Seville Food

Seville had the best food on our Spain trip, where we visited Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia, Seville, and Granada.

Seville and the surrounding Andalusia province are known for jamon iberico and seafood. Andalusia straddles the Straits of Gibraltar and has access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Jamon Iberico

We ate jamon iberico throughout our trip, but it comes from southern Spain. This butcher at the mercado under the Metropol Parasol is slicing our jamon iberico. Talking with another customer, we learned that jamon comes from the rear leg, while the less expensive pernil comes from the shoulder. Pernil has more connective tissue so it’s stringier.

See how thinly he slices the jamon — you can see the knife through the jamon slice. Every slide is uniformly thin.

See the knife through the thin slice of jamon
See the knife through the thin slice of jamon

The butcher vacuum sealed half our purchase, allowing us to eat it several days later.

Best meal

After shopping for jamon, we walked by La Azotea restaurant to check it out and to make sure we could find it. They had just opened for lunch, and it was almost full. They had an empty table. We weren’t quite ready for lunch yet, but we took the table, figuring there’d be a line later. There was a long line later. This lunch at La Azotea turned out to be the best meal of our Spain trip.

As you can see, the food was attractively presented. It was prepared well. I wish we had written down the names of the dishes, but food was great. We ordered  grilled fish and  fish stew.

grilled fish at La Azotea
grilled fish at La Azotea
seafood
seafood

We shared the dessert, a chocolate puff filled with chocolate, with ice cream. See the decoration on the ice cream.

dessert
dessert

Best tapas

After seeing Plaza de Espana and the horse carriages, we walked toward our apartment and went to Bodega Dos de Mayo for a tapas lunch. You find a table (easier said than done) and then order from the counter. They run a tab, and you have to go back to the bar to settle the bill. We ordered mostly seafood: paella, gambas (shrimp), pulpo (octopus), and sangria.

gambas, pulpo, paella, sangria
gambas, pulpo, paella, sangria

The paella was moist and much cheaper than our meal in Barcelona. Generous portions of gambas and pulpo. These were the best tapas of our trip.

San Marco is a very good Italian restaurant, located near the Alcazar and Cathedral. We had pasta and a veal cutlet on very reasonable lunch specials.

We have fond memories of the food in Seville.

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Flamenco and After the Bullfight

Seville is known for flamenco; we saw a flamenco show at La Casa de la Memoria, a small venue with rotating flamenco groups. Lots of feeling and emotion. We liked it. The two dancers are on the left; the singer’s head is raised; the guitar player is on the left.

flamenco show at La Casa de la Memoria
flamenco show at La Casa de la Memoria

On our last full day in Seville, a Sunday, we had reserved a car to drive to Ronda, a town in the hills, but we we were having a good time in Seville so we decided to stay in town.

We caught a bus to Plaza de Espana, which housed Spain’s exhibit at the 1929 World’s Fair. The small bus wound through the narrow streets of old Seville. The bus didn’t seem to follow the bus route. After a while, the bus driver told us to get off for Plaza de Espana. We walked into the park, Parque de Maria Louisa, and found it

Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana

People hire horse-drawn carriages in the park and ride through the plaza.

carriages at Plaza de Espana
carriages at Plaza de Espana

We walked along the Guadalquivir River to see the 12-sided Torre de Oro, built by the Moors in 1220 to defend Seville from the Spanish Reconquista. The tower anchored one end of a chain stretched across the river. In 1248 Spanish ships broke through the river barrier, leading to the reconquest of Seville.

Torre de Oro
Torre de Oro

Note the carriages in front of the Torre de Oro. As we walked up the street, there were more carriages. Note the number on the carriage going by and that there are no cars on the road. Looks like a parade?

horse carriage going by
horse carriage going by
photo op
photo op
senoritas with mantillas
senoritas with mantillas

The mantillas add a lot. Before long, we were outside the Plaza de Toros, the bullring. Carriages and pedestrians were leaving the bullring.

Plaza de Toros
Plaza de Toros

We’re glad we stumbled upon the pageantry of dozens of carriages and people.

An Alcazar Built for a King

Despite its Moorish name that means fortress, the Alcazar of Seville is a palace commissioned by King Pedro I of Spain. A hundred years after Seville was recaptured by the Spanish, King Pedro hired Moors from Granada to replace the existing alcazar with a palace in the Moorish style. Granada and the Alhambra would not fall to the Spanish for over a hundred years.

The Sala de Justicia (Hall of Justice) and Patio del Yeso (Patio of Plaster) are the only remaining parts of the original alcazar. The Hall of Justice is dark and cool, with a fountain and water channel leading to a garden.

indoor fountain in Hall of Justice
indoor fountain in Hall of Justice

See the ornate scroll work and tiles on the arch to the Patio de Yeso.

Patio del Yeso
Patio del Yeso

The Patio de las Munecas (Court of the Dolls) is the private patio of the king. Reputedly, in this room King Pedro — called both Peter the Cruel and Peter the Just, for administering justice in hard times — killed his half-brother and also murdered a guest (Abu Said of Granada) for his jewels. King Pedro was eventually killed by his brother.

Patio de las Munecas
Patio de las Munecas

The Salon de Embajadores is a large ceremonial hall with a cupola roof. Using available light, this photo required at 1/10 second exposure, too long to handhold. I focused and depressed the shutter button with the self-timer on, carefully laid the camera on the floor, and guarded it until the timer went off.

cupola of Salon de Embajadores
cupola of Salon de Embajadores

Finally, the Patio de las Doncellas (Court of the Damsels), with reflections in the pool.

Patio de las Doncellas
Patio de las Doncellas
Patio de las Doncellas
Patio de las Doncellas

Seville is hot in the summer, so fountains and pools are most welcome.

Lost in Seville

After arriving in Seville on the AVE, we took a bus to Plaza de la Encarnacion to find our apartment. The Plaza is filled with the Metropol Parasol, a large public structure completed a year ago.

Metro Parasol
Metropol Parasol

We walked through the mercado under the parasol and then made a wrong turn and got hopelessly lost in the maze of small streets behind it. The streets aren’t in a grid, streets change names, street names are on buildings, and some corners have no street names posted. We eventually stopped at two restaurants for help. People at both places walked with us to show the way, and the second person took us to our apartment.

The apartment building is plain on the outside, with a heavy, wooden door. Through the wooden door, you enter a dark, cool room with a locked, wrought-iron gate leading to a courtyard. Through the gate is a tiled courtyard filled with plants.

looking into the courtyard of our Seville apartment
looking into the courtyard of our Seville apartment

Once inside the courtyard, you hear a burbling fountain among the plants. The plants and the sound of water welcomed us and cooled us after we wandered lost that afternoon. We had arrived at our next home, a place of coolness, calm, and quiet in the new city.

our Seville courtyard
our Seville courtyard
courtyard from our apartment
courtyard from our apartment

The use of water and layered discovery as you enter the building is enchanting.