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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 five favourite places to go when I’ve got a seriously tapas craving in Bristol…

1. Pata Negra

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.

2. La Tomatina

La Tomatina
Via La Tomatina

Situated half way up Park St, this friendly Spanish restaurant has more of a bustling casual vibe than some of the more atmospheric places on the list, but there are some real stand out dishes on the menu – the braised ox cheeks being one. As well as the extensive tapas menu there are also several larger dishes to chose from, including paella to share. They also offer some interesting events such as Spanish classes and a regular Flamenco night.

3. El Puerto

El Puerto
Via 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.

4. Bravas

Bravas
Via. 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.

5. El Rincon

El Rincon
Via. El Rincon

This tiny Spanish bar on North St 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.

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.
  • Bell’s Diner – Some of the best food being served in Bristol right now, no messing.
  • Manna – Impressive & innovative dishes in a welcoming neighbourhood restaurant.
  • 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.

El Colmado

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Shonette Laffy

The author Shonette Laffy

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.