Seville – Casco Antiguo – Arenal

Posted in Andalusia, Arenal, Casco Antiguo, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 20, 2017 by gannet39

Arenal is a barrio just to the south-west of the centre of the Casco Antiguo. It’s bordered by the River Guadalquivir to the west and the barrio of Santa Cruz to the east (see next post). The district was once the port of Seville and contained the naval dockyards, until the river silted up so much that the port had to be relocated further south along the river.

You’ll find a map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

On the river boundary of the barrio is the Torre del Oro, a famous symbol of the city. It was erected by the Moors in 1220 to control access to the river.


Arenal can be further subdivided into two with the northern half being called Barrio Museo (after the Museo de Bellas Artes in the Plaza del Museo, This next place is in the north east corner of Museo which virtually puts it in El Centro.

Patio San Eloy (Elementary A), 9 Calle San Eloy,

This is one of a chain of ten Cervecerias where you can get tapas and in particular, ham sandwiches and montaditos (tapa-sized bread rolls).


This branch has terraces of big ceramic tile covered stairs where customers can sit while they’re eating. Visually it’s quite impressive and a good place to get some vacuum-packed Jamon to take home.


Azotea (Intermediate B), 5c Calle Zaragoza,

This is another member of the small Azotea chain. I’m big fan of the one in Calle Jesús del Gran Poder (see San Vicente post).

I came for lunch and to start I had their Ajoblanco de Coco con Vituas de Confit de Pato y Huevos de Trucha (Coconut Ajoblanco with Duck Confit and Trout Eggs). Ajoblanco is a famous Andalucian soup which was given a twist here with the use of coconut milk instead of almonds.

Unfortunately it didn’t really work for me (C) although I know it can be better as I’ve had a similar version at Casa Antonio in Jaen which was excellent.


After this I tried the Cocido Croquettas which were pretty good (B). Cocido is a hearty stew with a multitude of ingredients so it was hard to work out what was actually in it but I’m pretty sure carrot, cabbage and chickpeas featured.


After this a Salmon Tartar which was fine but unremarkable (B).


A glass of excellent Sauvignon Blanc by Hermanos Lurton rescued things a bit (A).


So I was a little disappointed that the food and general experience wasn’t quite as good as it was in the original Azotea but it was still okay. Service was excellent though which seems to be a constant in all their restaurants. The décor and fittings are modern but uninteresting.

Bodeguita Casablanca (Advanced B+), 12 Calle Adolfo Rodríguez Jurado,

This is perhaps the most famous tapas bar in Seville and is a bit posh as a result. It comes recommended by the owners of Moro and the blog Eat Like a Girl. I first came on a very brief visit in 2015 but I was too busy to take notes. The food is excellent though, and nicely presented. I can’t remember what this fish was (hake maybe?) but it was very good…


…and I remember the prawns being pretty decent.20150209_205526

And the Coquinas (wedge clams) are pretty good too.


It’s a medium sized place that gets very busy, so it’s best to come here early to get a seat. The service is old school, friendly and efficient.

There are some nice old town houses in the barrio.


This one is in Calle Zaragoza, an important artery in Arenal.


Santa Cruz next!

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Bartolomé

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Bartolomé, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 19, 2017 by gannet39

San Bartolomé is on the lower east side of the Casco Antiguo. It’s an interesting area to walk around but not as pretty as Santa Cruz, its neighbour to the west. Map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

There’s a nice restaurant and tapas bar on its eastern edge on Calle Recaredo.

Becerrita (Advanced B+), 9 Calle Recaredo, Puerta Carmona,

Although it’s on the other side of the old town, I managed to walk (very briskly) from the Hotel Ribera de Triana to Restaurante Becerrita in about 30 minutes.

I’ve seen it described as a cosy trattoria (with a tapas bar at the front) but for me that conjures up dark colours, low lighting and traditional decor. However to my eyes this place has the appearance of a posh restaurant with white table linen, white chair covers and modern art hanging on the white walls. It’s more like eating in an art gallery really.


Don’t let this put you off though, the manager and waiters are very friendly and the prices are reasonable.

I came in the week during the off season and it was pretty much empty except for a big group in the tapas bar and a bickering French couple in the restaurant with me. Fortunately the French walked out after ten minutes on the pretext of the wine servings being too small, so I had the room to myself.

To begin, a free tapa of cooked cauliflower in oil which was okay despite appearances (B).


Becerrita is famous for Croquetas de Cola de Toro, or ox tail croquettes, so I had a half racion. Some of them were just okay (B) and some were absolutely sublime (A+ ). Not sure why this should be so, maybe the fat content made them taste differently from each other.


The waiter recommended a Reserva Rioja called Azpilicueta that was on promotion but it had no roundness of flavour for me (B).


For the main, Solomillo Ternera PX, or veal steak with a confit of onions with a Pedro Ximenez sauce (B).


To finish the Dueto de Quesos involving some Manchego and Payoyo cheese, the latter from Cadiz which I liked so much (A) I sourced some later to take home. It’s now a firm favourite of mine.


Total cost €67 of which two thirds was the steak and wine. A bit pricey, but definitely somewhere I’d revisit, perhaps just for tapas next time.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – El Centro – Places to Eat

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, El Centro, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 18, 2017 by gannet39

As I mentioned in my previous post on El Centro, the centre of the Casco Antiguo is comprised of the barrios Encarnación Regina and Alfalfa which I have put together here for simplicity’s sake. You’ll find a map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

There is yet another excellent bar de tapas in this bit of town:

Los Coloniales (Intermediate B+), 1 Calle Dormitorio,

This is a classic old tapas bar that gets lots of positive reviews and mentions in guides. There are two locations but this is the best one by all accounts. The rustic style food is consistently good and portions are cheap and generous.

I had the Plato del Dia (daily special); Timbal Camperos (B), a gratin of ham, sausage, potato and various other veg with Salmorejo drizzled over the top.

My favourite though was the classic Sevillano dish of Solomillo al Whisky; pork tenderloin in a whisky sauce (B+). I love the roasted whole cloves of garlic. It was so much better than the similar Sollomillo Ajo I had at Sol y Sombra (see my Eating in Triana post).


Finally, Pionones, a typical dessert of Granada (B+). Typically it has two parts: a thin layer of pastry fermented with different kinds of syrup and rolled into a cylinder, and secondly a topping of toasted cream.


All the red wines I tasted were fine (B) but nothing out of this world. Four glasses of wine, including a PX to finish, came to a measly €17.20.

Another plus is that all the staff who work here are very nice people, which to me is as important as the food. Already looking forward to the next time I can go.

The opposite is true of this place…

El Rinconcillo (Intermediate B), 40 Calle Gerona,

This is Seville’s oldest bar, opened in 1670.


Visually it’s a wonderful place with a beautifully tiled interior.


And old posters advertising the Feria (Seville’s fair) on the walls.


Unfortunately though the food isn’t up to much and the wine I had was quite mediocre.


And the service isn’t very friendly.


So a place resting on its laurels, but it’s worth popping in for a look.

Los Claveles at 1 Calle Capataz Manuel Santiago, opposite El Rinconcillo, is a nice old place too, but I haven’t tried their food.


A good shop for kitchen hardware in the aria is Isaias Sainz at 28 Calle Francos. It has been around forever apparently. Get your meatball scissors here.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – El Centro – Architecture

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, El Centro, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , on February 17, 2017 by gannet39

El Centro is defined differently by different people but for my purposes it’s the area between Plaza de Encarnacion (location of Las Setas) and Plaza Nueva (location of the town hall), and the interconnecting shopping streets of Velazquez/Tetuan, Sierpes and Cuna.

El Centro is comprised of the barrios Encarnación Regina and Alfalfa which I have put together here for simplicity’s sake. Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

See my next post for places to eat around here.

El Centro has many interesting buildings. Beginning in Plaza de Encarnacion, we can see the Espacio Metropol Parasol, a post-modern construction known to Sevillanos as ‘Las Setas’ (The Mushrooms), for obvious reasons.


It’s a multi-level building housing an archaeology museum displaying Roman ruins in the basement, a market on the ground floor and restaurants on the upper level.


You can also walk across the roof in the day time.


My favourite building in the area is this modernista house on the corner of Calle Alfonso XII and Calle Almirante Ulloa.


The architect was Aníbal González who studied in Barcelona where he must have caught the modernisme bug.



As you’d expect there’s a lot of Neo-Mudéjar architecture around.

This example is on Avenida de la Constitucion near the cathedral.


And this on the corner of Calle Cuna and Calle Cerrajería. It was built in 1914 and is the work of architect José Espiau y Muñoz.


Restaurant Victoria Eugenia
, also on Calle Cuna at Plaza de Villasís, was built in the early nineteenth century by the famous architect Aníbal González, who is also responsible for Plaza de España (see later post).


In Plaza Nueva you can see the town hall or ayuntamiento which is called the Casa Consistorial de Sevilla. It’s built in the Plateresque style meaning “in the manner of a silversmith”; a blend of Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance and Lombard decorative elements (a style particular to Spain).


The façade includes heraldic symbols, allegories of justice and good governance and depictions of mythological and historical characters such as Hercules and Julius Caesar who are considered instrumental in the city’s history.


Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Vicente

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Vicente, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 16, 2017 by gannet39

San Vicente is the barrio by the river to the south of San Lorenzo in my previous post. It ends at Calle Carlos XII to the south. Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

La Azotea de Sevilla (High Intermediate A), 31 Jesus del Gran Poder,, open every day.

This is my third favourite tapas bar after Puratasca (see my Triana post) and Eslava (previous post). It’s the original and perhaps best of a small chain of three Azoteas.

Having read several reviews from the summer, I was expecting it to be packed so I arrived at exactly when they opened at 20.30. I needn’t have bothered as it was the quieter winter season.

The service is exemplary (A+) especially from Juan Carlos who was my server at the bar. Multilingual menus are available. They even had a menu in Hangul for Sem my Korean neighbour at the bar.

Seafood would be a good choice here but I was in the mood for meat and I don’t like to mix the two.

The Jamon Iberico is excellent as you would expect (A).


The Carrillada Iberica was just sublime (A+).


And the Solomillo Frisona was pretty okay too (B).


The wines I tried by the glass were alright but not amazing…

First a glass of a Merlot called Delirio (B).


Also a Toro called Encomienda which I enjoyed the most (B+).


And Garum from Cadiz (B), a blend of Merlot, Syrah and a french grape called Petit Verdot.


The food with three glasses of wine and a Carlos III brandy came to only €30 which was very reasonable.


Around the corner from Azotea there’s a nice little square called Plaza de la Gavidia which three bars…

Bodega Dos de Mayo (Intermediate B), 6 Plaza de la Gavidia,

The most famous and biggest tapas bar in the square. I came here with two friends and we had Gambas Plancha, Boquerones Ayamonte, Ortlguillas de Chipiona (sea anemones!), Chirlas Gorda and a bottle of Donastia Vivanco Crianza for $62. The food is fine but this next place is better.

Bodega Amarillo Albero (Intermediate A) 5 Plaza de la Gavidia

Just over the road from Dos de Mayo above. It doesn’t do as much business as it’s larger neighbour but I think their cuisine is superior. And it’s a nicer building. I’d definitely come here first next time.


El Sanedrin (Intermediate C), 8 Plaza de Gavidia

I can’t say much about this place except that it’s the least interesting looking of the three and a Magno costs only €2.50, which is very cheap.

One evening at dusk I was walking back to the hotel from Plaza de Gavidia and got as far as Plaza de las Armas where I saw the air was full of tiny creatures. Not knowing what they were (perhaps a swarm of large insects?) I asked a passing local and he told me they were “batmans” which tickled me. It was very surprising to see so many bats at such a busy road junction but I presume they live in the trees and buildings around the square.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Lorenzo

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Lorenzo, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 15, 2017 by gannet39

San Lorenzo is another barrio in the north of the Casco Antiguo. For my purposes I’ve defined it as the area between the river, to the west, and Alameda square, to the east.

Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

The barrio takes its name from the famous church Iglesia de San Lorenzo in the Plaza de San Lorenzo.

Just opposite the church is a very famous tapas bar:

Eslava (Intermediate A), 3 Calle Eslava,, closed Monday

This is my second most favourite tapas bar in Seville after Puratasca (see my Triana post). There’s also a restaurant next door but it’s a bit pricey so I haven’t been yet, but I hope to.

I came with John who loves it here, and he should know having lived in the area for many years. Again, I was too busy chatting to grade the food, sorry. However I do know we had the Pimiento Merluza (hake with peppers), Boquerones Blancos (white anchovies)…


… a half racion of Navajas (razor clams)…


… Caballa (mackerel), four beers and two glasses of Protos for €28.40, which is pretty good.

After this we went around the corner to a couple of other places…

Casa Rafita (Low Intermediate B), 80A Calle Miguel Cid

Haute cuisine it ain’t but you can get decent wholesome food at a reasonable price in this bar de barrio.

We had some monster prawns…


…and some deep fried aubergines. All good (B).


After this we went next door to…

Galeria Taberna Anima (Intermediate B), 11 Calle Marqués de la Mina,

This is a flamenco bar which was in full swing when we arrived.


The choice of drinks is quite limited but the music and atmosphere is great. This brandy (C+) was a new one on me.


John also wanted to take me to Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo at 53 Calle Teodosio, but it was closed that night.

More places in San Lorenzo next…

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Feria

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Feria, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 15, 2017 by gannet39

Barrio Feria is one of the oldest and, for me, most interesting neighbourhoods in Seville. You’ll find a map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

On the western side of the barrio is La Alameda de Hercules, a long square that’s one of the main areas for nightlife in Seville. There’s a multitude of bars, restaurants and other kinds of entertainment located around the square and the streets off it.

At the southern end of the square are two columns holding aloft statues of Hercules (the mythical founder of Seville) and Julius Caesar (considered a ‘reformer’ of the city). These are original columns taken from a Roman temple in Calle Mármoles a few streets away. The two columns at the northern end are reproductions.


In terms of bars I really liked Habanilla Café at 63 Plaza de la Alameda de Hércules on the eastern side of the square. It’s very popular with the locals who spill out onto the street, and they occasionally have live latin music in the atmospheric interior.

At 7 Alameda de Hercules, on the southern side of the square, you’ll find Casa de Los Licores, which is the best shop (after the basement of El Corte Ingles) I know of where you can buy harder-to-find wines and spirits. There’s another branch on Delicias.

Running roughly parallel to the Alameda is Calle Feria, from which the barrio takes its name. It’s home to the Mercado de Feria, Seville’s oldest market.

There are a few places to eat in the market but the most renowned is La Cantina, which is open the same hours as the market, 7am – 4.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. If you’re lucky you’ll get a table sitting under the neighbouring church wall but most likely you’ll have to jockey for a space at the busy bar.

I spent a very enjoyable afternoon working through a substantial section of their menu.

I had Croquetas Bacalao (codfish croquettes), Tortelitas de Camarones (deep fried tartlets of tiny prawns), Gambas Plancha (grilled prawns) and Navajas (razor clams).

Also Gambones (cooked prawns) and the house speciality, Atún Casero (preserved tuna with grilled peppers and aubergine), all of which were really good.


My tab was noted on the wall next to where I was standing. When she added it up, the lady who had served me gave a low whistle of admiration that I’d eaten it all by myself!

In my defence I had just done a marathon three hour walk around the whole of the old town to work up an appetite so I felt I had some justification!


Also off Calle Feria around Plaza Monte Sión is the Mercadillo “El Jueves”; an antiques market that happens every Thursday (hence the name).

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