Seafood by the sea, off the tourist area. Popular Chiringuitos with locals are always a sign of quality.
MALAGA, SPAIN: There are something rather unique about Malaga. The historic city with 300 days of sunshine a year. A city of art and museums, and shoppers paradise. The hospitality people, the flowers, a city of beaches and then the cuisine. In fact, the best beach restaurants in Malaga are all east of the city center. They are Chiringuitos, specialized in tapas, salads and above all – the fish. Lots of fish and seafood.
For some of the best Chiringuitos, head towards a strip of beaches and to Pedregalejo. This is Malaga’s oldest fishing neighbourhood, with a row of restaurants from El Palo to Baños de Carmen. Take a seat, look out to the sea, and remember most of the unique beach cuisine are caught out there.
The Seafood Options
Just in front of the Chiringuitos are boats full of sand and stones, with olive wood slowly burning on top. This is the traditional way of grilling.
On the menu; Skewers of freshly caught and salted Mediterranean sardines cooked over an open fire. Fish can be cooked the same traditional way, such as sea bream, sea bass and turbot.
The shellfish, mussels and large clams are normally prepared simply, boiled and with lemon added. There are also crayfish, langoustines and prawns. At this stretch you find many of the best Beach Restaurants in Malaga
Hot and cold Tapas
What about huge Spanish tomatoes splashed with olive oil and garlic. Or fresh salad hearts with fried garlic, anchovies, and slices of aubergine dunked in local honey. These places are well-known for seafood tapas, hot and cold. Even if the menu basically is a list of things caught in the sea, meat are available.
It is impossible to name the best Chiringuitos. But here are some of our favourites with the old-school charm.
FAMILY FOOD: Maricuchi is a family restaurant – kept going since 1944. With fish, seafood and passion for cooking from generation to generation.
Maricuchi is one of the most popular and with good reason. Situated right on the beachfront in Pedregalejo, you couldn’t hope for a better spot. Favourites include the perfectly fried boquerones al limón and, in season, the espeto de sardinas – on stick – made by Juan, the Espetero.
If looking for a quiet, relaxing meal, this is not the place for you. A popular spot with locals. Expect noise. Lots of it. But it’s reasonably priced and authentic. Owner Andrès Cametero has worked here all his life. Juan, the Espetero, has been near the heath grilling fish and sardines in more than 30 years.
Call ahead and book a table as the terrace fills up fast.
Address: Paseo Marítimo del Pedregal, 14, 29017 Málaga. Reservations: +34 952 20 06 12
Rafael and Loli have been running this restaurant since 1987. Like Maricuchi, El Caleño is situated in Pedregalejo on the Paseo Maritimo. A very popular restaurant with locals, which is always a good sign.
Price per person: 30€
Address: Calle Cenacheros 16, 29019 – Málaga. Reservations +34 952 29 91 48
They don’t come much more authentic than Hermanos Muñoz. Cheap and good. Bernardo has been frying sardines for decades and knows how to fry them to perfection.
All the fish dishes are good. I like to recommend “calamares a la caña”. Gets busy on weekends.
Price per person: 15€
Address: Paseo Marítimo, El Pedregal 98, 29017 Málaga. Reservations: +34 952 20 32 86
Good quality fish at reasonable prices. Aside from all the usual fish dishes, El Lirio also offers some great gazpacho, fish soup. Their flagship dish is the “Arroz caldoso con boquerones” – Rice with anchovies is simply amazing. Menus for as little as 12€.
Price per person: 15€
Address: Paseo Marítimo 11, 29017 Málaga. Reservations: +34 952 29 00 22
El Cabra is one of the most famous chiringuitos in Malaga. Situated right in the heart of Pedregalejo, the restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Price per person: 15€
Address: Paseo Marítimo El Pedregal 17, 29017 Málaga. Reservations: +34 952 29 15 95
El Tintero II
Tintero is so much more than a restaurant. It’s become an institution. The atmosphere is unique and not something that’s forgotten quickly. You never need to utter a word in Tintero. The waiters wander around with huge plates of fish and salads, all you need do is point. At the end of the meal you are charged by the plate (6€).
Price per person: 15€. All dishes are 6€
Address: Playa del Dedo, s/n, 29018 Málaga. Reservations:+34 952 20 68 26
The Gutiérrez family have been living off the sea for generations. Some of the family are still fishing, others are running their three fish stalls in the local markets and the remaining ones working in the brilliant Hermanos Gutiérrez chiringuito.
The quality is exceptional. Prices are reasonable. And the restaurant is only really known to locals. Tourists still haven’t discovered this gem of a restaurant. Yet. Price per person: 35€
Address: Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas, nº 6. 29004 – Málaga. +34 952 11 89 08
El Pimpi Florida
Small, crowded and noisy.
Pimpi Florida is a bar serving fish dishes – doesn’t come much more authentic than this. Only open from 8.30pm until late, and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Expect to stand, to shout and plenty of music.
This is where you’ll see Malagueños do what they do best, eat, drink and enjoy.
Price per person: 15€
Address: Carretera de Almería 13, 29018 Málaga. Reservations: +34 952 29 26 25
El Merlo la Revuelo
This is a small and modern beach bar with two terraces.
The food is really cheap, only two euros for their skewers. The whole fried octopus was perfect and came with the price of 9,50, if you like octopus. Nice clean place, unbeatable value for money.
Address: El Pedregal, P.º Marítimo el Pedregal, 87, 29017 Málaga
This is somewhat more modern take on a Chiringuito, on the central beach of La Malagueta. Situated right on the beach, you can choose to sit either under parasols in the sand or on the chill-out terrace. There are also tables inside, but who sits inside while eating freshly grilled sardines in Malaga? The atmosphere is different and a bit more upscale than down in Pedregalejo, yet the food is just as good.
Address: Paseo Marítimo Pablo Ruiz Picasso, 35, Malaga. Show on map
Fresh from the ocean
To sample daily catch of fish and seafood, head to one of the Chiringuitos. You will always find a Chiringuito along 150km coast between Nerja to Manilva. On Malaga´s seaside I found some more economical plates of “Pescaito”, delicious small fish fried in olive oil. Don´t forget to taste anchovies, marinated dogfish, mackerel and Rosada, a white fish grilled or fried.
You will meet Chefs who know how to prepare Malaga´s beach food to the point of perfection. Observe the “Espetero”, who spend summer on the sand, grilling sardines over the fire. They are people never complaining about Malaga´s endless days of sun – and lack of shades.
More inspiration: FUN IN THE CITY – 12 THINGS TO DO IN MALAGA
Learn 54 Spanish Fish Words
Almeja – White clam
Anguila / Angula – Eel
Arenque – Herring
Atún – Tuna
Besugo – Bream
Bacalao – Codfish
Berberechos – Cockle
Boquerones – Anchovies, deep-fried or marinated
Buey de mar – Edible crab, brown crab
Caballa – Mackerel
Calamar – Squid, often served fried in rings
Calamaritos – Baby squid, served fried whole
Cangrejo del río – Freshwater crayfish
Cangrejo – Crab
Caracolas búsanos – Sea snails
Cazón – Shark
Centolla – King crab, spider crab
Chipirones en su tinta – Small squid served in their ink
Chirla – Clam
Chopitos – Another name for baby squid, served fried whole
Cigala – Lobster
Coquinas – Clams
Conchas Finas – Smooth clam
Doradas – Bream
Fletán – Atlantic halibut
Gambas – Prawns
Gallo – Sole
Langostinos – Jumbo shrimp, tiger shrimp
Trucha – Trout
Trucha arco iris – Rainbow trout
Langosta – Lobster
Lapa – Limpet mollusk
Lenguado – Common sole
Lubina – Sea bass
Mariscos – Shellfish
Mejillónes – Mussels
Merluza – Hake
Mero – Halibut
Navajas – Razor clam
Necoras – Velvet crab
Ostras – Oysters
Percebes – Goose barnacles, gooseneck barnacles
Pescado – Fish
Pez Espada – Swordfish
Pulpo – Octopus
Rape – Monkfish
Rodaballo – Turbot
Rosada Nacional – Spanish hake, also known as ‘Nacional’
Salmón – Salmon
Sardinas – Sardines
Santiaguiños – Slipper lobster
Sepia – Cuttlefish
Vieira – Scallop
Zamburiña – Another type of scallop
Espeto means skewering the fish, usually sardines, in thin and long rods, and then roasting it on a wood fire made on the beach.
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