It is hard to understand the lively, vibrant city of Seville in southern Spain without appreciating its relationship to food. The people of Seville have tied their food, and the time they spend eating it, into the social fabric of their lives, so that eating is as much a leisure activity in the city as drinking or meeting up with friends.
That’s why a tour of Seville’s many restaurants and eateries is more than a delicious, gastronomic experience – it’s a great way to really get to know the city and get to the heart of the people who live there.
A Passion for Tapas
From traditional tapas bars to stylish new tapas eateries, Seville is the best place in Spain to sample this cuisine of many small dishes, shared with friends. In Seville the term, ir de tapeo (literally ‘to go out for tapas’) is a daily call heard around the city, but it implies more than just the act of going out to eat; it means to gather with friends and enjoy some good food, drink and conversation.
To really understand the place tapas has in the hearts of the people of Seville, it’s worth visiting one of the city’s ‘tapas streets’ in which literally every other shop is a tapas bar or restaurant. Visit Mateos Gago Street near the city’s Jewish Quarter or Adriano Street in the Arenal district and you’re sure to find table after table of delicious tapas served along these bustling streets.
In this spirit of ir de tapeo, here is a list of my favourite tapas restaurants in Seville.
This is not only the oldest tapas bar in the city (and the oldest restaurant in Spain) – it is also one of the best. Established in 1670, El Rinconcillo has been serving tapas to hungry Sevillanos for more than three hundred years. The atmosphere today is much as it must have been all those years ago, with hams hanging from the ceiling and a bustling crowd gathered at the bar. This place is always busy, but don’t worry if you can’t get a seat; enjoying tapas while standing at the bar is all part of the tradition.
Another tapas restaurant which the Sevillanos would like to keep just for themselves is La Brunilda in the Arenal district. This place, with its trendy exposed brick work and stylish interior, is always crowded, but don’t let that put you off – it’s crowded for a reason. The tapas here is fresh and delicious, a cut above much of the mid-range tapas in its price bracket. It’s well worth pushing your way past a few hungry Seville locals to get to. And don’t forget to leave space for the desserts, which are out of this world!
For a tapas with a modern twist, visit Perro Viejo. Set up by chef Ernesto Malasaña – well known for his other Madrid hot spots Bar Antojo and La Niña Bonita – this cool eatery set over three floors is a haven of polished wood floors and exposed brickwork. But it is the food people come here for, with dishes including char-grilled fish, ribs and chicken.
The tapas at Juan Carlos García’s Albarama bar proved so popular that a few years ago the tapas menu was extended so that guests in the dining room could enjoy it too. Since then it’s gone from strength to strength with traditional tapas dishes given an elegant fine dining twist.
Fine Dining in Seville
While cities like Barcelona and Madrid used to hold the claim to being the fine dining capitals of Spain, Seville has upped its game in recent years and now has two Michelin-starred restaurants and a number of elegant eateries for visitors to enjoy.
Definitely the star in Seville’s culinary crown, Abantal’s self-taught chef Julio Fernández was rewarded for his contemporary take on traditional Andalusian cuisine with a Michelin star. A small, intimate atmosphere with only seven tables helps to focus your attention on the star of the show: the food. Enjoy dishes such as oysters on roast melon with a lemon air, or fig carpaccio with jasmine and cheese mousse.
This modern building on the banks of the river is where the exclusive ‘in crowd’ of Seville gather to eat in the evenings. With stunning views through its huge plate-glass windows over the river to Seville’s Old Town and the Torre del Oro, you’ll find it hard to decide whether to people watch or to take in the stunning vista. While Abades Triana is more about being ‘seen’ than actually eating, the food definitely won’t disappoint with modern Spanish dishes to delight the taste buds.
How to Get to Seville
You can fly to Seville directly from the UK on a number of airlines including Ryanair, British Airways, easyJet and Iberia. Book a Shuttle Direct transfer in advance for a stress-free journey when you arrive at Seville Airport, where you will be met by your driver and taken straight to wherever you want to go in the city.
Where to Stay
Palacio Pinello – Set in a beautiful sixteenth-century palace, the Palacio Pinello lies in the picturesque heart of Seville’s Old Town. High-ceilings, columns and terracotta floors all add to the ambience of this pretty boutique hotel.
Puerta Catedral Suites – If you fancy living like an authentic Sevillanos, then why not try the stylish, self-contained apartments at Puerta Catedral Suites. Located beside the Seville Cathedral and with its own balcony, you can enjoy taking in the city views from your very own Seville pad.
EME Catedral Hotel – For a bit of luxury book a stay at the five star EME Catedral Hotel. Marble bathrooms, elegant rooms with exposed beams and brickwork and stunning views of the city’s Old Town from its roof terrace and pool all make this a unique Seville experience. What more could you want from an indulgent city break? Oh yes, a spa – well there’s one of those too!
About Shuttle Direct
Well-known for providing a reliable, friendly airport transfer service across Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct transfers offer a great hassle-free option for travellers on a city break. Book online before you leave and your driver will be waiting at the airport to take you anywhere in the city when you arrive.