Sevilla! Wander down any one of its narrow streets, past rustic whitewashed buildings and onto grand ornate squares and you’re sure to find a couple of things: first, a depiction of the Madonna, and second – a tapas bar.
With roots in Andalucía, tapas dishes are thought to have first come into being as the thin slices of bread and meat used by patrons in local bodegas to cover their sherry, thereby keeping pesky fruit flies at bay. Bar owners soon realised that the saltier the offerings, the more booze would be consumed, and they began to develop more and more dishes – eventually finding the tapas as profitable as the liquor itself.
Once treated solely as a midday or pre-dinner snack, tapas are now considered a great last meal of the day. In a city as walkable as Seville, you can wander from bar to bar in the cool of the late evening, grazing on delicious morsels as you go. But what to order I hear you ask? Well, let us recommend…
Espinacas con garbanzos
A simple spinach and chickpea stew, this popular Andalusian dish is served warm and makes for great comfort food. You’ll find this staple on most tapas menus in the region and for good reason: it’s darn delicious and often aids in soaking up the copious amounts of lager you’ve been chugging all day. Be sure to get this creamy order in early before you fill up on bread sticks and olives!
Translating simply as ‘cod’, the Spanish seem to have successfully unlocked the secret to this fish’s versatility. Served in a variety of ways, from deep-fried to salted and cooked with tomatoes, bars offer a plethora of preparations – and all of them are tasty. One of our personal favourites is dried, salted, and served cold: it’s a welcome accompaniment to a hot summer’s night.
A delightfully refreshing dish, those who refer to it simply as a ‘cold tomato soup’ do it a disservice. Prepared with fresh cucumber, tomatoes and olive oil, Andalusians tend to serve this pinky-red nectar in a glass over ice. If you’ve just come back from climbing the Giralda bell tower and need to cool off in the midday sun before a siesta, then this is an idyllic way to do so.
A generalised term for a variety of fried fish, this Seville speciality is not to be missed. Most often battered and plunged in the fryer to order, the taste is fresh and crisp every time. If you’re feeling indulgent then opt for the langostinos (prawns) or the pulpo (octopus), served tender and without a rubber in sight. Alternatively, try the espadín (whitebait) for a smaller snack with a truly fishy taste.
Olivos & Cerveza
Okay, so not technically tapas themselves but more tapas adjacent – and incredibly important to the mise en scène of eating out in Seville. A cool glass of cerveza (beer, typically lager) will set you back all of €1.50 on average, and a bowl of deliciously vinegary olives will often come for free on the side. Both are great fuel for the perusal of a tapas menu.
Imagine a pork scratching married a steak and you may come close to imagining the immense taste of these meaty bites. Most commonly a mix of fried pork belly and rinds, you’ll find chicharrones under a cover on the counter of many a hole-in-the-wall bar. Both beautifully crispy and full of bite, this snack is perfectly balanced and sinfully salty.
If your mouth is watering at the prospect of these bite-sized beauties, let us help you start planning your trip to Seville: