We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“My blind husband makes better tapas and he isn't even Spanish!”
Review of Barioja Tapas Bar - CLOSED

Barioja Tapas Bar
Price range: US$0 - US$51
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighbourhood: Old Town
Kirkwall, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“My blind husband makes better tapas and he isn't even Spanish!”
Reviewed 30 December 2013

I had very good memories of this restaurant from years ago and so my husband and I ventured in one Sunday afternoon in March. There were perhaps two other tables with folk at them-should have taken that as a warning. We were seated at a table next to the window which was great as we could watch the folk walking by, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic here - students, tourists, reg. folk - a good mix to watch even on a Sunday.

We ordered a bottle of house white which actually was very good. We ordered the tapas tasting menu for two as we couldn't make up our minds what we wanted. The best of the lot was a deep fried croquette - light and crispy on the outside and melty in the inside - perfect for a March day. After that things proceeded downhill quite rapidly. The other selections came floating on an ocean of oil and paprika. Wasn't even sure that it was olive oil - just some cheap as chips nastiness. Don't know about you but none of the tapas I have ever been served in Spain were like that - even in the cheapest dive bars. Some of them were inedible. We were so shocked we didn't send them back, we wiped the oil off the gambas with the bread but found they had been overcooked. My husband makes this dish at home and I know it goes very quickly from perfection to tough as old boots in seconds. Certainly the kitchen could not say they were rushed off their feet as there were only 3 tables to cook for!

I would avoid this place at all costs unless you have the inside track on something they can make that is amazing - and remember - the wine was very nice. The service was ok, too slow for my Scottish husband who doesn't get the whole taking your time over lunch thing. We should have sent the whole mess back as it cost us something like £60.00 with wine but we didn't. However, since that lunch my husband has repeatedly asked me to put a review about it because it was so bad. We just make Gambas Pil Pil for Christmas eve and he brought it up again. I asked him what he wanted to say about the restaurant and he had two words 'oil slick'.

I don't give a terrible review lightly but a tasting menu should reflect the best that the restaurant has to offer. Total disappointment. There are plenty of really good restaurants in Edinburgh but this isn't one of them.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank SartreLives
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

150 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
401 reviews
317 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 249 helpful votes
“Almost good”
Reviewed 26 December 2013

I ate here with family on the 23rd December. We enjoyed the selction of tapas dishes we chose especially the Gambas al ajillo and the Piquillo con queso de cabra. We finished with Churros and some lovely speciality coffees. The food was well cooked and presented although some of the portions were a tad on the small side for sharing and didn't represent good value for money.
The biggest drawback of our visit was, it was a cold wet day outside and we were looking for some warmth while we ate and the restaurant was freezing cold. I think it was actually warmer outside.
I think this restaurant could be so much better as it showed real promise. Unfortunately there are much better Spanish tapas restaurants to choose from in Edinburgh so it will have to work harder to compete.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ScfamilyAberdeen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
55 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Worked for us”
Reviewed 22 December 2013 via mobile

Was a Groupon deal but very satisfactory meal for four of us. The Gambas was exceptional.

We had:

Patatas bravas
Patatas con ajo
Pollo espanol
Gambas garbadina
Cod and smoked haddock fritters
Tortilla del dia
Jamon iberico

Thank John T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
32 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Such a shame!”
Reviewed 18 December 2013

My First one star review!

This appears to be a restaurant with two distinct areas: Tapas Bar and Restaurant which is Iggs next door. We ate in the Tapas bar as we needed to stay near the train station to pick up a friend and I really wish we hadn't bothered.

The service was cheerful and friendly but incredibly slow. We ordered cava which sat on the bar for so long we almost went to get the bottle ourselves. I made a point of saying was it cold still and the waitress assured me it was...it wasn't! The only table available was (we subsequently discovered) by a draughty door. We ordered about ten dishes including Gambas al Ajillo and a few others like the cheeses and hams and the morcilla.

The whole of the food served looked like a very tired collection of bits thrown on to the plates and did not set the taste buds going in any way. The portions were also small. The impression I gained was that this had not been recently prepared. The mussels were largely colourless, tasteless and decidedly limp. The sauce they sat in was only luke warm. The Calamari could have been tepid rubber bands. The whitebait was neither crisp nor hot. The prawns were dull in complexion and flavour.

The Gambas al ajillo were again dull and limp. Plus all the dishes had different mayonnaises like saffron alioli and lemon mayo etc. but were all acutally the same cheap squeezy mayo.

All in all one got the feeling that this was a tapas bar that did not want to give the impression that it was concerned to entice customers back and thereby create a regular clientele.We paid up and left quickly and went round the corner to Monteiths for some better food and some good wine! Something I wish we had done before walking through the door!

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Cazisw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 11 December 2013 via mobile

After leaving Waverley station I have stumbled upon Barioja halfway up Jeffery street on my way to my hotel so I decided to go back and give it a try as I have worked in Spain and I love Spanish food. Before I went I read some of the other reviews on trip advisor and nearly changed my mind, I'm so glad I didn't. I arrived and was met by very friendly (also very pretty) staff who directed me to a table close to the bar area. The menu was extensive with a lot of choice but I opted for the chefs special of pork belly. Before my food arrived I ordered the beer on tap which was Estrella Galicia, excellent, my local bar serve Estrella but it is a little harsher and has a chemical taste about it but this was very crisp and light. I was pleasantly surprised when my food arrived as I had imagined something completely different and smaller as this is a tapas bar but the portion was very substantial, beautifully presented and perfectly cooked, I can not fault it at all. I have tried to cook pork belly in the past and my attempts where in my opinion where good but nowhere close to what I got served, the mashed potato was so smooth, not a single lump or hard bit which I am always critical about and the sauce was just to die for. One thing I have to say was the staff where attentive but when I was eating they left me alone to enjoy my meal but as soon as I was finished my plate was cleared quickly and after they were engaging and friendly. When I left the manager came over to speak to me and was genuinely interested in what I thought and again was very friendly, offered to call a taxi for me and shook my hand as I left, very professional. I will without hesitation go back to barioja and also try the restaurant next door as I believe it is the same manager who runs both places.

Thank Eugene R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Barioja Tapas Bar also viewed

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing