Top class cuisine in Seville

by Barry O Leary

Some Sevillianos are famous for being a bit 'pijo' - posh. They wear the most fashionable clothes, drive the elitist cars, and, more importantly for you, they eat in the most exquisite restaurants

Seville has hundreds of places to eat for all types of budgets. This guide is aimed for those of you wanting to splash out on a top class meal. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or want to end your holiday on a high note, these are my four best places to treat yourself.

Casa Robles

Juan Robles was just 19 when his father Pedro opened his first bodeguita - winery, Casa Robles (Alvarez Quintero 58, 954213150; http://www.casa-robles.com) in the centre just next to the Cathedral in 1954. Pedro owned a vineyard 50km outside Seville in Villalba Del Alcor, and used his profits to start a successful chain of five restaurants, catering for Sevillianos for the last fifty years.

My favourite is Casa Robles. Outside, gaze at the Cathedral or nose at diners in the surrounding restaurants. In the summer, enjoy a soft water spray to keep you cool. If you’d prefer a more intimate atmosphere then inside you can admire the high beamed ceilings and collection of retratos – portraits, or bodegones - still life food paintings. Service is top class, although you might have to wait a while on busy weekend evenings, but it’s worth it. They even have capacity to fit up to 150 people if you need space for a large function.

Andalucía’s best Jamon Serrano – cured ham, is a great starter, or you could go for the duck liver pate. Chipirones a la plancha – grilled squid, or Solomillo al whisky – sirloin pork steak in garlic and whisky are filling mains. Choose from over 40 different desserts including lemon cake or yolk cappuccinos. Since Robles used to own wineries, the collection of wine is extensive.

Starters (€10-€25), Mains (€12-€30), Desserts (€3-€8)
Open seven days a week, 1pm until 1am, depending on clients.

Corral del Agua

The Corral del Agua (Calle del Agua, 6, 954 224 841; http://www.corraldelagua.es) has one of the most romantic settings in Sevilla. It can be tricky to find; it’s just behind the Jardines de Murrillo. The front garden patio is a lovely place to appreciate the cosiness of this quaint and pretty spot. Inside is just as pleasant, with tables looking out into the garden and various paintings to admire. Soft Spanish music mixed with the sound of the trickling well will make your evening that extra special. I’d try and book ahead, but you could probably turn up at eight and get a table.

To start with why not go for the gazpacho with garnish, salmorejo with eggs and ham, or avocado with grated cheese. There isn’t a massive selection of mains but try the veal; Sevillana style, stewed chicken with almonds, or Grandmother’s meat balls, hopefully without any surprises. Finish off in style with a chocolate cake, pear in a red wine sauce, or cottage cheese cake with almonds.

Starters (€8-€12), Mains (€10-€20), Desserts (€4-€7).
Open Mon-Sat, 12pm-4pm and 8pm-12am. Closed Sundays.

La Albahaca

If you’re looking for a place where the stars have dined then try La Albahaca (Plaza Santa Cruz, 12, 954220714; http://www.andalunet.com/la-albahaca). The Queen of Spain, King and Queen of Denmark, Spanish Presidents, and even Charlton Heston have sampled the excellent cuisine in this quiet plaza just next to Los Gallos, one of Seville’s best flamenco tablaos. It’s a great place to come for couples, families, and even groups of friends wanting to get a taste of Seville’s finest food.

Dine like royalty and go for the oysters in Spanish champagne, crepes with mushrooms and goose liver pate over a port sauce, or king prawns with salad. Main courses include cod with garlic and olive oil, roasted lamb with vegetables, or Iberian pork cooked in a lime sauce. Sweets for choosing are chocolate mousse with pear and tangerine sorbet, cream cheese with mango and papaya, or pineapple with vanilla ice cream and coconut jelly. Definitely book ahead at weekends.
 

Starters (€3-€10), Mains (€10-€30), Desserts (€4-€10)
Open Mon-Sat, 1pm to 4pm and 8pm to 12am. Closed on Sundays.

El Giraldillo

For the best view of the Cathedral while sampling some of Seville’s best traditional dishes then go for El Giraldillo (Plaza Virgen de los Reyes, 2, 954214525; http://www.barriosantacruz.com/giraldillo). Enjoy a fine meal outside on the edge of one of Seville’s most famous plazas, or if you’d prefer some privacy; people will stare if you eat here, then some tables inside have views over the plaza.

To start with a sweet melon, fresh salmon, or even asparagus will get your stomach gurgling. Merluza a la marinera– swordfish cooked in sherry, Pavia de Bacalao – fried hake, or Cola de Toro – bull’s tail are some of El Giradillo’s speciality mains. To end the evening, before you take some photos of the plaza, the famous Abuela's cuisine strikes again with creamy custard. 

Starters (€15-€20), Mains (€15-€25), Desserts (€5-€9)
Open seven days a week 11am-12am.

Where to stay

If you can afford to eat at El Giraldillo then you can stay at Doña Maria just next door. It is a four star hotel with a great rooftop bar where you can sit and gaze at the Cathedral all evening and sip on mojitos. The hotel was built in 1969 and was renovated slightly in 2007 and 2008, but still has a classical design. Prices start at €120 a night.

Best Western Hotel Cervantes is a little out of the centre if you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle. It’s just behind Amor de Dios behind La Campana. Friends who have stayed have recommended it and some have gone back twice, so it must be good. Prices start at €84 a night.

If you want to treat yourselves to a room with a view over the river then try Abba Triana Hotel. The website says that it’s in the heart of Triana, but it’s not, so be prepared to walk between 20 and 30 minutes to get into the centre. There is a pool and the complex is super moderno, as Sevillanos would say.

Barry O Leary

Sevilla, or rather a Sevilliana pulled me into Andalucía’s capital and I've never looked back. During 2003 to 2005 I travelled and taught English through South America, Australia, and Asia, including the Trans-Siberian Railway. After two months in London I realised that I had to continue living abroad and darted off to Sevilla where I now live with my Spanish fiancée and Westie dog.
 

I have an in depth knowledge of Sevilla and the surrounding cities and beaches. I love to eat quality Spanish food and spend my free time writing, travelling, and enjoying the Spanish way of life. If you're setting off on holiday to Andalucía and need any tips on where to stay, visit, eat, or go shopping then let me know and I'd be happy to help.