La Bota

Tel: +44 (0)20 8340 3082
Address: 31 Broadway Parade, Tottenham Lane, London N8 9DB
Cuisine Type: Spanish
nearest tube station Finsbury Park (VICTORIA, PICCADILLY)

As a well-known and reputable neighbourhood establishment, I was eager to try La Bota and its offerings of authentic Spanish tapas.

This place has a somewhat contemporary, yet casual feel – the walls are painted vibrant yellow, with Dalis, Mirós and picturesque photographs of Spain adorning the space. Local popularity means the evenings are generally busy and boisterous – prepare to speak at a decibel or two higher than normal on the weekend. When we were there on a Friday, the background music was barely audible over the buzz of conversations. Great fun, but probably not the best choice for a quiet, romantic evening.

La Bota specialises in tapas – generous meat, fish and vegetarian options abound. Tapas is essentially synonymous with communal eating, so to get the proper experience, your best bet is to order a mixture of hot and cold plates, and share. We tried anchovies marinated in garlic oil, cooked spinach with chick peas, spicy Chorizo sausage, tomato-based squid and a lamb stew taster to name a few. All dishes were truly delicious, and we heartily wiped down each one with loaf after loaf of bread. Costs for tapas range from a very reasonable £1.80 to £6.00, the most expensive being pulpo a la gallega, octopus sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and paprika.

For wine lovers, there is a very good selection of Spanish wines (£7.90-£21.00 per bottle). We tried a mid-priced white wine recommended by our server, which was very clean and complemented most of our diverse tapas dishes. Bottled beers are also available.

If tapas is not your thing, not to worry. La Bota also offers an attractive listing of main courses, such as succulent vegetarian and chicken paellas, grilled lamb cutlets, veal escalope and grilled lemon sole (£6.75-£10.75).

Surprisingly disappointing was our dessert course (£3-£5). Despite the large selection of Spanish and non-Spanish dessert “specials”, two of the three we chose were below average at best. The Belgian apple flan was rock hard and tasteless; the cherry cheesecake was dry and cardboard-like. Luckily, the tiramisu was perfectly creamy and sweet, and I would go back to try what may have been the real dessert specialty: queso de tetilla con Membrillo, mild cheese from Galicia with quince preserve.

Service was courteous and attentive, particularly as every table was filled when we visited. We found it helpful to try pronouncing menu items in Spanish – our server seemed to appreciate the effort and laughed with (at?) us as we managed to quickly destroy the Spanish language.

Reservations are recommended at this little local treasure. You will undoubtedly walk away full, satisfied and have money to spare. Olé!

– Sue Couter, 3/2003