Eating Seville: The Andalusian City’s Five Typical Tapas

15 June 2016 1 Comments Category: blog, Cat Gaa, Living in Spain

Seville’s claim that it is the ultimate haven for tapas isn’t too far from the truth. Tapas, or small plates of hot or cold food, are said to have originated in nearby Jerez de la Frontera, but the Andalusian capital boasts a staggering number of bars to grab a bite, sidled up to the bar with locals.

Surprisingly enough, the city doesn’t have a signature dish. Lechón is to Segovia as salmorejo is to Córdoba, but Seville dabbles in a variety of tastes. Hallmarks of Andalusian cuisine, such as fruit, fish and olive oil are constant, in-your-face flavors in fare, but chefs are also pushing the envelope when it comes to tastes and twists. Seville has been at the forefront of inventive cuisine, gastrobars, craft beer and market-fresh food: long gone are the days of re-heated bar food and ornery waitstaff.

If you want to go back to the basics, here are Seville’s five most typical dishes:

Pescaito Frito 

Perhaps Seville’s most famous dish, fried fish is a Sunday night favorite. Greasy, piping hot and served in a paper cone, pescaíto (peck-eye-ee-toe) can consist of battered and fried cod, monkfish, squid and red mullet. And because Seville is only an hour’s drive from the coast, your food will be fresh!

The best freidurías, where fish is cleaned, fried and eaten, usually lie in the periphery neighborhoods. Try the Arenal and Triana neighborhoods for your fix, as they host a number of good places for a quick, hot meal. Order them by quarter-, half- or full-kilo.

The Serranito and the Montaíto de Pringá

Seville is a city where the sandwich is king. From simple, one-ingredient bocadillos to elaborate, finger-sized sandwiches, bread-based dishes are present on nearly every menu. Choose a serranito, made from a chicken breast or pork loin and stacked with tomato, grilled green pepper and a slice of ham, or a montaíto de pringá, a hot sandwich you could liken to minced meat.

My favorite pringá can be found out Bodega Las Columnas, an age-old tapas joint in the shadow of the Giralda. En la Espera Te Esquino, only steps away, you can find a variety of meals slapped between bread, including a yummy serranito.

Cola de Toro

If Seville is the epitome of Spanish cultural around the world, it’s only fitting that one of Seville’s most beloved tapas comes from a bull. Cola de toro is a stew made from bull tail, cut into rinds and slow-cooked in spices and vegetables. It’s a heavy meal!

There are countless bullfight-themed bars in the area immediately surrounding the jaw-dropping Plaza de la Maestranza, but if you’re intrepid and not afraid of ordering in Spanish, Sol y Sombra in Triana is my top pick for cola de toro.

Espinacas con Garbanzos 

Vegetables seem to be an afterthought on menus, save a healthy dosed of fried potatoes. Espinacas con garbanzos, or stewed spinach flavored with cumin and garlic, however, is a restaurant staple. Order it up at one of the oldest bars in town, El Rinconcillo (admittedly the only place where I can stomach the dish!).

Caracoles

This dish is not for the queasy. Once the summer heat begins to descend in early May, bars announce a local delicacy’s arrival to their menu with signs proclaiming, HAY CARACOLES. Snails, known as caracoles, are simmered in garlic, broth and spices before being slurped down at virtually every neighborhood bar across the city – eyes and antennae included!

Another popular variety is the cabrilla, which is larger and served with a tomato sauce. If you’re near the main train station, stop by Bar El Kiki for a tapa of what are reputed to be the city’s best. And if the little buggers won’t come out of their shells, fish them out with a toothpick! Don’t be alarmed when you see locals drinking the broth, either.

Bars and restaurants are grouped around major tourist sites, of course, but venture a bit further afield to find local-approved eateries and better prices. The beauty of going for tapas is that it’s like a bar crawl – you can order one drink and one plate of food before moving on to the next bar!

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