Blessed by more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Malaga coast has well deserved nickname of which it presumes, that it has become a claim of the first order for the area but also for the rest of the region.
Understood by the entire coastline of Malaga, from the eastern part, in Nerja and Maro, near Granada, to the western part, bordering the province of Cádiz after passing Casares and Manilva, there are many municipalities that have also put the region on the gastronomic map.
Important tourist focus, especially towards the west of the capital with cities such as Marbella, Estepona, Fuengirola, Benalmádena or Torremolinos They also concentrate most of the restaurants in the region, acting as a driving force for the local economy, dependent on the traveler.
It is obviously coast and beach gastronomy, based with great force in the beach bars. These, banners and claims of the culinary, thus break a spear in favor of a simple kitchen but with a product of proximity and quality, which has little or nothing to do with the topic that could haunt them of poor quality.
How to make baked sea bass
The 5 most typical dishes of Costa del Sol gastronomy
Graced by the climate, which allows its orchards to have great power throughout the year, and protected by the Mediterranean, the dishes of the Costa del Sol have their freshness in common, its temporality and a great importance of everything that comes from the sea.
It is land of skewers of sardines, anchovies, shrimp and thin shell but also peppers from Vega del Guadalhorce or carrots blackberries from the Vega del Genil, from the inland almond trees, from the bull egg tomatoes from Coín or of course, from the growing market for tropical fruits of avocados and mangoes. Gone are not the Periana peaches, grapes, custard apples, raisins and sweet wines, although more and more we find good bets, especially in the mountains, of other types of wines.
To this is also added pork products such as the zurrapa de lomo, the butter colorá or the loin of orza, added to one of the archetypes of the chicha Malaga as is the suckling goat. A set that always makes good company with regional breads such as muffins or catetos breads.
All this combined with a growing tourist offer that has also attracted international travelers with high purchasing power who have also fostered this gastronomic growth, bringing together Michelin star restaurants,, world-famous chefs such as Dani García, local bets, high-quality beach bars and traditional restaurants-
In short, a region, beyond the capital, that has a culinary might very important and worth visiting at any time of the year.
Sardine skewers are the flag of the Malaga coast and we have already told you about them on occasion. His best season is in summer, when the sardines arrive with more fat to the markets, being only necessary to grill them tilted over the coals.
They are frequent in beach bars but also in haute restaurants, which have not denied this so ingrained custom and desired. The key is to enjoy them warm, freshly made and eat them with your hands (the accompanying lemon, better to degrease your fingers).
In addition, not only sardines are part of the skewer, since we are talking about a way of elaboration, being possible to find other fish such as red mullet, urtas, turbot or sea bass.
Fish fry or fried fish
It is the other great standard, not only of the beach bar, but of all Malaga cuisine. Frying is almost a religion throughout Andalusia and in Malaga and the Costa del Sol it is one of the magnets that attract the best palates. There is usually no lack of anchovies, chopitos (although also called choco or coquito) or puntillitas (weevil squid).
It is also common to find stupid, squid, and whitefish, depending on the market and in which restaurants, other gems such as red mullet or pijotas, all of them fish in the Alboran Sea. The recipes are simple but mastering them is not easy, although you must have a good hand, good fish and be very fair and clean with the flour and with the oil, which must be a good olive oil.
Andalusia is the homeland of cold soups and although gazpacho is rooted throughout the country, Malaga has its peculiarities such as the Antequera porra and the ajoblanco, a kind of gazpacho made with almonds.
Its main characteristic is its whiteness and it has an elegant taste, It is very good for it to be accompanied by, for example, fresh grape of the Muscat variety, which combines well with its sweet touches.
Malaga fish markets, from Vélez-Málaga to Fuengirola and Estepona, are almost luxury boutiques where the Local seafood also vindicates its presence. These are areas where you can find the famous fine shells (in the image above) and the coquinas but quiscones, periwinkles, búsanos (called cañaíllas or cañadillas in other areas of the Andalusian coast) also make an appearance.
Just fame have the white prawns, although they do not have the size that they usually reach in Huelva. Also during the summer we can find good crawfish or clams, being able to prepare that can be prepared a la marenga, a marine sauce with tomato and white wine.
Not everything is sea in Malaga gastronomy and the proof is found in the goat, a culinary treasure that transcends from the mountains to coastal restaurants. In its most common preparations is roasted in the oven or made with garlic, although other recipes, more obsolete but very tasty, are those of the shepherd goat or with almond sauce.
They belong to an exclusive breed: the Malaga goat, appreciated for its versatility and for its easy adaptation to the environment, being good for both milk and meat production. To ensure its origin and lineage, it has the Guarantee brand of Chivo Lechal Malagueño and the animals are one month old, with carcass weights of four to six kilos.
Bars of rations and tapas
Like any tourist claim, the Costa del Sol also faces that pupurrí of offer of overwhelming restoration that will approach you street by street during the summer. Supposed typical taverns, Italian battle restaurants, fast food from who knows what country or cute and good modern local stalls that thus cover their culinary shame.
In our search we have tried not to stumble upon that type of premises that roam freely throughout the Spanish coastlines and the city center. From Marbella, the epicenter of the region to the west of Malaga, and supported by Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos or Estepona, eating well on the Costa del and not going out of the way is possible and we show it.
Lobito de Mar, Marbella
There are two proposals (Lobito de Mar and BiBo), let’s say affordable, that Dani García, the most important chef in the province of Malaga has in Marbella. Lobito de Mar (of which he also opened a second part in Madrid) has that chiringuito soul and there García has opted to give an offer that combines the bar with the room.
At the bar you should not lose sight of the piquillo peppers stuffed with cod, the Russian salad or the gilda Andalusian style with pickled anchovy. With more science are the squid ratatouille a la romana and the crab lasagna.
If we jump into the room we will find a lot of catch of the day and quite a bit of grill -which raises the average ticket- but also cheaper temptations such as fried foods, tortillas finished on the table or the rice dishes, the smoked eel with lard and nori seaweed being especially curious.
Av. Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, 178, Marbella.
Back Tapas Bar, Marbella
After several years accompanying Dani García, David Olivas began with this solo adventure that emerged from a creative Mediterranean cuisine oriented to the world of tapas.
Now it also offers tasting menus and more room proposals but the tapas remain, forming part of the hard core of your offering. It is a different place and the proposal is affordable haute cuisine where you should not lose sight of the nettles fried in tripe broth, the squid with its ink broth, the payoyo cheese fritters or the spider crab croissant.
Of course, in summer, how could it be otherwise, getting a table or a seat at the bar is an odyssey so better secure the place by phone.
Calle Pablo Casals, 8, Marbella.
Gaspar Tavern, Marbella
El Gaspar, as it is popularly called, is part of that Marbella heart that is nourished by local customers and where they play many gastronomic sticks quite rightly.
The land of the stews is good and in them they should not be lost sight of tripe or meatballs although you have to be aware of the letter, literally, because it changes every day and it is practical to be aware of the day’s suggestions.
There is no shortage of salads, a quality Spanish omelette, croquettes -although they fly- and Fried anchovies in season that can be eaten like pipes.
Calle del notario Luis Oliver, 19, Marbella.
Do not let yourself be guided only by the name and therefore you think you are entering a pretentious place with little attention to food. José Soto and Carme Battlé are the artists who have merged Malaga and Catalonia in this young place but with a great future.
Interesting cannelloni, good rice and some dishes of a more malagueña nature, such as suckling goat or shrimp. It is also worth noting, in season, its artichokes with clams and peas with squid.
Avenida del Mar, 3, Marbella.
Los Manueles, Fuengirola
More of 40 years of history they vindicate this house that has become a staple of Fuengirola. Obviously, they have a good range of seafood products and they also play hand-cut Iberian products on site and grilled meats.
The kitchen should not be missed Seafood stuffed piquillo peppers, the curious pil pil prawns or more contemporary recipes such as tuna and avocado tartare. If you go to the dining room, it is almost obligatory to order the stewed oxtail or the hock and, in season, some artichokes with ham and prawns that encourage you to continue spreading bread.