Seville: modern architecture and modern tapas

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Most buildings in Seville’s city centre are old and charming, which is why this modern structure offers such a beautiful contrast.

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Although built as recently as 2005, I find it puzzling how this amazing and grand wooden structure fit into the (rather snug) space it’s in. But it works. I find the Metropol Parasol both intriguing and obvious at the same time.

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To match this modern piece of architectural art I thought some equally modern tapas were in order (even though I ordered some of the classics, but in an updated version).

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Not far away from the wooden structure you find Perro Viejo, a modern tapas bar with a cosy interior and interesting menu. It’s popular so I recommend booking in advance (I did) and bear in mind that the portions are very generous when you order.

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As in most restaurant, the olives and bread arrive quickly at the table, so you can munch away while you study the menu. I had a nice glass of cava as well. I mean, when in Rome Spain…

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I didn’t think I ordered much, but with the large portion sizes it turned into quite the feast!

First up, a generous portion of delicious patatas bravas. A classic yes, but exquisite when done well.

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The Russian salad with prawns was absolutely delicious (and probably enough for four people to share). Creamy yet fresh at the same time!

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The Jamon Iberico croquetas were divine too; very soft and again, large.

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The tartar of Iberico pork may not be for everyone (because, raw pork) but I trust the restaurants to serve good meat, and this type of pork is more similar to beef in some ways; it’s darker and has lots more flavour than regular pigs. Delicious!

After testing myself while in Rome for a weekend a few years ago, I got used to dining solo. Without a book or any armour (apart from some food snaps on my phone or camera), I’m comfortable eating alone, and in my own company in general. But it proves tricky to order in tapas restaurants were the portion sizes are this generous. That is by no means any criticism of Perro Viejo, just an observation on eating solo. So round up your friends (or at least grab a random person off the street) and enjoy these tapas the way they are meant to be eaten; shared. 

Perro Viejo, Calle Arguijo, 3, 41003 Sevilla, Spain

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Barcelona: amazing dinner at Bodega 1900

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This trip was my second time in Barcelona. The first time I visited with my dear friend Carina we had dinner at Bodega 1900 one night, and I liked it so much I booked it again for this trip.

The restaurant is owned by Albert and Ferran Adria, the brothers behind legendary and now closed El Bulli restaurant. Now they have a whole empire of restaurants in Barcelona and Bodega 1900 is one of the least fancy ones.

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The decor is rather austere and the lighting a bit dull, but don’t let that fool you; the food is seriously good and the waiters really friendly and very professional.

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The house cava is amazing – so I highly recommend you start with that. And these “olives”. They look like olives and taste like olives but it is in fact a little wiggly balls of olive juice. Divine!

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Next we had these juicy and sweet red prawns that were almost buttery, that we dipped in sea salt. A-ma-zing! I could have had several more portions of these. Yum!

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Instead of the regular jamon our charming waiter recommended the more flavoursome Iberico loin. Really good!

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We also had the pan con tomate which was very good!

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We also had these squid hotdog which was just as lovely as I remembered it from my last visit!

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This time they also had a mini pork burger on the menu; filled with thin slices of cooked pork full of umami. It just melted in the mouth. Incredible!

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The quail with potatoes and a very fluffy mustard sauce was perfection! And it was nice with a more substantial dish towards the end of our meal.

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But we weren’t quite full yet so we ordered the peas and mushrooms in this very rich broth and some extra bread. Full of flavour and very comforting. A beautiful if yet very simple dish.

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With twenty minutes to spare before the next sitting we shared the perfect wobbly crema de catalana (mum, you would have loved this one!) and had some coffee.

It was a lovely meal and great evening! I love this place and urge you to book a table well in advance of your Barcelona trip. You can thank me later (maybe with a bottle of that cava?!).

Bodega 1900,  Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015 Barcelona, Spain

Lunch by the coast: Cruderia Al Porto, Cierva

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Our third day in the Emilia-Romagna area we drove to the coast for lunch. It seemed like all Italians had made the same plan for Easter Sunday as us, so it took us a good half an hour to even find a parking space about a 15 minute walk from the restaurarant. But it was a nice day for a walk so we didn’t mind.

We started our lunch with some thinly sliced raw fish (tuna, salmon, octopus and two types of white fish) served with a grassy olive oil and lemon juice – nice and fresh!

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Thinking of the lovely red prawns from the night before we decided to also share a red prawn tartar with endive, fried garlic and saffron. It was nice but sadly not as fantastic as we had hoped.

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The restaurant was full to the brim with guests, and the staff was very busy looking after all the guests, but between our starters and our main courses it took about 45 minutes. I honestly think they had forgotten about us, and as we were absolutely starving (the starters made us more hungry if anything) it was a long wait.

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My ravioli with burrata (inside the ravioli – such a brilliant idea!) with large prawns and the most amazing tomato sauce with both depth and sweetness, was well worth the wait. It was one of the best dishes I had during our trip and it was just fantastic. So wish I had the recipe so I could recreate it at home.

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Sadly Carolines squid ink pasta with squid and bottarga wasn’t as impressive. In fact, we couldn’t understand how it was produced in the same kitchen as my delicious ravioli.

OK, the actual pasta was well cooked and the squid was nice, but it lacked a lot in flavour and didn’t really come together as a dish. Such a shame!

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Even though we were (finally) full after our pasta dishes we couldn’t resist the mini tiramisus we saw carried around the restaurant on trays, and it was just a perfect ending to the meal. It was great in flavour but a little more crunchy than your regular tiramisu but I liked it!

I’m a bit ambivalent in my opinion of this restaurant; my ravioli was extraordinarily good and I really want to come back to eat it again, but at the same time I don’t think the other dishes we had quite measure up, but since they can produce that amazing ravioli I’m willing to give them another chance. They were incredibly busy, and the potential is there, I just wish that all the dishes were as good as the one I had.

Al Porto, Lungomare D’Annunzio 2 – 48015 Cervia Ra, Italy

Pre-dinner nibbles in Bologna

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On the Saturday in Bologna we went all out before dinner and had pre-dinner drinks and nibbles at three different places. There were so many things we wanted to eat and places to try and not enough time, so this was a good solution.

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We started with this little (yes, it was intended for one person but we shared it) charkuterie and cheese platter at Zerocinquantino Vino e Panino, and a glass of wine each. I love the fact that when you order ‘a glass of white wine’, the waiters ask if you want still or sparkling, as if it were water. I do like my sparkling wines though, and later this same evening Caroline introduced me to another Italian sparkling wine, besides prosecco;  franciacorta, with smaller bubbles. So nice!

On the platter we had mortadella, salami, serrano, a type of fresh cheese which I later identified as dolcelatte in a deli shop, a nice hard cheese and an amazing blue cheese called erborinato. Remember to try it when you’re in Italy! We also got to try the local tigelli bread which was nice but extremely filling.

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Next we stopped at a fishmongers on the same street, which sold fish and seafood ready to eat, like tartars, oysters, red prawns etc. And wine. But we just had some seafood. We both love the raw red prawns so had a plate of those each. They’re so sweet and juicy and absolutely delicious raw!

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We also tried a oyster each, I can’t remember what type or where it was from but it was really nice. The fresh shellfish was a great palate cleanser before our actual dinner though; we actually felt less full after the prawns than when we came into the shop.

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We had time for another quick stop before dinner so when we walked past  Casa Minghetti with it’s popular outside seating we decided to go inside for a glass of wine. Even though the restaurant (inside and outside) was full to the brim with people the staff welcomed us in and gave us some space at the bar counter. The atmosphere here was great – really friendly with a mixture of different types of people, good music and friendly staff.

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The wine was nice, and the cocktails they made looked great too. We also got three different types of snacks with our drink. It’s another thing I like about Italy, you always get snacks with your drink.

Zerocinquantino Vino e Panino, Via Pescherie vecchie 3/e, Bologna

Fiskaffären kan jag tyvärr inte hitta namnet på, men den ligger på Via Pescherie Vechie, snett tvärsöver gatan från Zerocinquantino, mot Via Drapperie till. 

Casa Minghetti, Piazza Minghetti, 1A, 40124 Bologna, Italy