Monday, January 4, 2016

Touring Sevilla, Spain through Tapas


     My favorite city in Spain is definitely Sevilla.  It has a very unique vibe and while there are many sites to tour, truly the only way to experience Sevilla is to go on a Tapeo; hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar enjoying the food and the socializing.  However, with nearly 4,000 tapas joints in the city, the prospect can be a bit intimidating.  Don’t worry, here is a tour that will not only allow you to have the experience but will take you through some of city’s unique neighborhoods.

Café Bar Las Teresas
                  The Barrio Santa Cruz, Sevilla’s old Jewish Quarter, is a picturesque collection of narrow winding streets and alleys and while quite touristy, it is fun to navigate the labyrinth and feel the historic vibe.  The narrowness of the streets was intentional; designed to provide protection from the blazing summer sun.  Today, they open to small peaceful courtyards containing ceramic benches and orange trees.  In the heart of the neighborhood is a very traditional tapas bar, the Café Bar Las Teresas.   While the outside tables may seem enticing, venture inside and soak-in all of the nostalgia.  Find a seat at one of the small tables, order a ración (plate) of Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Spain’s famous cured pork and a glass of cold fino (Sherry).  It makes for an excellent start to a tapas tour.

Café Bar Las Teresas
Calle Santa Teresa 2
Open:  12:00 – 0.00          Kitchen open 13.00-16.00/20.00 – 0.00

Casa Morales
     A short walk past the Cathedral will take you into the neighborhood between the Avenue de la Constitución and Guadalquivir River, known as El Arenal.  While Sevilla’s bullfighting ring, the impressive La Real Maestranza is located here, many outstanding tapas restaurants also call El Arenal home. Pass by the front room of Casa Morales, round the corner and enter into the back bar.  The rustic room is surrounded by large clay wine vats (8 ft tall!) called tinajas, which adds to the location’s ambience.  Grab a table or stand at the bar and soak in the surroundings.  You might notice a local sipping on a caňa (small beer) but Casa Morales also has an impressive list of wine or sherry, as well.  The tapas list is written on a board behind the bar.  Paper thin salt cod (Bacalao) on toast with Salmorejo and the Pulpo Gallego (octopus served with boiled potatoes, olive oil and sweet Spanish paprika) are favorites.

Casa Morales
Calle Garcia de Vinuesa 11
Open:  12:00-16:00/20:00-0.00 Closed Sunday.

Bogeguita Romero
     Further into El Arenal neighborhood is the homey, personable and delicious Bodeguita Romero.  In its third generation, it is truly a family operation.    Without a doubt, the Pringa Montaditos, a crispy roll stuffed with slow cooked pork and black pudding, is the best in town.   If you are lucky, the owner will be behind the counter and then you will know that his famous house marinated potatoes are on the menu.  He is the only one that makes the dish.  If you have room, opt for one more tapa.  The Carrilladas, braised pork cheeks, will melt in your mouth and have a wonderful depth of flavor.

Braised Pork Cheeks

The secret potatoes and a pringa!

Slightly fried salt cod - delicious

Bogeguita Romero
Calle Harinas 10
Open:  12:00-17:00/20:00-0.00  Closed Sunday evening and all day Monday

Stuffed baby squid over midges
La Brunilda
Round out the neighborhood with a visit to the upscale gastropub, La Brunilda.  This 18th century house has been transformed into a beautiful space with some of the best tapas in all of Sevilla.  You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu but highlights are the grilled baby squid (Chiperones) with migas, the iconic tapas dish Papas Bravas or one of the tapa-sized salads.

La Brunilda
Galera 5
Open:  13:00-16:00/20:30-23:30 Closed Sunday evening and all day Monday

Rice paper triangles stuffed with shrimp

A very creative tomato mozzarella salad with basil dummies

La Azotea
     Saving the best for last, no tapas tour would be complete with a visit to La Azotea and luckily, there are three locations.  No joke, Dear Daughter and I once ate at all three locations within a 36 hour time period!  It is that good.   Run by a husband (Spanish) and wife (American) team, the tapas at La Azotea are creative and absolutely superb.  The Chef’s Croquetas are always a great initial choice: inventive and delicious.  Rice paper triangles filled with shrimp, leeks and cheese are heavenly.  Carrillada Iberica (stewed pig’s cheek) is served in a rich red wine sauce and topped with melted goat cheese.  A traditional tomato and mozzarella salad is transformed with basil gummies and a spoonful of lemon sorbet. The service is attentive and friendly and the food is amazing.  This is a place you will want to return to, time and time again.

La Azotea
Jesus del Gran Poder 31
13:30-16:30/20:30-0.00                Closed Sunday and Monday

La Azotea
Calle Zaragoza 5

Azotea Santa Cruz
Calle Mateos Gago 8

                  Enjoying tapas is enjoying Sevilla and all that it has to offer.  Get out there and explore!

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