BEING the capital city of Andalucia, the dining scene in Sevilla is unsurprisingly diverse.
Famous for its central tapas bars, where locals typically tapear at up to five or six different bars in a session, it also has a bustling restaurant community that is as competitive as it is varied.
They are still around today, with the latter now with its own Michelin star, thanks to the hard work of its chef Julio Quintero.
He himself had trained at the legendary Taberna del Alabardero, a glamorous grand dame of the local dining scheme that had its own culinary training scheme, but is, to be fair, a little stuffy.
I also picked Vineria de San Telmo in a great location next to the Alcazar, which brilliantly combines good food and wine. Its Argentinian boss Juan Tarquini skillfully manages to provide both at excellent prices, and it’s still around today.
But you should also look next door where there is a brand new hip joint called Bar la Sal, serving up the very best local seafood – particularly tuna – that you can imagine.
Opening in December 2020, its dynamic owner Charo Alvarez already has another restaurant in the city and a famous joint in Zahara de los Atunes, on the Costa de la Luz, in Cadiz.
With this place she wanted to make it more informal, less punishing on the pocket, yet still serving up the best bluefin tuna you will ever eat in a dozen different guises.
At least three of her tuna starter dishes have won prizes as the best tapa in Zahara’s famous annual tapas competition.
It’s the most buzzing spot around this Spring and you will need to book one of the excellent terrace tables that sit next to the celebrated Jardines de Murillo park with its amazing trees.
Another amazing fish restaurant – probably the best in Sevilla and, among the best I have eaten at in Andalucia – is Canabota.
This minimalist joint only has the very freshest seafood on offer and changes by the day with a new menu.
It’s not cheap, but it’s the place to have shellfish, such as razor shells, which were served with a delicious cream of algas soup or the amazing puntillitas with fresh peas and an onion caldo.
But its piece de resistance was the medley of cuts of Mero, Spain’s most popular fish known as ‘grouper’ in English. We had an amazing trio of belly, fillet and spine, some of the tastiest fish I have ever eaten.
The wine list is great and you can have Bollinger champagne by the glass at 10 euros.
For a totally different take on dining, head to the recently opened La Casa del Tigre which is one of the most romantic, original diners in Andalucia.
Opened by four friends just before the Covid lockdown in December 2019, it got its name after an old zookeeper who infamously kept a tiger upstairs in his flat for years.
It is sumptuously decorated with acres of velvet, but also stylish patterns and artworks, doffing their hat appropriately to African wildlife.
The food is hard to describe as anything other than eclectic, but it is a wonderful mix of flavours from around Spain and abroad, including fish cheeks, beef mollejas (glands next to the heart basically) and the most amazing Taco de Puchero, basically an unreconstructed grandma-style croquette.
Don’t miss the cool foie and duck ham starter that comes on a bed of lettuce, while the wine list was exceptionally good, with plenty of wines by the glass.
Finally, if you’re looking for gastro-tapas then you cannot leave Sevilla without visiting Eslava (on Calle Eslava conveniently).
You may have to queue to be seated (opt for a spot at the bar for a shorter wait) but it is worth it for one of the most original menus around.
Among the classic pork ribs and solomillo or jamon, other highlights include Vaca Tataki (beef tataki), vegetable strudel and manchego cheese ice cream.