When in Sevilla, the question “Where not to eat?” might be an easier one to answer than where you should eat. You’ll be spoiled for choice here, and the city’s charming views add the perfect finishing touch to any meal.
Home to some of the most impressive pieces of architecture in Europe, locals with a well-deserved reputation for being friendly and nearly permanent sunshine, it’s no surprise that Sevilla is a much- loved destination for visitors and exchange students from all over the world.
What is more surprising to many who come to Spain’s fourth-largest city is how well you can eat here for so little money. A few euros can go a long way in Sevilla, particularly at the city’s tapas bars. The tradition is to go from bar to bar, sampling a few little bites at each place before moving on to the next one. This is dining at its most relaxed – and frequently its most delicious, too.
A staple on the Sevilla tapas scene, El Rinconcillo was supposedly founded in 1670. For a tapas bar to have such staying power in a city bursting at the seams with restaurants is a testament to just how good the food is here. The best seat in the house is actually a standing spot at the bar, where you can watch the waiters working at dizzying speed bringing out tiny white plates of tapas, sliding glasses of wine across the bar and totaling up customers’ bills in chalk right on the wooden countertop.
Calle Gerona, 40
Bodega Dos de Mayo
You’ll find this traditional bodega on a quiet square a few minutes’ walk away from many of the main sights, though it manages to slip away from the tourist trail. Open 365 days of the year, the waiters are famously friendly and whisk tapas and main courses out from a minuscule kitchen at a rapid-fire pace. Try the delicately fried eggplant with honey or the creamy salmorejo soup for a real treat here, as well as just about any of the seafood options.
Plaza de Gavidia, 6
Dating back to 1880, Casa Cuesta occupies a coveted spot right in front of the Guadalquivir River in the vibrant neighbourhood of Triana. It was actually opened as a wine cellar, and today it still retains both an impressive wine list for customers and much of the traditional decor. If you can, grab a table outside at lunchtime to enjoy a sampling of tapas and a bit of Sevillan sunshine at the same time. Recommended dishes include the braised pork cheeks and the bonito cooked in garlic, oil and peppers.
Calle Castilla, 1
Located just outside the historic city centre in the residential Nervión area, Tapas Viapol is almost always packed full of barrio locals having enthusiastic conversations at volume. Around €25 will get you a generous selection of home-cooked tapas for two, along with a few glasses of top-notch wine to wash it all down. Standout dishes include the mushrooms stuffed with rich béchamel sauce and salty Spanish ham and the pork tenderloin served over fried potatoes and topped with a tangy mustard sauce.
Calle Jose Recuerda Rubio, 5
Though your standard tapas bar may be a tight squeeze, Los Coloniales spreads out over two generous floors with plenty of tables. Yet there’s still almost always a queue to get inside. It’s worth the wait though, as you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better meal at a lower price in Sevilla. Order the chicken cooked in almond sauce or the pork in port sauce and a selection of charcuterie for a tasty start to your meal. They also have a few nice salads, a welcome addition to any tapas menu.
Calle Dormitorio, 4
Taberna Sol y Sombra
This bar’s name comes from a bullfighting tradition. When you buy tickets to a fight, you can either choose the cheap seats in the sun (sol) or spring for the more expensive ones in the shade (sombra). Its walls are papered with posters of famous bullfights and bullfighters from over the years and, in some cases, centuries. One of their most popular tapas is the solomillo al ajo – pork in garlic sauce – and they also have a wide selection of revueltos, or scrambled egg dishes.
Calle Castilla, 147, 149 and 151
Buyer beware at Eslava; there are two different restaurants here. Though you’ll almost certainly eat well at both, you may be in for a bit of sticker shock if you accidentally opt for the high-end restaurant instead of the tapas bar. Their signature dish is a tapa of a soft slow-cooked egg served atop a mushroom cake and drizzled with a luxurious caramelized wine reduction. It won the first prize for a citywide tapas contest; no small feat in Sevilla.
Calle Eslava, 3