It’s said that, once upon a time, Malaga boasted more bars per capita than anywhere else in Europe. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s certainly true that scruffy, spit ‘n’ sawdust neighbourhood joints out-numbered decent restaurants and tapas bars in the city until relatively recently.

How things have changed. From casual market bites in the historic centre to sophisticated beach-side terraces and full to bursting gourmet tapas bars down narrow alleyways, there are more great places to eat in Malaga than a city of its size has any reasonable right to.

If you want to get a taste of what it’s like to live like a local in a city where the people are very serious about their food and drink, then hit Malaga, basically. And while it’s been tricky to narrow them down, here are a few of the Luxury Villa Collection’s pick of best Malaga restaurants.

Best for Gourmet 

Jose Carlos Garcia

Plate at Jose Carlos Garcia Malaga

One of  fourteen Michelin-starred restaurants in Malaga is at the port, just next to the lighthouse at Muelle Uno. It’s the culinary base of Jose Carlos Garcia who is one of the most famous names in food in the city. The chef himself will be in the kitchen while you dine in this pleasant, spacious dining room which extends onto the terrace outside when the sun shines.

The dining room is one of our favourites in the city: its hard-edged industrial chic is offset by a comfy softness – think a sharp glass box with classic Eames chairs in grey, and thick pile rugs to soften the pressed concrete. (LOVE it.) Food-wise, it’s the finest of fine dining with plate after delightfully crafted plate descending on your table over the course of a meal.

Address: Puerto de Malaga, Plaza de la Capilla, 1, 29016 Malaga. Telephone: 952 00 35 88.


A course at Kaleja restaurant with Champagne and

Kaleja has been on the fine dining scene in Malaga since 2019 and finally in 2022 it won a Michelin star. Head Chef Dani Carnero also headed up the kitchens in La Cosmopolita and the newer La Cosmo restaurants. He believes in bringing traditional Spanish flavours to life with a nod to cuisine from the villages, serving it with his own flair and winning him awards left, right and centre.
The dining room is minimalist, pared back with no fuss and a serene simplicity. There are two tasting menus that allow the team to show off a little: a 16-course and a 14-course, both of which can be paired with wines. So be prepared – eating at Kaleja is a long enjoyable experience, not a dash. If you’re looking for the best place to eat in Malaga right now, then look no further.

Address: Address: C. Marquesa de Moya, 9, 29015 Málaga. Telephone: 952 60 00 00.

Best for Art Lovers

Óleo Restaurante

oleo terrace

All that talented creativity going on at the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) next door flows right on through to the menu at Óleo Restaurante where taste buds go into overtime. A sleek, but informal venue with a great riverside terrace – an oh-so-perfect spot for a sundowner G&T – this restaurant never fails to provide a great dining experience.

At the helm is Sergio del Rio whose culinary creations combine Mediterranean dishes with a touch of nouvelle cuisine, but not so much that you don’t recognise what’s on your plate. So, good-old patatas bravas get an extra shot of heat via a spicy foam, traditional red tuna is joined by half-dried tomatoes from nearby Alora and the up-and-coming Malaga kid goat becomes the main ingredient in the Vietnamese rolls. You get the idea.

Taking the oriental connection that bit further is Rui Junior whose sushi ranks as the best in town. Prepare to be spoilt for choice. This is casual dining and all plates are suitable for sharing. And the best of all? The bill at the end – mains range from €7 to €22.

Address: Edificio CAC Malaga, Calle Alemania s/n, 29001 Malaga. Telephone: 952 21 90 62.

Best for a Post-shopping Lunch

Restaurante La Deriva

Dining room at La Deriva

On a corner in Soho, just before you reach the river, is the stylish La Deriva. Ticking all the boxes for a relaxed vibe, good service and good food – and within easy strolling distance from Calle Larios – it’s ideal for a refuelling stop after a morning’s shopping with friends.

The food is excellent overall, but there are standout dishes like the mouth-wateringly tender grilled octopus, oysters and saffron risotto served with jamón and sundried tomatoes. Other things not to miss include a superior cheese board and a wide selection of Vermouths.

Address: Alameda Colon, 7, 29001 Malaga. Telephone: 951 28 69 21.

La Cosmos

La Cosmo Restaurant Malaga

Owner, chef and resident Malagueño Daniel Carnero is having a bit of a moment. His three restaurants in Malaga all offer a different take on Spanish cuisine: of his other restaurants, La Cosmopolita is the most casual, and Restaurante Kaleja is fine dining.

Cosmos on Calle Cister is a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral, a stark white dining room with lots of natural light and an open kitchen for those lucky enough to get bar seating.

The razor clams are out of this world – they’re a must-try dish while in Malaga, and this is the place to have them. Carnero’s take on a Malagueñan salad with green beans is also melt-in-the-mouth and will leave you wanting to order more.

Address: Calle Císter, 11, 29015 Málaga.

Best for Traditional Tapas 

Uvedoble Taberna

Uvedoble Malaga

Sitting between the Alcazaba and the Cathedral, Uvedoble is well placed for lunch on a day jampacked with sightseeing. This small unassuming restaurant has bar, table and terrace seating. It’s nothing really to write home about environment-wise, but you’re not here to look at the décor, you’re here to eat local Spanish food and wine.

Most dishes come in half or full plates and are ideal for sharing. The ceviche of swordfish with avocado from the Axarquia is melt in the mouth; sauteed artichokes with cuttlefish from Malaga are a favourite; the giant meatball in almond sauce is a crowd-pleaser, and Cannelloni stuffed with kid goes down well with a glass of Ribera del Duero. If you want to eat local Malagueno dishes prepared with flair with an emphasis on farm to fork produce, then you’ll be hard pushed to do better than Uvedoble.

Address: C/ Alcazabilla, 1, 29015 Málaga. Telephone: 951 24 84 78.

Best for Kids 

As for family-focused, child-friendly eateries in Malaga there… really aren’t any. However, the southern Spanish are very accommodating when it comes to children, so smaller plates for smaller people will be produced if requested.

Vino Mio

The situation of this restaurant is great for parents with especially energetic broods: right on a square next to the Teatro Cervantes, they can run themselves ragged within eyeshot while you sit back with a chilled glass of wine.

On the food front, we’re talking international, so the menu is varied and more likely to be familiar to smaller, non-Spanish mouths. The portions are incredibly generous, so it’s important to remember to leave room for their delectable double chocolate Guinness cake. If you’re a fan of flamenco, they hold a show at 8pm every evening. Check the website below for more information.

Address: Plaza de Jeronimo Cuervo, 2, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 952 60 90 93.

Best for Sharing & Pairing


facade of alexso

Slightly off the beaten track but still just a few steps from the centre, Alexso has quickly established a name for itself on the Malaga foodie scene.

The venue comes small on space but huge on taste, with Chef José Antonio Moyano taking local recipes, giving them a whole new look and then throwing in some surprises for good measure. So that invisible fried egg really does taste like the real thing. And who’d have thought of putting Malaga salchichón (cold sausage) into an éclair? But it works and works well.

Dishes make ideal sharing plates – an option we’re always keen on because you get to work your way through lots of different items on the menu. Pairing is something else Alexso excels at, and the waiters are more than happy to step in and recommend the perfect wine for a dish.

The restaurant also has two set tasting menus: Alexso Route (allow an hour and a half for the seven dishes) and Cooking Up Sensations (just over two hours for ten dishes).

Children are made to feel very welcome at Alexso, with friendly waiters, colouring books and pens.

Address: Calle Mariblanca 10, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 951 91 35 85.


Blossom Restaurant Malaga

Sitting on Calle Strachan, Blossom keeps good company. This street traditionally was the only place to dine for well-to-do Malagueños.

The menu is seasonal and can be taken as a set menu or ordered as individual dishes. The dining room and service sit neatly in the casual fine dining scene that the city does so well.

On an evening we love approaching the menu tapas-style by ordering all the starters and sharing them for a flavour sensation.

Address: Calle Strachan, 11, Loc 2, 29015 Málaga, Telephone: 951 53 78 22.

Best for an Informal Bite

Colmado 93

For a traditional tapas bar you can’t go far wrong with Colmado 93. Small but perfectly formed you grab a barrel, order a vermut, a selection of tapas from the special board and take in the atmosphere. It’s loud, busy, people spill out onto the street and there’s not enough room to take your jacket off (thankfully you’re in Malaga and a jacket is rarely needed) – it’s great! The food it traditional fair – cold cuts, croquetas, ceviche, albondigas but only the best quality. This is what is neighbourhood eating is all about tapas, the buzz of a busy bar with simple but great light bites.

Address: C/ Carretería, 29008 Málaga. Telephone: 615 02 96 69

Best for Vegetarians & Vegans

MIMO Vegan Bistro

Mimo Vegan, Soho, Malaga

This vegan restaurant in Soho, Malaga has a real family run feel. As much as possible the produce is from Malaga province and seasonal. The dining room is small and there’s no terrace but it has a real neighbourhood vibe and the food packs a tasty punch. Super creative dishes served up with flair and finesse.

Address: C/ Vendeja, 29, 29001 Málaga. Telephone: +34 648489705

Vegetariano El Calafate

Always full to bursting, El Calafate is the best vegetarian restaurant in Malaga. They have a €9.50 set lunchtime menu which changes daily (it’s slightly more expensive on the weekends). It offers the usual things you’d expect from any self-respecting veggie restaurant with thick soups, curries, stir-fries, Moroccan-inspired dishes and one or two vegan options. The candlelit dining room can accommodate a largish group (of up to around 14 people) but you have to book it in advance.

Address: Calle Andres Perez, 6, 29008 Malaga. Telephone: 952 22 93 44.

Best for Living like a Local 

Refectorium Catedral

Ordinarily we would never recommend eating in the same square – or even the same vicinity – of a city’s cathedral. However, the Refectorium is a rare exception to the rule. There’s great service (some of the best in the city) in this busy, modern, light and airy restaurant, while the food is a mix of time-honoured classics cooked to perfection and the sort of wonderfully simple, let-the-produce-speak-for-itself dishes that are what Spanish cooking is all about. Everyone raves about its Russian salad – and with good reason, too: this pretty bland and basic Spanish staple is transformed into a mouth-watering morsel.

Although the restaurant welcomes children, the well-heeled clientele are less welcoming to small children. It’s an adult’s establishment, in other words; a place to enjoy the food, service and atmosphere.

Address: C/ Postigo De Los Abades, 4, 29015 Malaga. Telephone: 952 60 23 89.

La Antxoeta

You could never call chef Pablo Ramon Caballero Larios’ dining room a restful place; rather it’s brilliantly bustling and busy. The restaurant can be found in Soho just before the port. It’s Malaga city proper, and it harks back to an older, slightly less polished Malaga where there was always something a little hectic and chaotic going on.

The menu is short – but more than sufficient – and the wine list is likely to please most tastes. The chef himself is in the open kitchen, creating playful dishes which are a delight to look at as well as to eat. On our visit, we worked our way through the squid tartare with tigernut milk (horchata), saffron risotto with truffles and beetroot, pig’s trotters with king prawns and chocolate and tiramisu. And if the squid and the tiramisu were the genuine standouts, suffice to say it was all really rather splendid.

Address: Calle Barroso 7, 29001 Malaga. Telephone: 659255532.

Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sundays and Mondays.


Restaurante Montana

patio at restaurante montana

Housed within a small palace to the far north of the old town, Restaurante Montana is definitely something of a looker. Opening out from a plant-filled central courtyard, the grand 19th-century premises dovetail beautifully with stylish, modern interiors, and the lighting inside and out is just right.

It’s far from a case of style over content, though, as it offers fine dining without the foodie fashion whims. We love to sit in the sunny courtyard and order a plate of melt-in-the-mouth Jamón Iberico as an after-shopping treat. In the evenings, its excellent international wine list, cocktails and comfortable seating area make it the perfect place to kick back after dinner and plan out the next steps of a night out.

It’s convenient, too: highly unusually for a restaurant in Malaga city centre, it also has its own parking.

Address: Calle Compas de la Victoria, 5, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 952 65 12 44.

Best for a Big Group 

Bodega El Pimpi

Traditional Tiles at El Pimpi

This place has seemingly been around since time began. What started as a traditional tapas bar where everyone from the ages of 19 to 90 went to have Jamon Serrano washed down with Malaga wine (made from sweet Moscatel grapes – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) is now a Malaga institution and must-visit.

The setting is outstanding and typically southern Spanish: inside, it’s all tinkling fountains, tumbling plants, huge wine barrels from floor to ceiling and photos of famous people who had visited over the years. It’s cavernous, too, with two floors and several different sized rooms that can be easily taken over by large groups.

Taking the décor and atmosphere out of the equation, the food is only so-so to be completely honest. But it’s well worth a visit, even if it’s just for a pre- or post-dinner drink inside or out on the terrace looking over the Roman amphitheatre.

Address: Calle Granada, 62, 29015 Malaga. Telephone: 952 22 54 03.

Best for Views

Restaurante Especia Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro

Malaga Parador Restaurant

If you like a vista with your vino, it doesn’t get much better than at the Parador up next to the Gibralfaro Castle. Treat your taste buds to some delicious local cuisine while you feast your eyes on the bright lights of Malaga and the Mediterranean below your feet. Views are pretty good from inside the restaurant, but nothing short of exceptional on the outside terrace and certainly the best at any table in Malaga.

With chef Bartolomé Rodrigo at the helm, the menu puts the accent on local produce harvested from the nearby Axarquía mountains, Guadalhorce Valley and of course, the Med (all part of your table view).

Dishes change with the seasons; on the menu this summer are refreshingly cool soups – try the almond and garlic with fig bread or the thick tomato porra malagueña with Iberian ham – and fresh salads as well as fish and meat dishes. There are also some Malaga classics such as fried fish and battered aubergines with honey. The dessert menu falls a little short, but you’ll be too sweet on the views to notice. And if you want to make that vino with a vista that bit extra special, time your dinner to coincide with sunset.

Address: Castillo de Gibralfaro s/n, 29016 Malaga. Telephone: 952 221 902 Parador-de-malaga-gibralfaro/gastronomy

Holiday villa in Malaga city

Best for Beachside

Gutiérrez Playa

Malaga excels at chiringuitos, beach bars that specialise in locally-caught fish and seafood, and it’s difficult to go wrong for a lunchtime bite. One of the best sits on the western side of Malaga Bay near the Russian and Car Museums. Gutiérrez Playa has been around for a while and this experience, plus the fact that the family runs one of the busiest fishmongers in the nearby Huelin market, means they know what they’re cooking. Staples on the menu include deep-fried fish – think anchovies, baby sole and whitebait – delicately flavoured salt-baked fish and that Malaga classic, chargrilled sardines on an espeto cane.

If you like your fish cooked gently over an olive wood fire, try the other espeto specials – langoustine, bream, squid or octopus. Book your table on the sand where you’ll dine just yards from the Mediterranean and stunning views of the Bay.

Address: Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas 2, 29004 Malaga. Telephone: 952 118 908

If you have a bit of a group (or even just the two of you!) and fancy having a local expert show you around Malaga, then why not book a Malaga tapas tour with our partners Toma & Coe?

Like the sound of our pick of best restaurants in Malaga, check out our Malaga nightlife guide. Or tempted to stay a little further up the coast? Check out our selection of top places to eat in Marbella.

Lindsay Gregory

Lindsay is the Co-founder and Collection Curator of The Luxury Villa Collection. She's constantly in search of the most authentic and original travel experiences, coupled with the best villas, to help you see Spain in style.

You might also like

  • Join our VIP club for exclusive new villa previews and Spanish travel inspiration

  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.