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Sardines on skewers are available at La Lonja Malagueña seafood restaurant in Alhaurín de la Torre. SUR
Inland restaurants in Malaga province where you can sample the Costa del Sol's iconic skewered sardines
Food and drink

Inland restaurants in Malaga province where you can sample the Costa del Sol's iconic skewered sardines

Several eateries in the Guadalhorce valley and the Axarquía cook the popular 'espetos' dish in the traditional way, even though they are a long way from the sea

Javier Almellones

Malaga

Sunday, 7 July 2024, 21:06

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It is a dish of 'marengo' (from the sea) origin, but they are not only prepared in beachfront establishments. Although the coast's famous 'espetos' are usually found at restaurants and bars along the beaches of the Costa del Sol , it is also possible to sample the iconic dish in several Malaga province towns further inland.

Instead of sea breezes and views of the Mediterranean, the surroundings are more rural and the mountains are the main attraction. Many of the inns and restaurants that have opted to add chargrilled sardines on skewers to their menus are located in relatively quiet places.

In the Malaga district of Puerto de la Torre there are wood fires full of embers ready to grill those skewered sardines that lean over the heat. This is the case with El Balate, a restaurant that has no sea views but, in the middle of summer, it does have its own boat for grilling sardines in this traditional way. The owner of the business says that he has been making espetos in this Malaga district all his life. He started off at El Tomillar, the restaurant owned by his mother, and now he does the same in El Balate, where you can order a plate of espetos any day throughout summer. The price of an espeto of five sardines is four euros.

Much closer to the sea, but still with no sea views, in the centre of Malaga there is another atypical option for eating espetos, Taberna El Mentidero, which for decades has been one of the few places in the city to maintain the custom of grilling sardines using this traditional method.

In another of Malaga's outer districts - Churriana - there are also some options for eating espetos without having to be right next to the beach. For instance, La Batea Churrianera, located next to the road to Coín (very close to the MA-21 road).

The espeto trail runs through the city of Malaga with several landmark eateries in the district of Campanillas that typically offer espetos when summer arrives, especially at weekends. These include Yolimar and Los Faroles.

Guadalhorce valley

In a municipality in the Guadalhorce valley, which is also considered part of the metropolitan area of Malaga, awaits another good option, seafood restaurant La Lonja Malagueña, which also prepares with great care the 'espeto de sardinas' in high season. This restaurant, located in Lauro Torre business park, is strongly committed to seafood and Mediterranean cuisine in general. Not far from there, in the same municipality, there is another option for sampling espetos at XeitoMar seafood restaurant.

Further inland, the town of Coín can also boast of giving people the chance to eat sardines grilled on those metal skewers, namely the well-known Venta Casa Pedro Lucena, where espetos form part of the summer menu. Many Coín residents and people from other nearby places flock to this restaurant to try their sardines.

From top, and then left to right: El Balate restaurant in Puerto de la Torre. Casa Pedro Lucena (Coín) and a boat of 'espetos' at the Ramírez Moreno restaurant in El Trapiche in the Axarquía. SUR
Imagen principal - From top, and then left to right: El Balate restaurant in Puerto de la Torre. Casa Pedro Lucena (Coín) and a boat of 'espetos' at the Ramírez Moreno restaurant in El Trapiche in the Axarquía.
Imagen secundaria 1 - From top, and then left to right: El Balate restaurant in Puerto de la Torre. Casa Pedro Lucena (Coín) and a boat of 'espetos' at the Ramírez Moreno restaurant in El Trapiche in the Axarquía.
Imagen secundaria 2 - From top, and then left to right: El Balate restaurant in Puerto de la Torre. Casa Pedro Lucena (Coín) and a boat of 'espetos' at the Ramírez Moreno restaurant in El Trapiche in the Axarquía.

Another option in the Guadalhorce Valley area is usually provided in summer by Mesón Carrión, also a roadside restaurant located in the municipality of Álora, relatively close to Pizarra. While most known for specialising in meat dishes, the espetos put in an appearance on their summer menu.

Axarquía area

In the Axarquía area, a few kilometres inland from the coast, there is a roadside establishment that has been preparing 'espetos de sardinas' for years. It is called Moreno Ramírez, located in the rural hamlet of El Trapiche, next to the A-356 that links Vélez with Alhama de Granada. Since April their boat has been in place with hot embers ready for all the fish orders to go on the spit. Not only sardines but also larger fish end up on those skewers.

These are just a few examples of eateries further inland that are still capable of cooking a tasty espeto even though, in some cases, they are a long way from the Med.

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