Planning a trip to Seville? One thing you need to know is that food, as in much of Spain, is not just a means of nourishment. It is a way of life. The people of Seville – its tourists and inhabitants – live and breathe food. If you sliced them open, they would bleed aoili. Here’s my guide to the best of the must-eats Seville has to offer.
Almejas y estofado de judias
It’s always the way that the most humble food is the best. The Spaniards know this better than most. A big bowl of rich, bean stew, pungent with garlic, topped with the freshest and sweetest of clams is pretty much satisfaction guaranteed. Try it at its best at Eslava, a restaurant sitting right on the perfect intersection of tradition and modernity.
Fried Sea Anemone
You can’t judge it until you’ve tried it. Go to Bodega Gongora and let the (on the right side of) pushy waiter suggest these little sea treats. If you’re really lucky, you’ll see the bag of the anemone fresh in the salt water before they get deep fried. Think of it as a cross between popcorn and fried clams and you’re in the right vicinity. The perfect bar snack.
Espinacas con Garbonzos
This is one of Seville’s specialties and you’ll be hard-pressed to go to any restaurant or tapas bar and not find it on the menu. A rich spinach and chickpea stew, topped with toasts or croutons, depending on your location, this is a prime example of how Seville’s food scene varies from the rest of Spain. It’s about big, bold flavours and warming dishes. Nothing poncy this way comes.
Rabo de Toro
And while we’re on the subject…Go to Seville and skip its oxtail stew at your own peril. Again, this is a serious beast of a dish, hearty and brash. It will often come with fried potatoes under it or on the side (what Spanish dish doesn’t?) which are perfectly poised to soak up the leftover meat juices and gravy. Or you could just use your fingers. Either way, you will not waste any of it, trust me.
Well you didn’t think you could go to Spain and not eat fried fish, did you? Did you? Grab yourself a sun-drenched seat at Kiosco de las Flores overlooking the river and tuck into some expertly fried squid, among other fishy friends. Sit back with a cerveza and watch as time and all inclination to move slips slowly away.
Another Seville dish that proves simple is always best. This is, quite literally, stale bread. Like a version of French Toast, the bread is soaked in milk and honey and then fried. Words can’t do it justice, nor can photos. It’s a sweet and much lighter treat than you might expect. Try it at La Campana, an institution of a bakery where truckloads of people barge their way in, climb over each other, hustle and bustle and shout and clamour – all in the name of getting themselves an epic sweet tooth delight.
This translates as “Iberian secret” and I am hesitant to let the cat out of the bag. Ideally, I’d keep this all to myself as it is, hands down, the single greatest pork dish I have ever had. I don’t make claims like that lightly, and I hope you will take this very seriously. You must – absolutely must – eat this pork as soon as you touchdown in Seville. And then you must eat it as many more times as you can fit in while you’re there. The juiciest, fattiest, most tender, most succulent, most bursting with pure meat flavour pork I have ever come across. If I could get this stuff in the UK, I’d make a fortune. It’s the crack of the pig world and I am determined to get you all addicted.
Getting to Seville is easy. The airport accommodates international and domestic flights. Once you’ve landed, you can get a bus from outside the airport which takes you direct into the city centre. You can find more information here.