5 Best Tapas Bars in SevilleDec 06, 2019
In a city with 3,000 tapas bars, it can be hard to narrow down which ones are worth your time. How can you possibly pick out the best tapas bars in Seville when there’s one around every corner?
I know firsthand how easy it can be to fall into the tourist traps in Seville. The first time I visited was with Yoly and my parents (just after I’d moved to Spain). And it was so frustrating. I knew there was great food in this city, but we just kept falling into average tapas bars.
I felt so ashamed that I wasn’t able to take them to good places to eat!
I’ve since learned a lot more about how to find great food all over Spain, but there’s nothing like tagging along with a local to get the full experience.
My friend and Devour Tours colleague Cyra joined me in making this video—she’s called Seville home for several years now, and knows the local food scene like the back of her hand. And she’s the company’s Expansion Director – which means she’s in charge of finding great places to eat in the new cities we expand to. So this woman has a nose for great food! I was in excellent hands
How to order tapas in Seville
When you’re looking at a bar menu in Seville, you’ll usually see several different columns. These represent the size of the dishes, so a good rule of thumb is to order according to how many people you’re with.
- Tapas are small portions that are best for one or two people. It’s a great way to sample a lot of different dishes in smaller quantities. In Seville, tapas range from around €2.50 to €3.50 at most places, and around five tapas should be enough to fill you up.
- A media ración translates as “half portion.” This is too much food for one, but is a good size to share among two or three friends if you’re ordering fewer things.
- Finally, a ración is a full portion of the dish. This is meant to be shared among several people.
Pro tip: I almost always order tapas in Seville, even when I’m with larger groups. If they are four of us, we may order two tapas of each dish, rather than a media or ración. Cyra has told me that someone it always seems to work out a better deal. See for yourself!
What to expect at a typical tapas bar in Seville
If you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet dining experience where you can sit down, don’t go out for tapas in Seville. Tapas bars are fast-placed, energetic places that are standing-room only more often than not. Generally open from around 12 to 4 p.m. and then again later in the evening after a brief siesta, they’re heaving with people and energy.
Servers won’t waste time with pleasantries, and will instead cut right to the chase and ask what you want.
As I’ve said before, tapas in Spain is like a fast flowing river. At first you risk drowning, but once you can keep up – it’s a exhilarating ride!
And this speed and efficiency carries through to the kitchen, where dishes get prepared and served at lightning speed. (In some cases, we got our food five minutes after we ordered, and it was excellent.)
The best tapas bars in Seville
1. Casa Morales
It’s a cliché to say that Casa Morales has withstood the test of time, but in this case, there’s no better way to put it. As one of the best tapas bars in Seville, not only has it been around since 1850, but it’s stayed in the same family that entire time.
Casa Morales started off as a wine shop back in the 19th century, with wine being sold from the awesome tinajas or wine vats in one part of the bar. The the order half of the bar is what would have been the shop front (with its wonderful old shelving). Now both sides have the same purpose – to serve excellent cured meats, cheese, stews and, of course, wine!
THEY’VE REPURPOSED THIS TINAJA AT CASA MORALES INTO PART OF THE MENU!
I started off with a glass of light, crisp fino sherry (I hadn’t even had breakfast yet, but when in Seville…!). Sherry is about as sevillano as it gets, and fino is a great way to start any meal or tapas crawl—it makes the perfect aperitif.
You can’t have wine without cheese, and here I went with a sharp manchego (€2.50 for a tapa), so cured that it was almost spicy. We also tried the montaditos de bacalao (salt cod on bread) topped with salmorejo, a cold tomato purée from southern Spain (€2.50 for a tapa of two). Both excellent!
A SELECTION OF EXCELLENT SHERRY WINES AND MONTADITOS AT CASA MORALES
2. Bodeguita Romero
You don’t have to walk too far to find a great bar in Seville. In this case, our second stop was right around the corner from Casa Morales.
Bodeguita Romero is where sevillanos come when they want good, honest, simple food. It’s been in the same family for around 80 years and is now into the third generation.
We got the specialty of the house: the famous montadito de pringá, or a delicious pork stew sandwich (€2.50). You’ll find this typical delicacy all over Seville, but few places do it as knee-weakingly good as Bodeguita Romero. The dangerous mixture of stewed pork, blood sausage and chorizo is an indecent explosion of meat flavours that comes together in a magical way.
You MUST eat this while you’re in Seville. There, I’ve said it. You may continue reading.
WE LOVE OUR PORK HERE IN SPAIN. EXHIBIT A: SEVILLE’S SIGNATURE SANDWICH, THE MONTADITO DE PRINGÁ.
From there, we moved on to carrillada, or slow-cooked pork cheek (€3.70 for a tapa). This stuff is Spanish comfort food at its finest: slow-cooked for hours, served over a bed of fries, and so tender that you don’t even need a knife to dig into it.
This is another typical tapa you’ll see in Seville, and to be honest, many places do it well. But my God, these guys nail it. The meat falls away at the mere waive of a fork. And the flavour is dense and generous.
Anyway, we had to pull our way away from Bodeguita Romero – because the show / tapas crawl must go on!
3. Palo Cortao
If you like sherry, Palo Cortao is your kind of place. And if you don’t like sherry, you should go anyway, because the food is outstanding (and the sherry selection is so good that you’ll probably walk out a convert).
These guys have sherry in droves—80 sherries by the glass, to be exact, all handpicked by owner Ana.
If you only know sherry as your grandma’s go-to, sickly-sweet Christmas drink, this place will broaden your horizons. After struggling through the 80s and 90s, sherry is the “it” wine in Spain right now (and in many parts of the word), and it’s extremely popular in Seville (we are in Andalusia after all).
If you’re new to sherry and travelling with someone who knows their stuff, ask to try a sip—or even a smell—of theirs. My amontillado had aromas of honey and dried fruits, so I knew it was going to be good. Cyra’s palo cortado was reminiscent of almost a sweet sort of whiskey—absolutely remarkable.
SHERRY WINES ARE THE EPITOME OF SOUTHERN SPAIN IN A GLASS.
Our first dish came out looking like a tomato, but it was actually a tuna paté. The presentation was rather remarkable sleight-of-hand: they’d formed the paté into a perfect, round ball covered with a red edible lacquer. Beneath that was a bed of “soil” (chopped olives and mushrooms) and edible flowers.
Next up was dish of marinated mackerel on sweet green peas. Now this is my kind of dish – the fish had been very lightly grilled—it was almost raw—and served with an excellent soy sauce-like concoction on top. Combined with the sweet crunchiness of the peas, it was heaven on a plate.
Finally, we dug into an incredible cheese plate that Ana presented to us on the house. The delicious payoyo, mahón and cabrales cheeses came on a beautifully laid-out plate.
Next time I’m back in Seville, this place is a must visit… most definitely one of the best tapas bars in Seville.
4. Mateo Ruiz
Founded in 1918, Mateo Ruiz started off as a shop specialising in wines from the Valdepeñas region. It’s still run by the original founder’s son, and is now especially famous for its salt-cod fritters.
And boy, was it heaving. Elbows out and in we went, securing a spot at the bar.
Standing at an old school bar in Seville (and at La Venencia in Madrid) you’ll notice a wonderful old tradition. The barmen keep track of your tab on the bar in chalk, and then rub it off with the back of their hand when you pay. I love how old traditions like this likely came about because paper was expensive, but now make total sense as they’re a wonderful economic use of resources (why cut down a tree if you don’t need to!)
We had a round of it’ll-put-hair-on-your-chest one-euro glasses of wine with some fried bacalao (salt cod). Not only was it some of the best bacalao in Seville, but the lively atmosphere makes the whole experience even better.
As Cyra put it, this place is just cool.
FRIED FISH IS UBIQUITOUS HERE IN SEVILLE, AND MATEO RUÍZ HAS ONE OF THE BEST TAPAS OF BACALAO FRITO I’VE EVER TRIED.
5. La Azotea
A five-minute walk along the Alameda de Hércules took us to La Azotea, one of the most modern (and best) tapas bars in Seville. There are a handful of locations of La Azotea throughout the city, but we visited the Conde de Barajas one.
We made it just in time—five minutes before the kitchen closed—so we were able to sneak in a last round of tapas (the most challenging thing about my tapas crawl videos are that I’m always trying to squeeze about 5 bars into the short 4 hours stint that they’re open during the day).
We started off here with an almadraba tuna taco topped with guacamole and onion. It had a nice little spicy kick to it, which isn’t something you’ll often find in Spain. It went well with the excellent local red wine we ordered (yes, there’s more to Andalusian wine than sherry!).
By the time we got to the last dish, Cyra was stuffed, so I dug in solo.
This was an octopus tapa with a mole verde sauce and some vegetables. Very different than the typical pulpo you’ll find at most tapas bars in Spain—but in the best way possible. The tender octopus combined with the Mexican sauce and veggies was such a unique combination, and a prime example of how excellent ingredients are the secret to great Spanish cuisine.
With our stomachs full and our minds hazy, I had a train back to Madrid to catch. So we said our farewells and off I went – back north to the land of cocido and Yoly.
Get my FREE tapas mini-guide
Why not also check out my free TAPAS mini-guide. It’s got my top 5 favourite tapas bars (plus other tips) in Seville, Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian. Click here to download the guide! Salud!