Bar El Niño in Calle Campos presents cosy, rustic-style decoration and a truly Andalusian atmosphere. / SUR.

Timeworn tradition in a mountainside village

Mijas boasts some of the most picturesque bodegas offering typical wines and gastronomy

Tony Bryant

Mijas Pueblo is one of the most inviting white villages in Malaga and it boasts a character and ambience of 1950s Andalucía. Along with its iconic donkeys, historic monuments and ramshackle houses, Mijas offers visitors some of the most nostalgic taverns and restaurants. Today, the Andalusian village life goes hand in hand with the modern-day tourist industry, and those who are looking for typical cuisine in authentic establishments will find no end of options to choose from.

One of the town's most popular bars is El Niño, located just a short distance from the old town in a setting with privileged views of the Mediterranean. This delightful bar, situated in Calle Campos, presents a cosy, rustic-style decoration and a welcoming atmosphere, while offering traditional Andalusian home-cooking at its finest. The menu, which offers tapas, half rations and á la carte, is based on local seasonal produce and tempts diners with classic dishes like scrambled eggs with Serrano ham, meat balls in almond sauce and a selection of fresh fish and seafood dishes. Founded in 1968, one of the establishment's attractions is the varied wine list, which includes wines of denomination of origin from different areas in Spain, such as Valdepeñas, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. The bar is popular with the locals and is excellent for those in search of a little piece of Spanish village life.

Another bar that is popular with the locals, as well as floods of tourists, is La Boveda del Flamenco (Plaza de la Constitución), the central hub for the stereotypical Andalusian characters. The interior of the bar, which is set in a historic old farmhouse, is quite nostalgic: its arched-bricked ceiling and simple decoration presents an image of a cave-type dwelling. However, the main attraction is the pretty outside area, where the local men enjoy coffee and anise while waiting for their wives to collect the daily groceries. Because of its pretty geranium lined walls and vine-covered exterior patio, the bar has appeared in numerous publications and documentaries about Mijas, and it is one of the few remaining meeting places that offers a true insight into daily life in a mountainside village. But it is not just the picturesque setting that makes this place so popular, for it is celebrated for serving authentic home-cooked food, and is one of the top places to visit on the tapas route in Mijas. The bar is renowned for its selection of molletes (small bread rolls from Antequera usually eaten at breakfast and served with olive oil), Manchego cheese or zurrapa de lomo (pork loin fried in paprika enthused lard).

Mijas certainly has plenty of traditional taverns and bodegas that offer the cultural-seeking visitor local gastronomy and viticulture at its best. Other places of interest include Bodegas Casa del Pintor - a restaurant full of Spanish charm- and Bar Martina - a country-style tavern offering the quintessential image of postcard Spain.