Ah, Málaga, the crown jewel of the western Mediterranean Sea. This region has had a deep-rooted history since the Roman days, and their influence can still be felt in Málaga today. Along with this long and rich history, the city has also developed its own outstanding cuisine that revolves around bringing out the pure beauty of each local ingredient. From fresh grilled fish to lightly dressed salads with local produce, you won’t find anything fresher than this anywhere!
With that said, here are the best places to eat in Málaga on a budget.
1. FONDA CASA PEPA
Located in the middle of Carratraca, the unassuming restaurant will leave you speechless after your first bite. The venue was renovated from a period home into a homely inn. You will find a history wall of the people who had lived there, which will make you feel like you’re taking a walk back in time. Now, let’s talk food. The place prides itself in their one-pot cooking philosophy. They will serve your food in the pot or pan that it was cooked in. whether it’s the classic paella or the crock pot-like fish stew, you will leave feeling as if you’d just been to your gran’s!
2. CHIRINGUITO EL AYO NERJA
If you’re looking for the restaurant with the best paella this side of Spain, then here’s the place to go. Chiringuito El Ayo Nerja has gained a lot of popularity from the show Verano Azul, as it was where the star of the show, Chanquete, always came to eat. While it’s already been 30 years since the show concluded, but the restaurant is still as popular as ever. This place offers a view out to the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, which complements the fresh seafood incredibly well.
3. SANTA CLARA VENTORRILLO SALE
If you’re in Málaga, you should try “La Montes” out. It’s the combination chorizo, eggs, and potatoes loaded with local spices and eaten with the local sweet wine. Of all of Málaga, we can say with confidence that Santa Clara serves the best la Montes. The restaurant also serves a generous portion of food and a great company, what more can you ask for!
4. EL PIMPI
Located right in the heart of Málaga, El Pimpi has been known throughout Spain to offer one of the most authentic Andalusian dining experiences. The place prides itself in its wine, and they sure do put a lot of care into pairing it with their amazing food. It’s definitely one of the must-visit if you happen to be in the Costa del Sol.
5. LA TRANCA
This brewery/restaurant hybrid is Málaga’s contender for the king of tapas. This tavern-like restaurant has a welcoming air that both travelers and locals love. We recommend you try out the Argentine empanadas, Creole sausage, and Almagro cheese. If you’re looking for a warm, welcoming place with great tapas and drinks, La Tranca is the place for you.
6. EL COLILLA
Another competitor when it comes to Tapas, El Colilla offers a large variety of lunch menus, and of course, a plethora of tapas dishes to try. They have over 45 items in their menu, and there’s a beer there that will compliment each and every one of them. The venue also offers an authentic Málagan lunch menu, so be sure to drop by for it.
7. EL PIMPI FLORIDA
We know it’s kind of confusing, but this place has nothing to do with the other El Pimpi. This cross between an American diner and a Spanish tavern is a sight to behold. Although it’s a bit small, with only a small corridor, a counter, and a bar, we can guarantee you that nothing else about this place is small. Their fried prawn is a must-try, and if you’re into some fun activities, you can wait until the end and see people literally being paraded from one corner to the other in a crowd surf.
8. LA BUTIBAMBA
La Butibamba has one of the best slow-cooked loins in Málaga, not just in La Cala de Mijas. This restaurant is always busy, so you should book it in advance in order to ensure a table. No matter what you order as a main course, it will come with potatoes, chorizo, and two whole eggs, all of which are perfectly cooked and seasoned.
9. BELLAVISTA RESTAURANT
If you’re looking for a fancy night out with friends or simply looking for a place for a romantic date night, then Bellavista is the place to go. They have a variety of pasta dishes and a live band that plays there every night. What’s more is that the restaurant is located on top of the hill, overlooking the sea. This restaurant will offer you a picturesque dining experience that you won’t forget any time soon.
10. EL TINTERO
El Tintero is one of the biggest seafood restaurants in Málaga. Located right on the beach in El Palo, the seafood bar is the most popular landing spots for tourists and locals alike. Although the hectic atmosphere might be overwhelming at first, but once you’re used to it, you will feel more welcome than anywhere else. There’s a live fish auction where the winner will be served their prized catch minutes after the auction is concluded. If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, then El Tintero is the best place for that.