food & drink

Who's who?

Which restaurant guide do you trust? Surely not the Michelin, unless your taste is for expensive and minority gastronomic experiences.

The Spanish Campsa Guide? Very reliable but in no way user-friendly. TripAdvisor? Perhaps the best option if you are in a hurry and are content to base your personal leanings on a star system, while running the risk of being conned by false reviews published by professional phoneys.

Well, if you live on the Costa del Sol you are in luck. SUR has just published its annual 'Who's Who in Málaga Gastronomy' for 2020.

The Guide is sort of clubby, and if you read between the lines it is easy to understand the relationships involved.

The chefs mentioned have not just made their name in one restaurant, rather in several, and taking as an example Juan Luis Fernández, who runs Marbella's new Maison Lu, had worked previously in what is the most notable fish restaurant in Spain, Aponiente, in El Puerto de Santa María (Cadiz province).

The editor/creator of the Guide is Enrique Bellver, Diario SUR's long-serving food and wine expert, who makes the earth shake when he enters a restaurant. He is also a very nice guy, whose main fault is to take his job too seriously and to cut short what could be a delightful three-hour lunch by protestations that he has to start writing up the meal he has just consumed.

What is truly notable is that there is nothing like this Guide published anywhere else in Spain. It is unique to Malaga province and even though the Vocento Group that publishes Diario SUR and SUR in English is based in the Basque country, it has 14 other daily newspapers including the long-established and emblematic ABC.

If you have difficulty finding the Guide, ask your local kiosk or supermarket to order it for you.