Saturday, 8 March 2014

My latest crazy project: The Lonely Planet Restaurant Challenge

My first two experiences of tapas here in Seville left a lot to be desired. 
I followed the advice of my boss. She told me never to visit an empty bar - the Spanish flock to where the food is best, whether there is a wait or not. Fairly sound advice, you'd think.

Typically, I must have chosen the only two tapas bars in the whole of Spain where this was not the case...cue inedible aliños (cold, seasoned dishes) in one bar and extortionately over-priced wine and jámon in another.

Disillusioned, I turned to my students for help. Questions of 'where is your favourite place to eat in Seville?' were met with a cacophony of negative responds: ' It's too expensive to eat out in Seville', 'Eat before you leave the house and then you won't be disappointed', and even the blasphemous 'McDonald's is just fine when you're sightseeing'! 

I couldn't believe what I was hearing!! This is the Mediterranean! Spain is the land of olive oil, jamón, paellas and mouth watering stews! Surely, in one of the most popular city break destinations in the country, there must be eateries to suit all budgets showcasing la auténtica España.

My last and only hope was old faithful.
Lonely Planet - the holy grail of guidebooks.

In the past, it has led me to many a backstreet gem - most notably my favourite cafe in all of St Petersburg, Loft Project Etagi, a multifunctional hostel, come gallery, come cafe housed in a former bread factory. It has proved itself to be a useful companion on many a journey, so it was time to take the plunge for this one. Though Seville doesn't have a city guide of its own, it has a sizeable chapter in their Andalucía book (which is downloadable chapter by chapter in pdf from their website).

Lonely Planet had managed to dedicate a fairly healthily sized portion of its Seville space to restaurants with all manner of budgets in mind - perhaps they know something my students don't! Separated by district, the recommendations all have street addresses, a Euro rating to show you price ranges and forewarning of any closures.

23 weeks, 27 restaurants and 3 bars. Can it be done? I guess, we're going to find out.

I have set my self the challenge to eat my way around Lonely Planet Seville...
and you lucky people are coming along for the ride.

I'll be posting reviews of all the restaurants I visit and you can keep track of my progress on my challenge page above. So here goes...

The List.


Barrio de Santa Cruz, Alcazár and Cathedral
Vinería de San Telmo
Casa Tomate
Restaurante Engaña Oriza
Cafe Bar Las Teresas
Corral del Agua
Restaurante La Albahaca
Álavaro Peregil
Bodega Santa Cruz
Horno de San Buenaventura

El Arenal
Enrique Becerra
Mesón Cinco Jotas
Mesón de la Infanta
Mesón Serranito

El Centro
Los Coloniales
Santo Restaurante
Bar Alfafa
Robles Laredo
Bar Europa
Confíteria La Campana
El Rinconcillo

Café de La Prensa
Casa Cuesta
Ristorante Casa Nostra

Alameda de Hércules
Duo Tapas
Bar-Restaurante Eslava

Baños Árabes Tetería
Bulebar Cafe
El Garlochi

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