Fuengirola is one of the favourite destinations for visitors seeking a little bit of traditional Spanish life. Although the old town now boasts numerous fast-food chains, trendy coffee shops and ice cream parlours, there are several old establishments that have refused to change with the times.
One of the town's most traditional bodegas is the Taverna Plaza Vieja, a delightful bar that offers a postcard image of old Andalucía, which is perched on the corner of Calle España and Calle Moncayo. This nostalgic old tavern is one of the most popular in the town because it offers some of the most authentic Andalusian cuisine, along with fine wines and a vast selection of the popular sweet dessert wines and sherries.
The establishment is renowned for serving locally caught fish and seafood, and specialties include king prawns, fresh clams, mussels and octopus, along with peppers stuffed with cod, and grilled squid.
The interior is decorated with typical Andalusian decor, along with bullfight memorabilia and images of local customs and traditions.
One tavern that is popular with those looking to sample decent wine and fresh Iberian products is the Bodega La Solera, situated just 150 metres from the port in Calle del Capitan.
This rustic-style bodega, which has two salons and a bar area, has walls lined with racks of wine, antique paintings and 19th century furniture and trappings.
The wine list is extensive and offers a range from respected producing areas such as Rioja and Ribera de Duero and Valdepeñas, along with manzanillas from Sanlúcar de Barrameda and finos from Jerez de la Frontera.
The menu tempts diners with mouth-watering Iberian pork products, like Serrano ham, local chorizo and blood sausage from Antequera. There is also plenty of fish and seafood, as one would expect, and specialties include langoustines in garlic sauce, grilled salmon and salted cod dishes.
Another hidden gem is Bodega La Alegría, a beautiful old establishment in Avenida de Los Boliches (Los Boliches).
The interior of this tavern, lined with oak wine barrels, colourful glazed tiles and antique bullfight and feria posters, emits plenty of Andalusian charm. This is one of the most inviting taverns in the area, not only for its splendid decor and seducing ambience, but also for its range of gastronomic delights, which include paella, fish, seafood, meat and several vegetarian options.
Unsurprisingly, one will be spoilt for choice where wine is concerned, although the Moscatel and the seco montes are among the most popular.
Entering this establishment offers one the chance to leave the hubbub of the 21st century behind. The laid back ambiance and the aromas of dripping hams, chorizo sausages and sweet wine creates a truly amazing experience. This is certainly a good place to enjoy the delights of Andalusian hospitality at its best.