El Nico, Tapas restaurant, Old Portsmouth

El Nico, Old Portsmouth, menu


UPDATE: Unfortunately El Nico’s closed it’s doors in April 2016. You can still visit their other tapas restaurant, Nicholsons in Albert Road, Southsea, which we haven’t tried yet.


After having a lovely lunch in Manna in the High Street, Old Portsmouth on Friday we came across a new place just along the road which had opened up called El Nico. It’s a Spanish tapas bar and my husband Geoff and I are heading off to Spain soon for our very first time. What’s the chances of that? On Saturday evening we decided to pay the restaurant a visit and try some tapas to see what we could expect to have in Spain.

Albondigas, El Nico, Old Portsmouth, tapas, Spanish

On entering, the front section was lovely and bright because of the sunshine but these tables were reserved. Then there’s the bar area with a couple of high tables, high stools and banquette with big cushions – which is where we decided to eat. Beyond the bar is the restaurant.

Tortilla, El Nico, Old Portsmouth, tapas, Spanish
Alitas al Horno – chicken wings

If ordering before 6.30 (even on a Saturday) you can choose 5 tapas with the cheapest free. Luckily it was just before that time so we quickly decided on which tapas we wanted and ordered at the bar. If you are in the restaurant then it is table service.

tortilla, El Nico, Old Portsmouth, tapas, Spanish

One tapas I wanted in particular was Berenjenas gratinadas. This was layers of sautéed aubergines with home-made tomato sauce and topped with three cheeses. I knew Geoff probably wouldn’t be too keen on it as he doesn’t care for cheese so I suggested he chose something which he likes and I don’t and that was Alitas de pollo al horno (chicken wings with garlic paprika and garlic marinade). The other three dishes we’d share.

berenjenas gratinadas, El Nico, Old Portsmouth, tapas, Spanish
Berenjenas gratinades

As it was, Geoff did try some of my dish after I’d scraped some of the cheese off and did like it although he’s not a fan of aubergines. He traded me with a chicken wing. It could have done with perhaps more marinade or we could have had a side order of chilli sauce but didn’t notice it on the menu at the time of ordering.

paella de carne, El Nico, Old Portsmouth, tapas, Spanish
Paella de carne

The tortilla was very nice, this is a classic Spanish omelette with potatoes, onion, green peppers and served with mayonnaise. Albóndigas – pork and beef meatballs with galic, nutmeg and parsley served in a tomato sauce – was also very tasty. Our favourite dish of the evening though was the paella de carne – chicken and chorizo paella.

tarte au citron, El Nico, Old Portsmouth, Spanish, tapas
Tarte au citron

Of course, we had to have a dessert. I couldn’t decide and thought it would be a good idea to do the same as we did with the tapas, order two or three desserts to share but Geoff was having none of it. What a meany genie he can be sometimes.

tarte au citron, old portsmouth, tapas, spanish

We both settled on tarte au citron. This was delicious, the pastry was lovely and sweet, the lemon, tangy and the top was burnt and crisp like a creme brulee. The ice-cream was very creamy and I meant to ask the make but unfortunately forgot to. The dish was drizzled with a raspberry sauce. We also each had an espresso which I must say tasted very nice indeed and not at all bitter like some espresso’s can be.

El Nico is a grade II listed building and was where the Monks Bar once was, opposite Portsmouth Cathedral and so is in a lovely location. Upstairs they have banqueting rooms ideal for weddings, parties, business functions etc., El Nico is part of Nichol sons which is also a restaurant and tapas bar in Albert Road, Southsea, which has a few extra items on the menu such as rump steak.

As there were a few dishes we liked the sound of, we shall most likely make a return visit in the not too distant future.

Eso es todo por ahora amigos!

Living life, loving cake

A x

I must apologise for the quality of the photos, I forgot my camera.

3 Comment

  1. […] try sometime as we enjoyed all the wonderful tapas we had in Spain recently and also at El Nico in Old portsmouth.  One course was £10, £13 for two and £16 for three. Of course I had […]

  2. […] lamb. It wasn’t very tasty and I had to leave most of it. In fact, the paella tapas we had at El Nico in Old Portsmouth was much, much better which is why I wanted to have a paella in Spain in the […]

  3. […] been to a few tapas restaurants ever since we visited Spain for the first time only two years ago, El Nico’s in Old Portsmouth, Sant-Yago  and Koh Thai in Southsea and Annie Jones in […]

Leave a Reply