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Our history

Carmen Restaurant first opened its doors in 1996, in Clapham, London. Since we started, we have endeavoured to stay true to our Spanish roots in Seville.

As anyone who has been to Spain can attest, Tapas bars are perhaps Spain’s greatest contributions to world cuisine. Carmen, named after Bizet’s opera set in Seville, offers Londoners the chance to dine as they would in Seville’s famed tapas bars without having to leave town.


Carmen is an intimate tapas restaurant located in Clapham, London. The decoration and the friendly attentive staff create an atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.

You would be forgiven for momentarily forgetting that you are in fact in London, and not Southern Spain. Carmen has become an institution in South London. While the restaurant is not huge, it makes up for its size in character - delivering a cosy, fun atmosphere and enjoyable feel.

A perfect venue to enjoy a romantic dinner for two, while also catering for larger groups of family and friends - It is a place to come and relax, and enjoy food as it is meant to be. And why not come down on a Friday to share your lunch with your work colleagues?

Why is it called tapas?

The most widely accepted version holds that tapas originated in Andalusia, famous for its sherry wine. Patrons at local bars would cover their glasses with slices of bread between sips in order to prevent intrepid fruit flies from landing in the wine. Bartenders soon put small snacks atop the bread, and tapas from the Spanish verb, “tapar” meaning to cover, were born. Now, Tapas restaurants around the world continue the tradition of small shareable dishes to enjoy with wine and friends.

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