El Pirata de Tapas has become somewhat of a Spanish institution since it's appearance on Gordon Ramsey's best local restaurants tv show. Not only did El Pirata de Tapas but it ended up becoming the second best Spanish restaurant in the UK - not a bad effort at all! As you would imagine, since then, this small spanish restaurant has rocketed into stardom. I love Spanish food and tapas and prevously enjoyed a lovely spanish night out at Salvador & Amanda, in Covent Garden, so I was really excited to try out El Pirata de Tapas - is it genuinely one of the best Spanish restaurants in London?
I went on a snoozy sunday afternoon and as you stroll down Westbourne Grove, the striking red and black awning grab your attention and pull you into the narrow entrance. El Pirata is a long narrow restaurant that opens up into a square at the back. The dark wood floor and dark wooden furniture give the place a very warm and cosy feel and the wine rack flanked walls are a sight for sore eyes! It instantly makes you realise that they know their wines here - and what is tapas without the perfect Rioja?!
Inside view of El Pirata de Tapas, Notting Hill
The waitering staff are all spanish, which makes you feel that you are dining in a true Spanish restaurant although they could have done with smiling a bit more! We started with a jug of Sangria (of course), which was delightful. The best Sangria I have ever tasted outside of Spain. There were four of us and we decided to order 8 tapas dishes to share. The plates that stood out for me were; the beef skewers, which were so tender and cooked to perfection; chicken roulade, courgettes, black olives, tomatoes & mojo verde were succulent and the mojo verde added a wonderful bite to a meat that has the tendency to be bland. Finally I have to mention the scallops, which were cooked perfectly and served as if in a michelin starred restaurant. Every one of the dishes were immaculate; I know tapas is meant to be small but I do feel, for the price, each dish could have had a bit more meat on them but that is the only criticism I could level at the food. The wine list is extensive, as you would expect, filled with beautiful bottles of red. We plumped for a mid-range Rioja that complimented our food brilliantly. The final bill came out at around £35 a head for everything and while I said the portions were a bit small, I would have to say that it was money very well spent.
A delectable chop at El Pirata de Tapas
So was El Pirata de Tapas worthy of coming runner up in Ramsey's best local Spanish Restaurant? If you combine the cosy ambience, superb food, authentic Spanish feel and a sublime wine list, the answer can only be yes. El Pirata de Tapas is a must-try restaurant if you love all things Spanish.