Those familiar with this popular area of Spain know that Malaga and tapas-hopping are synonymous with one another. Locals love to go from restaurant to restaurant, enjoying the many exquisite tapas dishes available in the city, or even combining a selection of offerings for one complete meal. Therefore, for a truly authentic Malaga experience during your next holiday, visiting a tapas bar or two is essential. Considering this, and to help you prepare for your visit, we have put together this very guide, letting you know where to get the best tapas in Malaga.
El Tapeo de Cervantes
Image credit: El Tapeo de Cervantes
One of the absolute best destinations for delicious Malaga tapas has to be El Tapeo de Cervantes. Situated in the centre of this historic city, El Tapeo de Cervantes is an intimate establishment that is known for its creative Mediterranean cuisine. El Tapeo de Cervantes described themselves to us as “a small and cosy restaurant with friendly service”, saying that “we take care of the details and try to make everybody happy.”
With an extensive tapas menu, a list of recommended tapas can be seen on their website, and includes the likes of Iberian ham with grilled artichokes and asparagus, sea bream wrapped in aubergine, and Tapa of blood sausage, sweet potatoes, fried quail egg and chimichurri.
El Tapeo de Cervantes also told us: “Our menu includes local, fresh fishes, seafood, vegetables, good meats and Iberian ham from Spain. The menu includes food options for everybody, we always suggest people share to try as many dishes as possible.”
Image credit: La Tranca
A perfect location for enjoying the finest tapas, La Tranca invites diners of all ages to its charming establishment. Boasting a carefully curated selection of traditional tapas, including the likes of Tortilla Pincho, and Ensaladilla, La Tranca needs to be on your Malaga itinerary. Telling us a little more about themselves, La Tranca said: “La Tranca is located right in the downtown of the city, although outside of the tourist circuit, so you can enjoy the authentic local atmosphere and feel like a real ‘malagueño’.”
Regarding their tapas menu and what visitors can look forward to finding at La Tranca, the team told us: “We have a unique style for those who wish to have a chat accompanied by a glass of wine or enjoy a cold beer while listening to traditional Spanish music from all time periods, all accompanied by a carefully chosen selection of traditional tapas.”
Image credit: L’expérience
Located on the Plaza del Obispo, L’expérience is a picturesque tapas venue that must be enjoyed while in Malaga. A favourite of locals and visitors to the city, L’expérience is constantly innovating and wants to invite guests to experience a delicious meal in a truly characteristic Malaga setting.
Along with boasting exquisite paella, and various shareable dishes to enjoy with friends and family, L’expérience, of course, is home to some fantastic tapas options. Their ‘tapas selection 1’ includes ham with quail egg, Iberian pork, and salmon with blue cheese cream, and their second tapas option entails croquettes, fried Camembert and solomillitos with quail eggs.
The team at L’expérience spoke to us about what’s on offer: “We want to inspire in you moments of happiness, optimism and allow you to enjoy what you want most: your partner, your friends, your family, and those unique moments. Experience our pleasant meals, dreamy sunsets and magical nights in one of the most emblematic environments of Malaga, the Plaza del Obispo, in front of the Cathedral.”
Regarding their sublime food and tapas menu, L’expérience told us: “In L’expérience we usually say that shared food tastes better. Among our tapas, you can find typical Malaga dishes such as Porra Antequerana and Ajoblanco. We have tapas that everyone likes: from Iberian ham croquettes to prawns to pil-pil. All this is in a unique atmosphere and with unbeatable views in the historic centre of Malaga.”
Toma & Coe
Image credit: Toma & Coe
For an all-encompassing Malaga tapas experience, it’s a great idea to enjoy the tastes of the city with some true experts. Toma & Coe is a tour guide company that knows Malaga extensively and loves to take visitors on their Malaga tapas tours. This is a great option for those who want to eat at the best locations without having to investigate the merits of the bars themselves!
Toma & Coe told us about what makes their tapas tours so special: “We all live in Malaga, grew up in Malaga and know the city inside-out. The tapas scene is always changing, always evolving. We keep our ears to the ground and find out about new places and avoid places that have become too touristy. We love Malaga and our aim is not only to teach you about the culture of tapas and have you try the very best, we also want to show you the city. We choose our locations carefully so that the tour is also an introduction to the Old Town of Malaga. We learn as we wander from one Tapas Bar to the next.
And regarding some tips for those new to the Malaga tapas scene, Toma & Coe advise: “Avoid the obviously touristy places and venture further afield. You don´t have to go very far to discover truly local places. It´s always good to ask for recommendations from the hotel staff. They will be local and will know where the best places are hiding!”
Opening its doors back in 1967, and delighting locals ever since, Lo Güeno is a small and intimate tapas bar that will prove to be a favourite during your tapas bar-hopping experience. At Güeno the tapas is prepared and served right at the counter with the bar able to offer one of the biggest selections in all of Malaga.
With its comfortable lounges, terraces and traditional bar, Lo Güeno is the perfect place to enjoy the best of Malaga tapas with family and friends, along with a drink from their superb wine list. Their tapas menu includes meatballs in tomato sauce, cuttlefish in sauce, and Russian salad, among many others.
Tapas in Malaga
Image credit: Tapas in Malaga
Malaga truly is tapas country so while spending time in the city, there is no excuse not to fully explore all of what’s available. Tapas in Malaga is an award-winning tapas tour company from owners and guides Michael Soffe, Laura Dibben, and Isabel Roldán. Running tapas tours in Malaga for nine years, the team at Tapas in Malaga spoke to us about why a tour with them must be enjoyed during your holiday:
“The personal touch is actually what we are famous for and all our guests tell us they leave our tours feeling they have spent an afternoon or evening with a friend rather than a guide – that is definitely what makes us unique! Unlike the other tapas tour companies in the city (many of which are chain tapas tour companies administered by Madrid, Barcelona or Seville head offices), we adapt our tours to a client’s wishes and never add clients together, thus forming groups. Our tours are highly bespoke. We are also the original tapas tour in Málaga and whilst we know where we will take clients for the first stop, we won’t know where we will be taking them for bar number two or number three until we have spoken about likes, dislikes etc. and have seen how they have reacted to the first three tapas in the first bar.
Image credit: Tapas in Malaga
“Rather than just visiting the same three bars on every tour, we have about 20 wonderful tapas experiences up our sleeves and indeed many people have taken half a dozen tours with us over the years as they return to this beautiful city time and time again. Our tours are definitely ‘gourmet’ and we always order excellent wines. Tours can be combined with a trip to the food market, a flamenco show and even with the services of a personal shopper!”
And regarding advice for those new to the culture of tapas, Tapas in Malaga told us: “Our award-winning tours are ideal for those new to tapas. Most visitors make the mistake of going to one tapas bar and staying there for their whole lunch or evening meal. That is not how the Spaniards do it and our tour will give newcomers the confidence to ‘live like a local’, moving around between bars, never over-ordering and getting off the beaten track. The centre of Málaga is filled with bars and restaurants and it is so difficult for tourists to know which ones stand out for their tapas, wines and service. We are often told by our guests that they would have ‘walked straight past’ a tapas bar that we have taken them into, thus missing excellent tapas.”
On the very street where legendary artist Pablo Picasso was born, La Plaza is in a prime location, situated on the renowned Plaza de la Merced square across from a 16th-century cathedral – all making for an exquisite setting in which to enjoy some superb tapas.
La Plaza offers diners a fantastic mix of modern and traditional cuisine, allowing guests to enjoy tapas and wine in a relaxed atmosphere at either their bar or in their restaurant area. La Plaza serves tapas seven days a week and their menu includes the likes of serrano ham with melon, grilled chorizo, and bruschetta with tomato and basil.
Suggestions from Dining Secrets of Andalucía
Dining Secrets of Andalucía is a wonderful online resource for all things food in the region of Andalucía. Noting how popular the area has become as a dining destination, the website and its editor Jon Clarke are premium authorities on the very subject of this article and, as such, we reached out to them for a little advice and one or two recommendations.
Jon told us that he has noticed a big change in Malaga recently, saying that “places are popping up every month so to keep on top of all the new locations isn’t always easy. A decade ago the best place was Gorki by a long shot, but now I also really like Los Patios de Beatas, which has excellent wines by the glass too. In this area around Calle Beatas you’ll also find a series of other interesting spots so follow your nose… and your eyes.”
A car rental from Malaga airport can truly open up this fantastic city to visitors, allowing holidaymakers to enjoy the many delights available, including the plethora of fantastic tapas options available. So, next time you’re in Malaga, make sure to visit one of the above, and indulge in an authentic Malaga tapas experience.