Málaga: Jamon for breakfast and exploring the Alcazaba

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Holiday for me is all about relaxing and not waking up from alarms, but, being a night owl, that means missing breakfast at the hotel every day. So instead I’d get ready and venture outside for breakfast.

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Luckily I had a nice café near my hotel, it’s a chain of cafés in fact, offering everything from sandwiches to cooked food, pastries to cakes and even a delicatessen with cheese and charkuterie.

This ciabatta filled with a general helping of Jamon Iberico was a perfect start to the day and set me up for my day of sightseeing.

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I’m quite choosy on what I spend my time on, but for the the Alcazabar was an absolute must!

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This impressive citadel, overlooking the city and its harbour is very well preserved and an absolute dream to discover.

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It was built in the 1000s and is still standing firm offering incredible views as well as beautiful gardens and amazing architecture.

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I mean, look at this view – incredible isn’t it?!

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And the details to the building. Especially dating back that far is rather incredible.

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But my favourite part was the gardens. So beautiful and serene I could’ve spent all day here.

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But I didn’t, as I had more things to explore.

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Like the ruins of a Roman theatre just below the Alcazaba. It’s been around since the first century BC and is still part of the city landscape. At night it’s lit up beautifully and during the day one can just walk in, sit down and take a break.

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Surrounded by the hustle of bustle of modern life, I find it amazing how this old ruin is a part of modern day Malaga (and not closed off).

Alcazaba of Málaga, Calle Alcazabilla, 2, 29012 Málaga, Spain

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Málaga: gourmet tapas and the best waiters!

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I found Malaga a lot more touristy than Seville, and the type of tourists differed too. In Seville most tourists seemed to be Spaniards from different parts of the country but Malaga with its harbour, seem to attract tourists from all over Europe. And because of this there are copious amounts of tourist trap style restaurants littered around the central parts, which as you know, are not my thing.

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Instead I did some research, and found La Cosmopolita mentioned lots of times as a nice restaurant.

And it was! I had a wonderful dinner here and almost went back a second time. Looking back, I regret not doing that, as where I ended up for lunch was a lot inferior, but I was rather embarrassed from almost fainting on my first visit.

The waiters were very sweet though, and made sure I got a chair (as I was standing in the tapas bar), water and something sugary. One waiter even followed me to a taxi to make sure I got home alright, which was really sweet.

But the service was like that; thoughtful and sincere, even though the restaurant was buzzing with people and all waiters were rushing around seeing to everyone.

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The cooking was on par; and I thoroughly enjoyed the best Russian salad (with Jamon Iberico on top!) I’ve ever had, the most amazing cod tempura with shiso, and bread. I would have liked to have more, but as I didn’t feel very well I thought it best to go back to the hotel and lie down.

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The tapas portions (which were not on the actual menu, but the items were) were quite large though, so I doubt I would have needed much more, but I would have like to try more dishes!

La Cosmopolita Malagueña, Calle José Denis Belgrano, 3, 29015 Málaga, Spain

 

 

Seville: Triana and food market

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My hotel in Seville was located just across the river from Plaza de Armas, so it was close to the centre but still quiet. Every day I would walk across the bridge and explore the centre of Seville, but one day I decided to explore my more immediate surroundings; Triana.

This is where travellers and bohemians lived before, as they were not allowed to stay within the city walls. The past has of course shaped this neighbourhood that offers a different charm than say, Santa Cruz.

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It’s a little run-down, but charming all the same. And of course the orange trees are lining the streets here as well.

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It was actually only in this part of town that I saw actual oranges on the trees. Not many, but it was still nice to see!

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Triana is probably most known for its pottery, and there are several shops where you can see the typical Seville patterns on bowls etc.

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And just like in other parts of Seville some buildings are very ornamental. Some have etchings and some colourful tiles with angels and saints on. So pretty!

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I eventually came to another bridge and as I crossed the river a little further away from my hotel I could enjoy a spectacular view!

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Seville is such a beautiful city, and it was lovely to see it all a bit from afar.

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There was also a lot of activity on the river; people kayaking and cruising along in boats.

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And on the bank on the other side people were basking in the sun amid the palm trees. I didn’t join them though, as I had a destination in mind.

 

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The Mercado Lonja del Barranco; a rather nice looking food hall with lots of seating both inside and outdoors.

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It was rather empty when I arrived in the late afternoon/early evening but that suited me well as I could easily walking around and checking out the different stalls. There were lots of pulpo (one dedicated stall in fact), and several types of prawns (my favourite!).

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But also different types of croquetas…

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… and of course Jamon Iberico!

 

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I had my eye set on the prawns from the start though, so ordered some cooked a’la plancha; quickly grilled and seasoned with salt. They were still a bit raw inside which I love (these are delicious completely raw as well!) and so fresh! From one of the wine bars I got a glass of lovely Albarino to accompany my little seafood snack.

After a little sit down I ventured outside again and walked along the river by the palm trees and thought about how grateful I was to explore this amazing city.

Mercado Lonja del Barranco, Calle Arjona, s/n, 41001 Sevilla, Spain

Seville: amazing Plaza de España, and more tapas

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I had seen photos of Plaza de España before I went to Seville myself, but was still taken aback by its beauty when I went there to see it for myself. Wow, is all I can say. Wow!

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If you, like me, have a penchant for blue and white tiles, beautiful buildings and pretty fountains, you simply must visit. It’s breathtaking. And so much larger than I expected.

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And if you come here during twilight it’s just magical.

 

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It’s so pretty I found myself walking around spell-bound for well over an hour. Plaza de España, which was built for a world fair in 1929, isn’t particular old in the grand scheme of things but still has an almost majestic quality.

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And as it’s such a large open space you can just walk around here and take in the beauty whatever time you like, instead of keeping track of opening hours. Which I learned the hard way when I tried to visit the Real Alcazar. Since when do things close early in Spain?! Oh well, next time.

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All this walking of course made me hungry, so I walked to a restaurant nearby that I had read about; La Azotea. It’s actually a chain with several restaurants around the city, but it doesn’t feel very chain-like at all. In fact, the Santa Cruz location I went to felt like a neighbourhood restaurant. The waiters knew many of the customers which created a lovely atmosphere.

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I had Jamon Iberico. Because, why not?! It’s delicious and I could easily eat it every day.

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I also had an amazing gazpacho, apparently the cold vegetable soup originates in Seville. It was very refreshing after walking around Plaza de España.

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I also had can con tomate which here was served in bite-size pieces. So yummy!

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And last I had some lomo; cured Iberico tenderloin. So delicious!!

Plaza de España, Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

La Azotea, Calle Mateos Gago, 8, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

 

 

Seville: amazing gourmet tapas!

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If I had to choose one favourite meal in Seville, it would be a tough decision, but I think this lunch at Eslava would be my choice.

I had lots of fabulous food during my week in Spain, but the combination of gourmet tapas, great service and the atmosphere here made this lunch very special.

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The restaurant was packed when I arrived, and I thought I was early, but a nice flirty waiter (my favourite kind) found me a spot inside the tapas bar, perfect for people (and food) watching.

No sooner had I ordered a glass of wine until it arrived with a bowl of olives. I love that! I feel that Spaniards must easily get hungry too; as you’re always presented with bread and/or olives as soon as you sit down at a table.

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As you can see it was busy indeed, and a long queue that I managed to jump thanks to my waiter.

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My first dish was the award-winning slow cooked egg yolk on boletus soufflé with caramalised wine sauce and it was AMAZING!

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This is not a tapas for sharing – order one each!

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The next special dish on the menu is this cigar with brie and cuttlefish – a very strange combination of flavours but it totally works!

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After the first two must-have plates I felt I had to choose the next dish very carefully as it would most likely be my last here. (Sometimes I curse my inability to eat lots at one time; I’m more of a eat often but smaller portions type of girl.)

The courgette Charlotte with a garlicky sauce was just the thing to finish off my meal. More subtle than the previous dishes it still held its own and was very satisfying. Definitely one for sharing though as very filling.

I left the restaurant very content and ready to take in another day walking around the beautiful city. But as I’m writing this, I’m already dying to go back for another meal!

Eslava, Calle Eslava, 3, 41002 Sevilla, Spain

Seville: classic tapas

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For me, it’s just as important exploring the classics as the contemporary, regardless of field. It applies to books, music and of course gastronomy.

Some of the restaurants I tried in Seville are modern and fun, although still with it’s roots in the classic stuff, and even though I absolutely adore that style of cooking I sometimes prefer something old school with less fuss.

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Casa Placido isn’t particularly fancy but instead it has tonnes of charm and classic good food. The dark wooden furniture and the tiled walls are ageless and makes you feel at home in an instant.

I sat down and ordered an excellent glass of Albarino, but I feel I probably should have dipped my toe in the many sherries on offer. Next time. The plate of Jamon Iberico was very generous and the excellent ham went down a treat.

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The tortilla serving was even more generous and very nice too!

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There were lots of other nice things on the menu, but this was what I was craving; simple classic food. A nice contrast to the more elaborate dinners I enjoyed elsewhere in the city.

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Casa Plácido,  Calle Mesón del Moro, 5, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

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