Truth is, being back in Spain meant I ate so well, far more than I have in a very long time. I've long said that Spain's cuisine is vastly underrated and overshadowed by the cuisines of other neighbouring countries, but head to any major city in Spain and you're likely to find a heady mix of traditional Spanish restaurants serving up big plates and dishes in cosy environments, sitting alongside creative, new-age tapas restaurants providing a twist on some Spanish classics.
Seville is certainly no different.
1. LA BRUNILDA TAPAS | CALLE GALERA, 5, 41002 SEVILLA
This was by and far away one of three of my favourite new age tapas restaurants.
Sat a few streets further out of the historic city centre, La Brunilda Tapas is a quiet, unassuming inn from the outside.
Push through the doors though, and you're likely to find a bustling restaurant with a high ceiling, with tables fully occupied and waiters dashing around serving table to table.
You'll most likely have to wait for a table, and sometimes settle for a seat at the counter.
However, the waitress allowed us to move to a sit-down table when one had freed itself up, and all things considered, we were lucky we didn't have to wait for long.
Even if you arrive a couple minutes before opening, a queue already starts to form outside, which is a real testament to how popular La Brunilda is.
Starters include a selection of salads, fried potato chunks served in spicy aioli sauce ('patatas bravas,' for those more familiar), croquettes, risotto, and a cheese board.
Moving into the meats and seafood, you can order a half or full portion, and the half portions are a shockingly reasonable €3 to €5, and the full portions range from €9 to €13.
We opted for more half portions just so we could try a bit more of everything, and I have to hand it to La Brunilda for food presentation as it was possibly the most well-decorated plates with vibrant colours compared to every other restaurant we went to, including Madrid.
We ordered the free range chicken breast with polenta and mushrooms, the grilled Iberian pork shoulder with glazed sweet potato, idiazabal cheese and pistachios, grilled octopus with vegetables and soy mayo, potatoes in 'brava' sauce, and the green salad with beet root, goat cheese and garlic chips.
My favourite had to be the grilled Iberian pork shoulder.
2. EL PINTÓN | CALLE FRANCOS, 42, 41004 SEVILLA
Situated right in the heart of the historic city centre and just a stone's throw away from the cathedral is El Pintón, tucked away in a pedestrian zone a short walk from the main road.
El Pintón is a tapas and cocktail bar and we came here for lunch and dinner on two separate occasions.
For dinner, we could only be sat outside as all seating indoors had been taken, and here's where I had some of the best patatas bravas in all of Seville.
Other recommendations include the extra tender roasted octopus tentacle with paprika parmentier, though my favourite was the glazed Iberic ribs with BBQ sauce which was absolutely delicious.
3. OVEJAS NEGRAS BAR DE TAPAS | CALLE HERNANDO COLÓN, 8, 41004 SEVILLA
Another new-age tapas bar also situated in the historic city centre, Ovejas Negras was another clear standout.
When we entered for dinner right when it opened at 8:30pm, the kitchen hadn't opened yet (it opens at 9pm), but quickly the other seats in the restaurant started filling up, and by about an hour in, the place was completely full.
Ovejas Negras incorporates fusion food into their menu too, what with soft shell crab saäm with korean cocktail sauce and the like separating the bar from others. Of course, you're just as likely to find Spanish favourites too including patatas bravas, grilled iberian pork, beef tenderloin, octopus etc. We even had the chicken wings which came in a set of either 6 or 12, and the sauce topped with sesame seeds was pretty delicious too.
4. EL RINCONCILLO | CALLE GERONA, 40, 41003 SEVILLA
If you're after something a little more traditional for a sit-down dinner, it's hard to go wrong with El Rinconcillo.
MInd, like every other popular establishment, this place packs out, so if luck isn't on your side and you can't get a seat, do as the locals do and stand at the bar and enjoy a bit of tapas over some beer and rowdy conversation.
The restaurant is decorated with typical Andalusian motifs and creates an old school atmosphere that is more authentically local than tourist-tacky.
Expect prices to be of your standard sit down restaurant range, with mains going from €12 to over €20.
We had the Iberian pork sirloin (solomillo ibérico) and Iberian pork shoulder (presa ibérica), both of which were meats of 250grs. At a respectable €13 and €14 respectively, the meats were juicy slabs served with potatoes and peppers with a sprinkling of salt, common in many dishes on the Iberian peninsula.
5. MERCADO LONJA DEL BARRANCO | CALLE ARJONA, 41001 SEVILLA
If a food market is what you're after, look no further than Mercado Lonja del Barranco, possibly Seville's most bustling food hall even till late at night.
Like in many other cities, new age food halls and markets have caught on in a big way, and tend to draw big groups and crowds for the convenience of being able to order from a wide variety of stalls, the bar, and group-friendly seating.
Mercado Lonja del Barranco is no different, and I'd also say one of the prettiest around with its wooden flooring, white washed interior and high ceiling, giving a sense of space that's both clean and bright.
Here, there are plenty of stalls to choose from, including seafood, meats, sushi, cheeses, empanadas, paella, Mexican, and the like.
Great for families and big groups, or a quick drink and bite to fill your tummy before you head into town at a sit down restaurant.
Also try the Triana Market across the river in the neighbourhood of Triana.
I might have to admit that the best food market and hall I've experienced on the Iberian peninsula is all the way in Lisbon, Portugal with the Time Out Market and Campo de Ourique Market, which win out based on quality of food and therefore slightly edges them out for me.
6. RESTAURANTE LA CASA DEL TESORERO (LA PIEMONTESA) | CALLE SANTANDER, 1, 41004 SEVILLA
Having too much tapas meal after meal and need a bit of a break?
Just a 5 minute walk away from the Cathedral and General Archive of the Indies, Restaurante La Casa del Tesorero (La Piemontesa) serves up some of the best Italian food you can find this side of town, with a beautifully decorated interior and plenty of seating for groups of all sizes, and dishes out some beautiful pastas and pizzas.
If you're a truffle lover, you will absolutely not be disappointed with the amount of truffle available on the menu.
The food is wonderful and prices are more than reasonable, and as a bigger pasta lover, the pasta here hits the spot. It is flavourful, well done and features the perfect sauce to pasta ratio balance.
7. BAR EL COMERCIO | CALLE LINEROS, 9, 41004 SEVILLA
If you've got a craving for churros, this is the place to be in Seville.
Bar El Comercio is a busy, busy bar with waiters and baristas preparing coffee and dishing out plates quickly and loudly.
Come here for the fantastic atmosphere, and also to see churros being made and cooked right in front of you, with an open kitchen where you can see the step by step process of turning dough into churros.
It was a fascinating thing to watch as few churrerias offer such an experience.
The churros served here are light, fluffy and not doused in sugar, and those familiar with some aspects of Asian cuisine will find the churros here aren't worlds apart from the Chinese doughnut stick, sometimes called the Chinese churros, or Youtiao (油条), and there are certain theories about the conception of Spanish churros that explain these similarities, including Spanish and Portuguese sailors having seen the youtiao of the East and bringing it back home.
I certainly didn't know of that before, so that was pretty cool.
If a cup of thick chocolate is a little too heavy or sweet for you, do as the locals do and opt for coffee instead to dip your churros into.
It certainly doesn't get more authentic than this, and you'll leave with a full tummy and a couple of videos and photos of the making of churros to boot.
From my trip to Spain this summer, I've turned some of my photography into my brand of everyday products which you can check out below. Worldwide shipping is available so if you're looking for a tote bag or postcard to take home to remember your travels if you too have been to these parts of Spain, and if you'd like to support this passion project of mine, look no further!
View the full product catalogue at the shop here.
When in Seville, we went on a walking tour to get ourselves familiarised with the city.
I've fallen hard for walking tours after this summer, and I'm so glad I went on 2 in Spain alone.
Across the Guadalquivir River lies the neighbourhood of Triana, so called the neighbourhood of gypsies and outcasts, where inhabitants used to identify as being from Triana before Seville.
The draw of Triana though, apart from the flamenco flair, is Calle Betis, the riverfront promenade lined with restaurants and bars which turns into a hotspot in the evenings.
In the sleepy late afternoon though, the buildings shine in the sun as workers of each restaurant start slowly setting up for a busy evening ahead.
View the rest of the collection here.
Barcelona wasn't on the itinerary this summer, but as you can imagine I have plenty photos from my stint 2 years ago.
One of my favourite neighbourhoods in Barcelona is El Born, which is basically the Gothic Quarter except lined with local boutiques instead of kitsch tourist souvenir shops, which lends itself to a really nice bohemian atmosphere.
Not to mention some of the best tapas bars in the city can be found here, which is a major plus.
El Born's also where you get all the beauty of the Gothic Quarter, and I particularly like the doors and façade of shops and houses here.
So here's a photograph of a coffeehouse in El Born, and I think this is quintessential Barcelona in a photograph.
View the rest of the collection here.
When I lived in Barcelona, there were quite a few vintage clothing stores around, and this in particular was a chain of them— Flamingos Vintage Kilo. I would always walk into these stores even if I wasn't looking for anything in particular for the vibe of them. Everything about them just felt so damn cool. In this shop, I stumbled onto an area where there was a collection of vinyls, and there really is something about vinyls for me and the way they are packaged. There was no way I was leaving this store without at least a snap on the camera.
Andalucia in Spain may be famous for its whitewashed hilltop towns, but I got a slice of that in Sitges in Northeastern Spain, Catalonia. The streets in winter were almost completely empty save the odd resident or two going about their daily business, meaning we got to explore the entire town almost to ourselves that day.
Street art wasn't hard to find during the time I lived in Barcelona, Spain. But this by the side of a building in the town of Tarragona an hour away from Barcelona was by far the most elaborate I saw. The mural represents a celebration of Spanish culture.
During my very first trip to Barcelona, Spain, we headed to the beaches of the city in the district of Barceloneta. On a clear day, the sun brought the crowds in droves; friends playing beach football or volleyball, joggers taking in their morning ritual, groups of families and friends strolled along the promenade, and beachgoers getting out their towels and getting their best tan on. Whilst making my way down the boulevard, I managed to get this clear shot of these two palm trees right next to each other, and made me think of partners— two peas in a pod.