The Costa del Sol is famous for its beaches, mild climate… and fine dining by the Mediterranean. Either on the outdoor terrace of a restaurant or a chiringuito ( beach bar) by the sea, having grilled prawns or paella is a sort of ritual on the Costa del Sol.
Costa del Sol prides itself on its rich Andalusian cuisine influenced by Arabic, Roman and Phoenician cultures, as it was a popular maritime hub in the Mediterranean region drawing visitors from far and wide. Generally, Andalusian cuisine is based on a Mediterranean diet, with plenty of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fine meat and fish.
Spanish cuisine is an explosion of colour, taste and passion; the southern coastal region of Andalusia has the most iconic Spanish cuisine. In addition, the great contrast of the landscape and climate here brings about a wonderful range of cuisine, rich in flavours and diversity.
Paella is one of the most popular dish in coastal areas of Spain and the Costa del Sol. There are three main types of paella: Paella Valenciana, Seafood paella and Paella mixta. Usually it is prepared with shrimps, squids, clams and white fist and in the Paella Mixta often added chicken. This saffron rice dish symbolizes the union and heritage of two important cultures – the Roman and the Arab and was born in the rural areas of Valencia around 15th and 16th centuries. Nourishing, vibrant, and served without pretension, paella has held a place of honor and practicality in for centuries.
2. Jamon Iberico
Jamon is a cured country ham produced in Spain. Jamon represents the finest of Spanish cuisine and this regional dish is tightly linked to culture and history of the country as a whole.
There are two primary types: Jamón serrano and Jamón ibérico. Present in all tapas bars, restaurants, and most Spanish homes, this delicious cured ham is a true crowd-pleaser. Enjoy Jamon Iberico like a Spaniards with tomatoes and toast, or pair it with your favourite spanish wine.
One of the most effective summer cooler and one of the most preferred andalusian starters – a cold Spanish soup made from tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers and olive oil. Two popular Andalucian variations of these cold soup are Salmorejo popular in Cordoba (similar to gazpacho but thicker and contains only tomatoes as vegetables) and Ajoblanco popular in Granada ( white soup that has bread, almonds,olive oil and of course bread and garlic). Usually served as a starter or a drink with bread and with garnishes: hard-boiled egg, small pieces of cucumber, pepper, spring onion, cubes of jamon and so on.
4. Fritura Malagueña / Fried Fish
Going to the Costa del Sol without trying fried fish would be like visiting the beach without going for a swim! Fritura Malagueña consists of the smaller seafood varieties, namely: small fish, crustaceans and shellfish that can be readily eaten, floured, crispy and golden, without worrying about any bones. Add a splash of lemon and taste the wide variety of fishes from Malaga’s coast. Typically eaten in local beach bars ( chiringuitos) where you can enjoy the freshest fish, Mediterranean breeze, sounds of waves and a glass of cold drink at the same time.
When you’re on the Costa del Sol, you’re bound to have churros at least once. Churros are a fried-dough pastry snack with a peculiar long form, fried until they become crunchy, and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Fresh churros are meant to be savored for breakfast, dipped into thick hot chocolate or served with café con leche. They’re crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside and they have a flavor no one can resist!
Spanish nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. With a rich, sweet and nutty flavor, turrón may be hard and brittle, or soft and toffee-like. Color wise it can range from white to the deepest caramel. In its simplest, most traditional form, there are just three ingredients – almonds, honey and egg white.
7. Gambas Al Pil Pil
Prawns served with a spicy sauce are what the Andalusians know and love as gambas al pil-pil. The salsa is made up of a combination of garlic, paprika, chillies, and white wine. Cooked in an oven-proof dish, this starter arrives to your table sizzling. Served with masses of crusty bread, this is another must try on the Costa del Sol! Don’t forget to dip your bread in the sauce, and sit back and enjoy the Spanish life.
Spanish omelette, or literally Spanish tortilla, is a traditional dish from Spanish cuisine called tortilla española or tortilla de patatas. It is a big part of the cuisine of Spain. Along with jamon and olive oil, tortillas are probably amongst the most commonly eaten Spanish dishes in the world. Made of pan-fried potatoes and onion, it makes a delicious light vegetarian meal or an easy tapas dish.
Spain produces more than 250 different varieties of olives to be eaten whole or pressed into olive oil. Olives are served in Andalucia both whole and pitted. Whole olives are a favourite both as appetisers and in fresh salads. Healthy and delicious olive appetizer traditionally served in all beach bars along the coast. If you have never been huge fan of olives, we recommend you to give it another try!
10. Rabo de Toro
Spanish bull tail stew (rabo de toro estofado) is one of Spain’s most typical stews. Dating back to Roman times, rabo de toro is actually an Andalusian creation, supposedly inspired in Córdoba. It is an intensely flavoured dish with a rich garlicky sauce & soft beef. Delicious with potatoes!
11. Ensalada Malagueña / Malaga Salad
No salad is more representative of the beautiful coastal city of Malaga than the one that bears its name: Malaga style salad. It captures the essence of what Malaga and its terrain is, combining perfectly the taste of the sea and the fresh vegetable gardens. A summer dish due to its freshness that is full of strong and distinctive flavours and great example of Mediterranean food that allows you to make the most of the local produce in a healthy way. Made up of a potato base and accompanied by oranges, finely cut onion, bacalao-cod, hard-boiled eggs and green olives.
12. Tarta Malagueña
This cake, made with almonds and Malaga sweet wine – two of Malaga’s own specialities, as well as apricot jam, is sweet enough that you will only need to try a little slice. It is decorated on top with raisins (another one of the typical foods from Malaga) and thinly sliced almonds. It goes down perfectly with a cup of coffee and makes the perfect afternoon snack for when you need a bit of a sugar hit!
This is another salad dish that is not only well loved in Malaga, but all over the region of Andalusia. It’s a cold salad made from finely chopped red pepper, green pepper, tomato, onion, olives, tuna, and mussels or other seafood dressed with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt – perfect for eating during our long, hot summers!
14. Boquerones – Anchovies
Number 14 on our list is the most important one! There is a colloquial meaning to boquerones in Malaga. It is an affectionate way of calling a Malaga proud native. Such as saying, “Antonio Banderas is a boqueron”. Don’t be surprised if you hear a local exclaim, “Soy Malagueño! Soy Boquerón!”
Two most popular types are Boquerones fritos Al Limon and Boquerones en Vinagre, and you will be sure to find them in every malagueño tapas bar.
Boquerones al vinagre are fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and olive oil, and seasoned with garlic and parsley. Boquerones fritos Al Limon are a deep fried version of anchoives. Perfect alongside a bit of homemade alioli sauce!
Order boquerones with a caña of beer and you’ll be living the Andalusian lifestyle in no time!