City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Tapa: Barra y Restaurante

Average Rating:
Restaurant Photos
Photo of the Edinburgh restaurant
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Leith and Leith Walk
Serving times: 
Daily 12:00-00:00 (last orders 22:00)
0131 476 6776
07590 292 415

Spanish cuisine in the heart of Leith with meals for budget conscious diners.

The Reviews


£10 Challenge: Tapa

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 1:22pm

Tapas for two before 5pm: £10

The tapas style of eating has come a long way from its origins as hunks of bread and cheese used to cover jugs of wine in tavernas so as to protect them from flies. Restaurants are springing up across Edinburgh promoting the concept of several small “taster” plates to be shared around the table, but now applying it to a variety of different global cuisines, Indian or Thai being most popular.

So, it comes as a simple relief to find authentic Spanish tapas being served down a quiet side street just off The Shore in sunny Leith. Tapa offers a great array of dishes served around the £5-£6 mark, in very reasonable portions. However, for the budget eater with a pal, their daytime serving of tapas for two people for £10 is an absolute bargain.

On entering Tapa, it appears more to be a lively, modern bar built within a hollowed-out space from an old Leith warehouse. Loud Spanish pop (a bit too loud for these weary old ears) blares from speakers and there is a welcoming, if slightly clinical, family-friendly buzz. The Spanish theme is somewhat ladled on through décor, the walls garlanded with bull motifs, red wreaths and photos of wizened old Spanish folk sitting in Mediterranean sun, contrasting sharply with the Edinburgh summer rain pelting down the other side of the window.

So, bring on the tapas. An authentic Spanish bar provides tapas as a matter of course with drinks. The dishes presented are not the customer’s choice, but what is on offer on the day. So it is with this deal and we nod meekly in agreement as our waiter rattles off today’s list of seven dishes.

On arrival, the selection doesn’t disappoint. Garlicky button mushrooms, aubergine fritters cooked in honey and the ever faithful patatas bravas represent the vegetable dishes beautifully. The “fierce potatoes” are particularly good, being fluffy inside with a crisp salted exterior coated in a spicy tomato sauce. Elsewhere we have meatballs and chicken thighs, both also more than liberally spiced, and a palate-cleansing calamari dipped in aioli.

The only small criticism is that the “seventh” dish is a rather bland, standard salad. But this really is a minor quibble. The other six portions, while smaller than on the set menu, are still more than adequate for two hungry people. This is authentic Spanish fare at a terrific price. You’ll leave daydreaming of being in sunny market squares, drinking red wine and watching the old men bowling while tapas are brought to your table. Then, your reverie will be broken by stepping out into the Leith wind and rain. Oh well, so much for perfection.