Living off tapas in Seville

In my perfect universe, every meal would be tapas style.  Small dishes, lots of sampling and experimenting, sharing – these form my idea of how to eat.  I’ve already written about a week’s worth of eating in Madrid where every single meal we had outside of our apartment was tapas style.  Well, we continued that trend for our time in Seville too.

On our third night in Seville, we started the night at Bar Alfalfa.  It’s a compact place with the noise of conversations filling the high, arching ceilings.  We were lucky to find a table along the windows on a rainy night.  The draw for us here was their gluten-free friendliness allowing my wife a few more ordering options than at other places.  That alone would put a smile on her face, but on this night, a man at the bar with his pet bird on his shoulder made her, and everyone smile:

Our dishes at Bar Alfalfa were pretty good.  On the left: gluten-free bread as a base for eggplant, tomatoes and rocket.  On the right (above), another eggplant dish with oil and mint and a very tasty dip (right, below) of provolone, oil and oragano with gluten-free bread:

We visited a second tapas join that night – Casa la Viuda.  It was getting pretty late on a Sunday night, so the crowd at the bar was thinned out a bit (had we “out-Spanished” the Spanish?).  Sangria (for her) and an ice-cold beer (for me) washed down a combination of Iberico ham and some pretty tasty bull’s tail stew.

Tapas in Seville isn’t just reserved for the evenings.  Another on and off rainy day had us seeking a bit of shelter for a mid-day snack at Bodega Santa Cruz.

Bodega Santa Cruz

The food here was pretty strong.  The barman took advantage of my limited Spanish to encourage me to take a plate of something I didn’t order.  Luckily for me, the omelette that was foisted upon me was really tasty.  So too was the tortilla de patata, some patatas bravas and a pork stew dish.

Later that same evening, our exploring took us to the relatively gluten-free friendly Arte y Sabor, located on the Alameda de Hércules.  This place specialized in Moroccan-inspired tapas and the two dishes we ordered were a good start to the evening.  On the left, pork cheeks in a vodka sauce with onions and mint.  On the right, another pork dish, this one with slices of roast pork and Iberico ham over potatoes.

As we walked back toward our apartment on Calle Rivero, we came across La Pepona.  We both agreed that this was the most delicious food of our stay in Seville.  My wife ordered a dish of grilled king prawns and I chose the salmorejo with swordfish and sesame oil.  I sampled a few varieties of salmorejo, the Andalusian specialty, but this was hands down the best thing I ate on the entire trip.

La Pepona - grilled king prawns, Salmorejo w/ swordfish

The service here was outstanding.  We chose different sparkling wines to have with a sweet dish (strawberries with vinegar, sugar and mint ice cream).  When one of those glasses appeared to be a bit flat (even after a few generous gulps), it was replaced with another wine.  The dessert was a perfect end to a short tapas crawl.

La Pepona - strawberries, vinegar with mint ice cream

We saved the most revered tapas restaurant in Seville, El Rinconcillo, for our last night.  Walking in the door, you could feel the history of the place.  Standing at the bar, I loved watching the precision of the man slicing ham.

El Rinconcillo

We ordered a selection of dishes, all with an eye to being Celiac-friendly.  Marinated jumbo olives, ham and a mixed rice creation were all outstanding.

This place would probably be my “local” if I was a resident.  You can tell by my smile, influenced only by a single glass of Spanish beer, that I was feeling completely at home. We had saved the best for last.

Me at El Rinconcillo

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