If you’re bonkers for boquerones or mad for manchego, Bristol has plenty to offer you. Thanks to a thriving Spanish community, there seems to be no shortage of fantastic tapas restaurants in the city to tickle your tastebuds. 

We’ve rounded up a selection of our favourites to transport you to Galicia, Andalusia and the Iberian Peninsula, all via the West Country.

Bar 44 needs little introduction. They have received national attention and admiration for their Spanish-influenced dishes. Their appreciation of authentic ingredients is second to none and have now graced Bristol with their presence in the city. They are hugely knowledgeable about sherry if that's your tipple, and if it isn't they will be changing your mind. Think the finest jamón, the freshest fish, a table full of tapas: this is joyous food, best shared (or not!) with as many as possible.

Read more about Bar 44 (Clifton)

Slap bang in the centre just off Corn Street lies the impressive Pata Negra, the ideal stop off for a sophisticated evening out. Great for larger groups, the extensive bar pours specially selected wines from the Iberian Peninsula alongside a delectable cocktail menu and a deliciously potent glass of sangria. The food menu fully appreciates their namesake (meaning ‘black hoof’, referring to the pigs from which the famous Iberico ham is made) with a cabinet of cured meats sitting proudly behind the bar, as well as a fantastic array of cheeses and plenty of inventive veggie dishes too.

Read more about Pata Negra (Centre)

Inspired by the Galicia region of Spain, this family-run restaurant on Cotham Hill has a tidy menu of sharing plates and nibbles, seemingly taking inspiration beyond their Spanish roots. Dining is relaxed and informal, with an al-fresco feel on long summer days. Unusually, Muino also offer an absolute belter of a breakfast menu on the weekends, for those days when you’ve had too much sangria the night before.

Read more about Muiño (Cotham Hill)

It doesn’t get more superb than this summer dining spot - situated next to the floating pontoon overlooking the SS Great Britain, Spoke & Stringer burst onto the Bristol food scene a few years ago offering pintxos and chilled beverages for the lazy-sunny-afternoon diner. A hybrid between a cafe/bar and a motorcycle store, Spoke & Stringer live by their ‘maximise freedom’ ethos, with plenty of delicious, locally sourced food to fuel your next adventure.

Read more about Spoke & Stringer (Waterfront/Hotwells)

If you’re looking for an unforgettable tapas experience, then look no further than Paco tapas. The brainchild of Michelin starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, Paco is tucked away in a historic building just a stone’s throw from the centre of Bristol. Offering dishes drawing inspiration from his Andalusian heritage, the extensive, hand-written menu is a delight for those favouring exquisite meat and fish, expertly grilled over an applewood fire and served alongside an inventive selection of traditional tapas dishes, and of course, a glass or two of sherry.

Read more about Paco Tapas (Centre/Bathurst Basin)

Perhaps as authentic as you can get, El Rincon is situated at the heart of the thriving Spanish community in Southville, tucked away at the very bottom of North Street. The setting is more akin to the living room of your friendly neighbour’s house, with regular flamenco dancing, live music and even Spanish classes taking place on a weekly basis. The bijoux bar pours a fantastic choice of ice-cold beers and very well-priced Spanish wines, with the menu offering traditional tapas plates alongside an ever-changing selection of specials. One for Bedminster locals looking for a true Spanish experience.

Read more about El Rincón (Bedminster)

Looking for tapas by the harbourside? One of the latest additions to the hottest food hotspot in town comes from the team behind the mighty Bakers & Co. and Cotham tapas favourite, Bravas. Twin sister tapas restaurant Gambas offers informal wining and dining in an idyllic setting in the Cargo development, with a menu including traditional favourites such as patatas bravas and tortilla alongside, you’ve guessed it, a plethora of gambas (aka, prawns) and other locally sourced seafood. Plenty of outside seating makes this the perfect spot for a bit of al fresco dinner on a warm summer’s evening.

Read more about Gambas Tapas Bar (Cargo/Waterfront)

Perhaps one of the most exciting reasons to pay a visit to New Moon tapas is not just its idyllic quarters in Clifton Village, but its seemingly remarkable approach to writing a specials board. Every fortnight, the team at New Moon explores a new country’s cuisine, from Hungary to Honduras, Spain to Slovakia. The result is a wildly ambitious and fantastically diverse menu, executed with elegance and excellence. An exquisite cocktail menu serves the classics with a twist, and a good selection of wines complement the food perfectly.

Read more about New Moon Tapas Bar (Clifton)

This stalwart of the harbourside scene has been serving tapas dishes on the waterfront for the best part of 20 years, so they certainly know their boquerones. Boasting perhaps arguably one of the best views in the city (especially at sunset), Olive Shed is a reliably decent bet if you’re dining with friends, as their relaxed restaurant setting is certainly bigger than their counterparts a stone’s throw away at Cargo. With an extensive menu of main dishes sitting alongside a delicious tapas selection, there’s something here for everyone.

Read more about The Olive Shed (Waterfront)

The name probably most synonymous with tapas in Bristol, getting an elusive reservation at Bravas is much like winning the Bristol food lottery. If you do manage to secure a spot, expect mouth-watering plates from their cosy quarters on Cotham Hill, including a top selection of cured meats, and their widely-celebrated dish of fried aubergine with molasses, a percentage of which is donated to Action Against Hunger. Dining is at high wooden tables or snug spots tucked away at the back of the restaurant, or a few lucky walk-ins are seated at the bustling bar. Either way, it’s worth booking in advance.

Read more about Bravas (Cotham Hill)

Published -24th June 2019