Tapas are typical throughout Spain, but particularly in Andalusia. Here, they are more than just typical, they are a tradition and hallmark of the region. Specifically, we can find a plethora of tapas bars in Malaga, offering us the opportunity to try lots of local foods.
What are tapas and how are they eaten?
It is a term which emerged during the last century and its origin is thought to stem from the act of covering (in Spanish ‘tapar’) the drink’s glass with food to stop dust or insects from getting in. Tapas are small portions of food that are usually accompanied by a drink, the action ‘tapear’ is usually done before a meal or as an aperitif.
Nowadays, it has become an option to replace lunch or an evening meal just with tapas. You can order them in any bar, since there are a wide variety, and you can even do a route around different tapas bars in the city (like a pub run of tapas). In addition, when going out as a group, it is common to share tapas between everyone.
It is usually accompanied by a drink, although originally the favourite drinks were beer or a glass of wine and, especially in Malaga, sweet Moscatel or Pajarete wine, which are highly typical of the region.
Best tapas in the centre of Malaga
We can find endless tapas bars in the city of Malaga, but the oldest and more traditional ones are mainly situated in the historic quarter. Below, we show you some of the bars with the best ratings on a variety of the sector’s specialist websites.
Cortijo de Pepe
A historic bar in Malaga with more than 50 years of history, located in Plaza de la Merced, it features a terrace in an adjacent alleyway, a historic bar and a lounge on the top floor, with truly classic surroundings, where the walls speak for themselves.
It has a menu of food and tapas typical of Malaga and the bars and restaurants of the era. Every door, every lamp and every table tell the history of this legendary bar belonging to a local family which continues to make tapas and ‘raciones’ (literally a portion) in the same way as they did at the very beginning. Their specialities are roast meats such as kid or roast suckling pig.
Taberna Las Merchanas
Las Merchanas is an old and typical tapas bar with décor which offers the ambience and items characteristic of Holy Week in Malaga. Among the images and objects belonging to the brotherhoods of Málaga’s Holy Week, you will be able to enjoy good and cheap tapas in central Malaga.
There are two establishments in the centre of Malaga, and another in one of the nearby neighbourhoods, if you are looking for somewhere to enjoy tapas in Malaga, you should go to the original bar situated in calle Mosquera, 5, which also has a beautiful and small inner courtyard with high tables which leads to a larger room. Thanks to its prices, speed and quality of the cuisine, it has become a great attraction for all types of audience, but it is a meeting point in particular for people who want a quick bite to eat, to enjoy a nice time with family or friends and then go out for drinks in the city centre.
Large queues form at weekends for lunch and evening meals, so we recommend arriving early to be able to choose a table and enjoy food at your leisure.
This is the best example of an establishment where you can enjoy classic surroundings to eat tapas in Malaga. In an open space, packed with people, sometimes eating as they stand, among laughs and friends, folk music and enjoying some of the best and unique tapas that Malaga has to offer.
El Tapeo de Cervantes
This bar is somewhat more modern than those mentioned above, its cuisine perfectly combines classic tapas with original and different dishes. It is located at calle Cárcer, 8, situated between the Cervantes Theatre and Plaza de la Merced.
There are a few tables outside, although the majority of the space available is indoors, which maintains traditional décor. There is an extremely attractive wine cellar and a tapas of the day that are made daily, in addition to dishes of fish, meat, vegetables and seafood of a high quality and at excellent prices.
It is one of the best tapas bars in Malaga with an exclusive menu at a very good price. Everyone loves it here and the customer services is excellent. The mixture of flavours of the tapas cannot be found in any other bar in Malaga. The bar is located in a fantastic spot, calle Alcazabilla, 1, opposite the Alcazaba of Malaga and less than a minute from the Cathedral. It boasts a terrace with outdoor tables and inside offers a completely modern and designer ambience.
It is an old bar which was initially used as a meeting place to drink typical local wines. Nowadays, it offers high quality food in a colourful and welcoming traditional setting, typical of Malaga.
It is situated in calle Alcazabilla, just opposite the Roman Theatre and the Alcazaba of Malaga, with a large terrace decorated with typical Andalusian flowers, among gardens and views of both monuments. Highly recommended is a spring or summer evening in Malaga, seated opposite the illuminated Alcazaba, with typical tapas accompanied by a glass of sweet wine.
The interior décor is of a typical winery from southern Spain, with barrels of a wide range of wines and photos of all of the famous people that have visited.
Tapas places in west Malaga
Bagazo is an exceptional spot for enjoying tapas in the heart of the promenade with sea views, offering classic and innovative tapas. It offers excellent value for money and an exceptional atmosphere: comfortable, modern and with incredible views. There is also a children’s play area, just next to the terrace.
Tapería De Cai
Specialising in seafood and fish tapas cooked in a variety of ways, from quality fried dishes to salads or grilled, but all with a hint of the sea. We recommend the delicious tuna in butter.
It is a small establishment, but there are quite a lot of tables on the terrace and it is located just opposite the Parque del Oeste (West Park).
El Aserradero and El Tapeo del Colilla
Other typical tapas bars that are popular with locals in the Tocal neighbourhood, with cheap tapas and in some cases they are included in the price of the drink.
Best tapas in north Malaga
La Nave Gastrobar
Located in the district of Nueva Malaga, in José Iturbi, a busy street full of restaurants, tapas bars, pubs and cafés, it is pleasantly decorated in light wood. It also boasts a terrace, where you can enjoy its menu of local beers from Malaga, in addition to fantastic varied and tasty dishes and tapas.
Situated in the same street as the pervious bar, just opposite, it stands out thanks to the immense variety of its menu, offering tapas, portions of fish, sandwiches, salads, Arabic specialities, meat and fish dishes, in addition to a wide range of beers and wines. In terms of recommendations, they make excellent cous cous.
El pescaíto de Nicolás
Situated in the Miraflores district, with a large terrace, it offers a wide variety of fish and seafood, especially fried dishes, at very low prices. It is usually packed with locals, since this is a place they often frequent. Mid-week (from Monday to Friday) they offer “big tapas”: larger tapas but at a very low price.
Map of tapas bars in Malaga
Here at CarGest we offer you the chance to hire cars at the airport so you can travel to any of these tapas bars.