Exploring Malaga’s Traditional Tapas Bars

This blog post was originally posted on April 29th, 2016 and was updated on November 21st, 2017

Tapas in Spain have evolved into individual servings of gastronomic goodness using flavors and ingredients from around the world, but we still love our traditional cuisine.

We love elaborated, beautifully invented creations, which involve not only traditional Spanish methods and ingredients but outside influences too, however sometimes we can’t help but think that traditional really is best. These are the dishes that tell stories about the land, the people, and the city. They are the recipes passed down for generations using products that are still cultivated in and around Malaga today. So what better way to celebrate this than to share with you our favorite traditional tapas bars in Malaga where you can find all our favorite local dishes.

We love elaborated, beautifully invented creations, which involve not only traditional Spanish methods and ingredients but outside influences too, however sometimes we can't help but think that traditional really is best. These are the dishes that tell stories about the land, the people, and the city. They are the recipes passed down for generations using products that are still cultivated in and around Malaga today. So what better way to celebrate this than to share with you our favorite traditional tapas bars in Malaga where you can find all our favorite local dishes.

Bar Orellana

This place is a really true hole-in-the-wall joint, found on a small side street right smack bang in the middle of Malaga’s historic center. Since 1938 locals have been flocking to this popular little spot, and today it is well known for serving up a long list of freshly made local favorites– don’t miss try the delicious roast lamb, which is carved on the bar top right in front of you!

Address: Calle Moreno Monroy, 5

Marisquería Casa Vicente

If seafood is your thing, Marisquería Casa Vicente, a no-frills seafood joint dating back to 1960 and located not far from the Mercado de Atarazanas, is the place to go! Malagueño favorites such as fried boquerones (white anchovies) are to be found on the menu, but the house speciality here are gambas (prawns), so no visit to this eatery is complete without getting yourself a plate of them. Throw the heads and skin in the plastic buckets on the tables!

Address: Calle del Comisario, 2

Try these delicious prawns at Marisquería Casa Vicente, one of the best traditional tapas bars in Malaga
The house speciality at Marisquería Casa Vicente– prawns!

Mesón Mariano

This is one of our favorite spots in Malaga, and potentially THE most authentic tapas bar left in the city. Mesón Mariano has it all– it’s an entirely family run business with cousins and in-laws of Mariano working in the restaurant, the tapas are freshly made and incredibly delicious, there is a great selection of local Malaga wines to choose from, and aside from tapas at the bar you can sit down and the tables and turn the experience into a grand affair. Why else would have we chosen to feature this spot on our Tastes, Tapas & Traditions of Malaga Food Tour? Don’t miss the specialities which include a whole range of artichoke dishes, and we also love the fried green tomato and goats cheese too– yum!

Address: Calle Granados, 2

The delicious artichoke tapas and of course, red wine at Mesón Mariano, one of the best traditional tapas bars in Malaga!
Delicious tapas at Mesón Mariano, all washed down with a glass of vino tinto, of course!

Taberna Las Merchanas

One of the most loved celebrations in Malaga is the Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Taberna Las Merchanas is the place to come to soak up the atmosphere of this celebration this one week of the year…all year round. Once you manage to find this bar, tucked away in a backstreet on the edge of the historic center, you will find yourself surrounded by pictures of Jesus and the Virgin, monuments of the Holy Week such as small figures of Nazarene’s (the pointy-capped penitents) and typical Holy Week music. Don’t miss favorites such as grandmother Mari’s famous croquetas (croquettes) and the montadito de pringá (pork stew sandwich).

Address: Calle Mosquera, 5

Inside Las Merchanas, a Holy week Bar, and one of the most unique traditional tapas bars in Malaga.
Inside Las Merchanas, one of Malaga’s most unique traditional bars!

Cortijo de Pepe

Cortijo de Pepe is located just on the edge of Plaza de Merced (where Picasso’s birth home and iconic statue are found) but has been operating since 1971– long before Picasso’s legacy brought a new wave of fame to the city. Stepping down into the tapas bar that makes up this bar & restaurant establishment really take you back in time, with dark wood fittings and a barbecue grill behind the bar to cook up the specialities. The local favorite here is the pinchos morunos, and you will see groups of malagueños crowding around the bar with their skewer in one hand and pincho in the other.

Address: Plaza de la Merced, 2

Sweet wine and cheese at El Pimpi, one of the most famous traditional tapas bars in Malaga
Sweet wines and cheeses at the famous El Pimpi, what a winning combination!

El Pimpi

Now we aren’t going to go out on a limb and claim that El Pimpi has the best tapas in Malaga, but while this place is no great secret (it’s mentioned in virtually every guidebook or article related to Malaga food and wine) it is a malagueño institution, and one that’s not to be missed on your trip to Malaga.

For a more authentic look at the bar, enter from Calle Granada, where the front corridor leads into a long bar where the walls are adorned with age-old photos of celebrities visiting the bar. This then opens out into a large room with tables and old wine barrels, bearing autographs of many of the same people appearing in the photos. For the best ambience, remain inside rather than sitting on the outdoor terrace, and don’t miss ordering a glass of Malaga Virgin, Malaga’s own sweet wine which goes great with a plate of local cheese.

Address: Calle Granada, 62

Want to explore Malaga’s cuisine (including some of its delicious traditional tapas!) with the experts? Join us on our one of our Devour Malaga Food Tours for a delicious exploration of Malaga’s historic center– we sample the best of Malaga’s varied foods, so you will try even more than just wonderful tapas!

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