I was only in Carmona for two nights so, as ever, please don’t consider this a complete guide to the food scene, just a snapshot of my experiences. I’ve put everywhere on this map.
In terms of ingredients the area around the town is known for producing olive oil and good quality pork. Wild meats such as venison also feature frequently in the local diet.
I picked up a bottle of local oil from this shop next to the Puerto Sevilla. The tourist information office next door also sells it, but I think it costs a bit more.
La Yedra (High Intermediate B+), 6 Calle General Freire, www.restauranteleyedra.es
I think this is the best place in town, recommended by both Michelin and Guia Repsol. I liked the food but the best aspect for me was sitting outside in the pretty courtyard. Reservations might be a good idea as it’s quite popular with tourists.
I began with a glass of Oloroso and a tapa of Queso (B+).
The ‘Arroz Cremoso’, a risotto with boletus mushrooms, spinach and white truffle essence, was quite nice (B).
And I enoyed the ‘Paletilla de Cordero con Patatas Panadera’ (lamb shoulder with baked potatoes) too (B).
A bottle of Beronia Rioja went well.
With a final glass of Carlos III brandy, the bill came to €64.
The service was efficient and English speaking, although they could be a bit more welcoming. A good experience overall but make sure you book a table outside.
La Almazara de Carmona (Upper Intermediate B+), 33 Calle Santa Ana
This is another Michelin and Guia Repsol recommendation, located in an old restored mill. It’s slightly formal, with waiters in white tunics with silver buttons, but not stuffy.
The décor in the restaurant was a bit too chintzy for me so I opted for the less fancy tapas bar where I could get smaller portions and try more things.
I started with a glass of Oloroso sherry and a tapa of Jamon Iberico de Bellota (B+) from Sanchez Romero Carvajal, a producer from Huelva with over 130 years of history.
The ‘Chiperones de Anzuelo, Callos de Ternera y Manitas con Alioli de su Tinta’ or line-caught baby squid stuffed with veal tripe and pigs trotters served with an alioli made with its ink, was interesting even if it didn’t look great (B).
Also the ‘Cordero Guisado a Nuestro Estilo con Cous Cous Primaveral y Salsa de Yogurt y Menta’ or lamb stewed in the house style with a Spring couscous with yogurt and mint sauce (B).
My favourite tapa was the ‘Arroz Crujiente Cola de Toro’ or crunchy rice with bull’s tail (B+).
‘Beso de Vino’, a Syrah/Garnacha blend, was okay (B).
I really liked their Ribera by Lopez Cristobal (B+).
Feeling the need for a sweet I had their acclaimed ‘Torrija de Brioche Caramelizada con Helado de Tres Sensaciones’ or French toast made with caramelised brioche and served with ‘three sensations’ ice cream (B+) and a glass of PX.
Finally, a glass of Luis Felipe Licor (B+) which, along with normal Luis Felipe brandy (A+), is only €8 a glass here. You can often expect to pay double elsewhere.
Total cost €45 which was fine given the quality. I’d come again.
Bar Goya (Intermediate B), 2 Calle Prim, www.goyatapas.com
This is an ordinary, everyday place located in a pleasant ceramic tiled building on the main square (just a few minutes’ walk from the Hotel Descalzas). It was recommended by the local school owners I was working with, and generally seems to be the people’s choice.
I came for lunch and had tapas of Jamon Bellota (B) and some very powerful cheese (B-) followed by half portions of grilled peppers (B) and Albondigas (B) with chips (B+).
With three medium beers the cost came to €26. Everything was cheap and good. This is the easy everyday choice that my colleagues would probably favour.
So a very brief stay during which I ate well but not amazingly so. It would have been nice to stay longer and become more familiar with the local cuisine.