Being long-term sufferers of food envy, sharing plates – and particularly tapas – so often form the basis of our favourite food experiences. It seems so simple; you get to sample more of the menu, experience a wider variety of dishes and flavours, and generally have a more fun-filled, sociable time.

The U.K’s food scene has caught on; small plates are everywhere and we have our Hispanic brethren to thank for that. Bristol is at the forefront of that ever flourishing, swaggering scene, and as such you’d expect there to be a veritable feast of tapas bars to choose from in the city. You wouldn’t be disappointed, and with that in mind, we’re here to narrow it down to just five. So, here are our 5 of the best tapas bars in Bristol.

Paco Tapas

Paco Tapas is one of only a handful of Spanish restaurants in the U.K to hold a coveted Michelin star. What is more extraordinary is that they won it less than a year after opening; a mean feat by any restaurant’s standards. Part of the Sanchez Group’s growing empire of fine Bristol restaurants, the cooking at Paco Tapas is assured and confident. Stuffed and barbequed quail is a particular highlight, and the classics, such as simple tortilla espanola or ham croquettes, are delivered unpretentiously but with perfect aplomb. If you’re only to go to one tapas bar in Bristol, it should be here.

Address: 3A, The General, Lower Guinea St, Bristol BS1 6SY

Website: www.pacotapas.co.uk



Authenticity is the buzz word at this Redland institution, where the owners cite regular staff trips to Spain as the inspiration for their fine renditions of tapas bar classics. Bravas is rammed to the rafters regularly – even on school nights – and you’ll often have to wait for a seat. The wait is rewarded, though, with highlights like hake from the plancha or a sweet, crisp aubergine, perhaps. The patatas bravas from which the restaurant takes it’s names are a fine, thoughtful rendition.

*Bravas have now reopened following COVID-19 closures. Check out their safety pledge here for reassurance on new measures and procedures being implemented*

Address:  7 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6LD

Website: www.bravas.co.uk/

© Bravas


Not to be confused with Paco, Poco is a very different beast and although the term ‘tapas’ may be a stretch, their commitment to ethical sourcing and practice makes this place a fine proposition indeed. The menu spans all corners of the globe, arriving in small plated, concise form; a condensing of the world’s finest flavours into a few manageable bites, if you will. Poco won the Best Ethical Restaurant at the 2013 Observer Food Monthly Awards, and their commitment to conscientious cooking continues still.

Website: pocotapasbar.com

Address: 45 Jamaica St, Bristol BS2 8JP


El Rincon

El Rincon has a homely, almost-shambolic feel that draws you in and doesn’t let you leave until you’re full, drunk and happy. The menu is brief, but that’s fine by us; tapas menus seem to benefit from brevity, as everything always sounds so appealing. That said, the options here are always supplemented by a special or two; and if there’s ever a paella on at El Rincon you’d be crazy to miss it. Of added interest, the restaurant offers Spanish lessons and regular Latin music nights; the opportunity to go full native then, is very much there.

*El Rincon has reopened after COVID-19 forced closure, albeit with reduced opening hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm*

Address: 298 North St, Avon, Bristol BS3 1JU

Website: www.elrinconbar.com

Pata Negra

Pata Negra is a term for the finest pork product Spain has to offer, and as such, is beautifully befitting of this sublime tapas bar on Bristol’s Corn Street. Cured meat rightly takes centre stage with Jamon Iberico De Bellota a particular treat. In true tapas bar form, there’s a big focus on the flow of booze; the restaurant hosts sherry and wine clubs with regularity, as well as a bottomless brunch on Sundays which involves free flow cava and a generous selection of tapas at an entirely reasonable £22.50 a head. It would be rude not to, we think.

Address: 30 Clare St, Bristol BS1 1YH

Website: patanegrabristol.com

Top Image © Bravas

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