Eight chiringuitos where you can eat the Costa del Sol's famous 'espetos' all year round
Eating out

Eight chiringuitos where you can eat the Costa del Sol's famous 'espetos' all year round

Sardines are especially good at this time of year for their nutritious content and their fattier skin, making any one of these beach-side restaurants a perfect choice for a ration or two

Emilio Morales


Tuesday, 21 May 2024

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That you can only eat the Costa del Sol's famous espetos (skewered sardines cooked over hot coals) in the summer months is pure exaggeration, as most of us could eat such a tasty dish as that any time of the year. However, there is an explanation as to why the months with no 'r' in them are the best months to order sardines. Put simply, they are better. It has to do with the plankton that sardines eat. Summer is when sardines have a higher fat content thanks to their primary food source being in greater supply, which greatly enhances the flavour and aroma of their flesh and is best eaten with your fingers. It is at this time of year, as the surface temperatures rise in the sea, that plankton become more abundant. Sardines stuff themselves silly, grow plumper and gain much more body fat. In other words, it is tastier when you put it in your mouth.

In Malaga city there are many options for a good skewer of sardines, a dish that ranges in price from 3 to 6 euros. Last year's foodie route and competition to find the best places dishing up espetos (the VI Ruta del Espeto de Málaga en la Mesa, organised by SUR), the finalists were El Espigón de La Cala, Avante Claro and Marina Playa in Rincón de la Victoria, Royal Beach Pirata in Mijas and Las Acacias on El Pedregal promenade in Malaga city.

However, in this report we would like to add three more establishments: chiringuito María de Huelin, Los Espigones in Pedregalejo and the Victoria in El Palo. Obviously you will all have your favourite espetero roasting those sardines for you, but this small list does in fact cover the whole Malaga coast, giving you some alternatives wherever you might be when hitting the beach. By the way, we also tell you about some other dishes to accompany those sardines, so that you leave with a full stomach.

Avante Claro

In the heart of La Cala del Moral, right next to the residential area of Calaflores. Their espetos stand out for the juiciness of the fish. If you want to continue to get the best of their menu, don't hesitate to order their tuna toasts with a little guacamole on the finest, crunchy bread. Incidentally, all their seafood is very fresh and of good quality. Call to make a reservation, as it's usually busy!

El Espigón de La Cala

On Paseo Blas Infante and located, as its name suggests, in La Cala del Moral. With very good customer service, in addition to its good espetos cooked atop a traditional fishing boat, we recommend you try their fried food too. The cooking oil used plays a fundamental role in any chiringuito, and changing it at the right time is vital to ensure that the fish comes out with the flavour it deserves.

Marina Playa

On La Marina beach in Rincón de la Victoria there is a chiringuito that has been a key participant on several occasions in the annual espeto route run by SUR and a finalist on two occasions. Those wins are no coincidence. Their handling of the sardines, the firewood, the fire and the way they are served make this place a must to go try some sardines this summer.


This is perhaps the chiringuito that best handles the oil in El Palo district. The espeto is a great choice, but the fried squid is its hallmark dish. All the menu options, including the seafood, are really tasty, and it is in a privileged location close to the beach and very accessible.

Las Acacias

On El Pedregal promenade in Pedregalejo, a seaside neighbourhood par excellence. This is a chiringuito with a lot of tradition that is noted, apart from its good espetos, for the variety of fish, both fried and grilled, and its competitive prices. It is usually in high demand, as it is in one of the busiest areas in the east of Malaga city, especially on summer nights.

Los Espigones

I have to be honest, it's the chiringuito I frequent the most. In the heart of Pedregalejo, it's a place that keeps the customs of the traditional chiringuito, but with a more sophisticated touch. The paper table-cover has been replaced by a proper tablecloth. The skewered sardines, just nicely salted, are very good and when it's clam season, my recommendation is to order those coquinas because they are served as clean as a whistle and so plump and juicy!

Chiringuito María

One of the best in the city's Huelin district. Juan Manzano and his family, who are now at the helm, have been providing great grilled products for a long time, as well as the traditional pescaíto (small fried fish). The espetos are delicious, as is the grilled octopus leg served with a sauce that makes it undoubtedly the star dish on the menu. Don't leave without ordering it!

Royal Beach Pirata

In Mijas, at the Royal Beach residential development. It was one of the finalists in last year's espeto route, and that is proof that what they do on their cooking boat is of good quality. A perfect option for those who are far from the Malaga city. Furthermore, all the fried options on the menu are also very good and tasty.

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