You came here wanting to read about all of the best restaurants in Seville, didn’t you? You probably expected some Trip Advisor style list of the best tapas restaurants in all of Andalusia, and I have to apologize, that isn’t what this is about.
I mean, I guess I could write about the multiple restaurants I frequented during my 2 week stay; I visited plenty and they all claimed to be one of “the best restaurants in Seville,” but that would be a waste of both of our time. There is only one place you need to know.
I’m getting the feeling that you don’t really believe me yet….Maybe we should back up a bit.
When I go out to eat I’m all about sharing. Rarely do Tyler and I each order an entree, and anytime we both forget and accidentally order our own, we’re always disappointed. There’s just something about little servings of food that’s inherently festive, don’t you think?
Dips and spreads, bites and balls, appetizers of any kind excite me, and so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be traveling to Andalusia, the tapas country capital in the land founded on food sharing. I came equipped with knowledge of all “the best restaurants in Seville,” and I was ready to go tapas crazy.
Tapas: what are they?
The idea behind tapas is simple. Say we wanted to go out together one night. We’d grab our friends, all chip in a few bucks (aka pavos) and bounce around town ordering tapas at various bars.
If there was a really large group of us, (or if we’re dining with someone with an appetite like Tyler 😉) we might order raciones, or rations, which are exactly the same as tapas, just larger. You see, the word tapas itself doesn’t really mean much, it really only really refers to the size of the food order, and it is literally translated to mean “small plates.”
As much as I tried to make tapas work for me, I have to be honest; I was really let down by the tapas scene. Countless blogs romanticize the free tapas culture in detail, and before arriving in Spain I, like many others, expected every drink to come with free food. I’ve read stories about the longer you stay at a bar the more advanced the free tapas become. I read a personal account from a group of guys who started the night with peanuts and were being served freshly seared scallops a few hours later! Stories like these had me totally giddy for Spain, but as it turns out, the free tapas culture is extremely uncommon these days. Only a few towns in Andalusia (Córdoba and Granada) and a couple places near Bilbao (where tapas are called pinxtos) still practice this tradition.
Suchhhh a bummer.
Not only were we let down by the practicing of the tapas culture, but the recommended restaurants were falling so short of our expectations! We had the uninspired Los Coloniales on one hand and the overrated Duo Tapas on the other.
We wandered far from the city center one afternoon, and as we were approaching the river something amazing happened.
La Chalá – A Diamond in Seville’s Culinary Rough
As these things tend to do, there have become some standard dishes, ubiquitous throughout the region, that have become synonymous with the word tapas and this is where La Chalá shines.
Self-described as “New takes on Grandma’s classics,” this wine and tapas bar fuses Latin and Iberian cuisines, resulting in the most extraordinarily eclectic menu I’ve seen so far in Spain.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Grandma’s classics, that doesn’t really sound like my style. Given a choice, I love fresh produce, balanced flavors, and fried food has never really been my forte. Trust me when I tell you though, this food was goooood.
Their menu changes often, which frankly was fine by me given that we ate there five times in the course of a week. Truthfully, we would have gone for the gold, dining at La Chalá seven times in seven days, but they’re closed between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during the week, and all day on Mondays, so on two occasions we missed out.
The house red costs but a few euros, and is a beautifully smooth Tempranillo from the Rioja region. The soft vanilla nose and fruit-forward, jammy flavor was to die for when paired with this cashew-creamed gazpacho.
You know by now that Tyler and I usually avoid eating meat for various reasons, and adhere to a mostly plant-based, pescatarian lifestyle. Occasionally, when offered thoughtfully prepared meat (as was the case at La Chalá) we will eat it, and oh-my-god was this meat freaking delicious, you guys. Roasted chicken, pork, venison — they expertly executed it all.
Pictured above is a rich, venison lasagna delicious enough to make me salivate as I write this Throwback Thursday post six weeks later.
Have you ever wished for a return policy with calories? You’ve prepared yourself all week for your splurge — abstained from excess, subsisted on nothing but salads — but then your cheat meal fell flat on its face, far short of your expectations?
No need to worry about that at La Chalá. This flaky, perfect pastry dough pictured above was wrapped around a medley of meat and cheese, making this thing worth every damn calorie — and bead of sweat it later took to burn off! 😆
The Latin influence shined its light (although sadly not its spice) on this deliciously roasted, melt-in-your-mouth chicken croquette.
And of course, no proper cheat
day week would be complete without dessert.
Why am I doing this to myself? Now I’m just pining for La Chalá!
Two to four glasses of wine, various tapas, dessert, and limoncello for two and we never spent more than €30.
Let’s hear it for the best restaurant in
Seville Andalusia Spain….La Chalá!
Ready to Pin!