Málaga: gourmet tapas and the best waiters!

ma7.jpg

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.

ma8.jpg

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.

ma13.jpg

ma14.jpg

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.

ma23.jpg

ma29.jpg

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

 

 

Advertisements

Seville: amazing Plaza de España, and more tapas

IMG_0254.JPG

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!

IMG_0169.JPG

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.

IMG_0182.JPG

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

 

IMG_0215.JPG

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.

IMG_0224.JPG

IMG_0234.JPG

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.

IMG_0247.JPG

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.

IMG_0300.JPG

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

IMG_0309.JPG

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

sev25.jpg

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

IMG_0323.JPG

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!

IMG_9518.JPG

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.

IMG_9519.JPG

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.

IMG_9524.JPG

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

IMG_9527.JPG

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

IMG_9528.JPG

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

IMG_9535.JPG

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

IMG_9545.JPG

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

sev1.jpg

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.

sev10.jpg

sev7.jpg

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.

sev18.jpg

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

sev21.jpg

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.

sev22.jpg

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

Seville: modern architecture and modern tapas

IMG_9594.JPG

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

IMG_9601.JPG

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.

IMG_9586.JPG

IMG_9604.JPG

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).

IMG_9808.JPG

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.

IMG_9811.JPG

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…

IMG_9814.JPG

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.

IMG_9821.JPG

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

IMG_9817.JPGIMG_9837.JPG

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

IMG_9832.JPG

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

Seville: modern tapas with exotic elements

se23.jpg

Some days in Seville were lovely and warm with 23C and sunshine. Those days were spent relaxing by the pool, enjoying the sun on my skin and a good book. So in the evening I would get ready for a stroll around town and a nice dinner.

se26.jpg

One such evening I made my way to El Pintón and was extremely lucky to snag a table outside without a reservation. After I got that table they turned away so many people. So make sure to book in advance.

se30.jpg

se31.jpg

This place is different to the usual tapas bars around town. They do serve tapas at El Pintón but always at a table, so there is no busy bar area to hang out in. Instead it’s a civilised affair with only table service.

se34.jpg

se37.jpg

A concept I was perfectly happy with. Just like I was happy to watch the world go by while sipping an excellent glass of cava.

But I had food too, of course. First a lovely egg dish with truffle. A combination I love. Add to that some crunch and a smooth potato créme. Mmm…

se43.jpg

Next up was the calamari sandwich with lemon aioli. Simple but lovely! And the squid was the most tender I’ve ever had.

se60.jpg

My last dish here (I wish I could have had more, but the portions were rather generous as you can see) was a recommendation from my friendly waiter; presa Ibérica tataki with sweet potato purée and pistachio sauce. The meat was exquisite and so so tender and the sweet but mellow flavours worked so well with the pork.

This; dining on excellent food al fresco, is partly what holidays are about for me. Pure joy!

El Pintón, Calle Francos 42, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

Seville: lunch at the city’s oldest tapas bar

se7.jpg

My first day in Seville had an early start; I was had checked in at my hotel mid-morning, so after a little rest I set out exploring the city. It was sunny but not that warm, so I walked around taking in some of the sights on my way to lunch. And what better place to start, than from the beginning, with the city’s oldest tapas bar. It’s been around since 1670 and had as much charm as I had hoped.

se19.jpg

se18.jpg

It’s quite dark inside El Rinconcillo, especially compared to the sunshine outside, and packed with people trying to order at the bar or grab a table along the sides. Everyone’s talking, eating and having a good time.

se9.jpg

se10.jpg

I placed myself strategically behind two people at the bar that looked they were about to leave, and took their spot when they did. Then I ordered a glass of white wine while I studied the menu (the English version as I don’t speak Spanish). I started with some lomo (cured tenderloin from the acorn-fed Pata Negra pigs) and Spanish cheese. And bread, which you receive immediately. And my favourite; Jamón croquetas.

se13.jpg

se16.jpg

I also made sure to look around and see what other people ordered. The locals always order the best dishes, and here I could see that the favourites were fried battered cod that looked absolutely delicious, but as I hadn’t fully recovered from my illness earlier in the week I avoided fried food as much as I could. But another very popular dish caught my attention: the espinacas y garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas).  The spinach was wilted and soft and tasted amazing with a hint of picante. Yum!

se20.jpg

When it was time to pay the tab was scribbled down with chalk straight on the bar counter so it was a quick process to settle the bill. And they accept cards, which is great.

While enjoying my lunch and soaking up the atmosphere I also made friends with my bar neighbours on each side and chatted to them about the food and the city. What I loved most about this place was the ambience and that it feels very authentic even though tourists come here too. It feels like a real Seville institution and is a MUST on your itinerary if you’re visiting. You will not be disappointed.

El Rinconcillo, Calle Gerona, 40, 41003 Sevilla, Spain