Archive for the Centro Category

Málaga – Centro – Soho Art District

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Soho, Spain with tags , on November 15, 2017 by gannet39

Soho is the designated art district in the south west corner of the Centro; forty run-down but regenerating blocks between the harbour, the River Guadalmedina and Alameda Principal. It’s where you’ll find the street art and avant garde galleries.

There are lots of good pieces on many of the walls here. Click on the pics to get a better view.

Entrance to the Centro De Arte Contemporáneo De Málaga (CAC) cacmalaga.eu is free so I had a gander.

This post is a work in progress, no doubt I’ll add to it when I’m next in town.

Málaga – Centro – Rooftop Bars

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , on November 14, 2017 by gannet39

On a sultry summer evening in Málaga, the best place to be is catching the breeze on a roof terrace with a cold drink in your hand. There are many roof top bars in the town. These are my favourites.

You’ll find them all, and more on this Google map.

In the interests of research I tried a few rooftop bars around the centre and each time had a G&T made with Bombay Sapphire gin (although there are many gins to choose from on most bars). Here are the results in order of preference:

Alcazaba Premium Hostel, 12 Calle Alcazabilla, www.alcazabapremiumhostel.com

I like this place because it has the best view of the Alcazaba and the Castillo Gibralfaro that I know of. It’s especially nice at night when the castle is lit up. There’s a restaurant (Batik, untried) and two bars on different levels. A G&T costs a fair 8€.

La Piscina Lounge, Molina Lario Hotel, 20 Calle Molina Lario, www.hotelmolinalario.com

This split level bar is on the rooftop (eighth floor) of the hotel I usually stay in. There’s no view to speak of really but there’s a small swimming pool and a few sun loungers which make it a great spot for chilling in the day time. The loungers are very popular so you might have to go before lunch to snag one, especially at the weekend. A G&T costs 8€ and you usually get a little pot of ‘frutos secos’ (nuts, raisins etc) with each drink.

Ático, Hotel Marriot, 1 Calle Cortina del Muelle, www.marriott.com

The Marriot is directly opposite the Hotel Molina Larios and towers above it. Ático, the hotel’s bar is on the fifteenth floor so you can look down on La Piscina Lounge next door (hence the picture above). In fact you look down on most things and you can see for miles which makes this one of the best views in the city. This height superiority comes at a price however as a G&T costs 12€, a euro for each extra floor. That doesn’t stop it being a popular spot though, especially at the weekend.

Terraza Club Chinitas, Chinitas Urban Hostel, 3 Pasaje Chinitas, www.chinitashostel.com

A pleasant split level roof terrace that doesn’t seem to get too crowded as it’s off the beaten track down a side street. There’s no view to speak of, although you can see the cathedral, but a G&T only costs 7€ and they play chilled house music, or at least they did when I was there.

To sum up then, G&Ts and presumably most other cocktails, cost about 5€ at ground level whereas rooftop bars charge between 7€ and 12€ depending how high they were. The average (in 2016) seems to be around 8€.

And while we’re here…

In Málaga back in 2013 I had my first taste of Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta y Tres), Spain’s best-selling liqueur. The secret recipe has forty three ingredients (hence the name) but the main flavours are orange and vanilla. The latter dominates, too much so for my taste (C+), although it might be better mixed with other things.

A similar southern tipple is Ponche, a brandy-based liqueur that has been infused with Andalucian oranges, dried fruit and spices. I know there’s more than one brand but Caballero is the only one that the bars ever seem to have. It’s ok, like a weak spiced brandy (B), but there are several other Spanish digestifs I’d rather drink.

I’d love to hear about your experiences of drinks and cocktails in Spain. Please tell me your stories in the comments section below.

Málaga – Centro – where to drink local wines

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , on November 13, 2017 by gannet39

Wine production in Málaga province started in the eighth century BC with the Phoenicians and the industry was later developed by the Greeks, Romans, Moors and more recently, by the British.

Málaga has three DOs (Denominaciones de Origen):

DO Málaga (mainly sweet white wines)
DO Sierra de Málaga (white, rose and red wines)
DO Pasas de Málaga (raisins).

The province is most famous for its sweet fortified dessert wines from the DO Málaga which are made from the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel white grape varieties.

The three main growing areas are: La Axarquia, Montes de Málaga , and Zona Norte (the hills north of Antequera).

I know of two bodegas in the Centro where you can try local wines; one quite central, and the other (my favourite) slightly off the beaten track.

For more contemporary drinking experiences, please see my post on Rooftop Bars. All these bars and others can be found on my Google map
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Antigua Casa de Guardia (Intermediate A-), 18 Alameda Principal, www.antiguacasadeguardia.net

This ancient tavern has sold famous local wines on draught since 1840. It’s just a single large room spanned across its width by a long bar and barrels with signs on along the back wall. My favourites are the Málaga Virgen and Moscatel.

In traditional style, the bartenders chalk up your bill on the bar as you go along. They serve simple tapas too which probably haven’t changed since the place opened.

Casa de Guardia is a good place to start your night out as it has heaps of atmosphere and cheap, though not amazing wines (B/C).

La Odisea (Intermediate A), 2 Subida a la Coracha, www.vinosdemalaga.com

This is a favourite spot of mine and I have my friend Nicky and a local blog to thank for making me come here. I love the old world charm of ‘The Odyssey’ and would totally recommend it over the more famous and touristy Antigua Casa de Guardia.

There are about twenty small barrels of different local wines inside and customers can buy wines to take out by the bottle. They sometimes also put on wine tastings and live music.

The location isn’t ideal (on a main road right by the entrance to the tunnel that goes under the castle) but it’s still nice to sit outside on the small terrace.

If you want more peace and quiet there’s an internal patio out the back, complete with a small bomb shelter from the Second World War. Or you could sit in the dark interior by the barrels, but it can be a bit stuffy in the summer, even with the doors open.

I tried two local sweet wines at €2 a glass; the Pajarete (B+) and the Málaga Cream (A), which has notes of coconut to my palate. I liked the Cream so much that I got a bottle to take home for a mere €12. I also tried their brandy which was just okay (B) but good value at €3 a glass.

They also serve tapas which I also need to try next time, along with their acclaimed homemade vermouth. A favourite spot, do go.

Málaga – Eating in the Centro

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve put my favourites first and a few to avoid at the end. Old bodegas and rooftop bars have been given their own posts. You’ll find everything on this Google map.

El Pimpi (Intermediate A), 62 Calle Grande, www.elpimpi.com

A local institution, centrally located near the amphitheatre on Calle Alcazabilla. It’s a big place with two entrances, a sizable terrace out front and a couple of seating areas inside. It was very busy when I went, mainly with tourists.

The building is very intriguing; attractively decorated inside with ceramic tiles, old bodega barrels and climbing plants.

The name comes from the colourful characters who would help disembarking ship passengers get what they wanted, although whether they were tour guides or flesh-peddlers seems a little unclear.

In 2013, wanting a healthy lunch, I had the ‘Ensalada Malaguena con Salmorejo, Naranja y Bacalao Asado’; a Malagan salad of cold tomato and bread soup, oranges and grilled salt cod, which was excellent (A).

With a bottle of water the bill was €8.80. The food was beautifully presented and everything looked and tasted great.

Meson Cervantes (Intermediate B+), 11 Calle Álamos, www.elmesondecervantes.com

The original and largest member of the small Cervantes chain (three locations all nearby) which feature highly in the TripAdvisor rankings. Although only at #8 at the time of writing in 2016, it easily has the most reviews, which is what I tend to look for on the rare occasions I use TripAdvisor.

My friend Terry and I ran up a bill of only €41 between us (I know, I wasn’t very hungry). We shared three tapas (salmon, jamon iberico, piquillo peppers), a half portion of seared tuna…

…four medium beers and two glasses of Legaris Crianza, the latter quite expensive at €6 a pop. I was too busy chatting to take notes but everything was good.

El Tapeo de Cervantes (Low Intermediate B+), 8 Calle Carcer, eltapeodecervantes.com

This is the much smaller, and more cramped, sister bar of Meson Cervantes above, just around the corner. It was at #6 in 2016, it easily and had the second most reviews. Again, it’s very popular so reservations are recommended.

In 2016 I came here on my first night with a hunger for Spanish food and wine that took a bit of sating. After a beer to quench my thirst I had glasses of three different Riberas and six tapas, all of which was very good (A/B).

The grilled Atun Rojo with cauliflower puree (see pic above) was a winner and these Mollejas (sweetbreads) from the specials board were also a favourite.

Despite my gluttony, the bill came to a reasonable €31.50.

El Marisquero (Elementary B+), 7 Calle Olozaga

This marisqueria, out the back door of the market on Calle Atarazanas, was recommended by a local food blog. It’s a down-to-earth, basic kind of tapas place with standing areas both inside and out so you can catch the shade or the sun as you like. The grilled prawns I had were very good (B+) and it was bliss to slake my thirst with a couple of ice cold canas.

La Cosmopolita Malagueña (Intermediate B), 3 Calle Jose Denis Belgrano

Recommended by the Guia Repsol, this is a tapas bar and restaurant located in the busy part of town but with surprisingly few customers, despite having a terrace on a quiet side street. I’m sure the items on the main restaurant menu are excellent but there seems to be a limited choice of tapas.

I had tapas of the Albondigas and Croquetas de Puchero which, along with three canas, brought the bill to €12. The quality was good so I would go back to try their mains.

El Jardín (Intermediate B+), 1 Calle Cañón, www.eljardinmalaga.com

I come to this beautiful old café just for the décor (Belle Epoque fittings, lots of cut glass lampshades and lace tablecloths).

According to the barman the building dates from 1927 and it’s called ‘The Garden’ because it’s right next to the lovely garden behind the cathedral.

I haven’t eaten but I know G&T made with Beefeater (they didn’t have Bombay) costs a mere €5, much cheaper than the rooftop bars I review elsewhere. Although I love the interior, I wouldn’t mind sitting on the big pavement terrace outside. There’s Tango dancing on Thursdays for more energetic people.

La Esquinita del Chupa y Tira (Elementary B), 31 Calle Victoria

This is an old grocery shop that has had its storeroom converted into a tapas bar. They sell wine, cheese and ham, both Spanish and Italian, and the prices are very cheap. The friendly young waitress was Italian by birth so perhaps there are some family connections. It’s nothing out of this world but makes a nice stop on the way to this next place.

Montana (Intermediate B+), 5 Compas de la Victoria

This is a very nice spot as at the back as they have a covered courtyard terrace and a garden with palm trees and a pond with carp and terrapins.

According to the blog they do a tasting menu but you have to order ahead. I had a half portion of Rabo de Toro Croquetas which were nice (B).

Also,‘Huevos Rotos al Estilo Candido con Ajada y Secreto Iberico Confitado’, basically shreds of good quality sautéed pork artistically placed atop a fried egg and potato. The bloggers raved about this although for me it was fine but nothing special (B).

On the other hand I really enjoyed a couple of glasses of excellent an Ribera del Duero from Lopez Cristobal (B+).

The bill came in at €18.50. Service was pleasant.
This is a good place for a romantic date, especially if you snag a table under the palms.

 

El Refectorium (Advanced B+), 8 Calle Cervantes, elrefectorium.es

For some reason I thought this Frommers recommended place would be quite down to earth due to its location by the bullring but it’s actually fairly posh. Apparently it’s very popular with the matadors and their fans, so it’d probably impossible to get in when there’s a bullfight on. I went at a quiet time so I managed to get in without a reservation.

I had some I had some high quality local fare (B/B+) but I wouldn’t go back due to the fairly high prices, although the adjoining tapas bar might be more affordable.
Embarrassingly I forgot my wallet and had to go back to the hotel to get it. When I came back I was treated like a returning hero, with a ponche on the house and lots of cheers from the waiters!

These last few aren’t bad as such, just non-descript…

La Camapana (Elementary B+), 35 Calle Grande

A well-known and very popular tapas bar selling typical seafood dishes. I didn’t really explore the menu on my visit in 2013 but my squid rings, bravas and two large beers for €11.60 filled a hole.

El Chinitas (Intermediate C), 4-6 Calle Moreno Monroy

Another Frommers and Seleccion del Gourmet recommended restaurant.

It’s old school and atmospheric but I wasn’t particularly impressed by their tapas tasting menu (mainly C except for the cured ham).

La Farola de Orellana (Intermediate C), 5 Calle Moreno Monroy, www.lafaroladecervantesmalaga.es

Over the road from El Chinitas and once owned by the same people although I’m not sure that’s still the case. I had a cana and a tapa of some cheese concoction which I’ve since obliterated from my memory. I didn’t like the food or the atmosphere so I doubt I’ll go back.

Okami (Intermediate C+), 18 Calle Cister, www.okamirestaurante.es

Entirely edible Japanese food, but nothing special.

The ‘Pollo Teriyaki’ looked great but was a bit too salty for me, and I like lots of soya sauce.

The ‘Uramaki Atun’ and ‘Uramaki Salmon Mango’ were okay but amazing (B-).

For Mediterranean/Japanese fusion you’d be better off going to Ba (see my coming Malagueta post).

Málaga – Centro – Architecture along Avenida de Cervantes

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , on November 11, 2017 by gannet39

As anyone who reads this blog will know, I do like me a bit of fancy brickwork and Málaga has some nice examples along Avenida de Cervantes which, along with Parque de Málaga alongside it, was built on reclaimed land near the waterfront. You’ll find them on this Google map.

At 4 Avenida Cervantes is the Neo-Baroque Ayuntemiento de Málaga, the work of architects Guerrero Strachan and Rivera Vera, opened to the public in 1919.

At 3 Avenida Cervantes is the Art Deco Banco de España, completed in 1936 by architect Jose Yarnoz.

Finally, next door at 2 Avenida de Cervantes is the rectory of the Universidad de Málaga which used to be the Casa de Correos (post office). The architect of the building was Teodoro de Anasagasti y Algan and the Neo-Mudejar construction was finished in 1923.

A smidgen of Málaga

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve been to Málaga three times; once in October 2013 for two days, once in early August 2016 when I stayed for ten nights and another occasion lost in the mists of time. So, please don’t think of these posts as an authoritative guide to this ancient and fascinating city, they are just my brief experiences.

I’ve organised my posts as follows:

Málaga – Introduction (this post)
Málaga – Centro – Eating
Málaga – Centro – Old Bodegas
Málaga – Centro – Rooftop Bars
Málaga – Centro – Architecture along Avenida de Cervantes
Málaga – Centro – Soho Art District
Málaga Este – places to eat around Malagueta beach
Málaga Este – places to eat around Pedregalejo beach
Málaga Este – places to eat around El Palo beach

Google map here.

I’ve always stayed at the Hotel Molino Lario www.galleryhoteles.com which is very comfortable. It’s in a prime location just opposite the cathedral and there are heaps of restaurants in the streets around the hotel. The staff are helpful, the breakfast is varied, and my rooms have always been a good size with functioning Wi-Fi. On the roof terrace there’s a postage stamp sized pool that’s a godsend in the summer heat.

I’ve not been inside the Renaissance style Catedral de Málaga but I quite like the entrance with the orange trees outside.

The most noticeable monument is the Castillo Gibralfaro www.malagaturismo.com on the top of the mount of the same name that dominates the skyline of the old town. Gibralfaro comes from Jabal-Faruk which means ‘Mount of the Lighthouse’. Although it was used by the Phoenicians and the Romans, it was the Nasrids who turned it into a fortress.

I worked climbing the steep slopes into my morning exercise routine as you can get some great views of the port and the rest of the city.

At the western foot of the mountain you’ll find the entrance to the Alcazaba www.malagaturismo.com, an earlier Moorish citadel that’s connected to the castle via long zig zagging walls.

Next to the entrance you’ll find the Anfiteatro Romano www.andalucia.com. Bits of it (columns, capitals) have been nicked to build the Alcazaba but it still retains its basic form and plays are still held here on certain nights.

I’ve also visited the Museo Picasso www.museopicassomalaga.org (€9 entry) All the guides have it as a must-do but it’s not really worth the cost of entrance in my opinion. The exhibitions I saw were just of his early stuff and not particularly interesting works by other artists.

I was more impressed by the building itself; a wealthy Moor’s town house. I particularly liked the peaceful courtyard and the beautiful, ornately carved wooden ceilings.

You can also see some archaeology pre-dating the house down in the basement level.

There is of course a very modern side to Málaga as well, as epitomised by ‘El Palmeral de las Sorpresas‘ (The Palm Garden of Surprises); the shaded promenade along Muelle Dos down by the waterfront.

More architecture in the next post…

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