Big cities can be tricky (for us, at least). We like to explore them in a way that feels like we have really discovered the essence of the city. Finding cool neighborhoods and great local restaurants and avoiding the tourist traps is key.
We rolled into Sevilla in the late afternoon, already missing Portugal a little. We checked in Hotel Holos– again, see my TripAdvisor review if you are interested. Hotel Holos is in Heliopolis, a beautiful neighborhood right next to a soccer stadium. We enjoyed the great design, clean rooms, and nice patios, but when we return to Sevilla, I think we will try another hotel or do an airbnb in the city center.
After getting a rioja at a neighborhood bar and marveling at the dark and handsome local men (ok, maybe I was doing all the marveling at the men…), we were ready for some food. Michelle from our hotel in Évora had given us a list of restaurants they liked in Sevilla (which we promptly lost after the first night), so we chose their favorite local tapas place, Bar Salomon el Rey de los Pinchitos in the Triana neighborhood. Bar Salomon was truly a local’s place, no English menu or English speakers to be found! I would recommend going there after a couple days in Spain, so you aren’t as wide-eyed and overwhelmed as we were. Our years of Spanish classes and traveling/living in Latin American countries did not prepare us for a menu in Spain! This wasn’t like the tapas joints I had read about before our arrival- we were sitting at a table in a small restaurant that reminded me of a mix between a typical Portuguese and a typical Central American restaurant. Pig leg on the counter, pieces of paper with one or two menu item descriptions typed out hung on the walls. We were given a menu, and we got to work on translations. Eventually we gave up and ordered several tapas: lightly fried eggplant, some sardines and avocado on toast, some steak with garlic, and were prompted to order patatas bravas by the owner (smart choice). It was all very tasty, but we finally realized that he is el Rey de los Pinchitos and we would be remiss to not order some pinchitos. So we did. And they were very good.
(I’m realizing now that we weren’t drinking nearly enough wine at this point. WTF? Don’t worry, we remedied that.)