Last updated on April 20, 2020
Do you want to eat like a local in Malaga? You’ll be spoilt for choice with Zampoita’s carefully curated selection of remarkable restaurants, tasty tapas, takeaway treats, and must-visit cafes.
With Zampoita‘s culinary portal, you’ll find a selection of the best restaurants in Malaga that will make your dining experience truly memorable. Whatever type of food you’re looking for in this beautiful part of the world, you’ll find it here, whether you want to dine at home Malaga style, eat breakfast in a beautiful location, or enjoy a romantic evening meal under the stars.
With this handy guide to dining in Malaga, your only problem will be deciding where you want to eat, as there are just so many amazing cuisine choices.
Malaga truly is such a great Spanish region for gourmets and foodies, as there is so much culinary variation. It’s also an incredibly culturally rich region, with an immense history, and a thriving social scene, all of which influence the gastronomic experience.
Add some flavour with a little bit of Spanish history
Did you know traces of human occupation in Malaga can be traced back more than 40,000 years ?
Malaga is a breath-taking blend of different cultural influences, from the Phoenicians, Greeks, Arabs, and Romans, to the Visigoths and the Moors.
The region has a fascinating history that spills over into the incredible variety of cuisine that is available in this scenic part of Spain.
The name Malaga derives from the moniker the Ancient Phoenicians gave to their colony – Malaka. After the fall of the Phoenician empire, Malaga was ruled by Carthage, then it became part of the vast Roman empire.
It was during the Moorish era of Al-Andalus, that Malaga became one of the most populous cities in the whole of the Spanish Peninsula. Even to this day, it’s still the sixth-largest city in Spain. It was the Moors that brought the world-famous Gazpacho, a cold soup made from raw, blended vegetables, to this often sun-soaked part of southern Andalusia.
Malaga is an extremely vibrant city, with a bustling nightlife, exceptional cultural heritage, and a superb ambience. The region has so much to offer visitors, and with its stunning views and gorgeous beaches, it enjoys a lot of tourism.
The buzzy yet relaxed feel and upbeat nightlife is enhanced by the large numbers of tourists and university students, who populate many of the leisure venues, clubs, bars, and restaurants.
Because of this, Malaga boasts an immense selection of restaurants and places to dine, and some incredible dine at home and takeout choices too. The cuisine here is on a par with some of the most highly rated dining hotspots in Spain, including Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola, and Torremolinos.
If ever you were to pick a region that was bursting with cultural life, it would have to be Malaga. Malaga’s most famous occupant is the world-renowned artist Pablo Picasso, but there are so many important cultural highlights here, from regular cultural and sporting events to the rich musical traditions that still flourish.
Flamenco is Malaga’s most beloved musical style, so you’ll find a proliferation of venues where you can take a deep dive into this fascinating tradition. It’s not all Flamenco though, as this part of the globe is also home to some of Spain’s most popular contemporary musicians, like Latin pop maestro Pablo Alborán, and the pop-rock group, Efecto Mariposa.
As for cultural events, you’ll find plenty, as there is usually always something going on, but two definitely stand out from all the rest, Holy Week, which takes place during the last week of Lent, and the renowned Malaga Film Festival.
Holy Week is a particularly interesting time for food lovers, as several traditional dishes derive from this special festival. Try tasty torrijas de vino dulce, an Easter dessert-like French Toast, that dates back to the 15th Century, or sample the savoury wonder that is Ajobacalao, a cold paste made from salt cod, olive oil, bread, and garlic. This unique recipe originates from charming Vélez-Málaga, known for its strawberries and abundant vineyards, and can be traced back to the Andalusian culture that dominated the town for over 800 years.
If you’re a sporting fan, you won’t miss out during your stay, as Malaga has plenty to offer you. Football fanatics can watch native team Malaga CF score, while basketball lovers can take a ringside seat to see Unicaja de Malaga shoot hoops. Don’t forget water sports either, as during July, August and September, the Liga de Jábegas, a rowing competition using traditional vessels, reigns supreme.
Fun Facts About Malaga
Malaga boasts approximately 570,000 residents, and a diverse population, with the largest ethnic group originating from Morocco, according to the Junta of Andalusia. The region is famous for its Muscatel grapes, and even has its very own olive, the Aceitunas, the only ones in Spain to be designated their own guarantee of origin because of their unique flavour!
One of Malaga’s most grown crops is the delicious melon, which makes it an excellent place to savour melon-based dishes, such as the mouth-watering melón con jamón, aka melon with serrano ham.
Tourists are very welcome in Malaga, and there are more than 11,000 hotel, inn and hostel rooms available to accommodate visitors to the area. The region also hosts the third most important airport in Spain, a thriving international port, the Port of Malaga, and excellent rail and motorway connections too, making it easy to get around by land, air, railway and sea.
Try out some typical Malaga dishes
There’s far too much on offer to be able to narrow down Malaga’s vast range of cuisine to just a few dishes. From traditional Mediterranean cuisine that bursts with flavour, to gourmet gastronomy from around the globe, the restaurants, tapas bars, and cafes here provide an incredibly diverse culinary experience.
That being said, there are some signature dishes you can sample if you’re itching to try dining like a local. Why not try one of the following tempting traditional dishes, to get the authentic experience and enjoy an explosion of sunny Malagan flavour?
’Espeto’ of sardines – These skewered grilled sardines are typical fare at lively beach bars, although you’ll also find this dish on offer at a plethora of restaurants in the region as well. If you had to pick just one dish to encapsulate the flavour of Malaga, this tasty fish sensation would have to make your cut.
Ajoblanco – A unique cold soup originating from Andalusia, based on almonds. Try combining it with a delicious muscatel wine, for an unforgettable palette you’ll fall head over heels in love with.
Porra de Antequera – A thick cold soup made from tomato and dried bread, that’s part of the Gazpacho family of soups. This yummy variation is unique to the Antequera region it takes its name from.
Sopas perotas – A vegetable soup with bread originating from Alora, Malaga, that will make more of an impact on your taste buds than you might expect. If you’re looking to sample something typically Malagan, this makes a superb culinary choice.
Fritura de pescado – A classic sharing dish, that comes in many different variations, depending on where you dine. Though each restaurant usually offers its own spin on this tasty snack, it always consists of several kinds of fish that you can easily snack on while you chat with your friends.
Berza – Though most visitors come to Malaga during the summer, the winter season has its own share of unique dishes too. Berza, or cabbage stew, is one of them, and this hearty offering will fill you up, leaving your appetite feeling successfully satiated.
Lots of people think about fish when they imagine cuisine in this part of Spain, but Malaga also has plenty of gourmet game meat as well, particularly in the Serranía de Ronda area. If you’re able to visit, why not get adventurous with your gastronomy, and give rabo de toro a la rondeña, Ronda style bull’s tail, a try?
Don’t forget desserts, as Malaga boasts plenty of sweet sensations to tease your palate with. The most famous Malagan dessert is bienmesabe which literally translates as ‘tastes good”, and this creamy almond and cinnamon cake certainly live up to its name. There are lots of versions of this popular dish available throughout Malaga, but you’ll find the most popular bienmesabe made in Antequera.
While you’re on a sugar rush, you might also want to try yemas del Tajo, light and fluffy egg cakes that are made with lemon, sugar, and cinnamon. Cake lovers meanwhile will adore tortas de algarrobo, a carob cake made with aniseed and cinnamon.
If you’re a serial snacker, you’ll want to sample the many different types of Olives grown in the region, including the famous Aceitunas, which are often accompanied with divine thyme, fennel, and garlic marinade.
Last, but not least, Malaga has a hugely gluggable selection of wines on offer. The region is most famous for its sweet wines, which have won many awards and international acclaim. There are several wine cellars you can visit and sample from if you’re a real aficionado, but it’s also worth visiting one of the many tapas bars that offer a snack selection plus a recommended wine if you’re seeking a boozy burst of flavour.
Are your taste buds tingling now?
If you’ve made yourself hungry reading our guide to Malagan cuisine, the good news is it’s never been easier to find a new venue to dine at. Why not take a look at our comprehensive dining guide and discover a new place to eat in Malaga?
Our guide makes it easy to find out everything you need to know to decide where to dine at next, as we list cooking style, opening hours and, of course, telephone numbers so you can book, as well as a handy location map, so you can find your new dining venue easily.