When one thinks of Seville, one pictures oneself soaking up the sunshine, exploring the windy streets while stopping over to top up on tapas y cerveza. Our trip, however, decided to take a different turn. In the lead-up to our trip, it was all gloriously sunny days with average temperatures in the mid-20s (Celsius). As we arrived for our four-day trip, we only got to see the sunshine for the last four hours while we were getting ready to leave. Despite the abysmal weather, we loved every minute in Seville.
“When it rains, seek cover and stuff your face” – Singh, 2018.
What to eat
Imagine a tapa-sized toasty, filled with anything from cheese, chorizo, ham to black pudding. It’s a perfect breakfast to get tuck into, either sitting at a local ‘Bodega’ with a zumo de naranja (freshly squeezed orange juice) or as a quick grab-and-go. Our favourite place to get these was Bodega Santa Cruz. This place is heaving with tourists and locals alike, so you may have to stand at the counter and people-watch while tucking in, just the way we like it!
If you like pork scratchings to accompany your pint of brew, imagine pork scratchings on steroids. It’s essentially pork belly pieces, deep fried in a selection of spices and garlic. The spice cuts through the fat, while the garlic gives it a warm sweetness. I could literally snack on these all day. We got ours from Mercado de Triana, wrapped the pieces in freshly baked bread bought from a nearby stall = magic!
Commonly known as calamari. “But I can get it anywhere”, I hear you say. Yes you can but not like they make it in Seville. I don’t know whether it’s the freshness of the seafood, or the secret recipe batter, but restaurants in Seville really know how to cook these tentacles to an absolute crispy perfection. We had our first one at laCava.bar and got hooked.
Nido de Bacalao y Espinacas
This little bird’s nest looking thing is by far my favourite dish from the trip. It constitutes delicately cooked cod fish pieces, sitting on top of lightly spiced spinach inside a nest of fried potato. I still can’t believe it was on the menu of a neighbourhood eatery and costed a measly €3.10! This little gem is a house speciality at Bodega Dos de Mayo. If you’re not in the area, plan it so you are and go eat it.
Yes, the good ol’ cheesecake! The usual one you’ll see served everywhere is a Seville Orange Cheesecake. However, if you don’t like orange(y) things, just about any cheesecake in Seville is moreish. I am not a huge cheesecake fan (I know!) but hoovered the one we got from one of the bakeries at the Mercado de Triana.
What to drink (I drank it all too quickly, hence no pictures)
Café con leche
Coffee is lifeline for me. I don’t know what it is, but coffee always tastes better in Europe. Is it the water, the beans, the milk, the guy making it or the holiday spirit? I am not sure. When in Seville, make sure one of the things you do is go into a local Taberna, stand at a bar and sip on a cup of café con leche (coffee with milk).
Vino de naranja
Spain is synonymous with wine. Seville is synonymous with oranges. Put the two in a blender and you have… Orange wine! A sweet, syrupy, tangy, jaffa cake in a glass, vino de naranja (orange wine) is a must-have when visiting Seville. The best place to enjoy one is the Taberna Álvaro Peregil. A tiny hole in the wall, where tourists and locals grab a glass and spill out on the streets, enjoying the taste of summer from a little glass.
Tinto de Verano
Following on from the above, Spain makes some of the world’s best red wines, in my humble opinion. However, a glass of red gets a bit leaden on a scorching hot day. The solution lies in Tinto de Verano (red wine of summer). It’s one part red wine and one part lemonade. It’s much like a simpler and less alcoholic sangria. The place to enjoy one of these is at the Gourmet Experience Duque, a trendy rooftop food and drinks establishment with a roof-terrace donning beautiful bird’s-eye view of the city.
A light and refreshing local pilsner that’s dangerously easy to drink. Off a tap, out of a can or even in mini 330ml glass bottles. You see everyone enjoying it everywhere! For us, the best place to enjoy it was sitting by the bar at Mamarracha Tapas y Brasas. It’s a very busy local restaurant and a great place to sit and people-watch.
Craft beers are taking off all around the globe and Spain is not immune to the phenomenon. If you like to give a wide range of local tipple a try, visit Corral de Esquivel. It has a range of local (and international) craft beers. When in Spain, I know it’s hard to decide between beer and wine, but it’s definitely worth breaking the conventions.