The maritime tradition has inspired Málaga's recipes for centuries. The Mediterranean, which shapes the identity of this city on the Costa del Sol, is the source of dishes that are recognizable to any palate, from the already internationally renowned skewers to a noodle casserole or Málaga prawns. Every bite of a seafood dish takes you on a far-reaching tour of the city through its flavour: fry-up, skewered fish, fresh seafood from the bay and much more. A seaside menu that extends beyond the summer and that, in autumn, raises the stakes with the stews and casseroles that are essential to Málaga cuisine.
From eastern Málaga, in areas such as La Araña, El Palo and Pedregalejo, to beyond the west, there are a multitude of beach bars and bars specializing in fried fish, as well as typical seafood and dishes such as ajoblanco and pipirrana a la malagueña (a type of salad).
Beach bars: curiosities and tips for enjoying them
Enjoying a tapa of anchovies in vinegar or clams a la marinera while gazing out at the blue Mediterranean and breathing in the sea air is something you need to do more than once while sampling the cuisine that Málaga has to offer.
The beach bars on the coast are the perfect place to enjoy this experience. And there are bars for every taste: from traditional ones located right on the beach with a paper tablecloth, to new alternatives with live music, or Balinese beds to enjoy a cocktail on the side.
The city's great climate allows many of these bars to stay open year-round, offering creations that reflect the season and that day's catch.
Typical fish and beach dishes
Beach bars and restaurants all over the coast of Málaga bring the flavours of the fish market to the table with traditional fish fries of, for example, mullets, cuttle fish, vitorianos anchovies or the tasty marinated dogfish. The seafood menu also includes fresh shellfish such as sautéed wedge clams, a nice serving of razor clams and smooth clams, a classic of seafood cuisine.
Of course, if there is one true icon of Málaga cuisine, it's the skewer. Watching how one is made is quite a unique spectacle. The small boats on the city's beaches create the perfect setting, as the cook gets the fire going and then skewers the sardines before adding the right touch of salt. This technique is also applied to other larger fish such as sea bream, sea bass, grouper and squid.
There are other typical dishes besides skewers on the tables of beach bars. Not to be missed are Málaga prawns, boiled or grilled, fried hake, mussels and clams a la marenga, made with white wine, olive oil, garlic and parsley (you won't be able to resist dipping bread in the sauce).
What the Mediterranean offers every day also allows us to enjoy other great recipes that come with autumn. A glass of sandy dogfish soup, with spicy and very tasty nuances, and the noodle casserole, if you prefer to use a spoon, are two of the most traditional seafood dishes.
Beach areas for dining
The neighbourhoods of Pedregalejo, El Palo and Huelin are some of the best areas to try out these delicacies of Malagueño cuisine. Along the city's promenades - Antonio Banderas in the west, and Antonio Machado - there are endless restaurants and beach bars where you can try fish skewers and fresh seafood from the market, paired with a white wine made in Málaga.
The eastern part, home to the beach of El Peñón del Cuervo and the neighbourhood of La Araña, is another of the city's small fishing paradises. In this area it is easy to find restaurants that serve delicious rice and fish dishes just a few metres from the seashore.
Beyond the sun and the beach, the historic centre has numerous places where you can try the city's seafood cuisine. The markets, like the Atarazanas or Carmen market, have taverns and bars that bring the product directly from the fish market to your plate. The streets that surround and cross the Plaza de la Constitución and Calle Larios also offer numerous opportunities to familiarize yourself with the flavours from the sea.