March 15, 2013 9:48 pm

Five of the best: tapas in Seville

The Andalusian capital prepares for Semana Santa, or Holy Week, with a wealth of treats
Shellfish 'cappuccino' with mussels

Zelai’s 'cappuccino'

Albarama

Sevillanos mostly do tapas standing up. Join them at Albarama’s bar, or find a table in the dining room at the back. The decor is functional, cool and minimalist. The excitements from chef Diego Solis are on the plate: scallops tumbling over a risotto loaded with black mushrooms, a mini “hamburger” of squid coiffed with a layer of inky-black jelly, or ceps with a quail’s egg on top.

Plaza de San Francisco 5, 41004 Seville; www.restaurantealbarama.com

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Zelai

This sleek black space near the Plaza Nueva is one of Seville’s newer tapas places, and a considerable success. Some feel the service has become a bit take-it-or-leave-it, but go anyway for the shellfish “cappuccino” with coconut-milk foam topped with a skewer of mussels, or white hake wrapped in black seaweed with a brick-red romesco sauce. Its croquetas achieve the illusion that a thick béchamel with chopped ham rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried can achieve lightness.

Albareda 22, 41001 Seville; www.restaurantezelai.com

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Becerríta

An absolute institution, Becerríta is a little out of the centre on a busy avenue that forms the northern ring road. The beautifully tiled space at the front is the place to go for artichokes with sherry and ham, shrimp ensaladilla or oxtail croquettes, “hamburgers” of garlicky prawns, Ibérico pork with an Idiazabal cheese topping or chunks of slow-cooked, honeyed lamb. The dessert tapa is ice cream with chocolate shavings and a splash of Pedro Ximenez.

Recaredo 9, 41003 Seville; www.becerrita.com

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Eslava

Close to the Plaza San Lorenzo, this place is always heaving and yet the waiters somehow manage to keep smiling. Get here in good time, press through to the tiny room at the back and take a seat for some of the best-value food in town. Classics such as salmorejo (gazpacho but silkier), Ibérico ham and sardines and anchovies share menu space with a prizewinning, soft-cooked egg sitting on ceps with a sweet wine reduction.

Eslava 3, 41002 Seville; www.espacioeslava.com

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Puratasca

Most taxi drivers have never heard of the street where Puratasca lives, far less the restaurant. Consult the map, take off across the Isabel II bridge to Triana and track down this “gastrobar” for yourself – perfect for working up an appetite for slivers of moist mojama (air-dried tuna), prawns and mayo wrapped in a brik pastry cornet, a creamy rice confection with quail and mushrooms, or vegetable strips in tempura batter.

Numancia 5, 41010 Seville; puratasca.blogspot.com

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