The Ultimate Guide to Malaga Food & Restaurants
Costa del Sol—and its glittering jewel, Malaga, is well-known for its beaches, sunny weather, and of course, flamenco. It’s a summer destination that you must visit at least once. Who doesn’t love the mixture of beach, mountains, and Spanish culture?
You’ll hear many things about why you should visit Costa del Sol, but the food is often forgotten. However, from the famous Spanish tapas to delicious traditional meals, once you try the real deal, you’ll want to eat the food of Malaga, Spain again and again!
Malaga Food Culture
Food culture is big in Southern Spain, locals love to meet with family and friends to have some food whether it is at home, outside, or at a Costa del Sol restaurant. When eating in Malaga, you’ll notice they take their time to enjoy the food and talk to others because food in Malaga is a big part of socializing.
From a beach BBQ to Sunday paellas at someone’s house, to tapas at a local bar, tourists often miss out on the opportunity to try authentic traditional Malaga food.
The city lives off tourism and many Malaga restaurants and bars adapt their meals for tourists (yes, you’ll see anything from British fish and chips to the Turkish kebab). The truth is you need to know where to eat to have an authentic Malaga food experience.
The first step is to avoid touristy places and research restaurants in Malaga before visiting the city. The second is knowing what to eat in Malaga. You can take care of both of those with this Malaga Food guide!
Best Traditional Food in Malaga, Spain
Espeto de Sardinas—The Most Famous Food in Malaga
Malaga’s famous dish is sardines, they’re beautifully cooked, and like in other Mediterranean cuisines, they are popular in Andalusian cuisine.
You can eat sardines almost anywhere in Malaga and Costa del Sol, however, the best places to enjoy some good fresh sardines are chiringuitos, also known as beach bars in Malaga.
Every chiringuito has its own barbeque set up inside a small boat. In there, they put the sardines on skewers and grill them. They are absolutely delicious! These chiringuitos are also great to have any other type of fish or seafood as it’s all fresh.
Ajo blanco—Vegetarian Malaga Soup
Ajo blanco, also referred to as white gazpacho, is a cold vegetarian soup that is a typical food of Malaga and Granada. The main ingredients of this soup are bread, almonds, garlic, water, and olive oil.
The vegetarian Malaga soup is also normally served with green grapes or slices of melon, and it’s perfect for those warm summer days.
Gazpachuelo—Original Malaga Cuisine
Gazpachuelo, sometimes called Gazpachuelo malagueño because it originated in Malaga cuisine isn’t a dish for everyone as it can be a bit fishy even though Malaga fish is super fresh.
It is a white soup made with white fish (monkfish, kingklip or hake), prawns, potatoes, mayonnaise, and water.
The best restaurants in Malaga to try a good gazpachuelo are El Merendero de Antonio Martín and Mesón Rincón Catedral.
Camperos—Best Malaga Takeaway
Camperos are big sandwiches made with the traditional round Spanish bread called campero. You’ll find camperos with many different toppings - ham, tuna, chicken, bacon, etc. Once they’re filled in, they are slightly toasted.
The most traditional campereros Malaga offers is campero de pollo which consists of grilled chicken, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and mayonnaise.
There are plenty of places where you can eat a camper in Malaga, but you’re more likely to find them in hamburgueserías (burger bars).
Camperos are a popular option for takeaways, so if you’re in rush or you want something that won’t take long to be served, it’s a great choice.
Ensalada Malagueña—Traditional Malaga Food
This potato salad brings you a taste of summer because of its big flavors. The salad is made with potatoes, boiled eggs, onion, orange, tuna or cod, olives, vinegar, salt, and olive oil.
Although that is the traditional recipe, nowadays, you can find a few variations and some Malaga restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options.
Plato de Los Montes—Popular Food in Malaga
This is a hearty Spanish dish that any meat lover will enjoy eating. Plato de Los Montes (translated as dish from the mountains), consists of pork loin, chorizo, morcilla (black pudding), chips, fried peppers, and a fried egg. It’s also sometimes accompanied by migas (fried bread crumbles).
You’ll find this popular food in Malaga in the famous “ventas.” A venta is a restaurant in Malaga, Spain located near the motorway. The best ventas en Malaga are Venta Los Montes and Venta El Túnel.
Tortas locas—Malaga Sweet Treat
Malaga tortas locas, also known as locas, are sweet, rounded pastries filled with custard and topped with orange frosting and a cherry. Locals normally eat them for “merienda” (a small meal in the late afternoon).
In the past, tortas locas were a Malaga sweet that only high classes could afford, nowadays, they are affordable to everyone. And you can find them in any bakery in Malaga.
You can find some of the best bakeries in Malaga near the city centre: La Canasta, El Colmenero and Panadería Pastelería Christian.
Salchichón de Málaga—Spanish Charcuterie
Like Italian salumi, Spanish charcuterie is very popular, especially jamón Ibérico (Spanish cured Iberian ham). The Prolongo company, located in Malaga, produces sausages and ham of great quality since 1820.
This is the company that created Malaga’s traditional salchichon, a pork and beef sausage with secret seasoning. What makes it standout from others is its soft texture and flavor.
Although you can eat it by itself or accompanied by bread, this salchichón is also used to make dishes such as salchichón tartar or pâté and filling of croquettes.
Pescaíto frito—Traditional Malaga Tapas
One of the most traditional tapas in Malaga is a classic Spanish dish that consists of different types of deep-fried fish and seafood (such as anchovies, squid and kingklip) put them together in a dish and served with some mayonnaise or aioli on the side.
You’ll find pescaíto frito in most Malaga tapas bars or try them in one of the many restaurants in Costa del Sol. However, my top place to have pescaíto frito is Los Mellizos restaurant in Malaga.
Vino de Malaga—Malaga Wine
Malaga has its own wine! Vino de Malaga is sweet wine from Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grapes. You can buy this Malaga wine in any souvenir shop, but buying it from a supermarket will save you some money.
Torrijas—Tasty Malaga sweet
Another traditional Malaga sweet that is more seasonal is torrijas. They are prepared during Easter week, so if you happen to be there during that time of the year, you must eat some torrijas.
If you’re wondering what they are, torrijas are similar to French toast, but the main difference is that they are made by soaking them in infused and sweetened milk with orange and cinnamon before dipping them in beaten egg.
Malaga Ice Cream
Although ice cream isn’t a Spanish invention, you can find really good ice cream in Malaga. And, summer is very warm (30 to 40 C), so you’ll need something to cool you down.
There are plenty of heladerias (ice cream shops) that have a wide variety of flavors- anything from conventional strawberry ice cream to avocado ice cream. But Malaga ice cream is its own flavor made with Malaga wine and raisins!
Also, you’ll be surprised by finding other less common ice creams such as helado de sardinas (sardines ice cream), helado de chicle (chewing gum ice cream) helado de boquerones (anchovies ice cream).
The best Malaga ice cream shops are Casa Mira located in Calle Larios (main shopping street), Heladería Kalúa which has several locations across Malaga, and Heladería Inma in Las Delicias neighborhood.
Doubtless, Heladería Inma is my favorite. If you decide to go to this ice cream shop, it’s very likely you’ll have to queue to get ice cream, but it’s worth waiting.
Best Malaga Markets
Mercado de Atarazanas—Food Market in Malaga
A place you don’t want to miss during your stay in Malaga is the central market, Mercado de Atarazanas. In this food market, you’ll find all sorts of fresh meat, fish, vegetables, spices, etc.
Not only is it a great place to taste the local food in Malaga, but contemplate the beautiful architecture of the entrance, as well as the art in the glass window you can see inside the market.
Although the market is surrounded by many restaurants and bars, you can’t miss the opportunity to go to Bar Mercado Atarazanas inside this Malaga market where they serve delicious fish and seafood.
However, if you don’t fancy fish or seafood, there are other traditional Malaga tapas bars inside the market that also offer great food.
Another way to visit the market and taste the food is by booking a Malaga food tour. You’ll be able to sample traditional food and wines and learn more about the Malaga food culture.
Mercado de Huelín—The Local’s Malaga Market
Another good market is Mercado de Huelín which is located in the Huelín neighborhood which is about a 40 minute walk. This is a very popular market for locals so it’s still busy but you’ll definitely see fewer tourists.
Instagrammable spots to have a meal or drink in Malaga
Room Mate Valeria Rooftop—Malaga Rooftop Bar
Room Mate Valeria is a hotel, but you don’t need to stay in the hotel to be able to enjoy their rooftop bar.
This is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing cocktail with a loved one or friends while looking at the beautiful view of Malaga’s port.
La Bella Julieta—Best Breakfast in Malaga
La Bella Julieta is a modern cafe that serves delicious breakfast and lunch. You can anything from milkshakes loaded with toppings to red velvet cake and hot sandwiches.
The cafe has become a very instagrammable spot not only for its chic decoration and atmosphere but because it’s one of the best places to eat in Malaga.
El Pimpi—Local Malaga Restaurant
If you’re after a local Malaga food and culture experience, El Pimpi is the best option for you. The location of this Malaga restaurant/wine cellar is perfect, just opposite Alcazaba de Malaga and Roman theatre. However, the best thing about El Pimpi is, of course, the food.
Definitely one of the best restaurants in Malaga to enjoy authentic Spanish dishes made with local fresh produce such as extra virgin olive oil, bull egg tomato, cured Iberian ham and the sweet wine made out of moscatel grapes. The menu is also seasonal which makes it even more exciting.
Last but not least, this Malaga tapas bar has weekly events in which you can listen to some live flamenco.
Final Thoughts on Food in Malaga
Now you know what and where to eat in Malaga. Everything to enjoy the traditional foods of Malaga and conduct your own Malaga food tour is at your finger tips.
Are you planning a trip to Malaga? What Malaga foods are you looking forward to eating? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
Cristina is a Spanish expat currently living in the UK. She is the founder of My Little World of Travelling, a travel blog that inspires female travelers to live abroad and have more authentic experiences. Find Christina online: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest