Barrafina, London

Written by Katie Parla on January 23, 2010

In the past few months I’ve spent in London, I’ve eaten an insane amount of great food, some British, some Italian, and at Barrafina in Soho, quite a bit of Spanish. This 23-seat restaurant on Frith Street is a culinary landmark where excellent Spanish tapas are served at the bar by an efficient staff. Due to its limited seating, parties are limited to four people and one should expect a queue.

Once you do grab a seat, sit back and watch the spectacle. The server-kitchen relationship is seamless and at times overlaps, as cold plates are prepared at the bar by the servers. Accordingly, the diner becomes a part of the creative process, if only as an observer, but as a food obsessed individual, I quite like the idea of cooking as a spectator sport.

The paper menu place setting lists the offerings ranging from cold appetizers and tortillas to grilled fish and meat. I intended to try just a couple of plates and started with caperberries, ham croquetas, and sardines al la plancha. But I was so impressed by the looks of what was being served to my neighbors that I decided on a few more dishes: pork belly with beans and cavolo nero, grilled lamb cutlets, chips with brava sauce, tuna tartar, and, of course, dessert, a sweet almond and quince tart.

Barrafina is open for lunch 12-3pm and for dinner 5-11:30pm. Seating is available on a first come first serve basis.

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