Los Mellizos

In 1956 Pepe Montes y Loli Montero opened their first fish bar on Malagueta beach, later relocating to Benalmádena with their four sons in 1982. Today the sons run a chain of very successful seafood restaurants along the Costa del Sol, and are also fish wholesalers who cater to almost 100 other restaurants, so it’s safe to say they know their business. The location in central Málaga comprises two buildings across the street from each other – one a traditional bar and restaurant, the other with a more stylish look. We opted to sit at the bar in the trad bar, in front of the enticing displays of fresh fish and seafood.

Apparently the fritos are a house speciality (we tried two and they were fabulous), but they also offer a variety of grilled, baked or stewed options, as well as excellent quality charcuterie. We also loved the sizzling gambas pil pil, but by then we couldn’t eat another bite (no tapas here, it’s all medium or full plates).  I will definitely have to go back with a few friends so we can try several dishes.

By the way, the business group takes its name from the brothers Florencio and Ramón, although they are not identical twins (mellizos), but fraternal twins (gemelos). Recommended!

Sancha de Lara 7
Tel 952 22 03 15
€ € € €

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Food 8 | Wine 7 | Service 7 | Ambiance 8

salpicón de gambas

breaded rosada with alioli

“tierra y mar” breaded veggies with chanquetes and prawns

sizzling prawn pilpil

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Mesón Ibérico

José Luís Zorrilla opened the doors of the Mesón Ibérico in April 1998, with the ambition of making it a beacon in the world of tapas and good eating. His knowledge of food and his commercial experience has allowed him to offer the highest quality products at reasonable prices, with a touch of originality and a commitment to good service.

I first came here a few years ago on my own, and was at a bit of a loss as there aren’t many tapas on offer. I sat at the bar and tried a couple of the montaditos (tasty!) and left. More recently I visited with a friend and we were able to share a few plates. The decor is very old-school with lots of wood and white walls festooned with old photos, chalkboard menus and bottles of wine. In the bar area it’s pretty much self-service, and the ambiance is lively and convivial. I really liked it. And the food is terrific. Looking forward to a return visit.

San Lorenzo 27
Tel 952 60 32 90
€ € € €

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Food 9 | Wine 9 | Service 8 | Ambiance 8


smoked sardines on toast with avocado

montaditos: gambas al ajillo & pringá

lamb skewers

albondigón – massive pork meatball in almond sauce

grilled presa Ibérica

complimentary profiteroles

happy clients and staff

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Mesón El Sacristán

We went to Meson El Sacristán for lunch on the recommendation of our apartment host Gracia (we were staying at the charming La Colegiata de Ronda around the corner). In fact her brother Antonio is the chef and owner of El Sactristán, and their entire family ended up sitting at the next table, so it felt like we were definitely at the right place.

The location in the main square beside the Santa María church in the old town is perfect, especially when the weather is right to sit outside on the terrace. For us, though, it was inside in a pleasant dining area to enjoy the house specialities – lots of meat grilled in a wood-fired oven, including some fabulous presa Ibérica (pork), beef tenderloin, and more unusually, delicious grilled lamb kidneys. Good service, lovely atmosphere and great food and wine. There are also set menus available. Definitely one to go back to.

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent 14
Tel +34 952 875 684
€ € € €

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Food 9 | Wine 10 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

grilled lamb kidneys

pluma Ibérica

beef tenderloin



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La Curiosidad de Mauro

Mauro Barreiro has a considerable reputation as a chef, having worked at various big name restaurants before opening his own in Puerta Real, and then recently relocating to Cádiz. This was just a brief “end-of-tapeo” stop for us, and the experience didn’t leave much of an impression. Modern style “tapas with a twist”, you can see Mauro is trying to be inventive. And it’s certainly popular enough, with plenty of people packed into the long, narrow bar space (there’s also a restaurant at the far end, but I couldn’t get through the crush to get a photo). Will have to give it another shot on our next visit to Cádiz.

Veedor 10
Tel 956 992 288
€ € € €

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Food 7 | Wine 7 | Service 6 | Ambiance 6

cola de toro (oxtail) bomba

presa Ibérica and aubergine with creamy cheese

pullet cannellone with truffle bechamel

chef Mauro

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Salicornia is owned by chef Juan Höhr, who returned to his native Cádiz to branch out on his own, and opened Salicornia in November 2016 in Calle Plocia, currently becoming fashionable as a good area of town to eat. We were taken there by our friends, Cádiz locals and serious foodies Pilar and Juan Antonio, and immediately fell in love with the place. It’s small (seating for just 22, and a small bar) and cosy, and the service very friendly. The whole experience was very enjoyable.

The menu is full and half plates, with Spanish origins and some novel twists, innovative and delicious. Among other things we shared a carpaccio of presa, some butterfish, and an off the menu salmon tataki, and all were excellent. Definitely recommended.

Plocia 2
Tel +34 856 661 403
€ € € €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 8 | Ambiance 8

tuna tartare with guacamole

creamy rice with Cádiz mountain mushrooms

presa Ibérica carpaccio

chef Juan Höhr

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Opened in the summer of 2015 by the brothers Ruibal and Pancho Jiménez, Ultramar&Nos takes its name via a play on words from the traditional Spanish ultramarinos (corner shop) that previously occupied the site. That corner position and the large windows give the premises plenty of light, and with fairly minimalist decoration that combines an element of rustic with a kind of “industrial chic”, the restaurant seems quite spacious. Service was efficient and friendly enough for a good background to the food.

The menu is of modest size, and combines traditional Spanish and international food in an interesting way. Although enticed by several of the menu descriptions, in the end we only tried two dishes, a starter of housemade beef sausages wrapped in chard instead of the usual intestine casing (very tasty), and the cachopo – a kind of big flat flamenquín with beef, cheese, aubergine and cecina (air-cured beef). The cachopo was so big, in fact, that we were left unable to try anything else. Next time!

Plaza de Mina 1
Tel 856 076 946
€ € € €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 8 | Ambiance 8

marinated carrots

beef sausages wrapped in chard

inside the sausage

beef and cheese cachopo

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Peña Bética de Carlos

Peña Betica de Carlos was the top find of our last visit to Sanlúcar, which we only found thanks to a tip from bodega owner José Caireles. Out in the working class neighbourhood in the northeast of town it’s one of those honest, basic fried fish bars with simple, excellent no nonsense food. Stars of the show are the whole fried cuttlefish, but also acedias, pijotas, boquerones and other staples of the genre. And as you might expect in Sanlúcar there’s Manzanilla – served by the glass or in half bottles fresh from the cask.

It’s also a place for fans of the Real Bétis football team, which helps fuel the friendly neighbourhood atmosphere fostered by owner & chef Carlos Juez and his team of two, brothers Manuel and Carmelo (Carlos was impressed when I gave him a big MANQUEPIERDA! 😉 ). All the tables were reserved when we arrived shortly after 1.00 pm, and it seems like these are standing reservations for regulars. But we found a spot at the bar and that turned out to be the best place to be as there is no table service.

Peña Bética was great fun as well as having great food – some of the photos here are of dishes ordered by the couple next to us at the bar, which they insisted on sharing with us. I’m already looking forward to going back.

Callejon de Guia 24
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Tel +34 645 020 929
€ €

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Food 9 | Wine 9 | Bar Service 9 | Ambiance 9

fresh tomato salad

whole fried cuttlefish – the house speciality



acedias (small sole)

owner & chef Carlos Juez

Manuel with a big plate of fritos variados


crispy hake

big prawns


brothers Carmelo & Manuel

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Mini Bar

Mini Bar is one of those little hole in the wall tapas bars with a limited menu (basically fried fish) that nevertheless succeeds in exuding atmosphere and being very popular. It has a convenient location between the market and the Plaza Candelaría, so it’s great for a snack and beer stop between other activities. Owner Paco has been running the show for over thirty years and makes you feel at home as soon as you walk in the door.

Doctor Dacarrete 3
Tel  856 174 303
€ €

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Food 8 | Wine 6 | Service 8 | Ambiance 7

affable owner Paco

fritura variada

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Bright, modern, and yes, just a little bit “trendy”, Mixtúrate is another new Gastrobar in the up and coming Soho neighbourhood in Málaga. It bills itself as offering a Spanish-Brazilian fusion cuisine, and the food is indeed interesting and very good quality. It’s clear that young owners, Ana and chef Andrés, are working hard to bring their dream and vision to full fruit, and I wish them all the best. The staff is well-trained and the general ambiance is very pleasant and welcoming. During two visits we pretty much loved everything we tried (though I am not a fan of bao, anywhere) and I will definitely be back on my next visit to Málaga to see how they are getting on.

Casas de Campo 2
Tel 951 330 806
€ € € €

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Food 9 | Wine 8 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

fabulous bread basket

conchas finas with mojito foam

marinated red tuna taco with ras el hanout mayo and shichi-mi tōgarashi

buñuelos de bacalao with cilantro & lime dust

aubergine in panko, bonito flakes

Res (braised beef) bao with shiitake and spring onion

Ibérico roll with red pepper mayo and rocoto mesco

prawns in coconut sauce with dendé oil, purple yucca “cristal”

Pachamanca Guarrito Pelón, white miso parmentier, bbq sriracha sauce

grilled secreto Ibérico with grilled sweet potatoes and chimi de aji coco


co-owner Andrés Gómez

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Taberna El Gallo

Updated May 2017

Taberna El Gallo is the only one remaining of three that were originally opened in the 1930s, with their own small bodega (still existing) supplying finos and olorosos from the DO Montilla Moriles. The atmosphere and style of that time has been preserved in the bar, which seems very much one for the locals. Normally I’d choose to hang out at the bar, but if your feet are tired you can opt to sit at a table in the back section, which are actually two small dining areas. I love the little “call buttons” above each table, which I first assumed were no longer in service. But when I asked one of the waiters he gave me a demonstration – they still work loud and clear! – though the fellow at the next table, clearly a regular, told me that the waiters hate them and prefer you to just shout PEPE!!!!! in the direction of the bar. Heh.

The first time I saw this place I knew that it was My Kind Of Bar, but we only had time to stop in for a quick fino. More recently we made sure to try the tapas – and we loved them. Nothing fancy, just simple good fritos (the stews will have to wait for a winter visit) and an excellent salmorejo. I was especially impressed by the berenjenas fritas here, which came as crispy skinny frites (rather than the more usual chunky sticks or slices) and were NOT served with gacky sweet molasses squirted all over them. Some of you may not agree with my 4-orange rating here, but for me it’s about the over-all experience, and El Gallo is a place I will always make time to visit when I’m in Córdoba.

Maria Cristina 6
Tel 957 471 780
€ €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 8 | Ambiance 9

call buttons

“un medio” of fino, or half of a quarter of a litre “un cuartillo”

battered prawns

japuta en adobo

battered cod

breaded prawns

salmorejo with jamón and quail egg

berenjenas fritas (aubergine frites)

flamenquín cordobés with chips

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Updated May 2017