Alfalfa barrio (neighbourhood)
Alfalfa barrio (neighbourhood) is located between Plaza Encarnacion, and Plaza Cristo de Burgos, and Santa Cruz. Encompassing Soho Benita, it is an area of narrow streets with small, independent shops and bars, where you’ll find lively tapas places, some idiosyncratic late-night joints, creative crafts, and unusual jewellery.
This area was home to the forum in Roman times, and Plaza de la Alfalfa itself hosted a silk market during the Moorish period, and then a series of food markets until the 1850s.
Alfalfa is horse feed, which was stored here during the Reconquest, following which there was a market which sold game, then vegetables, and then meat; this was moved to Plaza Encarnacion in the mid-1800s.
After this, a (live) bird market was held here on Sunday mornings, and from the 1960s many other types of domestic animals were sold, as well as general bric-a-brac. In 2005, the pet market was closed down due to bird flu.
Places of interest
Alfalfa has some interesting squares, such as Plaza del Pan, behind Salvador church, with small shops; Plaza de la Pescadería has some good tapas bars (Tradevo is excellent though pricey), while the heart of this district is Plaza de la Alfalfa itself, with a small but very well-used playground and lots of cafes and restaurants. Plaza Cristo de Burgos is a long plaza stretching from San Pedro church down to two notable tapas bars – Bache San Pedro, as frequented by Barack Obama on his visit to the city for the WTTC Global Summit in April 2019, and Taberna Coloniales, which is so popular that there is always a waiting list for a table.
Calle Pérez de Galdos, part of the self-denominated Soho Benita district, is home to a forward-thinking gallery-shop (street fashion in the front, art at the back), a fair trade organic clothing store, quirky clothes boutiques, a bookshop-gallery-pottery studio, and some notable restaurants: Fargo serves very good organic food, while Habanita has Cuban food and drinks.
On weekend nights, be aware that Perez Galdos turns into a botellón (street party), crammed with students and young people drinking out of bottles. It gets noisy and raucous, if harmless, leaving piles of litter in the street.
In terms of cultural highlights, Velazquez’s birthplace is hidden away on a tiny crooked street called Padre Luis Maria Llop. The 16th-century house, one of the few remaining residential dwellings from that period, has been bought by a private association which hopes to turn it into a museum about the painter.
If you like Semana Santa, Seville’s Holy Week celebrations, then don’t miss Garlochi bar. Mournful music, draped crimson velvet and religious statues create an extraordinary pseudo-religious atmosphere in this bar whose house cocktail is “Blood of Christ”.
On Calle Aguilas you’ll find some interesting interiors and jewellery shops, and at the far end of this street is Casa de Pilatos, one of Seville’s most magnificent palaces.