Hey there! I’m Sofia, a Spanish girl living in Glasgow. A millennial living with my phone glued to my hand and fascinated by cheese.
As you know, I'm spending some time in Malaga (Spain) this July. This is where I grew up, and although I was born in Granada (this is where my mum's family is from), this is the place I call home in Spain.
Tourists love Malaga! If you've ever come to Costa del Sol, you've probably flown here. And if you are planning to come to Marbella, Fuengirola or Nerja, you are most likely going to pass by Malaga too! That's why you DEFINITELY need to know the Best Restaurants to Eat in Malaga (Spain).
Sometimes overlooked, as tourists come to Andalucia looking for sun and sea, and not a lot more, Malaga is a beautiful city. Its vibrant colours and happy, sweet (and often loud) people, together with an amazing historical past, a wonderful marina and delicious food, Malaga is the place to go if you are looking for Spanish culture (and some shopping) during your holidays in Costa del Sol.
Where to Eat Spanish Food in Malaga, Spain
El Pimpi (Granada Street, 62 - 29015)
El Pimpi is one of the most traditional and popular restaurants in Malaga, although I have to admit I have only been there once and we probably didn't enjoy the full "El Pimpi-experience".
It's a beautiful restaurant with two doors: one, the main entrance, in Granada St., a super centric street in Malaga city that is experiencing an amazing revival; and a second one, which is more like the entrance to a beer garden (I don't like calling it like that, it's such a Glaswegian expression! Is there something else I can call it?) which - pay attention now! - opens to Mount Gibralfaro, the Roman theatre and the Castle. The only better views you'll find in Malaga are at the Marina and at the top of Mount Gibralfaro, indeed!
But El Pimpi is more famous for its drinks and food than for the views, as far as I know. It is actually a winery, and I have friends who just looove going there for their vermú (vermouth). They also have performances from time to time, like flamenco dance and singing. It's just a cool place to go!
As for us, the only time we've been there we had tortilla de patatas, which was delicious, and probably Russian salad (which isn't really Russian, but I love it anyway!). We really enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere, and it's definitely in my list this time around!
La Cueva (several locations)
La Cueva is a chain that first started in Granada. Does it matter? If you are not part of my family, it probably doesn’t! But my grandma and mum are obsessed with La Cueva de 1900. I don’t blame them: these cafés are big, luminous, serve a free tapa with every drink and have some really good charcuterie and typical Spanish dishes. They also have morcilla de Granada (black pudding, but the one they made in Granada), which, of course, it’s soooo much better than the one that is made in Malaga. Don’t ask me why, though: I hate all black pudding, no matter where it comes from!
La Cueva is a great choice if you are trying to decide where to eat in Malaga city, as there are several of these restaurants in town, all of which share the menu and style. Their menu is based in typical Spanish cuisine, with classics such as gazpacho or salmorejo, Iberian pork shoulder, scrambled eggs with serrano ham, croquetas and paella.
They also sell their charcuterie, which apparently the same company makes, so you can take it home instead of eating in the restaurants. And take a piece of Spanish cuisine with you when you come back to the UK
Gastrobar PX/PX Wines and Spirits (C.C. Next Shopping, Calle Olmos, 43 - 29018)
This has been a revelation this summer! A small gastrobar in Malaga in the shopping centre where my parents usually do their weekly shopping. There are a few restaurants in C.C. Next Shopping, and Gastrobar PX is a great choice. It’s a bit far from the city centre, I’m not going to lie, but it’s totally worth driving to the top of Cerrado de Calderón once you try their croquetas!
The menu here is Spanish, that’s all I can say. Grilled meats (I don’t even like ribs and these ones tasted amazing!), potato salad, charcuterie boards and one duck confit that melts in your mouth are only some of their plates. The service was a bit slow, but once the food was on the table the dinner went on smoothly and deliciously. Plus, this is a restaurant on the top of a hill surrounded by big trees, where you can see the lights of the city. It’s perfect for dinner
Where to Eat Fish in Malaga
El Tintero (Salvador Allende Ave., 340 - 29017)
Have you ever eaten in a restaurant where you don’t order, but lift your hand as dishes are coming out of the kitchen? This is EXACTLY what happens in El Tintero!
Probably one of the most famous chiringuitos (seafood restaurants by the beach) in Malaga, El Tintero is so popular it’s hard to get a table without a reservation. But why is it so popular? Isn’t it just another seafood restaurant? Well, yes… and no!
Here’s the thing: you come to El Tintero, find a table a sit down. You order your drinks but… there’s no menu! Whaaaat?
Suddenly, waiters start coming out of the kitchen with their plates, singing:
“Saaaaaaaaaaardinas!! Las saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaardinas!”
“Chopitos! Chopitos! Quién quiere chopitos??!”
You need to be paying attention if you don’t want to miss what you are after! Some other guest could get the plate before you, but don’t worry: they will come back with more, definitely!
It’s a different way of eating, where everything can be shared between the people in the table since the portions are pretty big. But forget about eating meat: this is a seafood place in front of the beach. So enjoy your calamari, sardines and anchovies! And remember, to pay the bill you will have to call the guy who is singing “Y YO COBROOOOO!!”
Chiringuito Picasso (Paseo Marítimo Pablo Ruiz Picasso - 29016)
Another chiringuito in Malaga, this time closer to the city centre (and most importantly: closer to my parents’ hehe
El Balneario (Bolivia St., 26 - 29018)
I remember coming to El Balneario Malaga years and years ago with my friends from school. It was already an old place back then, and I’m not even sure they made food at the time. Another one of Malaga’s classics, it has been popular since it opened in 1918! It’s definitely a place with A LOT of history: until its opening, men and women had to enjoy the sea in separated areas, very different from what we know as a beach today. If you want to learn more about it, and you can read some Spanish, I really recommend this article from Diario Sur (one of Malaga’s newspapers).
El Balneario also receives the name Los Baños del Carmen and, despite how it looked a few years ago on my first visit, is a high standard restaurant at the moment. It has been refurbished, but it keeps a style that reminds you of the elegant spots, where the wealthy came to spend their days under the sun, 100 years ago.
My parents celebrated their 30th anniversary here a couple of years ago. It was December, and the restaurant was full, so you can imagine how good the weather was! We had calamari, sardines (a few espetos, of course), prawns, serrano ham (my sister can pass without it), Caesar salad, octopus galicien style, coquinas (little clams from Malaga), and probably croquettes (I’m sure we did have croquettes…). My brother and my ex, I’m sure they had some sirloin or entrecote as they serve grilled meat. There’s also a special menu for children, of course.
I just remembered this was the place and the time where I bought my most awesome glasses. It was a good day hehe
(I can’t keep myself from admitting that today was my dad’s birthday and we were actually going to eat at El Balneario, but at the last minute they decided to go somewhere else
So here you have them, the first six restaurants on my list of 20 Top Places to Eat in Malaga.
Have you ever been to Malaga? Do you remember any restaurant I should talk about? Let me know in the comments below!
Coming next, where to Italian and Vegan in Malaga. Look out for my next post!
© 2021 Sofia Artola