by Santorini Dave • Updated: November 27, 2018
The 15 Best Places to Eat in Seville
- Abantal – $$$$
Located down a small side street not far from the Sevilla Santa Justa train station, the city’s only Michelin-starred restaurant artfully combines wonderful flavors with beautiful presentation. The dining room is contemporary, well-illuminated, and understated, so that the neutral decor does not distract from the real attraction: the food. Chef Julio Fernández makes the most of seasonal produce, letting the bold pairings of local ingredients speak for themselves. Diners can expect the likes of seasonal wild mushrooms with truffled egg yolk, red tuna cheek with pepper jelly, and beef sirloin with leek and goat’s cheese gratin. It’s well worth going for the 7-course tasting menu (65 Euros) for a full experience of what Abantal has to offer. The sommelier is happy to suggest regional wines to go with the food. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is laid back, but reservations are a must.
• Calle Alcaldo Jose de La Bandera, 7
- Bar El Comercio – $
This tiny, tiled, local bar, run by the fourth generation of the Rivera family, is one of the best places in town for a traditional chocolate con churros breakfast. The drinking chocolate is so thick and rich that you can almost stand your spoon up in it, while the churros (deep-fried dough tubes) are freshly made and piping hot as they’re placed on the bar in front of you. With hams hanging from the ceiling and locals crowding the bar, El Comercio may look like a typical bodega, but it’s versatile enough to double as a coffee bar – a novelty in Seville. In the evening, come here for a glass of wine and Andalucian tapas standards, such as solomillo al whisky (sirloin in whisky sauce), croquetas caseras (homemade croquettes), and sharing platters of cold cuts.
• Calle Lineros, 9
- Zelai – $$-$$$
Near the Plaza San Francisco, Zelai is the best of a new breed of contemporary Seville bars. It’s sleek, monochrome, subtly lit, and utterly devoid of any Old World grandeur or bullfighting posters. The focus here is on fusion tapas that mix Basque flavors with Asian and Latin American touches, and the clientele is a mix of smart young urbanites and visitors looking for a change from traditional Andalucian fare. Perch at the bar and choose from grilled cuttlefish with plankton rice, mini-hamburgers with curry mayo, Peruvian ceviche, tuna tataki, and more. The tapas tend to be pricier than elsewhere, but the quality is high. There’s also a dining area in the back, though it’s similar fare to what you get at the bar, but costs more. The staff are friendly and bilingual.
• Calle Albareda, 22
- Hostería del Prado – $$-$$$
The vast majority of Spanish restaurants are happy to accommodate families with kids, but separate children’s menus are rare, and family-specific restaurants are a relatively recent trend. Just east of the Royal Alcázar gardens, Hostería del Prado is one such place, with a casual, friendly vibe, and a dedicated children’s menu for kids between the ages of 4 and 12. The menu is a mix of Andalucian and Mediterranean dishes and there are special activities for kids on weekends. While the parents enjoy a leisurely lunch, kids can take part in workshops: learning to cook the Andalucian way on Sundays and learning to dance on Saturdays. It’s a good idea to book ahead for the activities.
• Plaza San Sebastian, 1
- Taberna del Alabardero – $$$$
Housed in a beautiful 19th century mansion, this is one of Seville’s finest upscale restaurants. The upstairs dining rooms are arranged around an attractive Andalucian patio, and the sophisticated seasonal menu focuses on traditional dishes with a contemporary touch. You can also dine in the bistro downstairs, where the atmosphere is less formal, and the dishes less complex. Guests tend to dress up if dining upstairs, and the service is exemplary without being stuffy. Expect a leisurely, hearty meal. Dishes include grilled scallops with celeriac cream, crispy suckling pig with red cabbage, and smoked venison loin. The five-course tasting menu is an excellent value at 56 Euros, and the wine list is among the very best in Seville, with some wonderful, rare vintages from all over Spain. One for special occasions. Bookings essential.
• Calle Zaragoza, 20
- Restaurante Az-Zait – $$$$
Taking its name from the Arabic word meaning “olive juice”, this charming restaurant serves a range of international and traditional dishes, and in recent times it’s gained an excellent reputation for its creative, beautifully-presented tapas. The entrance is from the tiny, beautiful Plaza de San Lorenzo, in the northern part of the city. The interior is Old World opulence, with the front dining room converted into a slightly less fancy, sit-down tapas area. Classics such as patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce) and ajoblanco (cold almond soup) are present and well-crafted. Specialties include salmorejo with olive oil ice cream, langoustine carpaccio with seaweed, and seared scallops with apple puree. The service can be a bit stiff, but the quality of the dishes is consistently good and there’s a solid wine list to boot.
• Plaza San Lorenzo, 1
- Ovejas Negras – $$-$$$
A stone’s throw from the cathedral, this contemporary tapas bar is anything but a tourist trap (though it has certainly been discovered since it opened in 2011). Combining vibrant, punchy, pop art-y decor with excellent service and interesting international flavors, Ovejas Negras caused a stir in foodie circles when it arrived on the scene, and continues to thrill local palates. Their specialities include the risottazzo (an expertly prepared mushroom risotto), tuna tartar, a superior take on fish and chips, and some of the best gourmet burgers in town. It’s a casual, buzzy, mid-priced place that attracts savvy locals and international visitors. Also worth seeking out are its two sister restaurants: Mamarracha (hot, urban tapas bar with vertical garden) and La Chunga (as famous for its breakfasts as it is for tapas).
• Calle Hernando Colon, 8
- Eslava – $$-$$$
North of Barrio Santa Cruz and away from the tourist crowds that throng the cathedral, this award-winning tapas bar is a local institution, known for its traditional dishes with a modern twist. At lunchtime and in the evenings, the bar area gets really packed and crowds spill out onto the street, so it’s worth getting here early. The wine selection is strong on Andalucian wines, but offers tipples from all over Spain. Tapas range from Andalucian classics such as salmorejo (a thick, savoury gazpacho), fritura malagueña (Malaga-style battered, fried anchovies with a squirt of lemon), steamed clams with white wine, and filling, traditional stews. For something more unique, go for their award-winning slow-cooked egg on boletus cake with wine reduction, or grilled duck in a wine and pear sauce. Unusually for a tapas bar, Eslava also does excellent deserts: locals swear by their lemon cheesecake.
• Calle Eslava, 3
- La Azotea – $$-$$$
One of four branches run by a dynamic husband-and-wife team, Juan Gómes and Jeannine Merrill, La Azotea proves that not all dining options at the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz are overpriced tourist traps. Our favorite branch is just steps away from the cathedral, with a sleek and modern dining area where raciones (full-sized dishes) are served, as well as outdoor seating and a busy bar area for those looking to have a drink and some tapas. Other boons include excellent bilingual service, friendly young staff, a changing seasonal menu with daily specials, an excellent wine list complemented with creative cocktails and enormous, fruity sangrias, and some of the most imaginative tapas for miles around. The menu is strong on fresh seafood, but other standout tapas include steak tartar with green apple slush, pork cheek with goat’s cheese gratin, and oxtail meatballs with mushroom sauce.
• Calle Mateos Gago, 8
- Abades Triana – $$$$
Overlooking the river on the Triana side of Seville, Abades Triana aspires to be one of the city’s finest upscale restaurants. The ambience is elegant and definitely special: there are wonderful views of Seville, particularly in the evenings when the city is lit up, and there’s outdoor dining on the patio when the weather is warm. The Mediterranean menu makes good use of local ingredients. Sophisticated dishes range from suckling lamb shoulder stuffed with shallots, to salmorejo (thick, savoury gazpacho) with bitter orange and shrimp. The service is formal and guests tend to dress up; this is a popular place for special occasions. My only quibble is consistency: on a good day, the dining experience is stellar, while at times it’s merely average. Weekday lunchtimes are good for enjoying the ambience without breaking the bank: business lunch menus are very good value.
• Calle Betis, 69
- Blanca Paloma – $$-$$$
An unpretentious, untouristy bar in Triana, Blanca Paloma attracts crowds of locals with its solid tapas list and an extensive selection of wines by the glass. Grab one of the small tables if you want a sit-down meal with several raciones (full-sized dishes) to share. Tapas are available only at the bar, and you might have to be assertive and elbow your way in during peak times. Specialties include fried anchovies with a squirt of lemon, bacalao a la gallega (grilled cod with potatoes, garlic, and garbanzo beans), and eggplant stuffed with shrimp. The bar has a very loyal local following, and some of the dishes, such as the bocadito de mejillón (mussel sandwich) have been on the menu since the place opened in 1970. Inexpensive, informal local scene.
• Calle Pages del Corro, 86
- Casa Morales – $
Run by the Morales family since it opened in 1850, this classic Sevillian bar in El Arenal is a great place for a glass of wine, house vermouth or sherry, and tapas. The front section of the bar, with a storefront window, is popular with locals for a standup drink. For food, head around the corner to the side entrance to the back bar that used to be the winery. Customers sit surrounded by the enormous clay tinajas (jugs) that were once used for storing the house wine, and now add to the time-warp ambience. A list of full-sized raciones is chalked on one of the jugs, and there’s an extensive tapas menu, ranging from cured meats and top-quality cheeses to tiny montaditos (sandwiches) and speciality dishes such as imperial anchovies, salchicha al vino blanco (sausage braised in white wine), venison chorizo, and more. Fantastic value for money.
• Calle García de Vinuesa, 11
- Restaurante Oriza – $$$$
Right on the edge of Seville’s royal gardens, the Basque-run Oriza is a longstanding local favorite. There are several dining areas to choose from: the main winter-garden-style restaurant, the tapas bar with outdoor seating and private rooms. The food is upscale Basque-Andalucian fusion and the dishes are ingredient-driven, with top-quality produce sourced from the trusted local suppliers. The menu changes seasonally, but favorite dishes include scallops with artichokes and mojama (Andalucian wind-dried, salted tuna), lamb sweetbreads with wild mushrooms and broad beans, and pigeon breast with lentils. There’s a wide range of tapas, too, and a strong selection of Basque wines. The service in the restaurant is formal and very professional. Reservations recommended in the evenings.
• Calle San Fernando, 41
- Casa Moreno – $
Tucked away down a narrow street in the El Arenal barrio, a few minutes’ walk from the cathedral, this place looks like a regular, unassuming abacería (neighbourhood grocery store), and locals do shop here for cheese, olives, and cold cuts. But make your way through the store and into the tiny room in the back, and you find yourself at a very local, standing-only tapas bar. It’s stacked with tinned food and decorated with vintage bullfighting posters (and a stuffed bull’s head), and attended by a mostly older, local and male clientele. Hot tapas – peppers stuffed with morcilla, artichokes stuffed with seafood, and fábada (hearty bean and chorizo stew) – are only available at lunchtime. The rest of time you can accompany your drink with a selection of tiny montaditos (sandwiches). The specialty here is sobrasada (spicy meat paste) with cheese, though the other sandwiches – chorizo, morcilla (black pudding), and palometa (type of fish) with strong blue cabrales cheese – are also excellent. Cheap and cheerful.
• Calle Gamazo, 7
- Sahumo – $$-$$$
With exposed brick walls, whitewashed dining rooms, an appealing tapas area and young, bilingual staff, Sahumo is one of Seville’s most popular contemporary restaurants. If you come here for a full meal, then meat is the star of the show – from the tender beef entrecote and lamb with wood-grilled vegetables to presa Ibérica with mojo picón (marbled pork shoulder with spicy olive oil, garlic and paprika sauce). Tapas tend to be a little pricier than in many other bars, but more varied and imaginative, too, with fusion touches and Canary Islands flair: seabass with smoky hummus, seared tuna with couscous and harissa alioli, seafood spaghetti and more. It’s a casual, friendly place that fills up in the evening; dinner reservations recommended.
• Calle Zaragoza, 18