I recently spent a long weekend with three close girlfriends in Seville. Fellow vegetarians might be put off by the dead carcasses hanging from the ceilings of many bars, but it has certainly come along a long way since I visited about 8 years ago, where there is a pretty good selection of vegetarian food if you look for it.
Ok Seville isn’t up there with the pinxtos bars of San Sebastian…. And I think I would need to spend a lot longer there to come up with anything like a list of favourite restaurants (this I am plotting for later in the year). But you can find some fabulous places, and I think half the fun is stumbling across them yourself rather than necessarily going by a recommendation, although the latter is also helpful!. For me Spain has become one of my favourite countries for a city break. Seville in particular is s a great place for people watching, wondering the streets and tapas bar hopping.
10 things we loved about Seville
1. Warm and sunny climate: Seville enjoys on average 300 days of sunshine a year, and when we went in December she didn’t fail to deliver.. Warm evenings all year round means you can drink outside on the street: great for people watching and stealing glasses.
2. Compared to the rest of western Europe your Euro goes pretty far.. Tapas plates between 2 to 3 euros, a glass of wine between 1.50 to 2.50 euros.
3. Many of the bars don’t have WIFI, meaning people talk to each other.
4. Oranges freely grow on the trees and noone thinks this is amazing.
5. Tapas: giving you the perfect excuse to eat all day, rather than restrict yourself to set meal times. Also great food for sharing and an excuse to try a bit of everything.
6. The alcohol and its measures: smooth wine, beer in smaller glasses, spirits in large wine glasses
7. Everything is mustard yellow, which makes it a pretty jolly place
8. Sharing, friendly culture – for both the tapas and practising the language – the Spanish are a friendly lot, who generally encourage you to practice their language (if your Spanish is as poor as mine, I would recommend getting a translation app on your phone, such as itranslateapp.com).
9. Beautiful architecture – mixing old and new, tiled buildings, beautiful courtyards.
10. Live flamenco which is normally free in bars .
Our top 7 tips
1. Ask for gratuis (free) snacks in bars.
2. When ordering food, order just 1 dish at first, for quality control. If it’s good, order more.
3. Don’t over-plan. It’s good to have a few recommendations but remember you can also stumble across some of Seville’s best kept secrets if you adopt the Spanish’ spirit of spontaneity.
4. However tempting it may seem, do not eat the oranges from the trees (they are described as ‘sour’ for a reason!).
5. Don’t stick to set meal times: you will be drinking and eating continuously throughout the day and evening, so make sure you pace yourself, wear lose fitting clothing and don’t eat too much bread!
6. Wear mustard yellow so that you blend into the scenery.
7. Buy in some food provisions for the morning, in case you are too hungover to leave your apartment.
Our 5 favourite places to visit:
1.Bar hopping: the focus being more on the food than the booze.
2. The Alcazar: Royal Moorish Palace, set in magnificent gardens with peacocks. Allow at least a couple of hours.
3. Aire de Seville: Fancy Arabic baths and hamman. Perfect way to sweat out your hangover.
4. Bar Alfafa : fantastic central tapas bar, friendly staff, great rioja and tapas menu (with vegetarian and vegan dishes usefully labelled)
5. Maquilla bar: good selection of ales, fancy tapas, mouthwatering desserts and the best patatas bravas we came across.
Top 5 vegetarian dishes dishes
- Grilled goats cheese with salsa verde from Bar Alfafa (only 2.50 euros!)
2. Patatas bravas from Maquilla bar.
3. Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) from Bodegon Alfonso XII
4. Warm goats cheese, tomato and aubergine stack with orange and honey glaze.
5. Marinated chargrilled aubergine in balsamic, mint and garlic