Nowadays, with the help of Tripadvisor, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social networks and blogs (like this one!) you can find the highest rated restaurants, activities and hotels in each city. Obviously, if an establishment has 2000 positive comments and no negative comments, it probably is very good. The same can be said for an establishment that ranks last in the ratings in a city. But I often feel that my preferences can be very different to what I read on the internet.
I just logged onto Tripadvisor to look at the top 20 rated restaurants in Seville. I agree with 8 of the 20 and was really very surprised by some of the choices. For hotels, I agree with 7 of the 10, but I disagree with their order.
I’d like to give you a local’s insight into numerous towns and cities throughout Spain. At regular intervals on this blog I’m going to interview friends of mine who are dotted all over Spain and who will give you (and me!) their top tips on what to see and do whilst visiting their home town! The idea is to ask them different questions that lead to different recommendations. Many of their responses won’t feature on these large internet sites and may vary greatly from the opinion of the tourist masses, but that’s the idea!
My first interviewee is myself!
Why do you love Seville?
There are too many reasons to mention!
A beautiful city centre.
It’s the perfect size to always have things going on but it’s not stressful.
They work to live and don’t live to work.
The strength of the family unit.
They love their cultural celebrations.
The coldest beer.
The best tapas.
The occasional siesta!
And so much more!
What do you most like about Seville?
The quality of life. It’s a city that mixes the importance of friendship, family, food & wine, being outdoors, being sociable and remembering to live the moment.
What do you least like about Seville?
I’ll be honest, heat waves in summer!
Where is your favourite neighbourhood and why?
Triana. It’s a suburb that buzzes with life, blends tradition and trendy and has lot’s to see and do.
Where is the best place to be at sunset?
On the river bank or on a little boat with glass of wine in hand.
Who has the best roof terrace?
There are lot’s of roof terraces, but I like the Hotel Fontecruz a lot. The Hotel Doña Maria is quite sedate, the Hotel Eme is too trendy for me. The Fontecruz is my favourite.
Where do you most enjoy having breakfast?
Spanish breakfasts tend to be nice and simple. I’m a fan of Bar Azabache, just next to the Archivo de Indias where they serve good coffee, fresh juice and a great “tostada” with ham and cottage cheese!
Who serves the best ice cream in town?
Without a shadow of doubt – Bolas! They have a great shop on Calle Cuesta del Rosario 1. My favourite flavours are pistachio and cheese with figs in PX wine.
Where should one go for the best gin tonics and cocktails?
There are so many good places! It’s nice to have a drink at the Hotel Alfonso XIII for the surroundings.
I think the best gin tonic is served in Donde Juan Carlos in Triana Market. So many interesting combinations!
Do you have a favourite local pastry shop?
Manu Jara has just opened a fabulous pastry shop in Triana market.
Dulce Regina on Calle Regina makes the best cookies in the biz!
Do you have a favourite local pastry?
I love Tocino de cielo – it’s like a rich flan made up of water, egg yolks and sugar.
Where would you recommend to go for a run in the city?
Definitely combine a run along the river with the Maria Luisa park and the Plaza de España. A beautiful combo.
Tell us your favourite tapa in the whole of Seville?
My favourite winter tapa = wheat risotto with foie and black sausage at La Fabrica.
My favourite summer tapa = mango salmorejo from Panrallao.
What would your perfect 3 bar tapas route be?
Imagining I could fly between bars!:
I’d start at the Blanca Paloma in Triana.
I’d carry on to Casa Ricardo (Antiguo Casa Ovidio) on C/Hernán Cortes, near the Alameda.
And I’d finish at Tradevo in Nervion.
Where would you go for a special occasion?
If I wanted lot’s of atmosphere I’d go to La Azotea on Calle Jesus del Gran Poder.
If I wanted romance and a bit of intimacy I’d eat at Mechela on Calle Bailen.
If I wanted fine dining I’d choose between Tribeca on Calle Chaves Nogales or Michelin star restaurant Abantal on Calle Alcalde Jose de la Bandera.
Where is the best shopping in Seville?
I’m not much of a shopper, but I’d say for mainstream shopping I’d hit Calle Sierpes, Calle Tetuan and Calle Rioja. There are plenty of smaller independent designer shops on streets like Calle Francos, Calle Cuna and near Plaza Alfalfa.
What gift (not a cheap souvenir) from Seville would you give to a friend from abroad?
For a lady: a hand painted fan or a manila silk shawl.
For a man: as much jamon as I could smuggle to them!