Food Lover's Guide to Malaga
By Viator, February 2018
Originally an Andalusian ritual enjoyed most evenings when crowds gather in local cafés and bars to gossip and discuss their days, tapas has evolved over the years from a few olives served with a glass of dry sherry into a serious culinary art form. Traditional tapas include albóndigas (spicy meatballs in tomato sauce); jamón (cured ham); cheeses, tortilla (a thick, scrummy omelet) and potato served as croquettes or patatas bravas fried with chili and garlic. With Málaga being a coastal town, tiny sardines, luscious prawns, crispy calamari squid rings, boquerones (anchovies) and mussels also feature on most tapas menus.
Even the tiniest neighborhood zinc bar offers at least plate of dripping garlic mushrooms along with your nightly aperitif and half the pleasure of feasting on tapas is the bar hopping from one establishment to the next, sampling the plates on offer as you drink. At the other end of the scale, city-center venues dripping with sophistication come up with increasingly inventive tapas combinations, including stuffed tomatoes, artichoke rice cakes and asparagus with salmon.
The ordering ritual is easy: grab the attention of the waiter, choose your tapas from behind the glass counter and pay when you have eaten your fill. Whereas tapas come in tiny portions to serve one person, racíones can either be a complete meal or shared among several people. Basque-style pinchos, simple open sandwiches with various toppings and spiked with a toothpick, have become popular on the south coast, while bocadillos are rolls filled with cheese, ham or shrimp and most often eaten at lunchtime. It’s cheaper to eat standing or perching at the bar, and tapas should be accompanied with either a glass of the local sweet muscatel wine or sparkling cava, a beer or even a chilled glass of Andalusian dry sherry.
To sample three of Málaga’s best tapas bars, take a guided tour led by a local expert; you’ll discover local beers, sweet dessert wines and sherries as well as tasting many different types of delicious tapas finger food.