Málaga is best for traditional Spanish cooking, with a wealth of bars and seafood restaurants serving fritura malagueña, the city's famous fried seafood. Torremolinos's Carihuela district is also a good destination for lovers of Spanish seafood. The area's resorts serve every conceivable foreign cuisine, from Thai to the Scandinavian smorgasbord. For delicious cheap eats, try the chiringuitos. Strung out along the beaches, these summer-only restaurants serve seafood fresh off the boats. Because there are so many foreigners here, meals on the coast are served earlier than elsewhere in Andalusia; most restaurants open at 1 or 1:30 for lunch and 7 or 8 for dinner.
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Alcaría de Ramos
This popular, central spot serves fine regional specialties, such as cazuela de rape (monkfish baked in a sauce of almonds and pine nuts), arroz negro (rice flavored with squid ink), and the deliciously simple pescado en adobo (dogfish baked in clay with garlic, oregano, and paprika). If you're open to serious credit-card overdrive, go for the lobster. The surroundings are rustic-yet-elegant Andalusian: whitewashed walls, dark wood, and exposed brick. Come on the early side (around 9) to get a table for dinner.
The modest, old-fashioned exterior of this local favorite is a bit deceiving: when you step inside you'll be greeted not with stodgy decoration but rather with three spacious dining rooms with Spanish soccer memorabilia, photos of famous patrons, and tanks of fish. Traditional blue tiles complete the look. Fish and seafood choices include fried or grilled squid, spider crab, lobster, sole, red snapper, and sea bass. If you're not a fish eater, though, you'll have to make do with little more than a roll and dessert. The latter includes homemade rice pudding and chocolate mousse. This is a popular venue with locals and tourists, so go early to be sure of a table—especially if you want to dine outside, on the lovely terrace in the plaza.
Alcaría de Ramos
José Ramos, a winner of Spain's National Gastronomy Prize, opened this restaurant in El Paraíso complex, between Estepona and San Pedro de Alcántara. It gained an enthusiastic and loyal following as his two sons followed in his culinary footsteps. Try the carpaccio de solomillo de cerdo ibérico con morcilla (Iberian pork steak carpaccio with black pudding) followed by rodaballo con salsa de almejas (skate with clam sauce). Portions are very generous, but if you can, leave room for the chocolate soufflé or the equally delicious Pavlova. Reservations are a good idea on weekends and in summer.
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