Perched on the Costa del Sol in Spain’s southern reaches, Malaga is known for its endless summers and rich culture. It is an indispensable destination for fans of once local artist Picasso, and for any aficionado of Iberian tradition. Some of Spain’s finest cuisine can be found in the city, so we’ve updated our previous gourmet guide to the area to bring you 10 more must-visit restaurants in Malaga.
L’Experience is perfectly situated on the Plaza del Obispo, with it’s typical paved stones, colorful buildings, fountain and ornate Cathedral of the Incarnation. The restaurant’s contrasting modern interior featuring chic black furniture and unvarnished parquet flooring is popular with locals and tourists alike. L’Experience serves one of the best paellas in town and a host of other Spanish dishes, including recipes based on the famous Iberian cured ham, the much-loved squid and crispy cheese croquettes. A glass of the house sangría is a perfect way to begin this authentic Spanish experience on one of Malaga’s prettiest squares.
Vino Mío is a perfect place to wine and dine while soaking up the atmosphere of Malaga to the clacking of a traditional flamenco show. Adjoining the Cervantes Theater, its terrace is also a great spot to linger over a lazy lunch or savor early evening tapas. Vino Mío’s interior design is fresh and contemporary, with colorful modern art dominating the walls. The owner’s love of art occasionally extends to temporary exhibitions by local artists. British-born chef Simon Robson and his team are renowned for their eclectic international cuisine, which ranges from the house carpaccio of Irish beef to Gouda salad, from Thai woks to Italian pasta dishes.
Having gathered a wealth of culinary experience across the globe, highly acclaimed chef Amador Fernández returned to his native Spain to open his own restaurant in the elegant premises of the three-star boutique hotel Villa Guadalupe, situated in El Atabal, one of Malaga’s chic residential areas and former Dutch colony. Amador’s airy covered terrace offers endless views of Malaga and the Mediterranean while the marble floors and fine art collection of the interior dining areas are a picture of elegance. Food-wise, guests are in for a gastronomic treat: Amador offers an ever-changing menu combining Spanish and international cuisine carefully prepared with an innovative twist.
Tucked away in the mountains on the outskirts of Malaga, La Cónsula is a 19th century mansion with an exceptional sweeping entrance. Today the building is home to an award-winning hotel and catering school where young people train to become masters of gastronomy. Complete with a restaurant open to the public, the budding chefs get the opportunity to serve their dishes in a real-life situation. While sampling some fine cuisine at the Cónsula, diners can follow the traces of Ernest Hemingway who, as a friend of the mansion’s previous owners, came here to craft a series of articles for Life magazine which were later to become his nonfiction work The Dangerous Summer.
Figón de Juan
A well-established restaurant just outside the centre of Malaga, Figón de Juan was opened in 1989 by gourmet professional Juan Manuel Ramírez Romero. Today his son Juanma Ramírez is at the helm, continuing the family tradition of exceptional food and hospitality. Figón de Juan’s impressive selection of local wines and cavas come with an array of traditional food prepared by the restaurant’s long-standing chef Juan Antonio Pascual. Malaga prawns, fresh fish from the Mediterranean and meat from Burgos are among some of the fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that the Figón de Juan takes pride in serving, along with the famous rice pudding lovingly prepared by Juan Manuel Ramírez Romero’s wife, Antonia.
Serving locals since 1967, Lo Güeno is a small traditional tapas bar where tapas are prepared and served at the counter and wine from barrels. After decades of experience Lo Güeno boasts the biggest selection of tapas in Malaga. Its festive ambience and rustic setting — complete with strings of onions, hanging cured hams and wine racks lodged below the ceilings — will soon make any visitor feel part of the Malaga scene.
Isabella Taller de Cocina
Situated in Malaga’s Jewish quarter, Isabella Taller de Cocina is the brainchild of three friends whose passion for food led to the creation of a kitchen-style restaurant where fresh ingredients are king. All produce is locally sourced and includes organic garden vegetables and fish trawled in from the Mediterranean. Chef Alberto Aragos and his partners offer a seasonal menu accompanied by a good selection of young Spanish wines and bite-size tapas versions of the menu; savor them with Estrella de Galicia, a Spanish ale. Isabella Taller de Cocina’s simple kitchen style interior features decorations in Mediterranean blue, creating a bright and cheerful atmosphere.
Restaurante José Carlos García
Overlooking the Port of Malaga, the José Carlos García (commonly referred to as the JCG) is a perfect place to savor some of the finest Spanish cuisine against a backdrop of sea, yachts and some of the city’s most beautiful monuments towering in the distance. With floor to ceiling glass panes subtly broken up by suspended bamboo screens, JCG’s elegant indoor dining area on the quayside is secluded but at the same time exposed. Likewise, the outdoor terrace, set back from the quay and surrounded by greenery, preserves the diners’ privacy. JCG’s glass cube kitchen looking out onto the quay showcases the painstaking work of chef José Carlos García and his team. Born in Malaga, this award-winning Michelin star-clad chef is an adept of innovative cuisine, offering a creative menu with extraordinary combinations and artistic presentation.
Set in an 18th century house in the center of Malaga, locals, the famous and lovers of Spanish culture alike flock to El Pimpi for a true taste of Andalusia. Its multiple dining areas offer a choice of ambience, from the monumental paintings depicting flamenco dancers in the intimate Carmen Thyssen room, to the breathtaking views of the Alcazaba offered by the Picasso loft, or the palm lined terrace. Live music and flamenco shows share the spotlight with El Pimpi’s hanging cured hams, for which the restaurant has been awarded the best cured ham slicer in Spain distinction. The menu offers a vast selection of Andalusia fare and a very long list of Malaga wines. Famous visitors, including the Picasso family and Malaga-born Antonio Banderas, have left their mark at El Pimpi by signing the collection of wine barrels, a running theme throughout the meandering rooms of the restaurant.
Sharing the same street as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, La Plaza is a much sought after terrace on the famous Plaza de la Merced square facing Malaga’s 16th century Huelva cathedral. La Plaza’s interior is equally appealing, offering a combination of modern elegance and cosy tradition. A wide variety of tapas are available all day and at night, while the dinner menu offers a host of freshly prepared international dishes from Europe, Asia and North Africa ranging from Moroccan lamb to Greek spinach burgers. Among the desserts is a must try heavenly chocolate truffle cake with caramelized oranges.
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