tapas bristol

There’s some absolutely tasty tapas Bristol places

Got a penchant for pintxos, or a hankering for jamon?

Well who’d have thunk it, but Bristol actually has quite the repertoire of tapas joints, from intimate little bars right through to lively restaurants with flamenco dancers and tenuously-named cocktails.

Here are my seven favourite places to go when I’ve got a seriously tapas craving in Bristol…

1. Bar 44

This gorgeous restaurant in Clifton may not have the cosy vibe of many of the other tapas joints on the list, but it makes up for that in snazz factor, with beautiful dishes, great G&Ts and an extensive sherry and wine menu.

The kind of place you could happily spend a whole evening working your way through the menu. Make sure you try their Spanish take on a Sunday roast, it’s stupendous!

2. Bravas

This place has set a new standard for tapas in town, but it’s not just the great food that means this place gets booked up weeks in advance, the atmosphere is also intimate and cosy.

It might well be one of the best tapas in Bristol. Take your seat at a table, or up at the bar to watch the exciting things going on in the kitchen whilst perusing their impressive gin & tonic selection.

The menu is ever-changing but some favourites remain on the menu throughout the year, such as the grilled Iberico pork, salted chocolate truffles (you’ll think the portion is stingy until you realise how rich they are) and the fried aubergine drizzled with molasses – one of my favourite dishes in Bristol.

3. Pata Negra

A shrine to all things Spanish from the team behind Milk Thistle, Hyde & Co. and The Ox, set across three floors on Corn Street.

Choose from some excellent pintxos or tapas (the Pan Catalan is particularly good, as is their selection of cheeses and cured meats), in addition to their well-considered sherry and wine menus.

Spanish food with a touch of cheeky chic.

4. Paco Tapas

Paco Tapas serves up a range of classic Spanish dishes but with the highest quality ingredients, such as prime Galician steaks and caribinero prawns the size of your hand.

Described as ‘Spanish food for perfectionists’ by The Guardian – make sure you save up for this one!

5. El Rincon

This tiny Spanish bar on North Street has established itself as a cornerstone of the local community, with Spanish language courses, live music, cookery classes, film nights and their famous tortilla competition!

It’s amazing how much such a small place has to offer. Simple, comforting and reasonably-priced food matched with a friendly atmosphere.

6. Gambas

You’ll find the sister restaurant to the brilliant Bravas upstairs at CARGO 2 in Wapping Wharf, with its corner terrace overlooking the harbour.

The menu is slightly more seafood focused, from giant carabinero prawns to Galician-style octopus and paella.

Of course there are the usual tapas staples available, and some damn fine cocktails too.

7. El Puerto

Big and (depending on the day) brash, El Puerto is a well-known lively tapas restaurant near the harbour. The location and size of the place means that it’s a popular choice for large groups, and it also means that they can run some fun Flamenco and Jazz nights, in addition to special events such as paella feasts.

The portions are generous and they don’t scrimp on the garlic – so maybe not the best choice for a date, but perfect for a friends night out.

Or if you’re thinking about the term ‘tapas’ more loosely, these places all do a very, very good selection of small plates that draw on influences from across the world:

  • The Gallimaufry – Their 3 small plates for £12 deal is an absolute steal.
  • Poco – Great food with an award-winning sustainable ethos. The cocktails are also top notch.

Or if you want to recreate your own Spanish style feast at home, pay a visit to Spanish deli El Colmado on Gloucester Road to stock up on meats, cheeses, croquetas and empanadas, as well as the usual roster of Mediterranean treats.

Like this? Then you’ll probably enjoy 10 awesome Bristol pizza joints.

Often to be found propping up a bar and eyeing up its rum selection, Shonette is an avid Bristol explorer and food muncher - take a look at her blog A Life Less Organised for her guides to the city's best pub crawls, roasts and more.

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