The traditional Malaga sardine espeto has become over the years an international dish that has managed to become a symbol of the city and Costa del Sol. So that you do not remain with the desires to prove it, and now that the good weather arrives, we show you where to eat the best sardines of Malaga and province during this 2020.
The espeto is to Malaga what the potato is to the spanish omelette. That is undeniable. A dish that is inseparable from the gastronomy of Malaga, which is gaining more and more followers every day thanks to the smoky touch provided by the embers on which it is cooked and which cannot be missing from any of the beach bars in the capital and province.
At a time when saturated fats and fast food are gaining ground in Spain’s major capitals, it’s a good thing that an oily fish like the sardine is positioning itself as a healthy and nutritious alternative. The sardine has Omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorus, selenium, vitamins B12, B6 and D as well as iodine or niacin, which makes it a perfect food for sportsmen or lovers of healthy living.
How do you prepare a espeto from Malaga?
Prepare a espeto is really simple. All you have to do is ‘espetar’ (stick it into a reed or sharp metal) a string of fresh sardines and let them cook over the heat of the embers. Traditionally, on a beach sand stand in the shape of a small boat.
The next step is to season them with a little coarse salt served with a good ice-cold beer or a glass of white wine. Unbelievable!
Is it better to eat the spits the months that don’t have R?
One of the best known sayings of the people of Malaga is that the best time to eat espetos is in the months that do not have the letter “R”; that is, from May to August, coinciding with the temperature increases on the Costa del Sol.
The explanation for this statement has a scientific basis. Coinciding with the hot months in the surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea, plankton growth develops and becomes present in the habitat of different species of fish.
The sardine assimilates the plankton through its gills and the water that enters through its mouth, feeding on the phytoplankton and the zooplankton that is composed of dinoflagellates and diatoms. Thanks to this overfeeding is that the sardine increases its fat reserves and fattening covering your body properties that enhance their flavor.
Once the summer passes and the heat decreases, the sardine keeps its fat reserves for the reproduction that will come in winter, where it usually loses these surpluses in the spawning. It is usually said that the best season to eat sardines is after June 23rd, coinciding with the Night of San Juan, when the sardine has the greatest amount of this fat.
Remember that in Malaga we have good weather 300 days a year and it is always a good time to sit in a beach bar and watch the sea with a plate of these delicious sardines!
The 5 best espeto restaurants in Malaga
In Malaga city and province there are hundreds of places to eat a good espeto. In a recent award in 2017 organized by the local newspaper Sur to decide what was the best espeto in the province, up to 96 locals participated.
But we don’t make you wait any longer. Here we inform you about the 5 best restaurants and bars where you can eat the best sardines in Malaga.
EL TINTERO (EL PALO)
El Tintero is one of the classics of this type of listing with a sardine espeto on a plate that serves generously and with a good size of six units. El Tintero also stands out for the way it serves the dishes, where the waiters pass by the tables singing the different dishes they take out of the kitchen.
If you hear: “Espeeetos, traigo espeeetos” (I bring you espetooos), just raise your hand and wait for the dish to be left on the table. The restaurant is located at the end of the El Palo beaches and it is usually crowded in high season, so it is better to be careful and to go early.
Where: Av. Salvador Allende, 97, 29017 Málaga
MIGUELITO EL CARIÑOSO (PEDREGALEJO)
Between the beaches of El Palo and Pedregalejo we will find an old acquaintance of the Malaga espeto, Miguelito el Cariñoso, another of those premises of reference that has positioned itself in the lists of the best espetos of Malaga thanks to the good work of its managers and the tradition that takes the restaurant to its backs.
The espetos are prepared behind the beach stall on the Paseo Marítimo and are medium sized with a good taste of salt and lemon. The Pedregalejo Beaches are a must.
Where: Paseo Marítimo del Pedregal, 77, 29017 Málaga
EL CANARIAS PLAYA (TORREMOLINOS)
Leaving the beaches of the capital we arrive at Torremolinos, where the espeto is also a religion for dozens of locals who stand by the Mediterranean Sea. Without a doubt, one of the best known is El Canarias Playa, which also won the aforementioned prize for the best espeto in 2017.
This establishment opened its doors in 1962 and is located on the Paseo Marítimo de La Carihuela. Besides the espetos it has a great assorted variety of fried fish. Which is the secret of its espetos? According to José Pérez, one of its owners, without a doubt the hand of his espetomaker Sergio, a raw material of great quality, and olive wood.
Where: Plaza del Remo, s/n, 29620, Torremolinos
EL DEO DEL RINCÓN DE LA VICTORIA (RINCÓN DE LA VICTORIA)
If we move further east past the beaches of El Palo, we will reach Rincón de la Victoria, where the 2.50 EUR five-espeto dish of El Deo del Rincón has become a landmark in the area. This chiringuito has a great location in the Paseo Marítimo of the town of Malaga and is very easy to reach from the center of Malaga by car or bus.
To cook the best espeto of Malaga the ideal time of cooking must be – according to the espetomaker of El Deo, Francisco Vega – in the eight minutes on each side of the spit, making the sardine gild well without bringing it too close to the fire. With a good quality of the genre the good espeto is assured.
Where: Av. de la Axarquía, 39, 29738, Rincón de la Victoria
CHIRINGUITO MARÍA (HUELIN)
We return to the central area of Malaga to move to another of the classics of espeto: the Chiringuito Maria, which in addition to the popular coastal dish, is known for its rice, paella and its rations based on fried fish.
The restaurant, which dates back to 1947, is located on the Antonio Banderas Promenade and is one of the most renowned chiringuitos by the people of Málaga. This chiringuito has been attended by all kinds of personalities, such as Antonio Banderas himself or the singer Julio Iglesias. Espetos are one of its star dishes, as there is a lot of love and family heritage behind the embers of its sands.
Where: Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas, 8, 29004 Málaga
In the following post we will tell you about the origin of the espeto, what types of espeto exist (squid spit, rose spit), which Spanish king had a hand in its establishment on the Malaga coast, and what we can marinate with this simple but spectacular dish of southern gastronomy. Enjoy!