however most diners are happy to squeeze into José's Tapas Bar for a vibrant taste of Spain on this little London corner. 


Can you book?

No, the restaurant operates a no booking policy so is first-come first-serve.

Helpful? 0

Is it dog-friendly?

Yes, all dogs of any age, shape or size will be welcomed with a bowl of water on arrival.

Helpful? 0

Where can I find the menu?

The restaurant does not have a main menu to view as it changes daily. You will find the menu written on black boards within the restaurant.

Helpful? 0


104 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3UB

Opening Times

All day
Mon 12:00-22:30
Tue 12:00-22:30
Wed 12:00-22:30
Thu 12:00-22:30
Fri 12:00-22:30
Sat 12:00-22:30
Sun 12:00-22:00


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12 Reviews 


27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4

Best Tapas in town, the ever changing menu keeps you wanting to go back. The baked goat's cheese with honey is heavenly.

Clare W

28 June 2019  
Ham to die for.

Dylan W

29 March 2019  
Jose is an amazing tapas bar. Food is excellent and also great wine selection.

Mathew L

27 June 2018  
Best tapas food anywhere in London. Great atmosphere and supported by great service. The Croquetas, Pluma Iberica and he Prawns are an absolute must!

Ush P

13 May 2016  
Amazing tapas, with good selection of food and ambience is perfect! Service is exceptional.

Ingrid S

25 September 2013  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 3
Value 4
It’s fitting that this bijoux tapas bar comes under this particular page heading because here we sampled some of the nicest nibbles we’ve had in a long while. It started well when we were handed a glass each of their recommended clear sherry – and we’re kicking ourselves because we failed to get the name. It needs to be said that we’re not big sherry drinkers – or so we thought. Banish your thoughts of dusty dowagers, this stuff was delicious, tasting more like a perfectly dry, yet aromatic Sauvignon Blanc than Grandma’s favourite tipple. As for the food, we didn’t have much say in the matter and we were thrilled to bits, we love being fed. In no specific order, we demolished jamón ibérico, Padron peppers, chorizo, croquetas and calamari. But the highlight had to be the ultra-simply-put ‘bread and tomato’. More crostini in style than the sliced white and discarded fry-up variety, the bread was squeaky-fresh with crunch and the tomatoes oozing with – well, tomato, and garlic and just the right amount of extra virgin olive oil that was good enough to want to taste. This is our kind of food.

Mittal S

07 April 2013  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5
While away hours in here
I'll keep it simple, as that's what Jose has accomplished here. Delicious tapas treats, all the usual suspects and more. Fabulous wines by the glass, carafe or bottle. Happy smiley staff. A small yet lively taverna atmosphere where you will happily while away hours. What's not to like. I only wish it was slightly bigger to fit my enormous buggy, so us local mothers could swap coffees for a carafe of fine Rioja!

TheHungryBea T

29 August 2012  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
What does Tapas mean to you or to anyone? Small plates of food served with a drink? It’s not just the food. Obviously the food is good. For me, it’s the food and everything else that goes with. If you have been to Spain, You will tend to notice, how the Spaniard just sit around with vin and cervecas and their tapas, chatting away with no worries of everything that’s happening around them. I always been a great lover of cultures who sits down and spends time to enjoy the food and the company they are with. It saddens me something that we do not have this culture in London. Even in Asia, even how very over productive they are, time is essential for making money. They still take time to have their lunches. A proper lunch at most time with friends or even just on their own. In London, having an hour break seems a sort of guilty pleasure that you’re forbidden to enjoy. I was once, one of the Londoners, who have sandwich in the office not willing to sacrifice lunch time. Things changed, when I realise quality of life makes you a better worker. Today, I was with a couple of friends in the Cheese at Leadenhall. Had a cheese platter over some wine. I will consider that a tapas session. Small portion of food, wine and great company. I thoroughly enjoyed today. We three have never sat together for so long, as we are busy with our own lives. But we see each other everyday. But never sat down to have chat,I wish we do this often. Have you notice how people are more themselves outside work? I think the Spanish got it right. Go out, have a drink, have a tapas, relax and enjoy what is more important. As I very much realise, I am derailing from the topic here. I want to introduce, one of my favourite tapas places in London. The food is good, but what I like about it is, it feels I just stepped into a tapas place in Spain. No reservation says Jose. Yeap, Jose’s tapas bar. This little tapas place in Bermondsey brings me back to times good times in Spain. Wine barrels as table tops, simple tapas dishes, and all good Spanish wine by the glass. I went to Jose yesterday, had a few tapas and drinks over long chats on a summer’s day (in London). It was perfect. Simple Spanish food and culture. A good way to experience Spain in London. I highly recommend Jose for exactly what I said. SIMPLE SPANISH CULTURE!!!

Chris S

23 November 2011  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 2
Been eating and drinking in here since it first opened, and have no fault with the food, drink and general service. Today, however was an eye-opener – had an irate, reactionary customer run after me – after I brushed passed him (impossible not to in a space so small) thinking I'd taken his wallet from his back pocket (when he'd put it elsewhere) No defence from the staff, whatsoever. Stuff like this leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. So, to end – great food, great drink, but be careful not to brush past anyone, lest you be treated like a criminal.

Victoria B

11 October 2011  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 5
Sherry. Ham. Hours of pleasure. You can't go wrong here. Absolutely Brilliant.
Bookings not required

Reservations are not required at José.

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