My friend Lindsay, fellow sevillana in a past life, has my back when it comes to new places in Sevilla. While catching up after Christmas over rebajas shopping, she practically dragged me to Plaza San Francisco to try a new restaurant she’d heard about called Ovejas Negras, Black Sheep.
I fully admit to loving the traditional bodegas and old man bars in Seville, where the tortilla is fluffy and the service always candid. Lately, however, as tourism keeps this country afloat, more and more gastrobars have been popping up in the city.
I thought back to living on Calle Numancia in the bustling Triana neighborhood. To Rafa and the crew, I became la vecinita, the neighbor, and often filled my belly on balmy summer nights with a finger or two of wine and some cheese. La Pura Tasca’s fresh take on mixing ingredients and inventive design left me craving some more modern.
Places like La Azotea, Zelai and the newer Robles Restaurant (reputed to be the best food in Seville) are now rubbing elbows with age-old eating establishments and tucking into the narrow, cobblestone streets of the old quarter. From first taste, I was hooked.
Located in the shadow of the commanding Puerta del Perdón of the Cathedral, Ovejas Negras is anything but the black sheep of the restaurant family. It stands apart from the multitude of tourist shops and rental apartments and pays homage to Seville’s old ultramarinos store, a shop where you could buy everything from powdered milk to meats by simply taking a number and waiting for the man behind the counter to fill your order. Typical Spanish products line the crude wooden shelves behind the bar, where, as tradition dictates, the bartender will ask “Quién es el último?” and take your order.
Traditional Spanish tapas show up on the clipboard menus, but the beauty of Ovejas Negras is the mix of new and international cuisine. I, like Lindsay, have taken so many people back to Ovejas Negras that I’ve already got my go-to list of favorites at the bar: creamy risotto with wild mushrooms, a french bread pizza with rucula and parmesan, spicy papas bravas and, per usual, a cold Cruzcampo.
The atmosphere in the place is always lively, and last night we were lucky to grab a spot at the bar, under Bonilla a la Vista potato chip canisters and Mahou bottles. Our plan was to introduce my visitors, Dave and Melissa from my high school days, to the tapas tradition, but the bright lights of the bar and the array of choices meant we’d get our fill just be ordering based on what our eyes and noses drank in.
When I could say that I was the next in line to order, I carefully recited what was on everyone’s list to try: wooden bowls of papas bravas, an eggplant and rucula sandwich, fried fish with an accompanying cream sauce, the risotto and small, sweet and sour empanadillas. The conversation flowed like the beer over the bustle of the street outside for the Corpus Christi celebrations. The portion size of the tapas is big enough that two-three between two people is typically enough, though I could have found room in my tummy for the not-so-mini hamburger or even a slice of cheesecake.
Later that night, we found ourselves at roof where Melissa asked for the kitchen menu. “Just wanted to see if the papas bravas here were any better!” she quipped before ordering them. Could the answer be any more obvious?
Ovejas Negras is located in the Antiguo Bodegón Pez Espada on C/ Hernando Colón, 8, just between the Town Hall and Cathedral. Hours are Tuesday – Sunday 13:00 – 17:00 and 20:00 – 00:00. Closed Monday. Tapas from 2,50€. Menu also available in English.
Been to Overjas Negras? What did you order, and what did you think? Know any worthwhile bars to try in Seville? Want to come with? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll get eating!