There’s no better way to explore the “true” Sevilla than by means of its finest culinary tradition: TAPAS. But first things first. How in the world does one “do” tapas?! Ladies and gent’s, despite common belief, there is a science. A science that your average tourist would never know.
How to do “TAPAS”:
1) Normally, you will be standing. Especially in your first couple of bars. You will probably find yourself a nice, skinny-lil’ bar ledge, or if your lucky, a wooden hightop table to plop yourself at. Chairs not included. So wear comfy shoes, as you will be doing lots of walking and standing!
2) Don’t expect good service. A good tapas place is usually bustling with people, and the waiters are usually running around like a chicken with their head cut off. When the waiters come, they come. Expect it, embrace it. It’s part of the tapas experience!
3) You must pace yourself!! On average, you will go to three spots. At the first tapas spot, chances are you’re going to be hungry. Realllll hungry. Resist. One place, 1-2 tapas. I listed multiple suggestions on what to order, but that doesn’t mean you have to order all of them…Work your way up! When you reach the last spot, that’s when you have “tap-permisision” to go loco.
4) Don’t forget your CAÑA! It’s unspoken tapa-regulations. A caña is a miniature glass of beer (and when I say “mini,” I mean by American standards…). However, whether it’s a caña, tinto verano (wine and Fanta soda), or a simple glass of water, you MUST tomar algo (“drink something”).
5) True tapas aren’t what you might think. Classic tapas aren’t an elaborate demonstration of fine Spanish dining, like we might be led to believe in “Spanish” restaurants at home. It’s really the Spanish version of bar food; things to pick on as you socialize with friends. It’s the quality that makes tapas good. Not necessarily the presentation, nor the complexity. For example, the finest queso, the tastiest jamón, the crunchiest croquetas, and the most tender solomillo. YUmmmMMMM.
Note on Price: All of the tapas bars listed below are priced between 2-3€ per plate. In general, tapas bars vary in price. This selection is of the cheapest, most deeeelicious spots in town! So…go crazy.
Now, shall we get started?
Tour #1: El Centro (near La Catedral)
Why: This is a truly traditional tapas spot, at its finest. It’s always packed with people, so you might have to be aggressive to find your little ledge! It’s a perfect place to start your tour, as you can just feel the energy of Sevilla running through you. On a nice day (and in Sevilla, your chances are high) it’s the perfect corner spot to grab a high top outside and people watch, as the hustle and bustle of Sevilla moves around you (and your tapas)
What to order: Berenjenas con Miel (fried eggplant with honey), Bacaloa con Tomate (typical codfish marinated in tomato), Pollo con Salsa (chicken marinated in a creamy pink sauce). Note: The menu is written on a blackboard, subject to change. It’s also a bit hard to read, so bring your glasses!
Find it: Calle de Rodrigo Caro, 1A, 41004 Sevilla
Why: Another truly “Spanish” spot, flowing into the streets with locals. This place is a true classic, as any local will direct you here, and your tour books. The waiters are constantly breakin’ a sweat, trying to keep up with the highly energetic crowd. Check out the back room…decorated with huge, super rustic jugs of who-knows-what, and rustic ceilings. Or, stick to the front room where you’ll be surrounded by bottles of wine and legs of jamón hanging from the ceiling.
What to order: The famous Chicharrones (fried pork rinds with roasted garlic), and the Montaditos con Chorizo Picante y Roquefort (mini sandwich with spicy chorizo and roquefort cheese. YUM).
Find it: Calle García de Vinuesa, 11, 41001 Sevilla
Why: I just adore this place. Maybe it has something to do with the perfect location, right next to the Cathedral. Maybe it has something to with the energy of the locals bustling about. Or maybe, just mayyyybe it has something to do with the BANGIN’ tapas…that were bought for us by a group of 5 40-year-old Sevillano locals. Now, of course a group of extremely generous (and drunk) Spaniards don’t come with a table…
What to order: Carrillada Al Vino Blanco (slow roasted pork in white wine sauce), albóndigas de sepia (cuttlefish meatballs), and the Guiso del dia; especially the Fabada if they have it (stew of the day- Fabada is an Asturian stew with beans, bacon, chorizo)
Find it: Calle Adolfo Rodríguez Jurado, 12, 41001 Sevilla
Why: Chicos y chicas, your last and final stop of the tour #1. Why wouldn’t you want toro heads staring at you as you eat toro tapas in the Plaza de Toros? That’s right. They serve, real toro meat. On french fries! Can you get any more authentic than that? I never thought I’d say this, but toro is gooooood. Real good. Tender, flavorful….yum. However, that’s not the only thing they do right. The services is excellent, the ambience is “homey chic” (thank you toro heads), and ALL of the food is bangin’. Not just the toro.OH! And it’s a perfect place to end your tour, as they have CHAIRS. Yes, real tables, with real chairs.
What to order: Cola de Toro (toro in a rich brown sauce) and Rollito de Langostino y Bacon” (shrimp wrapped in bacon. YES.)
Find it: Calle Adriano, 22
Tour #2: San Lorenzo (near Las Setas)
Why: This place has been servin’ Sevillano’s since 1898. It’s the iconic bar of the famous weeklong celebration of Semana Santa, where thousands of people flood the streets between the famous Iglesia de San Lorenzo and the doors of the bar; of course, caña and croquetas in hand. When you enter, you will notice that the walls are covered with pictures of Semanta Santa, from black and white vintage shots from the early 1900’s, to last year. Oh, and another cool thing…they write your check amount on the bar with a marker.
What to order: First, make sure you ask for the (free) aceitunas, or olives. Literally, the best olives I’ve ever had; big, juicy, succulent, mmMMMmm. Then, pick from their two famous dishes: The Croquetas Caseras (fried balls with jamón and bechamel cream inside) and the Flamenquín (fried jamón and beef roll ups). Save your diet for another day.
Find it: Calle Hernán Cortés, 2, 41002 Sevilla
Why: You want Sevilla home cookin’? You got it. This is a family owned Abacería, or gourmet market, that sells the best Spanish products like jamón, chorizo, cheese, bread, olives, etc. This traditional market is now an abacería AND tapas restaurant. So, you KNOW that all of their tapas are top notch; Why? ‘Cause they buy all of their ingredients from themselves! Oh, and if you sit in the back room you can watch as they prepare your food, as one of the walls is also the kitchen. (That’s right…I said SIT! This place has tables and chairs. Winninggg.)
What to order: This is where you should try your traditional cold tapas. They’ve got the best cheese and jamón iberico in all the land. They also have an incredible wine selection.
Find it: Calle Teodosio, 53, 41002 Sevilla
Why: If you ask me what my favorite restaurant is in all of Sevilla, IT’S THIS. Eslava is the perfect ending to this tapas route. Why? Well, you’ve previously experienced the very traditional Sevillano tapas, and now your ready for THE TWIST. All of their plates are based off the classics, but taken to the next level with modern gastronomic skill. It’s Spanish fusion at it’s finest. Save the best for last, right?
What to order: Yema de Huevo sobre Bizcocho de Boletus (poached egg on a mushroom sponge cake with caramelized wine reduction) , Costillas de Cerdo con Miel y Romero (slow roasted pork ribs in honey glaze with rosemary), and the award winning Cigarro de Bequer (algae and cuttlefish rolled up and fried, served with whipped brie).
Find it: Calle Eslava, 3, 41002 Sevilla
Tour #3: Triana (the “local” side of the bridge)
Why: Triana is considered the “residential, local” neighborhood of Sevilla, and this is the “residential, local” bar. Warning: You will probably be the only one speaking English.
What to order: Chipiron a la plancha (grilled squid with spices and garlic olive oil), Queso de Romero (cheese of the day changes, but if they have this rosemary cheese, get it!) and Punta de Solomillo (a slice of steak on bread)
Find it: Calle Antillano Campos, 26, 41010 Sevilla
What to order: The Bacalao con Pimiento, Mostaza y Mojo (codfish with red pepper sauce, honey mustard and mojo sauce),and the Queso de Cabra a la Miel (baked goat cheese with honey and walnuts). Tomaaaaa.
Find it: Calle San Jacinto 28
Why: I always like to end my tapas tour with a twist, and amigos, this is your spot! While the classic dishes have a culinary fusion spin, that homey traditional Spanish ambience that we all know and love is not compromised. Great service, great tapas…oh, and greeeeat wine.
What to order: The locals come for the great fried fish dishes. Pick a fish, any fish. Also, Garbanzos con Setas (garbanzo beans with mushrooms) and the Albóndigas de Choco (yes, cuttlefish meatballs…I promise, they’re really good).
Find it: Calle Pagés del Corro, 119, 41010 Sevilla
…And (IF you can squeeze it in your stomach without exploding) finish ALL 3 tours off with some Orange Spiced Wine. OLÉ!