Santa Cruz is the neighbourhood to the immediate east and south of the cathedral. It’s the oldest and most atmospheric barrio, containing the Alcazar and many other historical treasures. As a result it’s pretty much overun with tourists and the picturesque restaurants and bars can be very commercialised. There are a few gems though…
Casa Román (Intermediate A), 1 Plaza Venerables, casaromansevilla.com
Casa Román is a traditional old bar with the best tapas I’ve eaten in Santa Cruz, despite being on touristy Plaza Venerables.
On the evening I went I had tapas of their Olivas, big fat green gordillos (A), Bacalao Fritto, fried salt cod (A), Morcilla de Higado, liver black pudding (B), Jamon Iberico de Bellota, primo acorn-fed ham (A+) and Cana de Lomo Iberico, cured pork loin (A). It’s an excellent place I’d happily return to.
I can’t say much about the food at the next one but you should visit just to see it…
Las Teresas (Intermediate A), 3 Calle Santa Teresa
This bar was founded in 1870 and has been run by the same family since 1920. I love the beautiful interior with the hams hanging from the ceiling.
I tried the Huevas Alinadas,marinated hake roe, a classic dish from Cadiz. To be honest I wasn’t really a fan (C-) but I wanted to know what it was like. I’m sure all the other things on the menu are nice though. They did have a favourite sherry of mine, the Solera 1847 Cream from Gonzalez y Byass (A).
Corral del Agua (High Intermediate B+), 6 Calle Agua, www.corraldelagua.es
This beautiful restaurant is in a rambling old building next to the Alcazar wall. It has a lovely outdoor patio with a trickling fountain shaded by trees. As you walk through the building you come to a central courtyard with several other dining rooms leading off it, as you might expect of a former stable.
If you are a big group you could could actually sit around the marble fountain. Be warned though that all this water means that there are a few mosquitos around.
The food is good, I had a decent Rabo de Toro here and a half bottle of Pierola Rioja (both B+), but really it’s all about the location. The restaurant claims that Don Juan used to meet Carmen here and you can’t get much more romantic than that.
Modesto Tapas (Intermediate A), 2 Calle Cano y Cueto
This very well-renowned (so slightly touristy) tapas bar is a good place to eat seafood, especially the Fritadura Modesto; tempura-style deep-fried onions, peppers and prawns. The Almejas de Isla Cristina (a coastal island near the border with Portugal) are good too.
The street leading out of , Calle Mateos Gago, is another busy tourist strip as it leads out of Plaza Virgen de los Reyes by the cathedral. There is a little gem here though…
La Goleta aka Peregil (Elementary A), 20 Calle Mateos Gago, www.tabernasperegil.com
This is a quirky little tapas bar owned by the singer Alvaro Peregil. His sense of humour is apparent in the little signs dotted around like the one that says ‘He’s very quiet’ next to a cage with a stuffed bird. The bar is miniscule but there is a tiny loo in the corner with a sign on the door saying, “No running in the toilet corridors!’.
It’s good place to try the local Vino de Naranja (orange wine) and they have cheese and ham to nibble on. The ingredients aren’t of the best quality but it’s a fun place to be.
And just a couple of doors down…
Bodega Santa Cruz aka Las Columnas (High Elementary B+), 1 Calle Rodrigo Caro, facebook.com
Another traditional place, the kind where they chalk up your bill on the wooden bar. I just stopped in for a sherry and a tapa of jamon (both B) so I can’t comment on the food but I liked the atmosphere.
Freiduría Puerta de la Carne (Elementary A?), 34 Calle Santa María la Blanca, http://www.freiduriapuertadelacarne.com
I’ve not been to this fry shop so I don’t know if it’s any good, I just include it for its beautiful exterior ceramics.
And for some late night action…
Mariscal Café Español (Intermediate B+), 3 Calle Mariscal
This is a small club specialising in live flamenco and sevillanas (local folk music) but a modern updated version rather than for tourists. It gets going around 11pm and stays open till the small hours.
And that’s my limited knowledge of this historic barrio. It’s a place to come for atmosphere rather than food although that can be okay if you know where to go. Next, a few things to see in the neighbourhood…