When I’m in Seville for work, my employer puts me up at the Hotel Ribera de Triana. Triana is a traditional neighbourhood on the other side of the river from the main city which sometimes necessitates a bit of a walk if you want to eat at a decent place in the Casco Antiguo. However as luck would have it, my favourite tapas bar in the whole of Seville is in Triana, just ten minutes’ walk from the hotel. And there are a few other decent places too all of which you’ll find on my Google map here.
Of the eleven places reviewed below, these are my top five:
Puratasca – modern, innovative, wonderful food (Intermediate A).
Las Golondrinas II – modern, spacious everyday bar with good food (Intermediate B).
Kiosco de las Flores – fried and grilled fish on a terrace by the river (Intermediate B).
Sol y Sombra – trad bull fighting bar with trad food (Intermediate B).
La Antigua Abaceria – simple but good quality grocery store tapas (Elementary B).
Puratasca (A), 5 Calle Numancia, www.puratasca.com
I went several times in 2015 and 2018. From 2015:
I liked this place so much that I came here three times in ten days! It’s a fairly simple neighbourhood tapas bar with a modern attitude in terms of décor and food presentation.
They are very popular so it’s best to arrive just before they open (Tuesday to Saturday from 13:00 to 16:30 and 20:30 to 24:00), especially in the evenings. As a lone diner I was often given a seat at the bar which meant I could chat with the chefs and watch the goings-on in the open kitchen.
All the staff are friendly and a couple speak English so I had a couple of good chats. Gaitano, the big chap with a beard, grew up living in a semi-detached and playing cricket in his native Huelva (my posts here), a city heavily influenced by British culture. Other plus points are the cool soundtrack of Jazz and Blues, and their extensive wine list. And then there’s the food which is just wonderful.
I never truly appreciated Mojama (air-dried tuna) until I came to Puratasca. In the past it has been dry and tough but here it is tender and full of flavour (A), probably because it comes from Barbate in Cadiz province which is famed for Bluefin tuna. The Foie con Chutney de Manzana, goose liver with apple chutney, served with Pan de Especias, a dark brown ‘spiced’ bread made with molasses and seven spices, was also great (B+).
The Arroz Meloso (like a wet paella) made with five kinds of mushrooms, parmesan and flavoured with white truffle, was one of the best things I ate all year (A+). I had it each time I came. Here’s the nearest recipe I could find on the web, but remember to use more varieties of mushrooms. It goes famously with a glass of Toro called Muruve (A). They have several other wines served by the glass. I tried the Protocolo, Muruve and Garzur which were all fine as I recall.
I also really liked the Mollejas de Cordero, lamb sweetbreads (preserved a la confit then grilled), served with a pineapple and ginger chutney (B+), and the Piruletes de Chorizo, chorizo ‘lollipops’ in tempura and served with curried mayonnaise, were tasty and original (B+).
I also enjoyed their Crema Alcachofas (creamed artichokes) (A). The Wok de Verduras was the weakest dish we had but it was still ok (B-).
The Seleccion de Quesos Andaluces included the cheeses Valles de los Redrodes from Cordoba (B+), Villamartin from Cadiz (B+), Armilla from Granada (A+) and La Granada de Riotinto from Huelva (A). They were served with walnuts and roasted red pepper jam which was a revelation (A). My server suggested I had a glass of medium bodied Jumilla called MMM (Monastrell Macho Man) to go with this. It had an unusual nose and made a nice change (B+). Love the label!
There’s a good choice of sweets. I went with a chef’s suggestion that I finish with the Greek yogurt, mango and passion fruit dessert (bottom left in the picture) which was delish (A). He also said it would go very well with a glass of Sauternes, a French wine from Chateau Cousteau. He wasn’t wrong (A). Another good dessert wine they have is the Pedro Ximenez from Romate (B+).
I returned to this favourite spot in June 2018 with two colleagues (Viv and John) and blew their socks off. The Arroz Meloso and Piruletas de Chorizo are still stars (A+) and I’d recommend just coming for these. The Piruletes have been adapted slightly and now include lumps of what as a child I called ‘space dust’; pieces of candy with pressurized carbon dioxide gas bubbles embedded inside, which creates a small exploding reaction when dissolved in the mouth, which takes what was already a great tapa to the next level. New dishes for me where the Alcachofas and the Duck Noodles, both very good (B+).They’ve upped their dessert game since my last visit as well. Opinions varied but I loved the Crema de Mango (A), ?? (B+) and Brownie (B+). With three glasses of wine each the bill was just shy of €80 for three, which isn’t bad.
So a veritable feast awaits you here! This is my first choice for tapas in Seville and I can’t wait to go back.
Sol y Sombra (Intermediate B), 147 Calle Castilla, www.tabernasolysombra.com
This famous, old tapas bar (since 1961) is an interesting contrast to the place above. They get top marks for atmosphere (decor on a bull fighting theme) but their trad tapas, while cheap and good, aren’t on the same level as Puratasca.
Perhaps I’d been spoiled but their most famous dish Solomillo Ajo, tenderloin with garlic, failed to impress. I loved the garlic and potato elements but I found the loin to be a bit overcooked and I wasn’t fond of the vinegary aftertaste (C). So perhaps one to avoid. There’s plenty of other stuff to choose from though, the walls are covered with suggestions. Their Chachina (cured ham) from la Sierra de Huelva would be a good choice.
It’s undeniably a quirky place, the toilets are located behind the bar and they use loo rolls for napkins! I reccomend coming to sample the traditional surroundings (I love the ancient bullfighting posters) but choose your food carefully or just have a single tapa and move on.
By the way, Sol y Sombra translates as ‘sun and shade’ which relates to the ticket choices at a bullfight (ie cheap or expensive, or medium priced if a bit of both). However, it can also be a drink that is 50% brandy and 50% sweet anis. Only for the brave!
Las Golondrinas II (Low Intermediate B), 76 Calle Pagés del Corro, www.facebook.com/barlasgolondrinastriana, open Sunday and Monday
This second location of ‘The Swallows’ is bigger and much more modern than its quaint older sister below, but the menu is the same I think.
My visit in 2018 was my first night in Spain for a while, so I ordered quite a lot. My favourite dish was their stunning Bacalao Confitado con Pimiento (A+).
Proceedings began with some grilled Chiperones, which were nice (B). They are most famous for their Punta de Solomillo, the best in Seville according to some, but I thought it was just okay (B). It might be better at the other branch. The Pinchitos de Cerdo y Cordillo scored B and C respectively. I gave the mushrooms a second try but still can’t see the attraction (C-). The wines were fine, all big names (Celeste Roble) and nothing of note (B/B-). With three glasses and a cerveza I paid €27.50 which is pretty reasonable for ten items. A good place for everyday eating.
La Antigua Abaceria (Elementary B+), 12 Calle Pureza, www.laantiguaabaceria.es, closed Monday
An abaceria is a grocery store so the tapas here are all quite simple, ie out of a tin, as they don’t have a big kitchen. That said, all the ingredients I had here were very good quality.
The waiter told me the vermouth was by one of the oldest ever makers (Triarte?), but I can’t find them on Google. It is fantastic (A) and as you can buy everything that you eat or drink here, I got two bottles to take home at €10 each. The Jamon, Bellotas de Fuet, was also amazing (A). However the Atun Encebollado recommended by the waiter as being one of the best dishes wasn’t to my liking (C-). The Overo red, an old friend, was pretty nice (B+) so I got a bottle of that too. The Brownie y Dulce, a chocolate and custard combo out of a jar, was ace (A) and the glass of orange wine with it was good too (B). Without the three bottles, the bill came to €27. This is a good place to come for provisions just before you fly home. I found it via this video on YouTube.
Casa Cuesta (Intermediate B-), 1 Calle Castilla
Many of my colleagues are pretty knackered after a hard day’s work and just want an easy option that doesn’t involve walking too far. The best bet is to turn left out of the hotel and walk down to the end of Calle Castilla where there is a clutch of tapas bars on the corner with Calle Callao. Casa Cuesta is a good option here. They’ve been at this location since 1880 but they’ve had a refit fairly recently so it’s looks quite new. The high ceilings don’t give me the cosy feeling that I like in my tapas bars so I don’t come much. I only went the last time because they had TV screens inside and out so I could watch the football. The food was fine as I recall but the service to the terrace could have been better.
Las Golondrinas I (Intermediate B), 26 Calle Antillano Campos, www.facebook.com/barlasgolondrinastriana
A well-known and quite atmospheric tapas bar around the corner from Casa Cuesta. It’s the sister bar of Las Golondrinas II above. You can stand in the busy bar or sit upstairs in the folksy seating area. They famous for their Punta de Solomillo which was okay (B). A local blogger really rates their Champinones, grilled mushrooms with alioli, but they don’t do much for me (C). Everything else I had was fine though (B). I hear the raw radishes with olive oil and salt are a good option if you like that kind of thing. Also the carrots in cumin.
Casa Manolo (High Elementary B), 16 Calle San Jorge, open Sunday
This old school cerveceria is near the two bars above, on the side of the market. There is much better quality to be found nearby (the above and see also La Comodilla) but it’s fine for a snack and tapa, and it’s much cheaper than the others. It’s all pretty basic but I quite like the spartan 50s vibe and the style of the gruff, grumpy-faced old guy with the big tache who looks like he should be a cowboy. I sometimes stop in for a night cap while watching the footie. The croquetas and albondigas are fine as I recall (B-).
Cerveceria Arroceria Loli (Elementary B), Unit 24-25, Mercado de Triana, www.mercadodetrianasevilla.com
One of several nice looking spots inside Triana market (not open evenings). They specialise in seafood and rice dishes. After doing my take home shopping I had their Arroz del Dia (a seafood paella I think) which was nice (B) and a couple of beers, all for €12. Friendly considerate service.
Kiosco de las Flores (Intermediate B), 74 Calle Betis, www.kioscodelasflores.com, closed Sunday eve and Monday, usually open from 1pm to 11.30pm.
Established elsewhere in 1930, this is the best place in Triana to try one of Seville’s most famous dishes; Pescaito Frito. I came for some patriotic fish ‘n’ chips before watching England play Colombia in the 2018 World Cup in a pub over the road (see below). It would have been nice to try the Pescaito Frito but it only comes as a portion for two for €36. Instead I had the Tacos de Bacalao Frito (B+) and the Patatas Fritas (B) which came to €25.50 with a couple of large beers. As well as several kinds of fried and grilled fish, they also have do grilled meats and egg dishes. The new riverside location can probably sit over a hundred people outside next to the river. Very popular at the weekends.
Phoenix Pub (Intermediate C), 3 Plaza De Cuba, www.facebook.com/PhoenixPubSeville
I came to this English style pub thinking that it would be a good place to watch England vs Colombia. Big mistake as it turned out to be the place all the Colombia fans came to watch the match! The atmosphere wasn’t helped by the fact it was a gritty, bad tempered game that England eventually won 2-1 on penalties. We all shook hands at the end though and I’m sure on other nights this is an okay place for a drink, not that I usually feel the need to go to an English pub in Spain.
Bar Santa Ana (ElementaryB), 82 Calle Pureza
Personally I’d rather drink at this place around the corner. It’s a slightly rough looking but actually very friendly neighbourhood bar with lots of seating outside. When they heard I was an England fan they gave me a free brandy to celebrate our victory. Now that’s hospitality! I’ll be back to try the tapas which are supposed to be good.
Mariatrifulca (High Intermediate B?), Puente de Triana, Plaza del Altozano, www.mariatrifulca.com
This restaurant is a more refined place to spend a warm evening. The top floor terrace has a stunning view up and down the river and you can also sit outside downstairs. You definitely need to reserve to get the best table though so maybe scout ahead if you want to impress someone. I’ve not tried the food but have stopped in for a nightcap.
Some more places to eat over the river next…