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 Places 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
Calle Granada, 62 (29015)
A big favourite! I honestly can’t think of a more famous restaurant in Malaga than El Pimpi. Although I have been here only once having a tapa on my last day of holidays last year, I’ve been hearing about El Pimpi my whole life. It’s the place to go for celebrities (like Antonio Banderas, who is from Malaga by the way) visiting the town since it opened in 1971. But obviously most people don’t come here in case someone famous comes through the door unexpectedly! I’m sure they do it because it’s a brilliant place where you can try Malagan wines in a festive environment. Their food is not too bad either!
Located in Malaga city centre, El Pimpi is one of those restaurants where you are most likely going to drink. Space here is divided into several rooms and patios, all beautifully decorated in an Andalusian style that will bring you back in time. One of their entrances (the one in Alcazabilla Street) opens to the Roman theatre and the Alcazaba, a beautiful sight that you can also enjoy if you climb up to their balconies.
This is definitely on my list of best places to eat in Malaga that I STILL need to try (it has been for so long!). Will it be in yours too?
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 😊
Also, I want to mention this is not only one of the best places to eat in Malaga: it’s probably one of the best places to have a good glass of wine. However, as I don’t really drink, I can’t tell! 😂
Where to Eat Fish in Malaga
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!!”
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 😝). You can find it in the promenade Pablo Ruiz Picasso. It’s only a few metres from the beach where you can rent a beach lounge chair under a beach umbrella. For only 4€ per chair, you could spend the whole day here if you wanted to!
The offer in Chiringuito Picasso is great; they have a super cute terrasse made of wood but you can also have food inside and enjooooy the air-con hehe. Because yes, sometimes it gets really hot eating in a terrasse in summer in Malaga.
This is according to my mum one of the best places to eat in Malaga. In fact, it’s my family’s first option to eat out close to the beach (I’m so used to hear: Oh, we could go eat at the Picasso!). Last time we came here was to celebrate my dad’s birthday this year (only a couple of weeks ago) and the food was so great, and so much! I don’t think we were able to finish it all 😅
This is a great place to enjoy seafood in a more traditional way than in El Tintero. I mean, here the waiters come to your table so you can order food in a regular way. If you want to come to Chiringuito Picasso, I recommend you walking by the beach (it’s only a half an hour walk from Larios street in city centre), as it’s a bit hard finding parking close to it. Prices are great, but portions are big so take that into consideration when you order because the food here is so good you won’t want to throw anything away!
Calle Bolivia, 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 in 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 😞 Me sad…)
This is definitely one of the best restaurants to eat in Malaga. Not only for the food (which is soooo good), but also for its history and the awesome views you’ll get of the sea. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy some drinks too if you are not too hungry but want to take some pictures with their columns hehe
Where to Eat Italian in Malaga
Muelle Uno, Paseo del Muelle Uno (29016)
My sister’s favourite! She is a total fan of their provolone cheese, which they serve straight from the oven, over tomato sauce and pesto sauce, creating some sort of Italian flag. It’s really delicious, but be careful: it comes to the table when it’s still really hot!
As this is one of my family’s favourite places to eat in Malaga, I’m planning to write a full post just about then and I won’t be explaining a lot here. Just know (for the moment) that it’s an Italian restaurant in the marina, from where you can see the cathedral, the sea, the castle, and the whole city on the other side of the port. It’s walking distance from both the beach and city centre and their big menu has something from every palate: whether you prefer meat, pizza, pasta or salad, you will find something tasty at O’ Mamma Mia!
By the way, this is a chain of restaurants, although I think they are quite loose in their policies… You will find a few other restaurants featuring their Nonna, so if you see her, you’ll know that’s a good place to eat 😋
Where to Eat Vegan in Malaga
Calle Álamos, 18 (29008)
So, I’ve been coming to city centre pretty much every evening of the week since I was very little, and I have to say the corner where Noviembre Healthy Food is, has been far too many things. There used to be a bank there, there used to be a book store, there used to be a bar, then there was another restaurant… And now we have Noviembre Healthy Food, which, let me say, it’s probably the best they could have done with the place!
Stephen and I went there for food last Christmas, as I had always wanted to try it ever since they opened (but my family is not a great fan of places with such a hipster look, especially when it comes to eating out). I was beyond surprised by the look and quality of everything we tried. It was yummyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! And everything I saw coming out of the kitchen ALSO looked yummy! 😍 Even the fries were amazing, and I’m not a fries lover, you know? It’s what happens when all you eat is fries day after day after day after day working in hospitality haha
Noviembre Healthy Food has food for vegans, vegetarians, meat-lovers and celiacs. They serve breakfast, lunch, merienda (we shall talk about meriendas later), dinner and drinks until 2 am. Their menu is so much fun (at least it was to me), as there is so much you can choose to put on your food or get rid of: choice of bread, of vegetables, of cheese, of sauces… To be honest, I don’t even remember what we ate, I just know it was really good. I might need to come back these days to see what I can tell you LALALAAAAA But for the moment, I will just leave you a link to their website so you can see with your beautiful eyes what I’m talking about.
Plaza Enrique García-Herrera, 16 (29005)
There was a time when I had friends, and some of them were vegetarian and they all loved this place. And you know what, I get: food is really tasty here and the customers are usually all young and alternative-looking. But the most amazing feature of Recyclo Bike Café is, of course, the bikes that hang from everywhere in this little restaurant in Malaga city centre.
Surprisingly enough, Recyclo Bike Café is not only a place to eat but also a bike repair shop, where you can also rent or buy a bike if you wish. I mean, what can you not find in Malaga?
Their salads are named after great Olympic bikers, such as Miguel Indurain or Marco Pantani, some very good looking cocktails and very interesting choices for breakfast. But there is something else that has caught my attention recently and this is their new RAMEN BURGER. If you are like Stephen, who, by the way, still doesn’t know about this but I’m going to tell him right now, you are probably going to love the idea:
It’s a burger that uses ramen instead of bread.
I don’t know what else can I say about it but that I need to try that now, even though it sounds a bit concerning, I’m not going to lie! I’ll go and I will get proof and I will come back and tell you guys what’s the deal with that.
Paseo Marítimo el Pedregal, 66 (29017)
Another beautiful spot by the beach, which is, of course, another one of the places where I used to go when I had friends. Now I just eat peanuts in my swimming pool, taking a sunbath in silence and not spending any money. Ahh life is good 😊
Whether you have friends or not, La Galerna is a cute (and when I say cute I mean, “one of those places that you don’t know if they are making it look old or if it’s old and they are just not refurbishing when it definitely should be”) little restaurant literally 2 metres away from the beach. Here you will find the BIGGEST salads in the world, that look sooooo good I’m sad I got rid of my friends before trying them. Whenever I come here, I always have the vegan burger with cheddar and everything I can put on it (they have a build-your-burger/build-your-salad system that is really useful if you are a bit fussy about what comes in your food). They also make good cocktails, by the way, and they are located in one of the busiest parts of the promenade, so make sure you go early-ish before lunch, or you might need to wait for a little until a table frees up.
Trust me: the waiting is definitely worth it, once you’re sat eating a massive, super healthy and tasty salad listening to the sound of the waves.
Where to Eat Steak in Malaga
Calle Jábega, 56 (29017)
Ok, so I admit it: I’ve never been to El Gaucho yet but I.CAN’T.WAIT! It’s my sister’s friend’s restaurant and all I hear is how good the meat is. In times like this right now, where I still haven’t had dinner, I can only think of all I could be eating if I wasn’t working. Oh, well…
We’re planning on coming for food one of these days before I leave, so I still have to finish this one, but for the moment, this is what I can say about Restaurante El Gaucho I:
- They don’t do an Argentinian grill, but they do grill meat and I swear I can smell it only by looking at the pictures;
- It’s really close to La Galerna (literally the street behind it), therefore, you will be extremely close to the beach if you eat here;
- They serve their steaks with a baked potato unless you specify you don’t want it;
- It’s a quiet restaurant, good for children;
- It’s not a great place for vegetarians, I’m afraid… Maybe choose somewhere else if there’s a vegetarian or vegan in the group;
- The owners are lovely people 😊
I know, I know: it’s not very objective. But I will definitely write a more in-depth review once I try it. Which hopefully will be very soon!
Camino del Colmenar, Km 557 (29013)
A different way to seeing Malaga: this time, from the mountains. Malaga has so much more to offer than the Mediterranean sea, as it is surrounded by a mountain range which, despite not being way too high, is a beautiful place to visit.
Just imagine being on top of a hill from where you can see the Mediterranean forest, the city and the sea at your feet. Isn’t it beautiful?
This is, of course, another family favourite in my house. But that’s not the only reason why it is in my Top 12 Best Places to Eat in Malaga, that’s for sure. Anyone who has come to Ventorrillo de Santa Clara will be able to tell you how amazing the food (grilled meats, paella and traditional dishes from the Andalusian mountaineers) is here. Less busy in summer than in winter (lots of families – like mine – like having here their New Year’s dinner on 1st Januray), it’s always good to call to check whether they are open and have spare tables. After all, you’ll have to drive for a little to get here, so it’s better to have a table booked in advance to avoid disappointments.
The house special is definitely the lamb, although you could also have something as delicious as Plato de los Montes: a typical dish in Malaga, which consists of fried eggs, fries, pork loin, chorizo and sometimes black pudding. Caloric, yeah, but really, really good!
Vegetarians don’t have it easy when it comes to Ventorrilo de Santa Clara. I’m sure there are some options like sauteed veggies, omelettes or gazpacho, but when I was a pescetarian it was always hard to make a choice here. However, the desserts are lovely! If you find space in your belly after alllll that meat, I recommend arroz con leche, natillas de la abuela or tocino de cielo.
So these are My Top 12 Best Places to Eat in Malaga. Some of them you may know if you’ve come to Costa del Sol before, some of them might be a mystery even for people who, like me, grew in the city. Not El Tintero, El Pimpi or El Balneario, though… Those have been there forever and will most likely always be!
What do you think my list? Have you tried other restaurants in Malaga that you think are worthy of mention of this list? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, if you want to learn more about Spanish food, I’m planning on leaving some recipes in my Recipes section. Check it out!