Let’s face it, when you are spending a weekend in Spain you generally want to eat at Spanish restaurants. However, due to a rather misleading description of Porta Rossa as “a combination of Tuscan and Sevillian” in an otherwise excellent article in The Guardian, we found ourselves eating at what is actually a proudly and solely Italian restaurant. Perhaps I would have preferred to eat at somewhere more “authentically Sevillian” but I have to admit that the food at Porta Rossa is excellent.
Statue outside the bull ring in Seville
Located on the edge of the old town, near the bull ring, Porta Rossa is in a modern building and the interior is decked out in inoffensive muted colours. The tables are covered in good quality white linen and the glass ware sparkles. You pick up an immediate sense of pride when you enter Porta Rossa. On our visit, we were a noisy table of twelve so we started by sharing big platters of charcuterie featuring some delicously spicy salami. Moving on to the entree section of the menu the must order dish is the gnocchi Porta Rossa which features six perfectly round, light and fluffy balls of spinach gnocchi arranged in formation on a plate. The pasta is made by hand here, and you can certainly tell from the gnocchi.
From the mains, the meat and fish options were much more interesting than the pasta. Spaghetti con pure di zucchini e coda di gambera was light on prawns and the spaghetti was swathed in a forgettable creamy sauce. In contrast, the Entrecotte all aceto balsamico di modegna featured a generous and tender piece of steak doused in a rich balsamic sauce. The Filetto al pele Nero e Wodwka was equally good. The pairing of a thick beef sirloin fillet with a vodka and black pepper sauce was a perfect combination. I am not quite sure of the point of using vodka in a sauce, since good vodka is supposed to be tasteless but this sauce was deliciously creamy.
Make sure you save room for dessert, the best of which is the velvety chocolate mousse served in a ramekin and proudly wearing a pastry cigar. Like all true Italian restaurants wherever their location dessert was followed by a complimentary shot of limoncello. Just what we needed before heading off into a long Spanish night. Throughout our dinner, service was friendly and when it came to the end of our meal we agreed that it we didn’t really matter that we ended up eating at an Italian rather than a Spanish restaurant.
Details: Porta Rossa, c/Arenal 5, Seville, Spain (Ph 954 21 6139)
If you are in Seville you absolutely must go for a drink at the EME hotel. The views of the cathedral are amazing and the whole set up is incredibly cool.