The Bristol food scene is moving fast with exciting new restaurants and bars opening every week. Paco Tapas is the younger sibling of acclaimed fine dining establishment Casamia (which sadly closed a little while ago)… and despite its relaxed atmosphere this convivial tapas eatery is one of only a few Michelin star recognised restaurants in Bristol.
The interiors at Paco Tapas are dark and moody with high tables with bar stools creating a laid back feel. We sat at one of the heated outdoor tables which offered a lovely view of the sunset over the water. A glass of fresh white Spanish wine and a smokey negroni piqued our appetite, ready for the feast ahead.
It is tricky to get the right amount of food when ordering from a tapas menu, but our informative and charming waiter helped us identify the key players from the menu, while ensuring our meal was nicely balanced. From the snack (Para Picar) section we picked the Tortilla Española, an iconic oozing egg dish at Paco Tapas and the pillowy Bread with Olive oil, perfect for mopping up the tortilla.
Each dish comes when it’s ready, ideal for gradual grazing. Don’t miss the Jamón Croquetas, indulgent golden nuggets filled with a meaty, cheesy bechamel sauce. Absolutely divine.
I could have ordered anything from the meat menu, but we took our waiter’s advice and opted for the Cornish shortrib and the Duroc Pork Ribs. The meat options regularly change dependant on what is available to the kitchen, with much of the meat coming from the brilliant Philip Warren Butchers in Cornwall. Pork Ribs were particularly tasty, falling away from the bone beautifully, and seasoned to perfection… I had to fight my toddler for the last bite.
Arguably my favourite dishes of the night were from the ‘vegetables’ section of the menu – I couldn’t resist the classic Patatas Bravas, but it was the Devilled Corn on the Cob and the Cauliflower & Manchego that blew me away. These dishes show that Paco Tapas is more than a classic tapas restaurant, offering inventive riffs on more obvious Spanish culinary ideas. The corn was coated in an addictive buttery spice mix and topped with salty cheese. The cauliflower was grilled and caramelised, sitting in a luxuriously smooth manchego cheese sauce. Rest assured vegetarians will not go hungry here.
Definitely leave room for dessert, Pedro Ximinez Flan is a must, the creamiest silky smooth set custard pudding, which we finished in less than a minute between us. The Chocolate mousse with toast and olive oil was also delicious, ideal for chocolate fans, but without too much richness (perfect at the end of a meal).
It’s easy to see why Paco Tapas is one of Bristol’s best loved restaurants. Vibrant Andalusian flavours paired with wonderful warm service, it’s impossible not to have a good time here.
More information and book a table at Paco Tapas here.
I was a guest of the restaurant.