Nerja, an attractive fishing-based resort east of Malaga, has good beaches and traditional bars in the old town. Try the tapas of fresh seafood (free with your £1.30 crisp dry white) while your children play football in the street. Our local was family-owned, their boat bringing the catch straight back to the restaurant. There is a long sandy beach where on Sundays enormous dishes of paella are cooked on charcoal fires (£6.50 with free second helpings). Finish the night out with chocolate and churros, the whole family walking safely back at midnight in this friendly, mellow seaside town.
Google map: bit.ly/J7vqis
I first discovered La Mariposa fresh off a flight at 10pm last summer - greeted by a beautiful local husband and wife duo who run the restaurant. You always know a good tapas bar when all of the customers are locals.
Nerja is one of the few places in Andalucia that still offer free tapas with a drink and in Mariposa they offer their best - truly showing off the local culinary skills and knowledge.
The owner has a top selection of Spanish riojas which beautifully compliment the food.
Personal food recommendations are the Aubergine Tempura drizzled with Frigiliana Molases followed by the locally caught Langoustine's in a potato lattice accompanied by the curry dip.
This is fine dining in an authentic little hub- excellent value for money!!
I would fly to Spain for some right now if I could!
Calle Cristo 120, Nerja, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/IDYSvo
This is the place we come to first when we visit Spain. We leave Malaga airport and make a beeline for Chiringuito beach. The food is always the same which makes it a local favourite and everything is quintessentially Spanish. Gambas Pil Pil, Calamares, Migas and simple grilled meat/fish, all packed full of flavour and riddled with garlic. Antonio a member of the family who owns the restaurant is always on hand with a friendly welcome. The setting is magnificent on a small cove next to Cerro Gordo on a two mile beach in a horseshoe shape - hence La Herradura. It is as cheap as chips but no stinting here on portions or quality. The chips themselves are cooked in olive oil and are divine. Best bit - an early evening tinto de verano (summer wine) watching the sun go down over the headline. Magnifico!
Paseo de Andres Segovia, 18697, La Herradura
+34958 827 550
Google map: bit.ly/z0xJV2
La Puntilla is another of the typical Spanish tapas bars and restaurants in the mainly Spanish populated part of town.
Highly recommended if you want to sample the tapas and the atmosphere of the town, it will serve you a tapas when you order a drink and don't be frightened to ask for it if they are busy and not offering you one quick enough.
You can also eat lunch and dinner at tables on the street or the roof terrace if it is very busy, again because of the quality of the food this is a very busy restaurant but you never have to wait long for a table. When there is food football on the television you will find the locals come out in numbers,especially if it is Spanish team involved,not to be missed.
Google map: tinyurl.com/ygyxn66
Bar Dolores (El Chispa) is a bar/restaurant where the speciality is fresh fish and shellfish. They will also serve you a tapas with every drink ordered in the bar.
There is a seperate area for eating if you want to get away from the noise of the lively bar.
This is another of the local haunts in a prominently Spanish part of town, they have large screens for all the major football tournaments.
I would recommend you search this one out if you want to get away from the main tourist areas, with a little research you will find this part of town has a lot going for it.
Calle San Pedro,12
Google map: tinyurl.com/y9oxa72
Pinocchio is a very busy restaurant and if you eat there you will understand why. Most people come back more than once while in Nerja. It has something for all the family and in the summer or warmer weather you can sit out on the garden patio.
The menu has pasta, pizza, fish and meat, they also have a selection of starters to suit everyone. If you are in a large party I would recommend booking if it is possible,but as the place is so busy in the summer they may not accept booking unless you are a regular,so turning up early in the evening would near guarantee a table. They are also open late, so if you like eating late you can usually get a table. It is busy all the year round with the expat community who live there.The staff are very friendly and there is warm friendly atmosphere.
Parking is at the rear but you cannot enter direct for the carpark,it is the largest free carpark in the town,you drive in via the Bahia area of town and you have various exits on foot,to get near to the exit for Pinocchio's you drive towards the palm tree with the lights on it and in the corner you will find the exit that brings you out right next to the restaurant.
Calle Cristo 48,
"El Breine" is a"Chiringuito" beach bar/restaurant on the"Playa El Playazo"at the edge of town in the direction of Torrox.
They serve one of,if not the best Paella in Nerja,they also have a full menu of all the usual dishes served in the area, plus a fish of the day that is cooked over wood.
You are advised to get there early for lunch as the paella goes fast, the parking is free and should be used as it is illegal to park on the beach.
Access is via the N340 between Nerja and Torrox. You turn into the Marinas de Nerja Hotel and drive along the front and down the side until you reach the beach, then turn left and drive along about 500 metres. I highly recommend this place if you like paella.
Chiringuito El Breine, Playa El Playazo, Nerja
This is a typical Spanish tapas bar and restaurant in a Spanish populated area of town. You receive a tapas with every drink and there is an extensive menu. There is limited seating outside for drinks or to dine.
The locals frequent this bar for lunch, dinner and to watch the live football matches. A very friendly atmosphere and interesting to experience.
19 Calle Herrera Oria,
AYO's is famous for his paella which he makes on a wood fire at the side of the eating area. If you order the paella you can return for seconds if you wish. They also have a full menu of all the usual dishes served in the Costa del Sol.
It opens in the morning and has the beach bed area were you can hire a bed for the day using the facilities up until it closes around 9pm. It opens late on a Wednesday evening for Paella and Flamenco.
La Pulguilla is a tapas bar/restaurant - you get a tapas with every drink in the bar at the front. There is also a very good restaurant in the back and an open terrace in the summer. You can enter from the carpark in los Huertos at the rear. Very friendly staff, service and prices.
Calle Cristo,(Calle Almirante Ferrandez)
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