You’re on holiday in Seville, Spain, and looking for a place to eat. What foods are a must-try while you’re there? The region of Andalusia is famous for its tapas, so you should definitely make sure you try some during your stay. But contrary to popular opinion, they are not necessarily the best foods in Seville. I’ve lived in Seville for over a year, I work at a restaurant, and one of my favourite things to do in my free time (when I’m not watching flamenco dancing!) is to head to a local bar and grab something to eat. In this article, I list some of my favourite dishes and give recommendations on where to try them.
1. Tostada Con Tomate y Aceite
Let’s start with breakfast. Back in the UK, I rarely went out for breakfast. But here in Seville, it is cheap and delicious. When I first arrived, I had a few tostadas just with tomato. I was keen to search out more modern places that offered toppings like avocado and hummus. While those less traditional toppings are also delicious, they are more expensive. After, over a year of living here, I have come to appreciate the beautiful simplicity of the tostada just with tomato (triturado [crushed] is better in my opinion, not en rodajas [sliced]) and good, Spanish olive oil. Accompany it with a cortado (milky expresso) and some freshly-squeezed orange juice. I can’t think of a better way to start my morning! You can get a tostada con tomate in almost any bar, but Bodeguita Fagúndez Triana is one of my local favourites.
2. Patatas Bravas
Let’s move on to main meals. Tapas (appetizers or snacks) are versatile and can be eaten at lunchtime or in the evening. One of the most famous tapas Seville offers is patatas bravas: potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli. And when they are good, boy, these are good! But in my opinion, they are a risky tapa in Seville. Many times, these have just been chips with slightly spicy ketchup. And I hate ketchup! But one place with proper, good patatas bravas is Restaurante Bicho Malo in Triana. Chunks of new potatoes and a homemade spicy tomato sauce topped off with a drizzle of aioli—this is what patatas bravas should taste like! While you’re there, why not try the carrillada bao (meat inside a fluffy tortilla) too? It’s a modern take on a classic, and even tastier!
Another staple of Spanish tapas are croquettes (deep-fried rolls with filling). The most common flavour is ham, but puchero (meat stew) flavour is also common in Seville and is probably my favourite. There’s not the same risk of “bad” croquettes as there is with patatas bravas, but some are certainly better than others. You should look for a crispy outside, but not too thick, and a creamy, flavourful filling. I liked the puchero croquetas at Casa Remesal and La Entrañable, where they come in a mix of different flavour croquettes, which is always exciting! Both places have many traditional dishes alongside croquettes (think snails, Spanish omelette, spinach, chickpeas, etc.), and for me, sum up the typical tapas experience of small portions and low prices. It’s great for a quick meal to share and to try many things, but it’s nothing special.
4. Lasagna de Gallina
Now we come to something different. At Rinconete y Cortadillo in Triana, you’ll find a sumptuous mix of Italian lasagna and Peruvian ají de gallina (chicken in a yellow pepper sauce). With a touch of spice, this is one of my favourite dishes in Seville! It’s a perfect combination of flavours, and really melts in your mouth. While you’re there, try the artichokes in tempura with creamy payoyo cheese (cheese made from the milk of payoyo goats or Merina grazalemeña sheep), the beef cheeks (carrillada de ternera), and the cheesecake with dulce de leche (best cheesecake I’ve ever tried). Or stay for the afternoon and enjoy their signature cocktails while people-watching at the outside tables. Full disclosure: this is the restaurant where I’ve been working for the past year, but I recommend these dishes purely on taste and from my own experience.
5. Brioche de Cochinillo
I’d seen the Abaceria El Mercader De Triana so many times on a side street on my way to work, but I thought it would just have the same old tapas as all the local places. One day I stopped by on my way home, and ended up chatting with some American girls about tapas. I shared how I find them all quite similar with so few vegetarian options. (I’m not even vegetarian, I just like vegetables!). The owner came out and joined our discussion. He’s Trianero (from the Sevillian neighbourhood of Triana) born and bred, but has lived abroad, so he speaks unusually great English. He was super friendly, and I enjoyed a vegan(!) stuffed green pepper tapa that I would definitely recommend!
However, the star dish came the next day when I returned with a friend. I tried the brioche de cochinillo (a specially prepared pork served in bread), which popped with flavour and melted in my mouth. It’s a bit messy to eat, but so worth it! If you’re a wine fan, this place stocks many different wines for a small venue. The owner will happily recommend one. Pair your wine with the local cheese platter for the best aperitivo (a pre-meal drink). The restaurant also has a unique and delicious trompe l’oeil dessert. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it’s well worth tasting. There are just a couple of tables inside and a few more outside on the tree-lined street, but there’s still enough space to order the sangria that is almost as big as your head! This was a really authentic local bar that offers high quality and makes some of the best tapas in Seville. One hundred percent recommend it!
6. Alcachofa Encamisada Con Jamón
I love a good artichoke, and luckily they’re one of the few vegetables in Sevillian tapas. Often paired with ham or prawns, they are usually preserved rather than fresh so they’re available all year round. There are many bars where you can try an artichoke tapa, but my favourite is the inventive alcachofa encamisada con jamón from Restaurante Zarandaja near Seville’s main train station. Although there is probably too much artichoke in relation to the other ingredients, the mix of the artichoke with the smooth ham and crispy “shirt” (the “camisa” in its name) is perfect, both in terms of flavour and texture. Also, try the oxtail ravioli while you’re there. Cola de toro (oxtail) is a very typical tapa ingredient, and this was my favourite (albeit less typical) way to eat it.
7. Hummus de Cocido Con Gyozas de Pringá
Many of my recommendations aren’t the standard tapas fare, but a fusion of traditional ingredients with new ideas. This recommendation also takes a delicious tapas ingredient and levels it up! Pringá (cooked chicken, pork, and sausages are pan-fried until crispy) is made from the leftover meats when making puchero (hearty stew) and is commonly broken down to spread on montaditos (mini sandwiches). But at Chic&Olé, a stone’s throw away from the cathedral in a pretty little square, this ingredient comes in a gyoza (dumpling). I found this to be a much more interesting way to try it, especially accompanied by cocido (another kind of stew) hummus. While relaxing in this peaceful square, why not try the local ham? It’s quite expensive but tasty and worth trying at least once while you’re in the region.
8. Huevos Rotos
While we’re still on savoury foods in Seville, huevos rotos (eggs fried in oil) are a common dish at tapas bars throughout Spain. They’re usually only sold in the plato/ración (full-size) version, so it’s best to share them with a friend. The basic concept is potato and egg, but the interpretation varies. Sometimes it will be chips with a fried egg on top. But they also come in many different combinations, commonly with ham, chorizo (cured meat), or prawns. I’ve had many huevos rotos in my life, but my gosh, the huevos rotos at La Salina are by far my favourite! Chunks of potatoes with eggs almost melting over the top and topped off with juicy minced chorizo. It’s perfect!
9. Kinder Sorpresa
And after sharing these huevos rotos, along with some other tapas, rices, or fresh fish with a friend, it’s time for my favourite meal of the day: dessert! At La Salina you can also try the Kinder Sorpresa, my favorite dessert in Seville. This appeals to my inner chocolate lover with a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate ganache, an inventive “yolk” made from a fluffy pistachio cream, and popping candy! It’s an unexpected combination, but it is DELICIOUS!
10. Coulant de Chocolate
And finally, one of the most typical desserts in Seville (along with cheesecake, which in my opinion, is often disappointing) is the coulant de chocolate. I’m never disappointed by a good old chocolate melt-in-the-middle pudding! Sadly for me, not all bars in Seville offer desserts of any kind. But if they do, a coulant de chocolate (molten chocolate cake) will almost always be on the list. While you can never go wrong with a chocolate dessert like this, I recommend La Azotea for a delicious homemade version, accompanied by an orange sauce and yummy ice cream. The service is very friendly, and you can enjoy your coulant de chocolate at their outside tables with views of the cathedral! A stunning location for a delicious end to your culinary tour of Seville!
You might notice that a very famous Spanish food is missing. Why isn’t paella on the list? Don’t I like it? Actually, I love paella. But although we guiris (foreigners) associate it with the whole of Spain, it’s from Valencia. Outside this region, it won’t be the authentic recipe, just “rice with ingredients,” as a valenciano would call it! By all means, try it if you won’t be visiting Valencia. It’s probably still better than any “paella” in your home country. Having lived in the home of paella for three years, I’m not going to recommend it here while featuring foods in Seville!
Try These Tasty Foods in Seville
Does this article have your mouth watering? Well, what are you waiting for? Book that trip to Seville! Spring and autumn are the best times to visit with Semana Santa (a sacred “Holy Week” in Christianity) and the Feria de Abril (the Seville fair) in spring, and wonderful weather in autumn. I look forward to hearing about your favorite foods in Seville! I’m also working on a suggested itinerary for a trip to the capital of Flamenco (and how to learn the dance itself), so keep an eye out for it soon!
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