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What food is Malaga famous for ?
I still remember my first “tapas” meal in Malaga back in 2015. I was visiting Malaga for the first time and had no idea what to expect . Little did I know that nearly six years later Malaga would become one of my favororite cities in Spain for tapas. Tapas in Malaga is very special.
Today Malaga is a wonderful place to taste some of Spain’s best tapas. The tapas in Malaga are generally not free (though you may receive a complimentary tapa with your drinks in some establishments), but they’re well worth paying for. The city is an exciting mix of traditional tapas bars and modern tapas bars, each offering a unique spin on Spain’s famous small plates.
But Malaga isn’t all about the tapas! This gorgeous city is also home to a handful of fantastic places for a hearty Andalusian breakfast, Spain’s most colorful local markets, delicious fried fish shops, and some of the best chiringuitos (beachside seafood restaurants) in the country.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Malaga, rest assured that there are plenty of wonderful places to choose from! I visit Malaga various times throughout the year, as it is one of my favorite cities for great food, and only 30 minutes by car from Nerja!, or alternatively get the bus from the Nerja bus station. These trips are the perfect excuse to do lots of eating.
These are three serving sizes of the same dish. Media raciones and raciones are meant to be shared, and tapas are generally individually sized, although many people share a few tapas among close friends or family. Spaniards don’t mind double dipping!
The full range of Andalusian cuisine is served in the bars and restaurants of Malaga, but the must-try dishes are the seafood ones. Of these, one of the tastiest is also one of the simplest – a variety of fried fish served with a wedge of lemon. The beauty of the ‘fritura malagueña’, as it’s called, is in the delicious contrast between the crispy exterior and the melt-in-your mouth texture of the fish, which is usually squid and cod. Fat, juicy prawns still sizzling from the grill often complete this dish, which is perfectly complemented by a cool glass of Victoria, the local beer.
Fresh prawns are a Malaga speciality and they are cooked in a no-nonsense style to preserve their wonderful flavour. This dish is a classic – the prawns are flash-fried with garlic, paprika, fresh chillies and white wine – a combination which gives them glorious heat and zest, but not at the expense of their natural taste. And even when you’ve wolfed the prawns down, this dish isn’t over – take one of the slices of crispy bread it’s served with and mop up the spicy sauce so nothing of this malaguena classic goes to waste.
It would be a sin to visit the Costa del Sol and not order the most famous seafood dish in the world. The quality of paella varies hugely in Andalusia, but in Malaga, due to the freshness of the seafood that is its major ingredient, it’s more often than not superb. It’s commonly available as a small tapas – served with a wedge of lemon and slice of bread in a sizzling earthenware pot – but the full-size version is a great dish to share between friends and family. Landing on your table in one of the flat, round paella pans, the juicy muscles and enormous prawns with which it is topped also make it one of the prettiest of local dishes.
Albóndigas – or meatballs – are a Spanish classic and served all over the country, but the sauce in which they are served differs from place to place. Malaga’s take on this delicious staple is a sauce laced with ground almonds, which gives the dish a mellow, rustic taste and slightly rough-and-ready texture that complements the meatiness of the albóndigas perfectly. This local speciality is distinguishable by sight from tomato-based variants by the paler color of its sauce and is served as a snack-sized tapas, in one of those cute little earthenware bowls, with sliced fresh bread to hoover up the moreish (no pun intended) sauce.
Where to Find the Best Tapas in Malaga
If there’s one thing that comes to mind when you think of Spain, it’s delicious food! Malaga in particular has no shortage of restaurants, tapas bars, and cafés where you can sample the local fare. With so many dining options, how do you know where to find Malaga’s best tapas bars? Here are some suggestions where you can sample the tastiest tapas and culinary creations in bright, sunny Malaga!
Starting off our list is La Deriva, a classic tapas bar with some of Malaga’s best tapas. This tapas bar has many of the traditional tapas that you would expect, all with a creative twist. Fusion cuisine is at it’s best when old recipes meet modern techniques and flavors. This restaurant is always trying to surprise its patrons with new takes on their favorite tapas. If you enjoy seafood, then you definitely want to eat at La Deriva! The fresh catch from Malaga’s shores pairs really well with their extensive wine list. All of the ingredients are high quality, with a focus on fresh, local products.
Address: Alameda Colón, 7
La Farola de Orellana is a neighborhood favorite that is always listed as one of Malaga’s best tapas bars. “Farola” means lighthouse in Spanish, which is fitting since this tapas bar is a beacon of delicious cuisine among all the restaurants in Malaga. Favorite dishes include the patatas bravas, pimientos del padrón, and caracoles (snails). Anything you order is sure to leave you wanting more, since it keeps bringing customers back for its comida casera.
Address: Calle Moreno Monroy, 5
Discover culinary tradition in the heart of the city at Mesón Lo Güeno, another of Malaga’s best tapas bars. Since 1967, this tapas restaurant has kept foodies coming back for their tasty dishes and great service. To get a taste of Malaga, you should try the porra antequerana, bacalao a la malagueña, and any of the seafood dishes. You can pick from any of the local wines to make the meal even more authentic!
Address: Calle Marín García, 12
Kill your hunger at Matahambre, as the name of the bar suggests, when you indulge on the delicious food and generous portions served at this place. Matahambre combines tapas classics with international cuisine to create something new and exciting. Try traditional tapas like croquetas, patatas bravas, and buñuelos, or opt for something modern and exotic. Top tapas include chicken tikka with mango chutney, salmon carpaccio with pesto, and marinated tuna with seaweed and wasabi. Matahambre is the place to go to for delicious tapas that stretch out over the Spanish border.
Address: Calle Calderería, 7
Prepare your taste buds for a real treat at El Mesón de Cervantes! This little joint is always packed, so be sure to book a table or get there early. Creativity rules the menu here as the tapas are a blend of Spanish classics with an Argentinian twist. The restaurant’s owner came to Malaga from Argentina in 2008 and loved it so much that he created El Mesón de Cervantes. Varied tapas and an extensive wine list are just a few of the things that make this tapas bar so special. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, too, so you’ll soon become a repeat customer of this tapas restaurant.
Address: Calle Álamos, 11
Take a cue from the locals and make your way to Mesón Ibérico where you will best traditional Malaga cuisine. The warm and friendly staff will welcome you and share their passion for delicious Spanish food. This has been a hot spot with the locals for 20 years, since the tasty tapas and lively atmosphere keep bringing people back. Try the boquerones fritos, selection of Iberian meats, or fresh seafood to get a taste of the restaurant’s cuisine. Wash it all down with their famous sangria and you’re all set!
Address: Calle San Lorenzo, 27
To get a real taste of tapas in Malaga, join Food Lover Tour for an authentic culinary experience! We take you to some of Malaga’s best tapas bars where the locals themselves love to eat and drink. Come experience Malaga through its food with us!
Regardless of your choice of Tapas bar you will not be disappointed. When your full and content return back to lovely Nerja, and have a nightcap.