El Bareto, Chapel Allerton review - Traditional Spanish tapas bar with quality food and service at its heart

Spanish tapas bar El Bareto is a family-run affair that's a world away from the hipster venues of Leeds city centre.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 26th October 2019, 1:06 pm
Updated Monday, 28th October 2019, 1:23 pm

Tucked away just off Harrogate Road, around a five minute walk from the centre of Chapel Allerton itself, you could easily miss this great neighbourhood restaurant.

First impressions?

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El Bareto is a family-run Spanish tapas bar in Chapel Allerton. Picture: James Hardisty

On a summer's evening you'll almost always find customers enjoying a drink outside the small bar area that greets you on the ground floor as you first walk in. It was a different story on the dark and dreary night that we visited, but there were still a handful of people having drinks while the football played on a television in the background.

We ordered drinks and were invited to take a seat before our waiter took us down to the restaurant below, a cosy hideaway with simple tables, wooden panelling and sunflower yellow walls evoking a rustic and traditional feel that's a world away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

It was a quieter midweek evening with a more intimate feeling and just a few couple dining, but I imagine booking is essential on a Saturday night when it's like to be a livelier affair.

What’s the menu selection like?

The restaurant downstairs has a rustic and traditional feel. Picture: James Hardisty

There's a extensive selection of around 50 vegetable, meat and seafood tapas dishes, with plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options in the mix. You'll find a number of specials on the chalkboard up on the wall too.

As first-time visitors, we appreciated the guidance of our thoughtful waiter who had also helped to carry our drinks down and offered to take our coats.

He advised choosing between four and six dishes to share, promising to tell us if we were going to fall into the common trap of ordering too much before taking away our order sheet and leaving us to enjoy the complimentary homemade bread.

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Now onto the food

The baked Canary Island potatoes (£4.95) came with traditional red and green mojo sauces that were packed full of flavour and brought back happy holiday memories, and the tender Spanish meatballs (£6.95) arrived in a rich tomato sauce that also got the thumbs up.

Creamy haddock and prawn croquettes (£6.95) were beautifully crisp on the outside and delicately flavoured, while the escalivada (£6.50) - roasted vegetables with goats cheese on home made bread - was a surprise with my other half who had been unconvinced by this particular choice originally.

Last to arrive in a sizzling hot dish was the stuffed roasted pepper (£8.50) smothered in a cheese sauce that felt like a decadent end to a meal and the final nail in the coffin of any plans we might have had to squeeze in the cheesecake, flan or ice cream available for dessert.

And the drinks?

As you'd expect Spanish wine is front and centre, and there's sangria available by the glass or in jugs alongside four Spanish beers on draft, selected bottled beers and spirits.

I'd have gone for sangria had I spotted it, but had a Hendricks gin and tonic instead while the other half went for the Mahou.

How much was the bill?

Our bill came to £51.35 in total, but a third of that was our drinks. While we found the £7.90 for a single gin and tonic a bit of a shock, the food itself is great value given the generous portions and quality.

Will you be going back?

Absolutely. There's a great feel to this place, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the service was spot on.

Factfile

Address: 120 Gledhow Valley Road, Leeds LS17 6LX

Telephone: 0113 266 6946

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 5.30pm-midnight; Sunday, closed.

Scores

Food 9/10

Value 8/10

Atmosphere 7/10

Service 9/10