Alegrias Spanish Tapas
Balcón by Tapavino
Can Cava Pintxos & Wine
Despana, Photo Credit - Despana
Alegrias Spanish Tapas
We have a soft spot for Spanish cuisine – and not just because every plate pairs well with sangria. From bubbling plates of hearty paella to small serves of tapas and pintxos, the Spanish ‘try-a-bit-of-everything’ tradition, is one food ritual we want to get on board with. Travelling through Madrid to Barcelona and beyond, Sydney’s pool of talented chefs will take you on a journey of the Mediterranean, without so much of a plane ticket in sight. So, get ready to raise a glass of sangria, these are the Spanish restaurants in Sydney worth booking a table at.
This Basque-inspired eatery offers an authentic twist on nose-to-tail dining, offering an array of locally sourced French and Spanish-fusion dishes. Pinxtos feature heavily – think Jamon Iberico, White anchovies and Morcilla and pickled pepper on toast – whilst larger, heartier mains come in the form of Poulet Basquaise with Tolosa style beans and aioli and Lamb leg with fennel purée and caramalised onions. All of which taste particularly on-point washed down with a Txakoli dry white wine, or a delightfully sweet sherry. Be sure to save room for the baked cheesecake or decadent chocolate mousse as an indulgent after-dinner treat.
6 Hunt Street, Surry Hills
There’s tapas, and then there’s pintxos. Think of it as the Spanish version of a sushi train: individual snacks are served on toothpicks, and at the end of your meal, you pay by counting how many colour-coded toothpicks you’ve collected. In Bondi, this cosy wine bar specialises in pintxos, and serves up a range of ‘remakes’ and classics while Spanish pop music plays in the background.
101 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
With a bar stocked with Spanish wines, a string of red lights and bulls adorning the walls, Despana is as authentic as it gets. The menu features cured meats and cheeses, tapas (get the charred octopus), and larger plates like paella. Everything is delicious, but we suggest rounding up the amigos so you can order more dishes – and finish with the churros dipped in hot dark chocolate.
101 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Top tip: For a similar vibe, try Bar Tapa in Darlinghurst. Owner and chef Manuel Terron serves up family recipes from his childhood in Spain.
In Surry Hills, Bodega is just as buzzy as it the day it opened. The huge bull mural sets the scene for a Spanish and Latin American feast, and the open kitchen adds to the theatre. It sends out plates piled high with empanadas, slow-cooked lamb, and the famous fish fingers (sashimi on garlic toast). To finish, get the banana split with dulche de leche ice-cream.
216 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
Top tip: When you’re in the inner-west, head to Bodega 1904 at Tramsheds for an aperitivo (and a snack, of course!).
Alegrias screams Spanish, from the music to the menu, and the black-and-white décor to the chatty chefs hailing from the motherland. The share plates are modern (the duck breast with figs is mouth-wateringly good), and the signature seafood paella is next-level, thanks to its black squid ink and chunks of lobster. On weekends, live bands get guests up for conga lines – you’ve been warned!
Shop 9, 332 Darling Street, Balmain
Like its menu, Encasa is all about choice. You can go to its sit-down eateries on Pitt Street or in Lane Cove, or pop into its rapido restaurants at the Westfield CBD or Chifley Square. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Encasa is famous for two thingd: bocadillo, a Spanish-style sandwich on a crusty baguette, and its tapas-with-a-twist dishes. Think chorizo poached in red wine.
CBD and Lane Cove
For tapas by the beach, you can’t go past Jah Bar – which is also a sustainability star that sources every ingredient from local farmers and growers. Soak up the sun (and sangria) in the courtyard, and or watch the chefs whipping up Spanish meatballs, scallops and braised pork cheeks in the open kitchen. PS. Happy hour runs from 5-7pm in Manly and 4-6pm in Dee Why.
Manly and Dee Why
Tucked down a cobblestoned alleyway in The Rocks, Tapavino is easy to miss, but it’s firmly on the foodie radar. The Spanish restaurant is also Australia’s first sherry bar, with over 80 sherries (plus a cool 300 wines) on its books. Book a spot at the dimly-lit bar for date night, and feast on jamon, tostadas and tuna cruda before sharing the chocolate terrine for dessert.
6-8 Bulletin Place, Sydney
Post-work, make a beeline for Balcón’s outdoor terrace, which overlooks the city streets. Start by flicking through the wine list: it’s almost exclusively Spanish and divided by regions as well as varieties. As you’re sipping, nibble on cheese and jamon before moving on to the meat, seafood and vegetarian tapas plates. If you’re dining with a larger group, go for the (generous) set menu.
17 Bligh Street, Sydney
Top tip: Down the road, Barrafina is a tapas hotspot that’s liveliest at lunchtime.
After a successful stint as the head chef of Nomad, Nathan Sasi decided to branch out on his own. Mercado has made a splash on Sydney’s Spanish dining scene. The restaurant is rustic yet finessed, and it makes just about everything in-house, from the bread and cheese to the cured and smoked meats. Speaking of meat, the menu is a carnivore’s dream, so just keep that in mind.
4 Ash Street, Sydney
When you want to wow a client or a date, take them to Postales. It scooped up awards for the best Spanish restaurant in Sydney (2009, 2010 and 2015), and is incredibly chic thanks to its cellar surrounds and cabaret shows. Go hungry, so you can tuck into the tapas plates as well as the paella, which is made with a secret saffron stock.
Lower Ground Floor, Sydney GPO Building, Martin Place, Sydney
Top tip: Around the corner, Casa Asturiana is another delicioso option – and it has the occasional flamenco dancer!