Archive for El Chinitas

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).

A smidgen of Malaga

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by gannet39

I only spent three nights in Malaga so please don’t think of this post as an authoritative guide to this ancient and fascinating city. It was November as well so it had none of its usual summer buzz. I did have time to nose out a few good places in the short time I was there though. It was after lunchtime when I arrived in town and I was starving, so I headed straight to the old market on Calle Atarazanas in the hope that somewhere would be open nearby . Thankfully I located this marisqueria out the back door of the market that had been recommended by a local food blog:

El Marisquero (Elementary B+), 7 Calle Olozaga 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. It’s always good to be back in Spain when it starts like this.

Antigua Casa de Guardia (Intermediate A-), 18 Alameda Principal,

www.antiguacasadeguardia.net This ancient tavern (since 1840) near the waterfront sells famous local wines such as Malaga Virgen and Moscatel on draught. It’s just a large single room spanned across its width by a long bar, the surface of which is used by the servers to chalk up your bill as you sample the various contents of the barrels that line the walls.

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They serve tapas too but I was saving myself for later so I can’t comment on the food. It’s a good place to start your night out as it has heaps of atmosphere and cheap, though not amazing, wines.

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

A local institution, well located near the amphitheatre on Calle Alcazabilla and hence very popular with tourists. It’s a big place with two entrances and was very busy when I went.

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There’s a sizable terrace out front and a couple of seating areas inside. It’s an intriguing building, attractively decorated inside with ceramic tiles, old bodega barrels and climbing plants. The food is beautifully presented and everything looked and tasted great.
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.

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Refectorium (Advanced B+), 8 Calle Cervantes For some reason I thought this Frommers recommended place would be quite down to earth due to its location by the bullring. It’s actually fairly posh and very popular with the matadors and their fans, so I’d be surprised if you could get in when there’s a fight on. I went at a quiet time and got in without a reservation. So 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 returned but was treated like a hero, with a ponche on the house and lots of cheers from the waiters!

El Chinitas (Intermediate C), 4-6 Calle Moreno Monroy Another Frommers and Seleccion del Gourmet suggested place. It’s old school and atmospheric but I wasn’t particularly impressed by their tapas tasting menu (mainly C except for the cured ham).

I wanted to try Bar Orellana over the road which is owned by the same people but it was closed for renovations when I was there. You might have better luck when you go on both counts. La Camapna (Elementary B+), 35 Calle Grande A popular tapas bar selling typical seafood dishes. I didn’t really explore the menu but my squid rings, bravas and two large beers for €11.60 filled a hole.
I had my first taste of Licor 43 in Malaga. 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.

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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.

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It’s ok, like a weak spiced brandy (B), but there are several other Spanish digestifs I’d rather have.

I stayed at the Hotel Molina Lario a nice hotel well located just opposite the cathedral. The staff were helpful, the breakfast was varied, my room was large and had good wifi. There’s a postage stamp sized pool on the roof which would be a godsend in summer. There are heaps of restaurants in the streets around the hotel.

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I didn’t get to go inside the Renaissance style Catedral de Malaga despite it being very near. The entrance with the orange trees outside is quite nice though.

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One morning I finished my morning exercise with a walk up the steep slopes of the Alcazaba, the Moorish fortification that dominates the skyline of the old town, where you can get some great views of the harbor and city. You can pay to get into the inner citadel although it was too early when I went.
The Roman ampitheatre is just below it. Bits of it were nicked to build the Alcazaba but it still has its basic form. 20131113_142330

 

 

 

I also visited the Museo Picasso at 8 Calle San Augustin (€9 entry) but was more impressed by the building itself (a wealthy Moor’s town house) rather than any of the exhibitions inside (his early stuff or not particularly interesting works by other artists). I particularly liked the peaceful courtyard and the beautiful, ornately carved wooden ceilings.

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You can also see some archaeology pre-dating the house down in the basement level. It’s still not really worth the cost of entrance in my opinion. Here’s my Google map with the above places on and some others I didn’t get to. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to explore some more.

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