“This looks good, what is it?” I ask the waiter in front of me. The answer gets lost somewhere between my limited understanding and his strong Andalusian accent. It doesn’t matter really, I’m not even hungry. Hunger is irrelevant in Spain anyway. Seeing the perfectly displayed tapas in front of me, a glass of Rioja in hand, I’m ready to devour it all!
This is my 3rd time in Málaga. A mere 10 km away, the resorts serve up stodgy paella and sickly sangria. But the city has managed to preserve its soul and I’m on a mission to find the best tapas bars in Málaga!
Cortijo de Pepe is situated on Plaza Merced. The scorching afternoon sun makes way for a more balmy evening as the bars around one of Málaga’s main squares start filling up. Pepe is one of them and a firm favourite with locals. Waiters shout their orders into the kitchen, beer and wine flow abundantly and the grill is working overtime. This is the Spain I love!
Determined to do my tapas tour the Spanish way- meaning one tapas per bar- I make my way to Casa Lola. The bar specializes in vermut, a drink similar to Martini. The blue and white tiles on the façade give the place an old-worldly look. You could easily spend the whole evening on the terrace here, watching passers-by, nibbling on some olives and croquetas.
Just around the corner is Cervecería Los Gatos. You know a place is good when the crowd spills out onto the pavement! It is one of those few places where your drink is still accompanied by a free tapa. A bowl of crisps, some peanuts, a few olives, … depending on the waiter’s mood.
At 10.30 pm it’s time for dinner. Bodega Bar El Pimpi is an institute in Málaga! Included in every list of “best tapas bars in Malaga”, the place is a labyrinth of cellars where the walls are adorned with old wine barrels, bull fighting posters and signatures of famous Andalusians. It’s in every guide book, so it gets its fair share of tourists, but is still worth checking out! The food is nice, but it’s the setting that really nails it!
Time for a last drink. Lo Güeno is another one of those frenetic tapas bars where the jamón is hanging down from the ceiling and where, during busy times, you have to fight your way to the bar to get your order in. I settle for a fino accompanied by some Manchego cheese. Sometimes the simple pleasures in life turn out the best!
What are your favourite tapas bars in Malaga? Or elsewhere in Spain? Looking forward to reading them in the comments!