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Interview with Rafa Liñán, Executive Chef at Mercer Sevilla

On the occasion of María Luisa Restaurant first anniversary, we interviewed chef Rafa Liñán.


The hotel Mercer Sevilla opened the doors of its María Luisa restaurant one year ago. Since then, the young Sevillian chef Rafa Liñán is in charge of the hotel's kitchen: A year full of challenges that we talk about with the chef.


With only 32 years old, after his time at the Heineken Hospitality School in Seville, chef Rafa Liñán starts his "learning trip". His training goes through kitchens of Hacienda Benazuza (Seville), Zaranda restaurant (Majorca), Calima (Marbella), Casa Alta (Seville) and Cambio de Tercio (London). And after two years in England, he returns to Spain to participate in the opening of the Estimar (chef Rafael Zafra restaurant in Barcelona) and Heart Ibiza (the Cirque du Soleil and Adrià brothers project). The last stop of his trip is in his region, at The Mercer Sevilla restaurant, “María Luisa”.

Mercer Hotel Sevilla

How do you feel having returned home to cook?

I’m happy and excited to return home with the knowledge acquired from all the great chefs and colleagues with whom I have worked during this time [he has collaborated with chefs as Rafa Zafra, Fernando Arellano, Dani García, Javier Padura, Lucas Bernal and Alberto Criado]. And whising to continue to imbibe new stories and experiences.

What kind of cuisine offers María Luisa's menu?

It’s a cuisine based on flavors of our land, Andalusia characteristic flavors, respecting and pampering the product, trying to offer the highest quality and proximity products as possible. The menu, directed by Rafa Zafra, aims to reinvent or, better said, rediscover the traditional Andalusian recipes, contributing new techniques to the cuisine we already know.

María Luisa Restaurant

So... Tradition or avant-garde cuisine?

In this point, I believe that both worlds go hand in hand at María Luisa restaurant. We try to respect the tradition to the maximum trying to doing it by it using more avant-garde techniques that provide a different touch but without losing the essence of the dish.

Where does the inspiration come from?

The inspiration comes from the raw material, from the local product, as well as from the traditional Andalusian recipes books. This is the starting point of our work.

You love Andalusian proximity products...

Having such excellent products in Andalusia as veal, olive oil, mushrooms, etc. we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with them and proudly display our land. For example, bread is served daily from Bollullos town, fish and seafood are brought directly from Huelva and Cádiz: Conil, Isla Cristina, etc.

What dishes would you highlight from María Luisa's menu?

The Al-Andalus Style lamb with cauliflower couscous, the Aracena mushrooms with their jelly and starry eggs, or the Rota style sea bream. These are three dishes that clearly define our intentions: Traditional flavors, proximity products and avant-garde techniques. And they surprise the diner.

Let’s talk about the diner… How is the restaurant customer?

Our customer is everyone who loves good food and drink, open-minded to enjoy something different: Both guests staying at the hotel and other Seville visitors, and of course the Sevillians.

Mercer Hotek Sevilla

What’s the difference between Maria Luisa and other restaurants in Seville?

We offer a different service, in various spaces of the wonderful hotel, which is worth coming just to see its architecture and design... It’s like a “three acts” experience: A drink-aperitif and a series of snacks in the Cocktail Bar, the main dishes in the restaurant and finally we serve our “petit-fours” and coffees in the patio. We guide the diner through a gastronomic tour of the Andalusian flavors.

You are innovators...

Luckily, more and more colleagues are innovating and risking in Seville, and we are part of this group that wants the Sevillian culinary culture to evolve in this line, without losing the heritage of our flavors.

María Luisa Restaurant

Where does your passion for cooking come from?

My relationship with the kitchen begins in my own house, where I lived the love for the good table and good dishes to enjoy together in a family ambience.

An essential ingredient in your kitchen...

A good olive oil and local wines (fino, manzanilla, etc.), of course.


María Luisa Restaurant

Calle Castelar, 26. Seville (Spain)

Tuesday to Saturday, from 13.30 to 15.30h and from 20.30 to 23.30h

Closed Sunday and Monday

See Menu

Gastronomic Autumn in Seville

At María Luisa Restaurant we know that the best way to celebrate the Andalusian gastronomy is by sitting at the table.


Coinciding with the change of the season, María Luisa Restaurant at the Mercer Sevilla launches new lunch and dinner menus, with dishes based on the local tradition and focused on the product.


NEW LUNCH MENU

As a novelty for the autumn, María Luisa Restaurant proposes a new midday menu with a series of cold dishes, fried foods, Sevillian dishes and Andalusian specialties. The young Sevillian chef Rafa Liñán has created an informal, fresh and varied menu based on popular southern recipes.

María Luisa Restaurant

For starters diners can choose, for example, a homemade Russian salad with tuna belly or "salmorejo" and continue with fried marinated anchovies with lemon and coriander, battered prawns or Iberian ham croquettes. Among the stews include the pork cheeks with creamy potato or spinach with chickpeas and cumin, among others. María Luisa also serves local classics such as the black pig fillet muffin or the fore rib sandwich with Iberian ham and Padrón peppers.

María Luisa Restaurant

Finally, you should leave room for dessert, with delicious options as honey fritters with orange marmalade or strawberries with cream and goat cheese ice cream.

See Lunch Menu


DINNER AT MARÍA LUISA

When night falls on the Sevillian Arenal district, the María Luisa menu become more sophisticated. Dishes with an Andalusian flavor, selected product from the garden, land and sea, and an original presentation result in an unforgettable dinner at the Mercer Sevilla elegant setting.

María Luisa Restaurant

Among other specialties, dinner guests can enjoy the tomato from Los Palacios, the carpaccio of prawns from Motril, small langoustines from Huelva, marinated foie-grass, wild see bass, spicy marinara lobster, Iberian pork, or Al-Andalus style lamb.

See Dinner Menu


MARÍA LUISA RECIPE


Among the new cold starters, María Luisa's menu incorporates the "ratte potatoes", a delicious potatoes, avocado, shallot, tomato and capers salad, garnished with alioli, whose recipe we share with you, so that you encourage to do it at home! Bon appétit!

SEE RECIPE


María Luisa Restaurant

Tuesday to Saturday, from 1.30 to 3.30pm and from 8.30 to 11.30pm

Closed Sunday and Monday

Tel. + 34 95 422 30 04

restaurante@mercersevilla.com


María Luisa, the new gastronomic restaurant of Mercer Sevilla hotel

The new María Luisa restaurant offers a personal tour by some of the classic Andalusian dishes.


THE GASTRONOMY AT MERCER HOTELES

One of the essential pillars of Mercer Hoteles philosophy is the attention to its gastronomic offer. Proof of this is that, since its opening, the Mercer Hotel Barcelona has an exclusive restaurant that has become a reference of the Catalan cuisine. With this same goal, just a few weeks ago, Hotel Mercer Sevilla has opened its new María Luisa restaurant, with an innovative offer of southern cuisine.

THE NAME

The name of the María Luisa restaurant refers to the largest park in Seville, donated to the city by Infanta Maria Luisa de Borbon, Duchess of Montpensier, in 1893.

THE CHEF

Rafael Liñán, the young Sevillian chef -who has been chef’s Rafa Zafra right hand at “Heart Ibiza” and who has also participated in the opening of “ESTIMAR” restaurant in Barcelona- is in charge of the kitchen. Based on top quality local products, the menu presents a series of traditional recipes, under the chef’s personal vision. The result is a contemporary proposal, inspired by tradition.

María Luisa restaurant

THE CULINARY EXPERIENCE

María Luisa offers a complete culinary experience which begins with a tasting of appetizers at the hotel's spectacular patio. It continues in the dining room, where guests can order à la carte, based on a versatile multi-course dining concept, that allows you to choose from 2 up to 6 dishes. Finally, desserts are served at the FIZZ Bar, where dinner guests can culminate this ‘senses tour’, with one of the cocktails created by the famous Argentine bartender Diego Cabrera, in the elegant setting of Mercer Sevilla hotel.

Mercer Sevilla hotel

THE MENU

The menu starts with a selection of appetizers based on classic dishes of the popular Andalusian gastronomy such as “rebujito”, fried little fish, Iberian ham, seasoned potatoes, “salmorejo” or “mollete de pringá”. The proposal of starters has also an Andalusian flavor, such as tomatoes from Los Palacios, small langoustines from Huelva, or red shrimp from Motril.

María Luisa restaurant

Between the main courses stand out for example Rota style sea bream, lobster with spicy marinara sauce, Iberian pork in several techniques or Al-Ándalus style lamb.

María Luisa restaurant

And among the desserts, all artisans, María Luisa offers a homemade “torrija” with honey bubbles and mango or the “poleá” with foam and fried bread. In addition, the dishes of the menu are complemented by a careful and current wine selection.

María Luisa restaurant

THE INTERIOR DESIGN

The restaurant has been conceived as if it was a small ‘chocolate box’. This intimate space -with capacity for 18 people- has an exclusive interior design, led by a majestic buffet counter of marble and Marotte wood designed by Mercer's interior design team, tables by Gubi, chairs by Knoll, lamps by Viabizzuno and elegant wallpapers by Arte that would dress up any room at its own. In addition to the decoration, the service has also been conceived to the smallest detail: Everything prepared for the customer to live a singular experience.


María Luisa Menu

CONTACT

Castelar, 26. 41001 Sevilla (Spain)

Tel. +34 954 22 30 04

restaurante@mercersevilla.com

Timetable: Wednesday to Sunday, from 7.30pm to 11pm

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