Travel: The fabulous food of Malaga

Welcome back to beautiful Malaga. In our short stay in this vibrant city we managed to enjoy some really amazing food. From much-loved traditional classics to cleverly creative dishes, it was an overall delicious experience.

Spain is well known for its outstanding food. There are over 50 Michelin-star restaurants in the country (seven of them with the ultimate accolade of three Michelin stars). And seven such eateries are in the Malaga area. All rather impressive.

But we weren’t planning to go Michelin star, but rather use our senses and our judgment while we walked the streets to make our choices. I love the simplicity of so many Spanish dishes. And with their array of fabulous ingredients it seems so easy to find a range of delectable dishes.

Starting off with my favourite breakfast ever. A slice of tortilla, some wonderfully sweet and salty jamon and thick slices of juicy tomatoes. All accompanied by a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, I really love those Spanish oranges.

Malaga: breakfast
My favourite way to start the day: tortilla, jamon and tomato

And of course the wonderful simplicity and tastiness of a perfect pan con tomato. You’ll usually discover a bowl of mashed (almost liquid) tomatoes on a Spanish breakfast buffet. This fabulous mixture of tomato, garlic and olive oil is irresistible spread liberally on some warm, toasted bread, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Never have so few ingredients tasted so wonderful. My mouth is watering at the thought of it.

Malaga: pan con tomate
With some pan com tomate on the side

As we ambled along the Malagan streets tempting aromas often wafted out drawing us in. Like to this amazing jamon shop called Jamones Salamanca. Truly a meat lovers paradise.

Malaga: damon
The amazing array of jamon is a feast for the eyes

And then there’s the tantalising sweetness drifting out the door of Sabor A Espana (the flavours of Spain). The ultimate sugar rush with its selection of fabulous, sweet nutty treats.

Malaga: nuts and nougat
Nougat and nuts in every imaginable form

In a city with so many eating establishments on offer it’s hard to make a choice. Not that there are any bad choices anyway, I’d imagine. The best way to decide? Let the hunger pangs do the talking. Shortly after our check in we headed out in search of a late lunch and pretty much the first place we liked the look of was just a block from our hotel.

Lunch at Regina

Regina was full of late lunchers and the babble of happy Spanish voices – one of my favourite sounds. So we had to sit down and tuck into some tasty classic dishes, both served with the amazing way of serving potatoes in Spain – fried with onion until they are beautifully soft.

The croquettes were minis – how cute are they? And wonderfully cheesy too. Served with a rich and satisfying garlic mayo.

Malaga: croquettas
Crunchy and gooey mini croquettas ready for dipping

And then some albondigas. These Spanish meatballs with their silken sauce made from peppers are rich and meaty with a unique sweetness.

Malaga: albondigas
The sauciness of tender meatballs

Dinner at Gorki

Our first dinner was deep in the beautiful Old Town at Gorki. This was our first experience of a Malagan menu with its range of creative dishes, offering a little bit extra that’s different from the usual Spanish fare.

The crispy Robuchon prawns were wrapped in basil and brick pastry and served with a tasty mayo dip. A yummy combo of the sweetness of the fresh prawns and the crunch of the light pastry – and what a stroke of genius wrapping the prawn in a large fresh basil leaf.

Malaga: prawns
The sweetest of prawns and the lightest of pastry

And then there’s a version of the luscious dish we discovered at our favourite Murcian eatery Los Churrascos – though sadly it’s no longer on their menu. The sweet roasted peppers are stuffed with cod which is mixed in a creamy bĂ©chamel-style sauce and topped with a piquillo pepper sauce.

Malaga: peppers and cod
A vibrant dish with a mix of subtle softness

Lunch at El Imperdible

I’m not used to eating three meals a day – yes seriously. So it’s fortunate that Spanish restaurants have no issue with you ordering just the one dish for lunch.

After much pondering we went for one of our all-time favourites – Huevos rotos (or broken eggs). Today it was a luxurious version, with the confit potato served with broken eggs and foie gras. The foie gras added a touch of decadence to an otherwise basic dish. I loved the way our waitress broke the egg at the table – in a large eggshell.

Malaga: making huevos
Breaking the eggs ready to top the potato

 

Malaga: huevos rotos
The mouthwatering mix of potato, egg and foie gras

Dinner at LaDeriva

After a day exploring the city we headed back towards our hotel to try a nearby restaurant where we’d enjoyed the most delicious glass of wine the previous evening. Again the menu was fascinating with a lot of dishes that seemed rather mysterious with simply a list of ingredients to go by. A great and adventurous way to order.

The cod fritters were like little clouds of crunchy fishiness. The best batter ever? Quite possibly.

Malaga: cod fritters
A delicate plate of light and fluffy fritters

And then for the dish of the trip! Listed on the menu as suckling pig, pear and celery which I guess isn’t that much to go on. But I love suckling pig so thought that was enough motivation for ordering it. Wow! What a miracle of a dish! The suckling pork was served on a something called arepa which is made of ground maize dough and kind of shaped like a flat muffin. My first arepa ever which made the ideal base with its chilli bite. The pork was mixed with tiny pieces of diced pear, celery, crunchy red onion and a delicate sauce. Joy with every mouthful!

Malaga: suckling pig
The best version of suckling pig I’ve ever eaten…and I love suckling pig
Malaga: fritters and suckling pig
So good I had to show you twice

Making up our trio of dishes was a plate of  buttery green beans served topped with slightly crispy, sweet and salty jamon and cheese.

Malaga: beans
The magical mix of beans and ham

Lunch at Madeinterranea

So all good trips have to come to an end…sadly. But the excellent news about that is there’s always time for a farewell lunch. We headed back into the Old Town, trying to find a restaurant we’d liked the menu at the previous day. Those myriad winding streets are easy to get lost in. Well not that you’re lost in a bad place, you’ll just have to try somewhere new.

We did find Madeinterranea (with a little help from google maps) and settled down with a bottle of Spanish rose and a dish of gambas pil pil. You simply can’t visit Spain without tucking into these garlicky, chilli prawns. Well I can’t anyway.

Malaga: gambas pil pil
Bring on the gambas pil oil, a real Spanish classic

And here’s the perfect accompaniment. Fresh green asparagus that’s chargrilled and served drizzled with olive oil and topped with parmesan. And all on a beautiful red platter. The perfect final feast before heading to the airport.

Malaga: asparagus
Juicy, fresh asparagus spears to savour

Malaga’s marble streets may not be paved with gold but they are lined with restaurants – which is more than precious enough for me. I reckon you could go out every day for a year and still not manage to sample them all. Now that would be a challenge I’d be thrilled to take on.

Malaga: street
The beautiful restaurant-lined streets of Malaga’s Old Town

You can read more about my trip to Malaga and what to do in this fabulous Spanish city by clicking here for my previous post.

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