Eating in Sevilla, Spain: Mercado del Barranco

Sevilla mercdo del Barranco exterior1

As we tend to do when we travel to Europe, we booked the hotel for the day before we arrived in Spain. It seems like a waste of money to many, I'm sure, but we've spent too many first days of our trips walking around like zombies until a 2 or 3pm check-in, lugging around camera bags and other stuff that we want don't want to leave at the hotel, that we really think it's worth it to get to the hotel at 9am, sleep for 3 hours, and wake up, energized, and go out trying to find a place that is actually open for lunch at 12pm. Restaurants typically aren't--open at 12pm--and if they are, we're the first customers. Bleary-eyed Americans. At the very least, somewhat well-rested Americans who had a chance to brush their teeth. Well worth it, again. Please, people, brush your teeth more often.

But I'm not here to tell you about my breath or complain about yours. I'm here to tell you that the first thing we did in Sevilla, after napping, brushing our teeth (as far as you know), and having an uneventful meal, was meet a neighbor-friend, who has a semester abroad Sevilla. Kids these days, with their privilege.

This young friend gave us some information about Sevilla and the culture that may or may not have been news to people more than twice her age. But the one thing she told us, which had us on the edge of our uncomfortable little Spanish outdoor table seats, was that Mercado del Barranco, one of the more famous markets in Sevilla, has an outdoor seating area with couches and comfy seats down by the river, and you can get food from the market, and a bottle of wine, and sit there down by the river, and well she had me at "couches."

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Eating in Sevilla, Spain: Tapas at Casa Morales

Sevilla plaza de torosPlaza de Toros, Sevilla

At 165 years old, Casa Morales isn't anywhere near the oldest tapas place in Sevilla (that honor goes to El Rinconcillo, est. 1670), but it could be the second oldest. Indeed you will feel swept back in time when you walk into this corner bar, whose back room (a separate entrance) was once used to store sherry in enormous vats. The vats remain. The sherry has been drained.

Sevilla casa morales interior back room Casa morales sevilla interior

Just steps from the Cathedral and a few blocks from Plaza de Toros, you'd think a place like this would be packed with tourists. On the day we were there, it seemed to be more filled with regulars and locals.

We were there only for a snack and to soak in the environment, and had a few glasses of wine and tapas.

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Eating in Sevilla, Spain: El Pinton

Sevilla el pinton exterior

El Pinton caught our eye every time we walked by. I guess we liked the clean lines and the modern look.

One night as we roamed around Sevilla without a plan for dinner, we ended up walking by it for about the 10th time in 3 days. The menu read well, and we figured what-the-heck?

We were seated in a small back room which is very much like a hallway leading to the toilets. I would recommend not sitting back there, but rather get a table in the large, open, airy, absolutely lovely large dining room that you have to walk through in order to get to the hallway.

Sevilla el pinton cocktail

I got the sense that El Pinton appeals to young, cosmopolitan types. Large groups of young selfie-taking women filled the dining room, seated next to people who looked more like art collectors than wine makers. And I can see why. The menu isn't typically Andalusian. There are quite a few notes of Asian flavors here, for example. It was a nice change of pace.

I landed on what I assumed would be a safe cocktail. IIRC, it was a sour of some sort. Maybe tequila. Maybe gin. Can't recall. But the cocktail was executed well, if not a bit on the sweet side. Kids like their sweet stuff.

Let's get on to the food. We didn't order much, but we enjoyed what we had.

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Eating in Sevilla, Spain: La Azotea

Sevilla la azotea interior

Shit got real once we stumbled up La Azotea in Sevilla. While we we enjoyed the croquettes and cured tuna and anchovies and Andalusian cuisine, getting a chance to eat a place serving new Spanish cooking was a real treat. We liked La Azotea so much that we returned for a second meal on the tail-end of the trip. 

La Azotea is a beautiful, casual place, focusing on local, seasonal ingredients. The menu is concise, and everything reads incredibly well. It was very hard indeed to come up with just a few dishes. But we managed.

Sevilla la azotea rice paper triangles

This dish was rice paper triangles stuffed with cheese, prawns, and leeks. Right? When it hit the table we immediately knew we were in the hands of a kitchen that understands cooking, plating, and pleasing.

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Eating in Sevilla, Spain: Bar Pelayo

Sevilla bar pelayo exterior

It was our second night in Sevilla and we still hadn't done much research on restaurants. After enjoying a few cocktails at the excellent The Secondroom (it took me about one day to start trying to track down a proper cocktail bar), we spied a welcoming little place called Bar Pelayo right down the block. At this point we were starving and quite frankly would have eaten anywhere.

The menu is typically Andalusian, with the typical tapas, fried fish, croquettes, etc.

Sevilla bar pelayo croquettes

The oxtail croquettes were pretty fantastic.

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