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The story of tapas in Spain and

the best tapas in Malaga : Top 5 tapas!

All you need to know about the 5 best tapas in Malaga and the top 5 restaurants to enjoy them

Tapas😋. Just thinking about them makes me feel hungry. When we talk about typical Spanish food, very quickly comes the word “tapas”.

People would tell you: “Oh in Spain you need to try tapas!” But what are tapas exactly? Why do Spanish people love them so much?

Here you will get all the info you need to know about tapas and some good tips to enjoy the best tapas in Malaga.

1. What are tapas?

2. What are their origin and story?

3. Why do Spanish people eat tapas and why you need to try them (the tapas 😊)?

4. What are the typical tapas in Malaga?

5. Where to eat the best tapas in Malaga?

1. What are tapas?

In Spain, we have 3 different sizes for a dish:

  • Ración: that would be translated into “ration”. It is the classic size of a dish that we usually have outside of Spain.
  • Media Ración: that would be translated into “half ration”. It is a medium size dish.
  • Tapa: is the smallest size. It’s a small serving of a dish.

As a picture is worth a thousand words, here are the 3 sizes you need to remember to order your dishes in Spain.

Sizes : Tapa - Ración - Media ración = Tapa - Half ration - Ration

2. What are their origin and story?

There are many stories about the origin of this concept and the word “tapa”.

Here are the two most interesting stories about the origins of tapas.

Tapa = Fighting drunkenness

The first one takes place during the reign of the Catholic monarchs (15th century). At that time, there were many road accidents due to the high consumption of wine and beer. So innkeepers were asked to serve alcohol with a “tapa”.

The tapa consisted of a small plate with cold food. The customers had to first eat the food (the tapa) before drinking. This was supposed to reduce road accidents.

Tapa = Fighting insects and dust

The second theory takes place during the reign of Felipe II (16th century). The glasses of wine he was served were covered by a little plate with food. This little plate was a way to prevent insects or dust to get in the glass. “Tapa” in Spanish means “cover”. This is how the word could have been born.

3. Why do Spanish people eat tapas and

why you need to try them (the tapas)?

In Malaga, we have 300 days of sun. Yes, we do 😎 and yes we’re lucky. One of the consequences of this wonderful weather is that people are often outside. So, the tapa is the perfect amount of food to have with a drink when we’re not very hungry yet to have dinner.

Another advantage of the tapa is that it allows you to try different dishes. Let’s imagine you are out with 2 friends for a dinner. Instead of ordering each one a dish, you can have 7, 8 or even more tapas. That allows you to try 7, 8 or more new dishes.

What is a tapa ? Best tapas in Malaga

Plus, it’s much more fun sharing and tasting various dishes than just eating from one plate. What do you think?

Travellers who visit Malaga don’t usually know yet a lot about the Spanish typical dishes. This is a fantastic opportunity to discoverdifferent options. And you can vote for your favourites and decide which the best tapa was.

4. What are the typical tapas in Malaga?

Tapa #1 : Tapa de boquerones (tapa of anchovies)

Best tapas in Malaga - Anchovies tapa boquerones

Tapa of "boquerones" is the star tapa in Malaga. In fact, people in Malaga are called “boquerones” because they eat a lot of this little fish. The boquerones can be served fried or in vinegar. You could order one of each and decide which the best tapa is for you.

My personal favourite tapa between these 2 is the one in vinegar. It is delicious and has fewer calories than the fried option.

When I was told “try anchovies”, I couldn’t help but think of the very salty anchovies I had on some pizzas. If you feel the same, just forget this experience. The anchovy in vinegar has a very different taste. So don’t hesitate to give it a try.

Tapa #2 : Tapa de ensalada rusa (tapa of russian salad)

Best tapas in Malaga - Russian Salad

It’s true that we have the “Malaga salad” tapa that is more typical of the area. But the Russian salad is still the most famous salad tapa in Spain.

In almost every restaurant you go to in Malaga, you’ll find this tapa in the menu.

As for calories, it can’t really be counted in the category of salads😂. The ingredients are potatoes, olives, tuna, pickles, eggs, carrots, shallots, sweet peppers, and… mayonnaise. Sometimes a lot of mayonnaise. Not every restaurant can make a good light tapa of “ensalada rusa”.

So we give you below the restaurants where you can have the best tapas in Malaga.

Tapa #3 : Tapa de porra antequerana

Best tapas in Malaga - Porra Antequerana

The porra is a typical dish in Andalusia born in a city close to Malaga called Antequera. The porra is a cold soup. The ingredients to prepare this tapa are green and red pepper, peeled tomatoes, garlic, bread, extra virgin olive oil, and sherry vinegar.

This tapa is a fresh and nourishing option that is perfect in hot summer days.

Tapa #4 : Tapa de berenjenas fritas con miel de caña (tapa of fried eggplants with sugar cane honey)

Best tapas in Malaga - Fried eggplants with honey

This is definitely a sin and a delicious one. The taste of the hot fried eggplants and the sugar cane honey go perfectly together. This is the best tapa for vegans.

If you fall in love with sugar cane honey, like me, a great place to buy them is Frigiliana. Frigiliana is a village close to Malaga. It has these white little houses that are typical of Andalusia villages.

As for the eggplant, this vegetable comes from India. It was brought to Europe by the Arabs through Andalusia. The name comes from the Arabic word “al-bâdinjân”.

This is definitely one of the best tapas you need to try when you come to Malaga.

Tapa #5 : Tapa de queso manchego (tapa of Manchego cheese)

Best tapas in Malaga - Manchego cheese

For cheese lovers, we had to select a cheese tapa. This is the best typical cheese tapa in Spain. The origin of this cheese isn’t Andalusia but the region of La Mancha (between Malaga and Madrid). It is made with sheep’s milk.

There are two types of “queso manchego” depending on the period of maturation.

  • Tapa de queso semi-curado or tapa of semi-hard cheese. It has a period of maturation between 2 and 3 months. It is softer, has more water, and less fat.
  • Tapa de queso curado or tapa of hard cheese. It has a period of maturation from 4 to 7 months. It has less water, more fat, and its taste is stronger than the “semi-curado”.

Don’t hesitate to tell us in the comments which tapas you’ve tried and which one is the best tapa for you.

5. Where to eat the best tapas in Malaga?

You’ll find here 5 of our favourite restaurants to have the best tapas in Malaga. They are very different from one another, which allows you to taste different styles and atmospheres while enjoying your delicious tapas.

Restaurant #1: Los Delfines restaurant

Fresh fish tapas and typical tapas

This is one of the restaurants we love to have delicious fresh tapas. It is a very typical restaurant where you’ll find many locals having lunch or dinner. 

It is located close to Malagueta beach. If you like fish, this is the place to be for the best fish tapas in town.

  • Phone number: +34 952 225 168
  • Address: Calle Reding, 12 - 29006 Malaga

Cooltip: “Calle” in Spanish means street.

Fresh fish tapas and a traditional atmosphere of a dynamic market

Before even starting to think about what you want to eat there, visit the market. The main entrance is a majestic piece of art from the Arab era. Inside you’ll see a huge stained glass with the main symbols of Malaga.

It is the best spot to buy fresh fruits and vegetables but also meat, fish and delightful local products.

The market has a terrace outside where you can have tapas while having a rest from the walk.

  • Phone number: +34 657 44 54 87
  • Address: Calle Atarazanas, 10, 29003, Málaga

To give you a taste of it, here is our little gift:

Traditional tapas and holy week atmosphere

If you like local spots, this is one of the restaurants you need to try. They have a wide variety of typical tapas. The servings are quite generous and at very reasonable prices. Its atmosphere is very “Malaga during the Holy Week”.

You’ll see on the walls, pictures, sculptures, and objects in relation to the Holy Week. So if you’ve never been in Malaga during the Holy Week, this is a great opportunity. It is a way to get immersed in the event while you’re enjoying your favourite tapas.

  • Phone number: +34 654 74 42 57
  • Address: Calle C/ Mosquera, 5, 29008 Málaga

Wide range of traditional tapas and beautiful spot to visit

This is the most famous restaurant in Malaga. Many famous people have been there and left their autographs on wine barrels. The restaurant itself is like a museum.

On the walls, you’ll see old pictures and ads promoting the Feria (Malaga Fair), and corridas (bullfights). Its huge terrace makes it a very pleasant restaurant to enjoy the sun while you’re savouring your delicious tapas.

  • Phone number: +34 952 225 403
  • Address: Calle Granada, 62 y Calle Alcazabilla 29015 Málaga

Original tapas (Spanish tapas revisited with a Latin American touch)

The concept of this restaurant is interesting. It was created by an Argentinian family. They decided to revisit the classic typical Spanish dishes. They add to the traditional dishes a touch from Latin American cuisine. The result of this mix is delicious and original tapas.

  • Phone number: +34 952 216 274
  • Address: Calle Álamos, 11, 29012 Malaga

We hope that this info helps you a lot and you enjoy your stay in Malaga. Don’t forget, if you’re interested in knowing more about tapas or the culture in Malaga, contact us.

During a cultural immersion with a local, you will discover the best spots in Malaga. The local will show you the hidden and authentic Malaga. He/she will give you the tips and practical info that only locals know. 

The experience is private and customized to your tastes and interests. So you will get info about subjects you really enjoy and like.

Take the plunge, meet your Cooltoural local. You will discover the real Malaga far from the beaten tracks.

Mona for Cooltoural