Archive for the Seville Province Category

Andalusia – eating and drinking in Osuna

Posted in Andalusia, Osuna, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2019 by gannet39

There’s not a huge choice of places to eat in Osuna but here are a few good ones, in order of preference. My map is here.

Doña Guadalupe (High Intermediate A), 6 Plaza Guadalupe

This is the best, and probably most expensive, place in town, located in a hidden square just a few minutes’ walk from the Hotel Palacio Marques De La Gomera. You can sit outside under the porticos in the square but I chose to sit inside as it was a bit more comfortable.

On the waiter’s suggestion I began with the Surtido Iberico (three kinds of charcuterie with cured cheese, grilled peppers and some toast with local olive oil) which was great (A) but had I known it was going to be so big, and at a cost of €20, I wouldn’t have ordered it for just one person.

It was nice to see my old friend Overo (B), a red from nearby Lebrija, which was good value for €15.

For my segundo; Perdiz de Monte en su Jugo, or mountain partridge in its own gravy (B+).

And to finish, Flan Naranja con Arroz con Leche, aka orange caramel pudding with rice pudding (A).

With this a glass of ‘Espuny’ Pedro Ximenez (A).

Dessert came with some complimentary Pastitas Caseras (homemade shortbread biscuits) and two bottles of digestifs; Pacharan (a Basque liqueur made with sloes) and Aguardiente des Hierbas (like grappa with added herbs).

Total cost was a somewhat excessive €71 although this included a beer. You don’t have to be as greedy as me of course.

My second favourite place was this modern tapas bar…

Taberna Jicales (Intermediate B+), 11 Calle Esparteros

Tapas I tried included, in order of preference, Carrilladas aka pork cheeks (A), Pulpo Gallego or Galician style octopus (B+), Piruletas also known as chorizo lollipops (B+), Miloja de Berenjena or battered and deep-fried slices of aubergine enclosing some brie-like cheese (B-), Croquetas de Cabrales y Sidra aka Asturian blue cheese and cider croquettes (B-).

I was less keen on the Solomillo al Pedro Ximenez which is pork loin in a PX wine reduction (C+) and the Mini Hamburguesa (C). All of these were very cheap at only €2 or €3 a pop.

This next place is the local institution…

Casa Curro (Intermediate B), 5 Plaza Salitre

The food here is fine but nothing amazing. On my first evening I ate in their restaurant at the back. As you’d expect from an olive oil producing town, their olives are pretty good. I had their mixed Croquetas to start and followed up with the Rabo de Toro, stewed oxtail, and had a bottle of Ramon Bilbao Rioja to drink. The Flan de Chocolate finished things off. (All B).

On another night I enjoyed their Almejas de Carril en Salsa de la Casa (Galician clams in the house sauce) and their Salmorejo (bread and tomato soup with ham, egg and olive oil), along with a bottle of Barbadillo white wine (all B again).

You can get a very cheap brandy for a night cap from their tapas bar at the front.

There is no outdoor area Casa Curro so they have opened this other smaller tapas bar over the square where you can sit at tables on the street…

Taberna Currito Chico (Elementary A), 9 Plaza Salitre

I much prefer the ambience at this little tapas bar to that of its big sister over the road. The food seems a little better too. Certainly the Carrillada con Queso al Pedro Ximenez, pork cheek with cheese and a sweet wine reduction, is a winner (A). Tables are hard to snag though so arrive early.

El Molinillo (Elementary C+), 6 Plaza Mayor

This tiny tapas bar on the main square is run by a nice old boy. You could stand inside but the terrace on the square is a good spot for sinking a cold one while you watch the town at play in the evenings. Although the Jamon is good (B+), I wasn’t that impressed by the Solomillo Ajillo aka pork loin in garlic (C-).

And a couple to avoid…

Cafeteria Arco (High Elementary C), 8 Piazza Cervantes

Came here for lunch and ordered the Butifarra hoping for a grilled version of my favourite Catalan sausage. Got some thinly sliced cold version on white bread that was more akin to garlic sausage (C-) for which they charged me €3.

Vera (High Elementary C-), Calle Alfonso XII

Although this was #6 on TripAdvisor and the fifth most reviewed in 2017, the tapa of Bacalao Frito I had here failed to impress (C-).

For hotel room picnickers…

…you could get a roast chicken to go from Pollos Asados La Fama at 25 Calle Alfonso XII.

The old bakery Panadería Moyá (since 1920) at 60 Calle Sor Angela de la Cruz has some nice bread in the window.

And for those sweet of tooth, you can get cakes and biscuits from the nuns either from Religiosas Madres Concepcionistas at 1 Calle Sevilla or from Monasterio de la Encarnación at 2 Plaza la Encarnación.


Andalusia – walking around Osuna

Posted in Andalusia, Osuna, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2019 by gannet39

Historic Osuna is built on a sandstone hill which has been a source of ashlars (stone building blocks) for the town’s buildings for millenia. Some of these come from El Coto las Canteras, a spectacular quarry known as ‘the Petra of Andalusia’ which is just on the outskirts of town. Sadly this amazing attraction is only open on special occasions but the link above will give you a good idea of what it looks like inside. It’s on my map if you want to go and have a look through the fence.

We are put up at the best hotel in town, the 18th century Palacio Marques De La Gomera, a baroque palace with a beautiful stone facade and entrance. The turret room was used in the 2001 film “Callas Forever” with Fanny Ardant and Jeremy Irons. The cast and crew of series five of Game of Thrones also stayed here.

The entrance has some nice details and inside there is a lovely internal courtyard with a fountain. You can click to expand these and other smaller pics if you’re on a computer.

According to UNESCO Calle San Pedro is the second most beautiful street in Europe, While I’m not sure I agree with that, it does have another spectacular facade a few doors up at 15 Calle San Pedro. The Cilla del Cabildo Colegial is another baroque palace built in 1773.

The doorway is decorated with symbols of Seville’s cathedral, such as lilies in vases and a representation of the cathedral’s clocktower, La Giralda.

If you walk up to the top of and turn left you’ll soon come to the Posito Municipal, at 80 Calle Carrera. Built in 1779 it was the town’s municipal granary and later a hospital.

At the bottom of the hill you come to the neo-classical Arco de la Pastora, the Arch of the Sheperdess, which is the town’s last remaining gate.

Nearby is the Plaza de Toros dating from 1903.

It’s largely unused nowadays although some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed inside.

On the other side of town on Calle San Agustín is the former post office, the Palacio de Miguel Reina Jurado

Nearby at 10 Calle la Huerta is the Palacio de los Cepeda

On a parallel street at 44 Calle Sevilla is the Palacio de Puente Hermosa, also known as the Palacio de Govantes y Herdera.

The impressive Solomonic columns of its doorway are decorated with bunches of grapes and vine leaves.

A few doors away on the same street is this unmarked building.

I love the decorative faces above the door.

Up the road at 9 Calle Sevilla, is the less impressive doorway of the Antiguo Convento de Santa Catalina. The internal layout of the convent was used as a template for convents in Mexico.

You can buy cakes from the nuns next door at Religiosas Madres Concepcionistas at 1 Calle Sevilla.

At the end of Calle Sevilla you come to Plaza Major. The town hall sits over one of the streets entering the square.

The eastern side is lined with attractive buildings.

From here you can see La Colegiata de Osuna on the hill above the town.

The Rennaisance church houses the Museo de Arte Sacro de la Colegiata de Osuna

On the way up the hill you’ll also come across the Torre del Agua which is also the home of the Museo Arqueológico de Osuna. Neither museum’s opening hours coincided with when I was free unfortunately so I saved them for next time.

You can get some great views over the town from the top of the hill.

Over the road at the very top of the hill is the famous Escuela Universitaria de Osuna, founded in 1548 and still a functioning university.

I sneaked inside to get a few shots of the beautiful internal courtyard.

It was strangely quiet when I was there.

The walls of the entrance hall bear some ancient decorative inscriptions.

Back down at the bottom of the hill in a small square is the Iglesia y Torre de La Merced

And that is probably enough baroque for one day, time for some grub now…

Carmona – where and what to eat

Posted in Andalusia, Carmona, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on November 8, 2017 by gannet39

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,

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,

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.

Carmona – walking around the old town

Posted in Andalusia, Carmona, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by gannet39

Carmona is a beautiful historical town 33km north-east of Seville. Believed to be founded by the Tartessians, the town was later inhabited by the Carthaginians (Phonecians), Romans and Moors, all of whom have left their imprint.

Perhaps the first thing you’ll see when arriving by road is the bell tower of the Iglesia de San Pedro. The church is also known as the Giraldilla due to its similarity to the Giralda of Seville (my Giralda post is here).



Over the road from the church, perhaps a more famous sight is the Puerta de Sevilla, originally constructed by the Carthaginians but with Roman and Moorish modifications. I think I read somewhere the arch was already 500 years old when the Romans arrived!

The gate is part of the wall of the Alcázar de Abajo, the lower fort built by the Moors.

The tourist information is located here, and if you go in you can purchase a 2€ ticket to get into the Torre del Oro, the tower above the gate. You can click on these photos to go full screen. I particularly like the ones that caught the swallows.


I took this short video up there as well to capture the atmosphere created by the swallows.

You can get great views over the town and surrounding countryside from up here. Click on them to enlarge.


In the tower there’s a banner depicting a griffin which has become a symbol of Carmona. The image was originally found on a sixth century BC Tartessian vase, ‘El Vaso de los Grifos’, that can be seen in the local museum Museo De La Ciudad De Carmona

From here narrow streets lead upwards to the centre of the town.

Plaza de los Abastos, the market square, is pretty, but I think I missed the market as it was very quiet.

At the top of the hill on the highest point is the Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro which is now a parador (government owned hotel in a historic building)

The fort has its own imposing gate.

Many other impressive doorways are dotted around town (click to enlarge).


In the central courtyard of the town hall, the Ayuntamiento de Carmona, you can see (from a distance, behind glass) a large Roman mosaic depicting the gorgon Medusa which is in excellent condition. This blog post from the web has a better picture and some interesting archaeological information.

There are a lot more sights that I didn’t have time to check out, so another visit is required!

I was put up at the Hotel El Rincon de las Descalzas, a beautiful fifteenth century palace that’s a short walk from the central square. Definitely recommended.

Not a lot in Lora del Río

Posted in Andalusia, Lora del Río, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2017 by gannet39

Lora del Rio is a small town in Seville province. There’s nothing to see or do and I didn’t eat particularly well but the people are really lovely and friendly.

Originally I was supposed to stay at the Hotel El Alamo which on paper seems to be the best place in town. A bit of research on Google Earth however showed it to be a truckers’ motel way out in the outskirts. Further investigations couldn’t find any pavements along the road to town, making walking anywhere rather dangerous.

Thankfully I persuaded my employer to let me stay in a small pension in the town centre called Pension La Portuguesa It has no stars but it’s within walking distance of the train station and just three minutes’ walk from the school I was working at. The breakfast is just a tostada and coffee and the WiFi is very temperamental but at least I had places to go in the evenings.

You could also stay at Hostal Restaurante Vera Cruz which is very handy for the station. It’s also a tapas bar which seemed okay when I popped in for a drink. The neo-Mudejar construction was the nicest building I saw during my stay.

Google map here.

In terms of places to eat…

Taberna Javi Garcia (Intermediate B+), 21 Calle Marcos Orbaneja

This is the best place in town by a mile and I would have eaten here every night if I’d known but I didn’t discover it until quite late. It has a pleasant terrace outside, next to a fountain, which separates it from the road.

The service was efficient and friendly and the tapas recommended to me were simple but good. I enjoyed the Jamon Iberico (A) and their chips are pretty decent (A).

This is ‘Presa Ibérica con Queso de Cabra y Cebolla Caramelizada’ or pork shoulder with goat cheese and caramelized onion (B+).

Here we have ‘Solomillo Wellington con Salsa de Queso’ or sirloin with cheese sauce (B+). Not sure what the Wellington connection is as there’s no pastry involved.

I tried a couple of kinds of Anis here and decided I prefer the dry to the sweet versions. It seems they vary in strength as well. This ‘El Clavel’ Anis Seco by Cazalla was 49% whereas the Dulce by the same distillery is only 35%.

Los Alemanes (Intermediate B), 1 Avenida de la Cruz

This was the first choice of the students and teachers at the school I was working at, not sure why. I bumped into them all drinking here and was quickly roped in for a couple of jars! The food is okay (the Presa Iberica was pretty good) but it’s probably popular because the owner is a nice guy. Plenty of space to sit outside too.

And a couple to avoid…

Taberna de Currito (Intermediate C), 11 Calle Fuenfría

This place was virtually empty but I came in because they were showing the Euoropean Championship on telly. There’s no other reason for coming here that I’m aware of. I wouldn’t come again as the service wasn’t very friendly, although Spain losing one-nil to Italy probably didn’t help. I had some Jamon Bellota which was fine (B).

Restaurante Medieval (Intermediate C), 2 Calle Sierra de Andújar,

I ate here a couple of times as it’s opposite the school I was working at. The food was fine but nothing special. The medieval concept is just a gimmick although it suits the cavernous interior of the restaurant.

La Bicicleta (Intermediate B), 21 Avenida Prim, NOW CLOSED!

This gastrobar had pretensions but obviously didn’t live up to them as it has closed since I ate there. They had some nice ideas, like these Capirotes de Langostinos, but they weren’t that amazing (B). Their Croquetas were too salty and had no structural integrity so I returned them (D).

I was supposed to stay in Lora for three nights but I sloped off to Puerto de Santa Maria for the weekend as it’s a much nicer place to be (see next post). It’s easy to get to as it’s on the same train line.

Good eating in Utrera

Posted in Andalusia, Seville Province, Spain, Utrera with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2017 by gannet39

Utrera is a fair sized historical town in Seville province that is famous for flamenco and bull fighting. Tourists also come to see the castle but I’m not sure why as there’s not much to see. Personally I spent the day time hours when I wasn’t working inside avoiding the baking heat and this is in mid-June before the summer had started in earnest. Google map here.

The Iglesia de Santiago, next to the castle, is the main church.

You can see storks’ nests on top of some of the highest spires.

The town is also known for the mostachón, a kind of small flattened cake or Arab origin made with sugar and cinnamon. There are two bakeries in Plaza del Altozano that sell them but I was always working during opening hours so I didn’t get to try them.

I spent five nights at the Hotel Veracruz which is the best (only?) place in town. Located in a nice old town house, the staff are friendly and the breakfast is okay.

I ate pretty well while I was here…

Besana Tapas (Intermediate B+), 1Calle Niño Perdido,

The bar is tucked down an alley near the main square. It can be a challenge to catch them open as they’re closed all day Sunday and Monday, and only open for lunch Thursday to Saturday.

I think this is the best place in town. It gets recommendations from Michelin, Guia Repsol and a school owner who told me that people travel from Seville to eat the tapas here. I was certainly impressed with the food. Innovation fused with tradition. Great flavours and presentation.

‘Timbal de Habitas con Papada Ibérica, Migas y Menta’ or timbal of broad beans with pig cheeks, breadcrumbs and mint (A).

‘Mollejas Glaseadas con Queso de Cabra y Setas Salteadas’ or glazed sweetbreads with goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms (A+).

‘Cochinillo Asado con Col Lombarda Fermentada’ aka roasted suckling pig with fermented red cabbage (B+).

They have many other better wines but I went for the Andalucian reds by the glass. An old friend from Cortijo Los Aguilares, Ronda was my favourite (B+).

‘Garum’ from Bodegas Luis Pérez in Cádiz is another good one (B).

The ‘Vino Tinto’ from Marcelino Serrano in Jaen was drinkable (C).

The award for the worst wine, both in name and flavour, went to ‘Tetas de la Sacristana’ (D). It was explained to me that the sacristana is the old lady who accompanies the priest during ceremonies. She’s not meant to be attractive as this could divert the attention of the priest, so her ‘tetas’ are probably not the most appealing thing to look at. I think the bottle had been on the shelf for a while as the wine was undrinkable. They didn’t charge me though.

Total cost for three tapas and three glasses of wine €22.

So except for that last blip, I heartily recommend this great tapas bar.

El Arco (Intermediate B+), 35 Calle San Fernando,

‘The Arch’ is another very good tapas bar. It’s more traditional than Besana so a good place to try local specialities. I came with my friend Juan, a local school owner, who helped me to choose.

Huevos a la Flamenca‘ are usually fried, but here boiled, eggs with a sauce of red peppers and tomatoes.

‘Croquetas de Pringá’, croquettes made from the leftovers of a local stew, are always a winner with me.

I think this is their ‘Chorizo al Estilo de la Casa’, or chorizo done in the house style (B+). Chickpeas are a very popular ingredient in Andalusia.

The ‘Pastel de Queso de Cabra con Papaya y Mousse de Pato Caramelizado’ or goat’s cheese with papaya and caramelised mousse of duck, was a rare change from tradition (B+).

They have a large selection of wines by the glass. We enjoyed a decent Ribera del Duero called ‘Finca Resalso’ by Emilio Moro (B).

And finally some ‘Queso Romero’, an aged cheese cured in oil from Cuenca, east of Madrid (B+).

On another occasion we had their ‘Cabrillas en Salsa’, big snails in a tomato sauce (B)and the ‘Adobitos’, chunks of vinegared and fried dogfish (B-).

My second favourite spot. Definitely worth the short walk from the centre of town. They have a restaurant in a separate building nearby which I’d like to try next time.

As an aside, Juan recommended one of his favourite red wines ‘Tomas Postigo’ which retails in Spain at about €20.

La Brasa (Intermediate B), 45 Calle Rubén Darío,

I’m guessing this traditional restaurant is a bit of a local institution as it’s the most reviewed place on TripAdvisor. I came for Sunday lunch of Spanish classics.

I started with a half portion of ‘Croquetas Caseras’ (B).

For the main, the ‘Parrillada de Verduras’ (grilled veg) and the always satisfying ‘Cochinillo Lechal Asado’, or roast suckling pig (B+).

To drink, an okay Ribera del Duero called ‘Melior de Matarromera’ (B).

To finish, ‘Flan de Huevo y Coco’; a caramel pudding with squirty cream, and a complimentary flask of Orujo des Hierbas (B).

Total cost 40€. All buttons were well and truly pressed. Recommended.

La Herradura (Intermediate B), 11 Calle La Corredera

This is a busy tapas bar just over the road from the hotel. You can sit outside on the pavement if you arrive early. Really there needs to be two of you to eat their parrilladas and rice dishes, the former being highly recommended but too much for a single diner like me.

I tried some more local classics like ‘Carrillera de Iberico al Vino Oloroso’ or pig cheeks with aged sherry and whole peppercorns (B+).

Espincas con Garbanzos a la Sevillana’ or spinach with chickpeas in the Sevillian style, is also very typical (B).

‘Tataki de Presa Iberica con Salmorejo de Habas’ or seared pork shoulder with a ‘soup’ of broad beans (B+).

A good spot, recommended.

And a few places to be aware of, or avoid:

La Fábrica de Nieve aka Asador Pinto (Intermediate C+), 27 Calle La Corredera

This is a grill house just over the road from the hotel. I wouldn’t particularly recommend the food, they burned my Parrilla Iberica (C-/D), but you can sit outside in the big courtyard which is a blessing when the weather is hot. I used it as a pub and came to watch England draw nil-nil with Slovakia in the opening game of the 2016 European Championship. Something to note is that Cervezas and Jarras both cost the same, 2€.

Casa Diego (C+), 33 María Auxiliadora

According to TripAdvisor, this place has a good local rep but I wasn’t that impressed. The best thing is the large terrace in the courtyard outside where I watched Spain go down 2-1 to Croatia in the Euros.

I had the ‘Berenjenas con Salmorejo’, ‘Jamon y Huevos de Cordoniz’ (B-)…

… and the ‘Croquetas del Puchero’ (B), ‘Hamburguesita de Buey’ (C+) and a decent bottle of Rueda (B). They tried to charge me for the ‘Pavia de Merluza’ even though I’d sent it back for not being fresh (D) but removed it from the bill when I protested. Total cost was 20€ which is admittedly very cheap.

Cervecería Carlos (Intermediate C), 17 Calle la Corredera,

Another tapas bar near the hotel. They have a few TV screens (the best spot is in the yard out back) so it was busy with football fans when I went. I began with a beer and was maybe going to eat but the guy behind the bar wasn’t very welcoming so I went elsewhere.

So, good food can be had in Utrera if you know where to go. Choose carefully is my advice,,,

A short layover in Lebrija

Posted in Andalusia, Lebrija, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , on March 12, 2017 by gannet39

Lebrija is a small agricultural town in Seville province that doesn’t seem to have much going on. I was only here briefly for two nights in April 2016 but I managed to scratch the surface a little. Here’s my Google map.


The main sights are ‘La Giraldilla’ which as the name suggests is a smaller version of the campanile of Seville cathedral (a very famous symbol of the city).


Next to it is the Basilica de Santa Maria de la Oliva which I’m told is one of the more impressive churches in the province, although I didn’t get a chance to see it.


Other than this Lebrija isn’t particularly beautiful. For me the nicest building I saw was this old bakery, Panaficadora San Benito, at 123 Calle Corredera.


Lebrija is a sherry town, although it’s not allowed to use the name as its geographic location is outside the official Jerez DO. This was remedied in part by the town eventually getting its own DO after many years of lobbying.

The largest bodega is Bodegas González Palacios at 60 Calle Virgen de Consolación, which is open to the public from 09.30 to 14.00 Monday to Friday, although you might have to reserve by phone (955 972 517). They are on the Ruta del Vino y Brandy del Marco de Jerez. Sadly I didn’t intersect with their opening times.

However, with a bit of research I managed to find a smaller bodega where you can go for a drink called Bodegas Andres Ahumada at 10 Calle Marines, a small alley off Calle Tetuan.

Keep an eye out for this sign on the right as you walk down the alley from Tetuan…


…then go through this open gate and turn immediate left and go through the door that takes you to the atmospheric barrel room.


This is where all the old boys hang out in the evenings to chat and watch football on the telly. They were pretty gobsmacked to see me, probably because Lebrija gets very few foreign tourists and because this isn’t exactly an easy place to find. It’s a great spot to experience a bit of local culture. Here’s a video to give you more of an idea.


I tried copitas (small glasses) of all their sherries. I’m not usually a fan of Fino (I’m still learning) but theirs was more enjoyable than others I’d had (B).


You can get crisps, charcuterie (B/C) on bread…


… and some rather bitter Lupinas (B) to nibble on with your wine but there’s nothing cooked.


Their Oloroso Seco was great as was their Oloroso Dulce (both B+). I was given their Pedro Ximenez to compare with the latter and it was the best of their wines so far (A). I should have got a bottle but I was travelling light.


I asked if they had anything else I could try and was given a glass of ‘Settembre’ (?) a “muy, muy, muy joven” fino which explains why it tasted so awful (C-). It was an interesting experience though. Definitely come here if you can.

I was put up at the Hotel LB Lebrija at 10 Avenida Juan Pena , www.lblebrija which is owned by Juan Ramón López Caro, a former manager of Real Madrid. The rooms are modern and stylish but there is no breakfast to speak of, just some prepackaged cakes and a kettle on the reception desk. There is no 24-hour reception (a new trend in Spain since the economic crisis?) so entrance is via a security code for the door, which means you’ll be locked out if you forget or lose it.

Venta Luis Rey (Intermediate B), 1 Avenida Las Cabezas, closed on Wednesdays.

Happily Venta Luis Rey, the best restaurant in town according to the school owners I worked at (although they might be biased as their son works there), is just over the road from the hotel. I found the food to be pretty good and they had functioning WiFi, unlike the hotel.

Their Jamon Bellota is excellent (A)…


…and I also enjoyed their Lasana de Berenjenas (B+), made with deep-fried aubergines with a filling of, I think, breadcrumbs fried with diced pork of some kind.


The Ensalada Mixta (B) had ‘Caballa’ (mackerel) on top which is apparently how it often comes in Cadiz and Huelva provinces. It was fine (B) but I’m sure it’d be better during tomato season.


This local red, ‘Overo’ from Bodegas González Palacios (see above) was okay (B-) but it had tasted better (B+) for some reason when I’d had it at ConTenedor in Seville.


I wasn’t too keen on their oversalted Albondigas de la Casa (C+) which was a shame as I usually love them.


I finished with some Manchego which was made with a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk.


So, a brief but interesting stop, and I’m sure there’s more if you have time to dig deeper, but I was happy to move on…

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – around and about

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2017 by gannet39

Generally Barrio Santa Cruz is thought to correspond to La Juderia, the area east of the cathedral, but in fact its administrative area covers a much larger zone, so I’ve had to break it down into four posts. My post on La Juderia is here, Placa de Espania here and the cathedral area here. This post covers some of the remaining area.

Map of the barrios here, my Google map here.

Walking from Triana, I crossed over the river on the Puente de San Telmo and walked straight ahead to the Puerto de Jerez. In this square you’ll find the Fuente de Hispalis, sculpted by Manuel Delgado Brackenbury in 1928.


Turning right from here, the facade of the opulent Hotel Alfonso XIII is worth a look. I’d love to stay here one day.


Continuing along Avenida Roma, you come to the stunning doorway of Palacio de San Telmo.


Construction of the Baroque building begain in 1682 but this Churrigueresque entrance dates from 1754.


The florid decoration includes a balcony supported by an Atlantes; a support sculpted in the form of a man.


One block east is the Real Fábrica de Tabacos which now houses the Universidad de Seville. Tourists are allowed in for free via the main entrance on Calle San Fernando.


When construction began in 1728 it was the first tobacco factory in Europe.


Generally it is of a Renaissance design but the impressive main facade is Baroque.


The sculptures are by the Portuguese architect Cayetano de Acosta.


He is also responsible for the fountains in the courtyard.



Due south from here is the Teatro Lope de Vega, a Baroque theatre built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, with its pretty tiled dome.


If you cross to the other side of the roundabout you’ll come to one of the entrances of Parque de María Luisa. There are some beautiful statues around the entrance gate.


Walk through here and you’ll come to Plaza de España (see separate post).

There’s lots more to see around here but these were my highlights.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – La Judería

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, La Judería, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , on February 23, 2017 by gannet39

La Judería was once the Jewish Quarter. It’s located in the barrio of Santa Cruz, located to the east and south east of the Cathedral and the Alcazar (see separate post).


Many people will access the barrio by walking up Calle Mateos Gago which has some impressive buildings.


Map of the barrios here, my Google map here.

The former ghetto is a maze of small streets and alleys that open into small squares. One of the prettiest is Plaza de Doña Elvira.


It’s a lovely spot to sit and relax in a cafe, or on one of the ceramic-tiled benches.


Another nice square is Plaza Santa Cruz.


In the centre of the square is a beautiful wrought iron sculpture called La Cruz de la Cerrajeríaor, or The Cross of the Locksmith in English.


It was made by Sebastián Conde in 1692 and was originally located in Calle Sierpes in the centre.


There are some nice houses around the square…


… with traditional windows known as balcones cerrados.


Large mansions are everywhere.


Some have lovely courtyards.


Many houses are painted in yellow and white which seems to be the colour theme for the neighbourhood.


There are lots of picturesque restaurants dotted around.


They’re all very touristy but this one is worth a visit.

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 popped in for a glass of a favourite sherry of mine; Solera 1847 Cream (A)…


… and some Huevas Alinadas, or Hake Roe, a classic dish of Cadiz. To be honest I wasn’t really a fan (C-) but I wanted to try them. I’m sure all the other things on the menu are great.


This is just one of four posts on Barrio Santa Cruz, there’s lots more to see!


Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – Plaza de España

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Plaza de España, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 22, 2017 by gannet39

The Plaza de España, a square located in the Parque de María Luisa in the southern end of Barrio Santa Cruz, was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.

The building was used to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits during the exposition.


The architect was Aníbal González who mixed Art Deco, mock-Moorish and Moorish Revival (Neo-Mudéjar) styles in the design.


The buildings of the plaza form a half-circle which is accessible via bridges over the moat. Here’s a video to give you more of an idea.



The front wall of the buildings contain alcoves which each represent the different regions and cities of Spain.



If you click on one of the photos below, you’ll be able to see them as a full-screen slideshow.

The square was used as a location for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones where it was used for exterior shots of the City of Theed on the Planet Naboo.

Please also see my other posts on Barrio Santa Cruz.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – around the cathedral

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 21, 2017 by gannet39

The Gothic Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is the largest cathedral in the world.


Construction began in 1402 and continued for over 100 years. In 1987 it was registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The campanile of the cathedral, known as ‘La Giralda‘, is the most famous symbol of the city.


It was once a minaret of the mosque that previously stood on the site.


The statue at the top, meant to indicate the supremacy of the Christian faith, is called ‘El Giradillo’.

On the western side the main door to the cathedral’s central nave is known as the Door of Assumption.




It is flanked either side by the Door of the Baptism (pictured) and the Door of San Miguel.



On the south side is the Door of Saint Cristopher also known as De la Lonja. A replica of the “Giraldillo” stands in front of its gate.


The square on this side is known as Plaza del Triunfo.


It’s named after the Templete del Triunfo de Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio, a monument containing an image of the Virgin and Child, built in 1756.


The square on the eastern side is known as Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. The ornate doorway of the Archidiócesis de Sevilla is on one side of the square.


In the middle of the square is a monumental fountain and lamp post known as the Fuente de la Plaza Virgen de los Reyes.


The water-spouting heads are replicas of Roman grotesques found in the Casa de Pilatos, a former ducal palace.





Diagonally opposite the cathedral is the Alcázar of Seville.


The main entrance is the Puerta del León.


The panel of ceramic tiles depicting the lion was put in place relatively recently in 1892.


More posts to follow about Barrio Santa Cruz.

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 try to arrive when it opens to snag a table on the popular terrace.

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. 2018 update: I have since and it’s okay. Try the Tortallitas de Camarones.


Near here there’s a good shop for kitchen hardware. Isaias Sainz at 28 Calle Francos has been around forever apparently. My favourite purchase from here was a pair of meatball scissors . NOW CLOSED! 🙁

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).

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Julian

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Julian, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags on February 14, 2017 by gannet39

San Julian is the north-easternmost barrio in the Casco Antiguo. Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

It has a slightly edgy feel and there’s not a lot going on in terms of nightlife but there is one very good restaurant in the area, located opposite the busy facade of the Iglesia San Luis De los Franceses.


ConTenedor (Intermediate A), 50 Calle San Luis,

This is an excellent restaurant with a modern, innovative attitude and great food, although some locals like my friend John feel it’s a bit overpriced. The décor is quite bohemian and the staff are multilingual.

They do tapas at lunch time but in the evening they only serve mains and raciones, so ideally you should go with a few friends you can share the food with.

I had the Arroz con Pato y Setas, duck with rice and mushrooms, which was top notch (A). The waitress told me it was one of only a few dishes that has remained on the menu since they opened, due to its enduring popularity.

ConTenedor is also a good place to sample hard-to-find wines and I thoroughly enjoyed all the local reds I was given. They were slightly expensive at around €3 or €3.50 a glass, but it was worth it to try them.

First ‘Zancua’, a young, fruity Tempranillo/Syrah blend from Constantina in Seville province (B+).

Then ‘Overo’, another softer Tempranillo/Syrah blend from Lebrija, again in Seville province (B+).

And moving slightly further afield, the amusingly labelled ‘La Cabra & La Bota’, a Tempranillo/Syrah/Cab Sauv blend from Ribera del Andarax in Almeria province (B+).


I sidestepped the tempting dessert menu and went instead for some local cheeses (all A and A+).

To finish I had a glass of one of the best Pedro Jimenez wines I’ve ever tasted; Antique PX by Fernando de Castilla (A).


The lady proprietor told me they are an artisanal producer and very hard to find. I wrote to them but sadly didn’t get a reply. I did find it however on Gourmet Hunters for about £32 a bottle.

Total cost €39 for a highly enjoyable food experience, complemented by atmospheric surroundings and efficient friendly service. Definitely somewhere I’d like to return to.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Gil

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Gil, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 13, 2017 by gannet39

San Gil is the barrio in the northern part of the Casco Antiquo. Its upper perimeter has the best preserved section of the old city wall. Built by the Almohads, the wall stretches from the Puerta de la Macarena (Macarena gate) in the west, to the Puerta de Cordoba (Córdoba gate) in the east.

A map of barrios here and a Google map of the city is  here.

One of San Gil’s principal streets, Calle Calatrava, runs off the northern end of La Alameda. There are several bars along here, some of which I’ve eaten at and can vouch for.

They are well placed for the Teatro de la Alameda over the road. My friends John and Chris took me to see a show here that merged circus (clowns and a trapeze artist) with flamenco (singer, dancer and guitarist) which was a truly wonderful production to see. It’s definitely worth checking out what’s on here.

After the show we went across the road to…

Dúo Tapas (Intermediate A), 16 Calle Calatrava

This is a modern and very popular tapas bar with good quality, value-for-money food. I was too busy chatting to grade individual dishes but they were all A/B as I recall.


Capirotes de Langostinos.


Tartare de Atun.


Berenjas dressed with a Pedro Ximenez reduction.


Carilladas aka beef cheeks (so good we ordered two!).


Tataki de Atun.


And a Tapa de Queso Payoyo, which just happens to be mine and John’s favourite local cheese.


With six big beers, four glasses of wine and two waters the bill came to just under €60 for 3, which is pretty good value.

According to my search in 2017, this next place is now closed but I want to remember the experience so I’ve included it.


The owner has five other bars as well so he must be doing something right. His venues provide an interesting case study on how to run a small, innovative chain that follows current trends. Check out the group website for more info on what they’re up to now.

Nikkei (Intermediate B+), 34 Calle Calatrava, CLOSED!

Having read somewhere that this Peruvian-Japanese restaurant opened at 8.30 I arrived exactly on time but the unsmiling chef told me to come back at 9pm when the kitchen opened. I received a slightly warmer welcome thirty minutes later but they should definitely work on their customer relations.

As someone who often toys with the idea of opening their own bar, this place fascinates me. Everything here seems to be done on the cheap albeit it with some style.


I was seated on a wonky wooden table on an uncomfortable metal folding chair. The sink in the gents was basically a rusty old bucket and the toilet lid didn’t stand up. The sheets of corrugated iron on the ceiling complete the industrial look however it’s still quite atmospheric thanks to the bare brick walls and old ceramic floor tiles. All very cleverly done.


The penny pinching seems to extend to the food as well. The soya sauce on the tables is in Kikkoman bottles but I’m pretty sure they’d been filled with cheaper, inferior, Chinese soya sauce.

The complementary Edamame that arrived at the table were brown and shrivelled and some of the worst I’d ever seen, although they were still edible (C).

First off I had a row of Nigiris, namely Presa (A), Huevo de Cordoniz (A), Sardinia (B) and Shitake (C).


I had a decent Verdejo to go with the fish (B).


To follow, Tuna Tataki (B+).


I also pigged out on Salmon Tradito (B)…


…and Secreto Iberico (B) served with some really horrible Quinoa (D). All these dishes were served on rather ugly painted black slate.


Some dishes were neither Peruvian nor Japanese, presumably to please unadventurous locals. The Bolas de Pollo (B)…


…and the Mini Hamburguesa with chips (B+) were both good and very reasonably priced, but not at all authentic.


Overall I liked the concept so it’s a shame it didn’t work out. Better food and a nicer chef might have helped.

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