With the bountiful Mediterranean sea on the doorstep, expect fresh local fish alongside tapas favourites.
Freshly fried fish with a satisfying crunch
Pescaíto frito (Fried fish)
The inspiration for England’s famous fish and chips, these little fish are deep-fried in golden batter and eaten from a paper cone – not unlike the UK. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, they’re delicious with plenty of salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Local tip: You’ll find a generous portion of these served up at Freidurías and tapas bars.
The saying goes “de gazpacho, no hay empacho”, meaning ‘you can never have too much of a good thing’. This refreshing cold soup is a chunky blend of tomatoes and fresh green vegetables, finished off with a vinegar tang. Served in a deep bowl or straight from the glass, it’s the perfect way to cool-off.
A batch of sugary-sweet Sevillian nostalgia
Pestiños (Sweet Spanish fritters)
Just like ‘abuela’ (grandma) used to make, nothing makes Sevillanos nostalgic like the scent of these seasonal fritters. Lovingly folded and fried to perfection, they’re a symphony of syrupy flavours – anise, sweet white wine and sugar. Some are drizzled with warm, sticky honey or sprinkled with cinnamon, while others are rolled in sesame seeds – it all depends on the family recipe.
Local tip: These are eaten with family at Easter or Christmas time, but you’ll find them in local bakeries all year round.
A savoury delicacy is eaten straight from the shell
Served up, shells-and-all, in a large terracotta dish, these delicious snails make for a tasty, bite-sized snack. Boiled with a bundle of aromatic herbs and spices called a ‘muñequilla’, each morsel comes packed with surprising flavour. Best accompanied with hot broth and a cold, refreshing beer.
Local tip: If it’s your first time trying snails, watch how the locals do it. Put one to your lips and slurp!
Thick, comforting slices of sweet Spanish toast
Torrijas (Spanish toast)
Originally invented to use up leftover bread, the recipe for this sugary treat has remained unchanged for centuries. Made with day-old bread soaked in milk or wine and coated in golden egg – Spanish toast is much like its French equivalent. Coated in cinnamon or spiced syrup, one bite reveals a heavenly centre like thick, sweet custard.
Crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread
Mantecados (Spanish crumble cakes)
Crumbly cakes so soft and delicate that they dissolve on your tongue. Sweet and buttery with a hint of anise, their recipe has remained unchanged since the 16th century – and you won’t find a home without them during the festive season.
Local tip: Wrapped in pretty paper packaging, locals gift these to their family and friends. Pop into a bakery to take some home for yours.
Premium ham with an abundance of flavour
Jamon ibérico de bellota (Ibérico ham)
While jamón ibérico can be picked up easily and for relatively little, ‘de bellota’ is an expensive luxury reserved for only the most special of occasions. From purebred pigs fed on acorns, the jamón is aged in mountain air for up to three years, deepening its salty, earthy flavour. Sliced paper-thin from the bone, it should be eaten alone or with ‘picos’ (breadsticks) to truly appreciate the moist, delicate meat.
Local tip: If you’re feeling extravagant, head to Taberna Dos de Mayo and treat yourself to some of Spain’s finest jamón.
A hearty potato omelette and everyday staple
Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette)
The beloved Spanish omelette is a classic comfort food dish. Where the traditional French omelette is light and fluffy, this version is firm and filling, packed with layer on layer of sliced potato. Cut into hearty chunks, it can be eaten as a tapa or covered with lashings of mayonnaise on a fresh ‘bocadillo’ (baguette).
Fresh white fish all wrapped up in a crispy coating
Pavías (Deep-fried battered cod stripes)
Made with cod or hake, straight from the Mediterranean. You’ll find these all over Andalusia, sometimes named ‘Soldaditos de Pavía’ or ‘Little Soldiers of Pavía’ because of their resemblance to the army’s distinctive uniform. Coated in a crispy, saffron-yellow batter with a flaky white centre, they’re the perfect pick for a round of tapas.
Local tip: Grab a portion of these at Taberna Dos de Mayo. No knife and fork needed, just use your fingers and get stuck in.
Juicy pork medallions in a garlic and whisky sauce
Solomillo al whisky (Sirloin medallions á la whisky)
Juicy pork tenderloin is seared and simmered slowly, bubbling away in a rich sauce of garlic and whisky. Curiously, it’s also not uncommon to find this dish made with brandy, under the same (if slightly misleading) name. Usually eaten with skinny fries, locals finish this off with a thick slice of bread to soak up every last drop.
Local tip: Head to Taberna Los Coloniales to sample the best of this pork and whisky dish. It’s so popular you’ll need to book ahead.
A sherry-and-mixer combo that’s perfect for party time
Rebujito (Sherry with lemon)
Glasses of this sherry-based cocktail are glugged down in celebration at festivals and parties all over the city. Jugs are filled with ice and a generous measure of Manzanilla or Fino sherry topped up with lemon or lime soda and garnished with a sprig of peppermint. With a ratio of one measure of sherry to every two measures of soda, it’s not too strong – so you can keep partying all night long.