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Late last year I took a trip to Seville with my partner for a long awaited city break in the sunniest city in Europe. My visit to Seville had one clear agenda in mind, catch some rays, eat my weight in tapas and drink litres of Spanish wine.
My philosophy when taking any trip has always been simple, do as the locals do, eat as the locals eat. One of the best ways to experience a city and its culture is to immerse yourself in its local delicacies and traditional dishes. Seville is an excellent place to get a real foodie experience as here; tapas is not just delicious morsels of food, it is a way of living, eating and socialising.
The best advice I can give you when trying to pick your perfect tapas bar for lunch, dinner or an afternoon snack, is always good where the locals go. They will undoubtably be situated in the bars which have the best food and best prices, and will therefore provide you with the most authentic Sevillian experience. In this piece I have created your personal pocket guide of the best places for a true Sevillian food adventure if you are looking into spending a couple of days in this beautiful city.
This was my favourite bar to visit during our time in Seville - we visited 3 times! If you are looking for an old school authentic tapas bar, El Rinconcillo is the place. It is the oldest tapas bar in Seville having been established in 1670 and it is easy to see how it has become such an institution.
Think shelves of wine and spirits, giant legs of ham hanging from the ceiling and waiters who will categorically not speak English to you. Nestle yourself in at the bar to get a view of all the action, start with a glass of wine or a Cruzcampo (Spanish beer) and watch as they write your bill in chalk on the bar counter top.
The more you order, the more chalked numbers are added to your bill until it is totalled up at the end and scratched through to indicate it has been settled. In many traditional tapas bars, this is the bill system which has been going on for centuries. It is an experience just having a drink surrounded by locals and tourists alike, but if you want to immerse yourself further, dive into their delicious tapas menu.
Any of their traditional dishes are excellent, but from El Rinconcillo I would personally recommend one of their serranito (sandwiches) - melt in the mouth pork in a fresh warm baguette.
Opposite El Rinconcillo lies Los Claveles. Its open inside/outside seating areas mean you can witness the buzzing atmosphere and its busy bar staff making sure everyone is being looked after. The staff here are incredibly friendly; we stopped by a couple of times and they made a point of remembering us, almost pouring a glass of our favourite wine before we even sat down!
An extensive menu is filled with many Spanish classics, and the staff also make recommendations of their favourites or the traditional ones you must try. Try the Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas), it is a delicious vegetarian dish which I had at almost every tapas bar I visited.
In a bar lined with grand looking old barrels, bustling every evening full of locals and tourists, Casa Morales is another authentic tapas bar keeping Seville and its traditions alive.
Nestled a short walk away from its famous Cathedral, it is the perfect tapas bar for a bite to eat for lunch or leisurely drink to break up the sight-seeing. Fresh tapas is made every day with the choices chalked up on a blackboard. Get practicing your Spanish to decipher what all of the dishes are, or take a chance, pick a few, and see what you get!
Like El Rinconcillo and many of the traditional tapas bars, Casa Morales provide cheap drinks, cheap food and a wonderful atmosphere to soak in as the bar gets steadily busier as the day goes on. Try the Iberian Pork Cheek Stew, another Sevillian classic made perfectly here.
Once you have got used to the ‘no-rush’ Spanish way of life, I highly recommend you head to Bar Casa Eme for dinner. Famous amongst those who know, Casa Eme is a small hole-in-the-wall tapas bar run solely by one man; Eme. Squeeze onto a table outside or to fully appreciate the work, prop yourself up at the bar and watch the action unfold.
Be prepared to wait, as Eme takes all the orders, serves your drinks and cooks all the food on one single small gas hob alone. Order a bottle of wine, sit back and relax as this one-man-band churns out Spanish classics whilst hardly breaking a sweat. Try his Solomillo al Whiskey, some of the best we had in Seville and be prepared for a long night of waving down Eme, good food and cold drinks.
From open to close you will never walk past Bodega Santa Cruz and see it empty. Situated at the end of a road with a view of the Cathedral it is always overflowing with people looking for cheap tapas and even cheaper beer. Don’t be put off by the crowds, which populate many good tapas bars, it is all part of the experience! The staff are relatively helpful, and grateful if you arm yourself with a few classic Spanish phrases (I spent my entire trip repeating ‘dos vinos blancos secos’ which just means ‘two glasses of white wine’ and i was pretty happy). Dishes range from €2-€4 meaning it is another cheap meal out or a great place to end your night with a few drinks.
Seville is crawling with hundreds of tapas bars just waiting to be discovered, so use these suggestions as a starting point for your new Sevillian food adventure! Get to grips with the Spanish culture and then seek out your own hidden gems.