There are two basic types of dining out in Sevilla: going for tapas (small portions generally between 1,50-4€) or heading to a restaurant for a more traditional meal. This section covers the many bars and restaurants where you can practice tapeando, or going out for tapas. This is not to say you can't order a plate of food in many tapas bars: you will see groups sharing a ración (plate) or media ración (half-plate) of the same dishes. And in many of the good restaurants you can order tapas at the bar. This is a nice way to try some excellent food without paying the full price of a sit down dinner or lunch. As you will see, these two types of dining out in Seville kind of blend together. In the tapas section I will list a number of restaurants which also appear in the restaurant section, but in this case I will try to cover experience of of tapas separately. Generally this means space at the bar, price, what is on the tapas menu and perhaps not always on the dinner or lunch menu. Finally, there has been a noticeable change in the offering of tapas over the last 5-10 years in Seville, with vegetarian and international dishes appearing on more and more menus. I keep hearing that Spain is impossible for a vegetarian and that's simply not true. If you get to know the right places and dishes you'll see there is plenty to eat. That's not to say vegetarian dishes are everywhere, but they're much easier to find now.

Topics in this section


coverThe New Spaniards - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Probably the best book you can read to understand where the Spanish as a people have been and are going in the future. Topics such as women in spain, ETA, regionalism, work, real estate and social and economic policy are well written and without the dry commentary you'd expect on such subjects. Television, radio, eating, drinking and other topics show give you insight into daily, individual life in Spain. I would recommend this as the first book you should read before studying or living here.

Spain: A History

Nobody puts together the history of Spain like Raymond Carr, one of the most respected authors of Spanish History in English. Carr did a remarkable job unifying the work of several different authors into one cohesive piece. Starting with prehistoric Spain and moving through periods of Roman rule, the Visigoths, Moors and the Enlightenment. Along the way learn of the impressive literary and artistic history of the country.

Modern Spain, 1875-1980

I was first introduced to this book as required reading in my History of Modern Spain class back in 1991. Again, as the probably the best author in English on the history of Spain, Raymond Carr does a fantastic job of leading you through probably the most confusing epoch of Spanish history. A great read to understand the rise of Franco in the context of the fifty odd years before his coup. A great book which covers the basics of Spanish history up to present day.

coverThe Spanish Labyrinth : An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War
An account by Brennan, another great modern writer of Spanish history, which details the build up to and struggle of the Spanish Civil War. Written during the same period it offers some fascinating insight without the benefit of hindsight. Much is related through Brennan's personal experience while he intends to give an objective view of the causes of the war.


Via De LA Plata: The Way of St James, Seville to Santiago

A guide to the road less traveled when it comes to the pilgrimage. The southern route from Seville to Santiago is covered in this book.



cover Hitler Stopped By Franco
A thoroughly documented historical novel from the years 1940-1943 of WWII. Did Franco provide crucial help in winning the war for the Allies by denying Hitler entrance into Spain and control of Gibraltar, effectively closing British shipping lines in the Med. sea? Did Franco rescue thousands of Jews from the Nazis? The book is well liked by readers as well as some academics.


cover The Spanish Civil War
A more political historical account Spanish Civil War, including the events leading to the conflict. An in depth look at the Republicans and their multinational yet often conflicting political support versus Franco and the Nationalists, with aid from Italy and Germany. Less a battlefield account and more coverage of the intense political and diplomatic efforts on both sides.


cover Spaniards and Nazi Germany: Collaboration in the New Order
Perhaps an interesting companion to the book listed in my fiction section, The Blind Man of Seville. Covering some of the most radical and fascist elements of Franco's regime. those who sought close ties to Nazi Germany, including the famous Blue Division who joined the Germans to fight Stalin and the Russians in World War II. Some interesting research was done for this book with some little known facts pulled together by the author.


cover The Story of Spain
A great overview and introduction to the history of Spain. In some 300 pages, many with illustrations and maps, the author, Mark Williams, covers Spain from pre-historic times to the 1990's, including political, social and cultural events. Showing great admiration for the country, Williams does a great job at producing a very readable and interesting account of Spain over more than 2,000 years and provides photos and a bit of information on the sites for those visiting the country. A great read before a trip to Spain or a companion book to the travel guide you'll bring with you to help put the sites in some historical context.

The Rough Guide History of Spain

You won't get quite the academic review of Spanish history from the Rough Guide series, but they do a good job putting together history for the traveler and blending it with some helpful information about the sites you'll see along the way. As always a little detail and some lesser known facts about sites, cities and towns.


cover Contemporary Spain: A Handbook
A fairly thorough account of Spain with a focus on politics, economy and institutions written in an easy to digest format. Billed as a "valuable book for English-speaking students of Spanish", the book provides a lot of tools that others don't. Each chapter contains a Spanish-English glossary with relevant words as well as suggested readings for those who want more information on specific topics. I haven't read this one yet, but am waiting for a copy, so I'll have more on this one soon.

Islamic Spain

coverPoems of Arab Andalusia
Originally written in Arabic, this book is a collection of poetry born in Andalucia which beautifully represents the times of Moorish Spain. Well translated by Cola Franzen considering in reading this you'll be on the third language (Arabic to Spanish to English). If you know Spanish I do recommend reading them that way, but she does an excellent job of conveying the emotions of the original authors. Of course if you speak Arabic track them down in the original language and that's even better.


coverMoorish Spain - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
A great book for travelers of Andalucia who want to know more detail about the 700 years of Islamic Spain. Covering everything from art, architecture, poetry and history the book is also extremely readable for a "history" text. The author, Richard Fletcher, also offers specific examples and theories on how Spain acted as the most important Islamic influence on modern European culture and thought. I've only read half the book at this point, but will be finished within the next few days!


coverThe Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
The title describes well the content of the book - a glimpse into a unique culture of religious and cultural tolerance during the 700 years of Arab occupation in Andalucia. Significant historical figures of the time are given intimate descriptions. The accomplishments of Islamic Spain are well documented and impressive. Another good read for those planning to travel to the south of Spain.


Art & Architecture

coverArt and Ritual in Golden-Age Spain
A must read for those interested in the history of processional sculpture of Semana Santa. The work involved and the social, cultural, religious and political influences behind the pieces, which were at one time looked upon as a lower art form. The author pieces together archival evidence with more contemporary accounts to fully understand the artistic history of not only the sculpture, but also the fraternidades and people's devotion to the event of Holy Week or Semana Santa in Seville.

cover Velazquez in Seville
If you really love Velazquez and Sevilla then this book is worth the $70 you'll pay. Full of color illustrations it focuses on Velazquez's years in Sevilla and the influences the culture, religion and city had on his work in his formative years. It's one of those coffee table books, but it doesn't convert to a coffee table if you don't have one like Kramer's book in Seinfeld.


cover Houses and Palaces of Andalusia
The descriptions come to life through the work of a reporter for the Spanish newspaper el ABC. Photographs are excellent as they take you around some of the finest houses in Andalucia built between the 16th and 18th centuries as the New World wealth flowed to the south of Spain. History behind the houses gives you some insight into their history and the families who built them.


cover The Cathedral of Seville
follow the history of the world's largest gothic building, from it's start as a Mosque during Moorish times to the subsequent additions and renovations converting it into one of the most visited churches in Europe. A photographic tour of the interior architecture plus plenty of color illustrations representing some of the finest paintings and works of art within the cathedral. The book covers La Catedral thoroughly giving you plenty to look at along the way.


cover What Is a Bridge? The Making of Calatrava's Bridge in Seville
From old to new, in this book take a look at the man behind the Alamillo Bridge, architect Santiago Calatrava, who was commissioned to design the structure for Sevilla's 1992 World Exposition. From the design to the various phases of construction to completion the book is a wonderful account of the entire process. Calatrava is famous for his works around the world, and in 2003 was commissioned to design the new railway terminal on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.




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Editor: Jeff Spielvogel
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