Updated: July 1, 2016
You may notice, or may have already noticed, as you make your way from bar to bar in search of tapas and a drink, that the word abacería (often antigua abacería) appears in some of the names in a way that suggests a particular meaning. But what meaning?
On closer inspection you may notice that as well as being bars, these abacerias are also small shops, selling a variety of foodstuffs, but especially delicatessen (hams and cheeses etc), beans, herbs and spices, and speciality items in tins and jars. In fact, these abacerías (and not all abacerías have the word in the name), were shops first, and shops with a bar later, although the presence of a bar is what distinguishes them from the other type of small grocer’s, the tienda de ultramarinos (literally shop of beyond the sea, originally specialising in products from the New World). The word abacería is Arabic, meaning something like “place of supplies”, and nowadays offer the opportunity to sample anything you’ve bought in the shop while still on the premises. By the mid 20th century abacerias had almost disappeared, but over the last few decades there has been a revival, and both “traditional” and “modern” versions are now very popular.
I love these little treasure troves of culinary delights, where you never know quite what you may find. There’s some nostalgia too; a lot of them have a look and atmosphere of little shops that I remember from my childhood, but transported to a different country and almost magically reinvented. These are some of my favourites, and well worth seeking out for that very special Sevilla experience.
Casa Moreno is one of my favourite places in Sevilla. A tiny shop in front with a little bar hidden away at the back serving mostly montaditos (toasted buns) with delicious meat and cheese fillings. Great atmosphere that’s old fashioned in just the right way.
La Antigua Abaceria de San Lorenzo isn’t actually that antigua, though it certainly looks the part. Hidden away in a residential neighbourhood it’s obviously a locals bar, cosy and intimate with everybody on first name terms.
La Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo
La Antigua Abaceria in Triana has something of the feel of a country pub, and is a great little place to stop for a beer and snacks. It’s recently been extended into a second premises next door, but still has the same friendly atmosphere.
La Antigua Abacería
La Almadraba is part of a modernising trend at Seville’s oldest market in Calle Feria. As the name suggests it’s all about the tuna, with quality products from top brands such as Herpac. Don’t miss the mojama (cured tuna). Delicious.
Salsamento is a brand new abacería in the revitalised Regina neighbourhood behind the Metropol Parasol that has succeeded in combining the traditional spirit of the abacería with a totally modern light and clean interior design. There’s a nice mix of cheeses and charcuterie with simple tapas and a nicely displayed range of speciality tinned goods.
Jerónimo Hernández 19
Centro / Regina
Flores Jamon y Vinos in Puerta Triana, is a modern, upmarket version of abaceria. Specialising in top quality jamon, but with plenty of other goodies to excite. Eat here or take away, with ham and other cured meats cut to order or available vacuum packed.
Flores Jamones & Vinos
San Pablo 24
Photos courtesy of Azahar Sevilla