Seville and Granada, Recommendations please
I would appreciate recommendations for restaurant and tapas bars for an upcoming trip to Seville and Granada. Upscale or downscale, doesn't matter, so long as the food is fresh and prepared in a way that makes for memorable dining. I've searched the boards, and know this has been discussed before; but usually without addresses or an indication of an area of town where the restaurant or bar is located. Seeing the best recommendations again, preferably with an indication of the area of town, or an address, would be helpful. Many thanks.
I just got back from Cordoba a few days ago and really enjoyed our meal at Bodegas Campos. Nice atmosphere, traditional dishes prepared with a great deal of care. I particularly recommend their ajoblanco (almond garlic soup). This is one of my favorite soups and it's probably the best rendition that I've had.
In the past, I've also enjoyed meals at El Churrasco, which is a bit more traditional and located right in the judería. We also ate at the bar at Casa Pepe de la Judería (very close to the mezquita, as well). Good media raciones (half plates) of fried eggplant, fried cod, etc. The regular restaurant has a much more extensive menu. These are all big sprawling restaurants, but it still pays to call ahead to reserve.
There's been a lot of good buzz about a more modern place, El Choco. The young chef there, Kisko García, has been getting some attention (in Spain). I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but plan to the next time I'm in Córdoba.
Just so that you can mentally prepare yourself, the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir is currently closed for major restoration. Since you have three days, try to take a trip out to the Medina Azahara a few miles outside of Córdoba. There are busses and tours that go there daily. It's quite an interesting archaeological site.
Our best meal in Cordoba was at Caballo Rojo (right in the tourist area). We expected 'tourist' food - but instead got a warm welcome and a chef who is quite creative. Pleasant inner courtyard, so no problems with smoky rooms (a challenge with many tapas bars). A pleasant surprise (and experience) all around. Full menu posted outside, so you can see if it suits you.
I haven't been to Seville for several years, but I do remember some amazing tapas we had in a restaurant near the Cathedral. I couldn't remember it's name, but I knew there was a sister restaurant round the corner. I've searched on various websites, and I think it was one of the Robles places - either the Casa Robles (the most likely) or the Tapas Robles. It is a restaurant too, but we really enjoyed eating tapas at or near the bar. It is worth going to when you fancy something different from the usual selection you get in most tapas bars, and it is good for a slightly more special lunch or evening meal of tapas. We had things like lamb pinchitos with apricot and some lovely seafood ones. It's not cheap though, compared to other places.
That place near the cathedral is Bodega Santa Cruz...hands down the best tapas I've had in Spain. It's loud, dirty, and crowded...just the way the locals like it...
The all Spanish menu and fast moving bar action keeps tourists out, despite its central touristy location, and it keeps the locals rolling in for low prices and great food. Give it a try...ask anyone and they'll know where it is.
Just in Sevilla a couple weeks ago. Had a fantastic meal at Salvador Rojo on Calle San Fernando (near the Plaza del Toros). A little up-scale but fresh, inventive and well-crafted and the service was fantastic.
My advice would be to make your way to the Plaza Santa Cruz and wander around the narrow alleys of the Barrio until you find something that suits your taste and your budget. There's plenty to choose from and it's a great way to explore the heart of the city (and maybe catch a flamenco show as well).
In Sevilla I really liked the following (my visit was in June 2005). All are tapas bars:
Cerveceria Giralda, Calle Mateo Gago 1 (get the coquinas if they have them...sauteed clams)
Bodega Santa Cruz, Calle Mateo Gago 8 (the best croquetas caseras)
Meson de la Infante, Calle Dos de Mayo 26 (rinones de cordero a la plancha)
Best to go at lunch time and definitely stand and eat at the bar...if you can find a spot!
I lived in Cadiz for a while, about 90 minutes south of Sevilla. Sevilla is a great food town. One classic tapas bar is in down from the Plaza of the cathedral, itself a wonderful sight. Follow the main street out from the plaza. On the right you will see a huge crowd tumbling out into the street eating from small plates and drinking Sherry (called jerez, try the dry fino everywhere). This is not the place to wait your turn. Elbow your way up to the bar and place your order. Rabo de toro (ox tail) is a sure thing as is the arroz (rice that is really a type of paella). They scribble your order on the bar in chalk. All trash ends up on the floor of the bar.
In fact that is the way to tell a great tapas bar anywhere in spain. Chance are the more trash on the flooor of the bar, the better it is.
Granada is also well known for tapas. At nearly every bar they give you a free tapa with your drink. I think it is because this is such a student oriented town. You can easily go bar to bar and have a fully satisfying meal by sampling the different tapas. The bars compete to give you the best food free. What a city! Have fun!
This was my favorite place in Sevilla for tapas..lots of great seafood and jamon Iberico. A few tables, too, which fill up fast.
Bodega Paco Gongorra (especialidad en pscados, mariscos y vinos del aljarafe)
Calle Padre Marchena, 1
It is a few steps away from Enrique Becerra.
Also some good tapas at Casablanca, Calle Zaragoza, 50..get the potatos there.
I should add that I was last there is late 2003 but I imagine those places are still there and still fine.
Just got back from both places. But the news isn't good. Was disappointed overall in both places. However, I didn't search out the tapas places, so you may do better there.
In Granada found only one good place - Cunini (Pescaderia, 14) a couple of streets just behind the cathedral. Both the fish and meat dishes were good. But you have to ask for the 'Menu del Dia' (which is the best value) as they don't routinely offer it to tourists! And had by far the worst meal of my trip at Bodegas Castaneda (Plaza Nueva end of Elvira) - yet this is recommended in almost every guidebook. Surly servers, terrible food (including the worst jamon iberico I had - didn't taste anything like iberico), and they allow vendors in to bug you while you're eating - common in centre of Granada). Rest were forgettable.
One great meal near Seville - about 18 km outside at La Alqueria (at Hacienda Benazuza, in Sanlucar la Mayor) - that was my favourite meal of the trip. But not cheap. But worth it (22 course tasting menu @ €125). Tried Taberna del Alabardero (On Zaragoza - a little difficult to find) and found it 'overproduced' - too fussy and not worth it.
I was in Seville at the weekend, so many renowned places were closed Sunday and Monday (Saturday was La Alqueria). One place we had planned to go was bar Europa (which was open - Siete Revueltas, just off plaza del Salvador) and it looked good, but as we'd been walking all day we settled for the more formal Alabardero.