Eating Out in Seville
Seville's cuisine eschews complexity in favour of simple yet elegant combinations of traditional Mediterranean ingredients. It is conditioned by Seville's sizzling summer climate and summer dishes are normally served cold, naturally. Gazpacho andaluz (Andalusian Gazpacho) is a mainstay of Sevillian gastronomy. Other cold dishes endemic to Sevillian cuisine include ensaladilla rusa (Russian Salad), as well as other salads. The most popular dishes from all around Andalusia are also served here in the capital, of course, including pescaíto frito. Try el serranito, a long sandwich made with chicken or pork loin cutlets and slices of jamón serrano (dry cured Spanish ham), tomato and fried green pepper. It can be dressed with alioli, mayonnaise or meat sauce and can be accompanied with tortilla francesa (French omlette), chips or salad.
Seville may be known for its balmy summers, but even in the wintertime you won't be left out in the cold as far as fine dining goes. A hearty cocido andaluz (Andalusian Stew), full of garbanzos and select meats, will make for a satisfying meal in even the chilliest months. If that doesn't strike your fancy, how does garbanzos con espinacas (garbanzos with spinach) sound? Papas aliñás (garnished potatoes) are a great complement to a nice, hot winter meal.
The wine of choice for Sevillians is without a doubt tinto de verano, red wine mixed with sparkling water. Beer is always in high demand, particularly in the height of summer. Vino de Jerez, better known in English as Sherry, is served during the feria de abril (April Festival) along with Manzanilla, an exquisite wine from the greater Jerez region, specifically from Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Be sure to try one of Andalusia's most popular drinks while you're here, the rebujito, which is Manzanilla wine mixed with 7 Up, Sprite or Casera (a Spanish sparkling water brand).
As for sweets, Seville's most delectable desserts include the torta de aceite, a crispy biscuit that is made with wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, sesame seeds and anise. As the torta de aceite is made with quality extra virgin olive oil, it is one of the Mediterranean's healthiest pastries. Tortas de aceite were only popularised in Seville some 100 years ago by the famous entrepreneur Inés Rosales, who in 1910 came across an old Moorish biscuit recipe. She opened her own business producing and selling the biscuits and it was quite successful and soon expanded to all of Spain. Accordingly, Inés Rosales' name is now synonymous with the torta de aceite. Some other enjoyable treats to be had in Seville are the alfajor, cookies glued together with sweet filling (usually dulce de leche or milk syrup) and bathed in chocolate or powdered sugar.
In restaurants about 10% or 15% will suffice if you're satisfied with the service, though tipping is not universal.
WHERE TO GO
For a delicious, traditional meal stop by Casa Robles at Calle Álvarez Quinero, 58, especially known for its fish. Try out the lubina con naranja (whitefish with locally-grown Sevillian oranges). Another great spot for traditional Sevillian food is the historic La Estrella at Calle Estrella, 3, known for its authentic Sevillian tapas. You might be surprised to learn that a city like Seville, famed for its slow pace of life and easy-going nature, has home-grown fast food, but that's globalisation for you. Drop by the playfully named Ñ Take Away at Plaza de los Venerables for a quick bite on the run with a distinctly Sevillian attitude.
In the mood for Italian with flare? The Pizzería San Marco is located in what used to be an Islamic bathhouse and serves a number of delicious Italian dishes at a more than reasonable price. The unique decor and superb food all in the heart of this most Spanish of cities make for a one of a kind ambience and an experience you won't soon forget. It's no surprise, then, that it is usually filled to capacity. Book ahead to ensure your place.