How to Try a Tapa: Ordering Etiquette in Málaga

If you’re one of these people who leaves brushing up on the local lingo until the last minute (like in the taxi from Málaga Airport to your hotel) then you might miss out on some great bar snacks because you don’t know how to order them. Check out my guide to ordering tapas in this Andalucían city and you’ll be the star of your group when you order them a racíon of pitufo (a mini sandwich) and chacina (cold meats) to share.

Key Things to Know About Tapas in Málaga

You may have been to Spain before and think you know everything there is to about tapas, but unless you’ve ordered in this city before, you could be in for a shock. Spanish tapas change from region to region. While you may get free bar snacks in other cities, in Málaga you will be expected to pay.

Depending on how many of you there are, you will want to order either an individual tapa (single dish), a media racíon (a half portion, good for two people to share), or a racíon (a full portion, perfect for a group). The trick is to start off slowly, ordering one or two dishes, to work out how big the tapas are, and then scale up to suit your group. The benefit of this is that the dishes will keep coming and they will be fresh and hot when you try them.

Regional Dishes to Try

You and your mates may be familiar with famous dishes like patatas bravas and gambas al ajillo, but while in Málaga it would be a shame not to try some of the local specialities. Keep your eye out for pipirrana (a cold salad of sweet peppers, tomato, tuna and other seafood), almendras fritas (fried salted almonds), espeto (sardines cooked on skewers over a barbecue) and fritura Malagueña (fried seafood).

Great Tapas Bars to Discover

Tapas is a way of life in Málaga and, whether you choose to make a meal of it or just enjoy a few dishes as a delicious bar snack, you’ll want to try out some of the best samples in the city.

•Mesón Mariano – Head to the dining area of this restaurant to dive in and try all the delicious traditional dishes, or sit at the bar to try a small selection. Either way, it’s a treat.
•Marisquería Casa Vicente – Make the most of the excellent array of fresh seafood on offer in the city at this fish restaurant. The speciality here is gambas (prwans) with plastic buckets on the table for you to throw your shells and heads in – a real experience.
•Uvedoble – Spanish bar snacks with a modern twist. Expect meatballs made from bull tail and the regional cold almond soup ajoblanco with fresh sardines.

Getting There

Getting to Málaga couldn’t be easier as there’s a wide range of direct flights daily from airports across the UK. You can sample those delicious local dishes within half an hour of landing by taking a taxi from Málaga Airport directly to the city centre. My top tip would be to book a shuttle to your accommodation before you even leave home. Order online and a transfer will be waiting for you and your friends when you land.

Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an affordable taxi from Malaga Airport Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely. 

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Author: Desiree Michels

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