Famous throughout Spain for both their innovative and traditional cuisine, the best restaurants in Malaga are one of the highlights for any trip to the Costa del Sol.
Being right on the Mediterranean Sea, many of the notable restaurants in the city feature fresh fish and seafood with a Mediterranean flair at the heart of their menus. Be sure to zero in on these kind of eateries to experience the ways the locals prefer to eat.
One of the most famous local dishes is pescaito frito, where fresh fish and herbs are the focus. Chanquetes are tiny fish, similar to the barbecued sardines that can found everywhere, which are then sautéed in vinegar. Any seafood cooked in adobo marinade will give you a good sense of what Malaga locals enjoy, and while much of the seafood here is fried, it is typically done in healthy olive oil.
Plenty of tasty and affordable local restaurants can be found along Paseo Maritimo Antonio Martin and of course, if you’re craving more international dishes, Malaga is home to quality cuisine from all corners of the globe. Here are my favourite restaurants in Malaga.
El Chinitas: a locals’ favourite, right in the heart of Malaga, serves up a classic Costa del Sol menu centred around seafood. Come in for a light tapas meal and a few drinks or sit down and peruse the menu that frequently changes to flow with the freshest seafood available.
Refectorium: the old-style atmosphere here is one of its charms, along with the huge portions. It’s right behind the bullfighting ring, so you may want to avoid it on a game day unless you’re seeking a vivacious crowd of excited locals. Try the ajo blanco con uvas, a classic Malaga soup served cold with almonds and huge muscatel grapes.
Café de Paris: one of the city’s top restaurants manages to fuse French cuisine with Andalucian flair, offering some really interesting dishes like beef stroganoff made with ox tail and local whitefish baked with a zippy salt crust. This eatery is located in the cool La Malagueta district so you’d be wise to make reservations well in advance.
Adolfo: a good choice along the seaside road serving up reliably delicious regional dishes. The pleasant interior feels like it belongs only in Malaga and its menu features a superb wine cellar focusing on Andalucian vintages. The stewed anglerfish with wild mushrooms and prawns is a winner.
Bodega El Pimpi: this bodega behind the Picasso Museum is a favourite hangout of the rich and famous, but it’s the amazing regional wine list and awesome selection of tapas that keeps them coming back. Set inside a traditional Andalucian house, it’s got more than enough atmosphere to match its impressive, authentic menu.
La Mensula: another local favourite showcasing the local cuisine of Malaga, with incredible attention to detail. The barrel vaulted ceiling of the restaurant is typical old-school Andalucia and the menu spills over the edges of local tradition, with dishes like stone-cooked steaks and warm fish salad.
Café Central: everyone loves to sit outside on the plaza when the weather is fine, as it often is in Malaga. This cool little spot on Plaza Constitucion stays open all day, starting with hot coffee and churros in the morning before moving on with traditional Malaga dishes for lunch and dinner. When the sun is shining, this place buzzes with energy.
La Posada de Antonio: Antonio Banderas owns this popular restaurant near the cathedral, but it’s the quality of its kitchen that has kept it at the top of the city’s restaurant rankings year after year. Grilled meat is the speciality here, including some great cuts of halal lamb complemented by creative takes on standard side dishes.