Our Favorite Tapas Bars in Malaga’s City Center

This blog post was originally posted on April 22th, 2016 and was updated on November 9th, 2017

Going out for tapas is part of the Andalusian dream, but where are the best tapas bars in Malaga to be found?

There are many great places to eat in Malaga which makes it hard to select the few that you will visit on your tapeo– a tapas crawl to eat your way around the city, so we thought we would share some of our favorites to help you plan an exciting and delicious trip to the capital of the Costa del Sol.

Best place for traditional tapas in Malaga

Without a doubt, our favorite traditional tapas place in Malaga is Mesón Mariano! There is a restaurant where you can sit down and make a whole meal out of the experience, or gather around the barrels and bar to have a drink and a tapa as you do a circuit around Malaga’s bars. We love trying the range of artichoke dishes (one of their specialties) as well as the atún encebollado“, tuna cooked with onion, Malaga’s own delicious raisins, and dates.

One of the best tapas bars in Malaga for traditional tapas is Mesón Mariano, where you can try this delicious fried green tomato and goats cheese tapa.
Fried green tomato and goats cheese at Mesón Mariano– this is so good, make sure you try it!

Best place for modern tapas in Malaga

Uvedoble (Calle Císter, 15) is a wonderful place in the center of the city where traditional meets modern. The menu features traditional malagueño favorites done in a fresh and interesting way. We love digging into old favorites such as ajoblanco (cold almond and garlic soup, but with the added touch of sardines) and albóndigas (meatballs) made with bull tail. There are a choice of smaller tapa size portions or larger plates available, making it a great choice for all occasions!

One of the best tapas bars in Malaga for fried fish is Marisquería Casa Vicente, where you can try these delicious fried boquerones.
Fried white ancovies (boquerones) are an iconic tapa in Malaga that aren’t to be missed!

Best place for fried fish tapas in Malaga

Fried fish is a staple in the diet in Malaga, so you might as well do it well! We love going to Marisquería Casa Vicente (Calle del Comisario, 2), a no-frills fish joint located right by the famous Atarazanas Market. As well as their delicious fried fish, the house specialty, gambas (prawns) are also worth trying– throw the tails in the plastic buckets on the table. The plates here are actually large plates (raciones) so if you are on your own and looking for smaller “tapas” sizes, stop by La Campana (Calle Granada, 35), located right in the middle of Malaga’s historic center.

Many of the best tapas bars in Malaga will be serving dry wines from the Sierras de Malaga wine making region-- don't miss them!
Don’t miss trying dry white wines from Malaga’s Sierras de Malaga wine making region!

Best place for a wide variety of tapas

El Tapeo de Cervantes (Calle de Cárcer, 80) is a tiny tapas bar with a huge menu to choose from! Make sure you book to avoid disappointment if you want to eat here, as it is no secret that this is a great spot to come for a range of tapas. There are traditional tapas, modern and fusion tapas to choose from, as well their own specialties such as sea bream wrapped in aubergine with carrot puree and goats cheese sauce (we love this one!). To top things off, the wine list is great so can try some of Malaga’s own dry wines from the Sierras de Malaga wine making region.

One of the best tapas bars in Malaga is La Recova, where you can find this delicious sardine tapa!
Delicious and simple sardine tapa at La Recova, a great tapas bar nestled in a quirky store

Quirkiest tapas bar in Malaga

While we love going to La Recova (Pasaje Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de San Juan, 5) for breakfast, this is also a wonderful place to come around lunch time as well (it is closed in the evening). After midday La Recova trades in their simple “farmer’s breakfast” for a range of wonderful local tapas. Try the pulpo (octopus), as well a range of cold cuts (order the “plato de Malaga” to try a selection) and caracoles (snails) when they are in season. Not only is this a great bar, it is also a shop selling a quirky range of artisan and antique homewares and decoration.

One of the best tapas bars in Malaga is Wendy Gamba, where you can try this delicious bull burger!
It’s worth going to Wendy Gamba just to try this delicious bull burger– it’s life changing!

Tapas bars with specialties that you can’t miss

There are some places that just have that standout specialty that makes it worth seeking it out just to try it, and there are two things that we can’t resist trying when we are on our tapas crawl around Malaga. La Tranca (Calle Carretería, 93) is a great little local bar always busy and popular with locals, but for a good reason– aside from their wonderful homemade vermouth, they specialize in freshly cooked empanadas that come with a range of filling, including some vegetarian options. The other is the bull burger, found at Wendy Gamba (Calle Fresca, 10), and an absolute must-eat on our tapeo around Malaga’s historic center.

Before hitting the best tapas bars in Malaga, start with a sweet wine at Antigua Casa de Guardia-- it's the perfect way to kick off an evening tapas crawl!
Barrels of sweet wine lining the back wall at Antigua Casa de Guardia, the perfect spot to stop for an aperitif to kick off your tapas crawl in Malaga!

Best place to start a tapas crawl in Malaga

The best way to ease into the evening is with a glass of Malaga’s own sweet wine, of course! There are a couple of iconic places in Malaga to try this, but our personal favorite is the Antigua Casa de Guardia (Alameda Principal, 18). The symbol of this small bar is the barrels of sweet wines that line the back wall– all 24 of them! — and sampling a variety of wines with varying degrees of sweetness is all part of the fun. If you want a snack to go with your wine, there is a small range of simple seafood tapas available, we always opt for a small skewer of smoked tuna and cheese to wash down with our glass of Pajarete 1908.

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