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What better way to enjoy a relaxed meal with friends than with a mix and match meal of tapas dishes, where you’ll find plenty of choices to suit all tastes and budget? The tradition of tapas began pre-19th century, when Spanish innkeepers and the travellers who stayed with them struggled to communicate, and so the former offered the latter a taste of the whole menu in the form of many small dishes. Since then, the popularity of this style of eating has boomed - and when it comes to tapas, Edinburgh has an amazing array of options to choose from. Here are our top picks.
This lively diner in the West End offers not only traditional Spanish fare, but South African and Scottish-inspired tapas dishes too. We’re always welcomed warmly by the staff - it feels like a home away from home. The wine list includes both Spanish and South African choices (the two countries the owners hail from), and our visits always begin with free bread, which is a lovely touch. The melt-in-the-mouth pork ribs with tomato, chilli and honey are a must-order - and on the South African front, try the sosaties: tender and mildly spiced chicken and apricot skewers.
Indaba, 3 Lochrin Terrace, Edinburgh, EH3 9QJ
Tucked away on an Old Town side street, Lasal is a traditional Spanish restaurant known for three things: its tapas, its paella and its live flamenco nights. With its plain wooden tables and its walls adorned with Spanish posters, it’s got a really homely feel, and the food is as authentic as you’ll get. Our top picks are the chicken, ham and mushroom croquettes, served freshly fried and piping hot, and the rich and moreish butter bean stew packed with chorizo, pancetta and black pudding.
Lasal, 9 Howden Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9HL
Cafe Andaluz has something for everyone: bright and airy open spaces if you’re looking to enjoy the buzz, and quiet and intimate corners for those visiting for a date night. It’s a beautiful restaurant with a real Andalucian feel, just a stone’s throw from Princes Street. We’re huge fans of their tapas too: try the Gambas Pil Pil if you’re a seafood lover: these juicy king prawns are cooked with chilli, paprika and garlic for a real kick. Vegetarians are well catered for here too: their sliced potatoes baked with mozzarella and garlic cream are a devilishly decadent treat.
Cafe Andaluz, 77B George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3EE
For over 10 years, a former warehouse in Leith has been home to Tapa: a friendly and sociable tapas bar where you feel as though you’ve been transported to Spain when you walk through the door. The service here is always outstanding, and the food is too - they import a lot of their ingredients directly from Spain for true authenticity. Their Tapas Para Todos menu is great for large groups, and for an introduction to the menu if you’re not great at making decisions - or order a la carte. The aubergine crisps drizzled with sweet honey are amazing, and the red wine braised pig cheeks are a great way to sample their tasty meat selection.
Tapa, 19 Shore Place, Edinburgh, EH6 6SW
If you’re after an environment that’s traditional and rustic in the Tollcross area, El Quijote is the place to be. Decorated with beams and cartwheels, it’s a charming place that combines local ingredients with Spanish imports to create both traditional and more innovative tapas dishes. Their cheese selection is beautiful (we love the sheep milk Zamorano with its intensely sharp and salty flavour), and don’t leave without trying the tender pork cheek stew served with fantastic homemade chips.
El Quijote, 13 Brougham Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9JS
The stripped back feel of Leith’s Serrano & Manchego, with its bare brick walls and chunky wooden furniture, makes it feel less Spanish than some of our other choices - but don’t let this fool you. The food here is top notch, and the open kitchen means you can watch your meal being prepared too. The fried and salted almonds always whet our appetites while we order, and we’re huge fans of the Pulpo a la Gallega: a wonderfully peppery octopus and potato dish. Save space for the sugary, deep-fried churros with a warm chocolate dip too - it’s a deliciously decadent way to end your meal.
Serrano & Manchego, 297 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH6 8SA
Tags: Edinburgh, Families With Children, Good For Groups, Date Night, Amazing Drinks, Business Dining, Extensive Wine List, Casual Dining, £ - £20-£30, ££ - £30-£40, Spanish, Tapas, Spanish, Tapas, Business, Good For Groups, Date Night, Extensive wine List, Restaurant
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