How to order tapas in Seville?

Apr 8th, 2003, 01:17 PM
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How to order tapas in Seville?

We are leaving for Seville in May and are really looking forward to eating tapas. I am a little worried as to how to order tapas. We are able to speak only basic Spanish. Do we order at bar or do waiters come to table? Any suggestions welcome.
aj is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Don't want to be rude, but it strikes me that this is the kind of question that you should enjoy finding the answer to upon your arrival in Spain. No need to be worried.
mattsigel is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 01:22 PM
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The best part of tapas is going from bar to bar. I like starting with a fino sherry and olives -- you'll find that the tapas are often not as "refined" as what is served in tapas restaurants over here.

One of my fave tapas places in the US for tapas is Iberico in Chicago. It comes closest to what I remember in Barrio Sanat Cruz in Seville.
sfowler is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 01:35 PM
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In the really traditional places, people stand at the counter and eat and the tapas are all behind the counter where you can see them. If you are an adventurous eater, just point to the items that look good and await the surprise. Otherwise, there are lots of basic items like shrimp, sausage, beans, etc. that you can pick up the words for. People are friendly there so don't worry about not having it all figured out!
traveller212 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 02:04 PM
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I agree with the above. Recently in both Madrid and Barcelona we found numerous "tapas bars" where the fare was displayed more or less as in a can easily point and choose that way..often you can get several choices for a basic price. You do not need to speak Spanish since we already know you are going to be your usual, polite self when venturing in.
On another note..when we first went to Spain I was so tired about hearing about how great the tapas are and how you simply HAVE to do it I was a little sick of the whole idea before we even arrived is an absolutely great, relaxed, and fun way to enjoy SOME of the food Spain has to offer.
Apr 8th, 2003, 02:40 PM
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Many guidebooks for Andalucia have sections with tapas vocabulary. Rick Steves' book has a good list. You might want to familiarize yourself with some of that before you go or bring it with you.

You can often eat at the bar or at tables, but keep in mind that many times it's cheaper to eat standing at the bar. But the atmosphere of eating at the tables outside is often worth the extra cost.

quepasa18 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 03:09 PM
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But Eating and Drinking in Spain by Open Road publications. It was a life-saver when we were in Spain and Seville last month. It is an alaphabetical listing (and translation)of any term you would see on a menu. Tapas places have menues or have chalkboards with the food items listed on them. Don't worry about it, you'll get the hang of it in a day or so.
julies is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 04:17 PM
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While most good guide books will include a food glossary, I do agree with julies that you should search out the very complete Open Road menu reader and restaurant guide. I'm a Spanish speaker and Spain veteran, but I even purchased it myself because it also lists regional names of specialties that even a native might not recognize, never having travelled to that particular region. And some food items do change names from region to region; i.e, what are "calamares" (squid) in the south become "rabas" in the Basque Country, or "judias" in Castilla become "pochas' in the Rioja. Drinks can also change. In the south the locals will drink fino (dry sherry); in the north it could be cider or in the Basque Country, the local slightly fizzy white wine, txacoli. And up there a ca�a (draft beer) becomes a "zurito". I also like the tapas bars/restaurant selection Open Road provides in the back for Madrid, Bcn, Seville, Santiago, Granada, C�ceres, even Ronda.

Many tapas bars in Sevilla will just have a menu written on the chalkboard at the bar rather than a printed one, as julies says.
I think the best way to learn quickly the tapas ritual is to stand at the bar with the locals rather than sitting at a table (and bars have a 3 tier pricing system, as quepasa indicates-one price for the bar, a higher one at a table inside and even higher tab for sitting on the outside terrace). Standing next to the natives, you can see what they're enjoying and just point to a particular dish that catches your eye or choose among the many items displayed on the counter. It's really quite easy. And everyone at some point will be digging in to a plate of jamon iberico, the delectable, silky cured ham similar to prosciutto (but even better, me thinks).
We almost always stand at the counter, and in some great tapas spots in Seville, such as fantastic Casablanca on Calle Zaragoza, there's really no whereelse to sit other than the small formal d. r. in the back, which requires a prior reservation.

Some Seville tapas bars serve tapas that are indeed as sophisticated as their US counterparts. Check the offerings at the bar at the elegant Ega�a Oriza (Basque cuisine) adjacent to the Murillo gardens or the Basque inspired tapas at the bistrot of La Taberna del Alabardero on Calle Zaragoza or La Albariza in the Triana district across the river on Calle Betis. Modesto in the heart of the Santa Cruz quarter has simply impeccable fried fish (pescaito frito) tapas and fabulous baby clams in white wine and garlic sauce (coquinas). Other fine places include Casa Robles on Alvarez Quintero, near the cathedral and its offspring Robles Placetines around the corner. And Casa Roman for that jamon iberico, plus the Hosteria del Laurel across the plaza, and on and on...

But don't worry; you'll fall into the tapas habit very quickly. It's an infectuous tradition. And in the south, particularly in the heat of the summer, the locals tend to just graze in the evening rather than sit down for a formal meal.

Have fun learning the tapas crawl and enjoying your moveable feast.
Maribel is online now  
Apr 9th, 2003, 01:23 PM
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My wife and I have been to Spain several times and have found that tapas bars are a great way to eat.

Go into any tapas bar and head to the counter. The tapas will be behind the glass or on the counter. Once you get the attention of the bartender, you can pretty much point to whatever you want. Try one piece of many things. Then get more of what you really like.

Even though you don;t need to speak Spanish, a little bit goes a VERY LONG way to make you welcome. Try it.
JKinCALIF is offline  
Apr 10th, 2003, 05:21 AM
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Thanks everyone for all your help! I can't wait to see and taste for myself.
aj is offline  

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