Rating: 8 / 10
One of the seven deadly sins is gluttony, and by jove Seville has multiple offenders.
Pass any street corner or square at any time of day and you'll see them: gangs of ravagers tearing apart small tapas plates like Hyena's in Harar at dusk. Unashamed locals stacking their stomachs with everything from jamon, croquettas, spinach & chickpeas, to oxtail and gambas. I rarely saw a sad face during my visit, so perhaps they are onto something.
A local friend of mine made a comprehensive list of places I should try during my four day stay, and Manolo Cateca was one of them. My instructions were to try the Carne Mechada and the Pringa. Wishes were communicated to the waiter who was awfully cordial, and he disappeared to relay the instructions to the chef whilst I dove into my sparkling water. The construction beside did little to dampen my enthusiasm.
Out came a plate of 2x2 little sandwiches and a pile of potato chips in the middle. I started with the Mechada and found it tasty but a tad dry. The Spanish (like the Portuguese) are not rabid for condiments, pickles, relishes, sauces or butter. They like their bread plain (splash of oil) with a lump of something sat ontop. Fair play, but in most instances I think their cuisine would be elevated up a huge notch with a tiny bit of something acidic to cut through the heavy meat-factor. However, who am I to comment on a national cuisine.
The Pringa sandwich started off whispering the much feared rumours of offal, but quickly veered left and delivered a rich, funky mix of meat and whatever else they puree in there. It was definitely my favourite of the two.
All in all, a delicious little stop on the way to alternate options, fussed over by a lovely waiter and stomach almost full to wander the streets and become lost in the labyrinth of treasures.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"