The fantastic thing about Spain (especially in Andalusia) is the tapas - tasty, ready-to-eat, two-bite portions of delicious food served at bars up and down the country. We’d been told that Seville is the capital of tapas so we decided to shun restaurants and toured the tapas bars instead. There was no end of dishes to try and no end of bars to try them in. Cost-wise eating tapas isn’t that much cheaper then a meal in a restaurant, but tapas really appeals to my love of pick and mix finger food and we had a great time eating (and drinking) our way around the city.
We discovered a huge range of tapas bars on the street c/Mateos Gago, just east off the main cathedral piazza. Some, like the tapas bar pictured, were clean and air conditioned but felt more like a Paris bistro then a Sevillan tapas bar. Others were incredibly traditional - TV blaring the news in a corner, sticky floors littered with dropped serviettes with bartenders literally chalking up your bill on the countertop.
Our favourite tapas bar on c/Mateos Gago was by far Bar Giralda, an excellent and popular bar, recommended by locals. The fantastically patterned floor to celling tiles lend wait to the fact that it’s supposedly a converted Moorish bathhouse. Inside was packed with waiters, locals and a few tourists, families gathered around rickety wooden tables were tucking in to good, traditional tapas. We sat outside on c/Mateos Gago with an almost direct, but unassuming, view of the cathedral at the end of the road. There was an English menu as well (though we stuck to the Spanish and hoped for the best). We ordered lots of tapas to share and I can barely remember all we ordered, but I do remember the croquets had us fighting to see who would get the last one and the stuffed peppers had the delicious taste of home cooking.
Helpful Tapas Tips
* Surprisingly, for such a central location, the bars were on c/Mateos Gago were predominately filled with locals. Then again we did tend to stick to local eating times - 1 o’clock lunches and 9pm dinners.
* Prices varied incredibly, depending on how central or chic the tapas bar was. Overall we paid 2 Euro on average per tapas, which is probably an exorbitant price for locals, but realistic, considering we were always within spitting distance of the cathedral.
* Remember that a 'tapa' is very small whilst a ración is a full plate of the same dish.
* Generally all tapas bars serve the same traditional fare - jamon Iberico (local air-cured ham), Manchego cheese and croquettes - but looking around at menus I noticed some tapas bars were trying to be more inventive and modern. One place I saw was advertising cheese with raspberry sauce and a separate dish of eggplant with honey. So it’s worth looking at menus (sometimes outside in a frame on the wall near the entrance, sometimes inside chalked up over the bar).