The Best Spit-Roasted Sardines in Málaga

Espetos de sardinas, a Málaga tradition

As you stroll along the beach or the promenade, you’ll soon see one of the traditional dishes in Málaga: espetos de sardina, sardines skewered on long, thin cane spits and grilled over hot coals on the beach. A simple, healthy, tasty meal you must try when visiting the city, especially if you go in summer.

To get an idea of how popular this dish is, go down to La Misericordia beach and find the statue of an espetero immortalised in the act of spit-roasting fish… But don’t just stand there looking, go and try them yourself!

Espetos sardinas malaga

How do you make the spits?

The most typical fish to be spit-roasted are sardines, but you’ll also find many other local fish, including gilthead, sea bass and horse mackerel, and even cuttlefish and king prawns.
Putting a good spit together isn’t as easy as it looks. You need to skewer the fish through its back and make sure they are evenly spaced on the spit, so the bones stay under the cane and don’t break when you turn them over.

This Málaga speciality was created at the end of the 19th century. Traditionally the spits were driven into a mound of sand, but over time, to save the espetero from having to squat for hours on the sand, people began to raise the spits and move them into boats filled with sand. Most restaurants and beach shacks use this system today.

Sardines Costa del Sol

Where to eat espetos in Málaga

These are some of the restaurants where you can eat espetos in Málaga. Another advantage is that they are usually very reasonably priced: you should be able to find them for between €2 and €6.

Chiringuito María (Paseo Antonio Banderas, 8). Founded in 1947, this classic beach shack restaurant is often frequented by famous artists, writers and politicians. As well as espetos de sardinas, you should also try their rightly famed fresh anchovies and gazpacho.

Restaurante Gabi (c/Quitapenas, 73). Right on the seafront at El Palo beach, this restaurant serves traditional Málaga cuisine, including fried fish, and, yes, espetos de sardinas (or else it wouldn’t make this list!).

Restaurante El Tintero (Av. Salvador Allende, 340). A very popular restaurant in Málaga, famous for offering its dishes at a kind of auction. In summer it’s often packed, but it’s worth making the effort, not only for their espetos but also for their king prawns and their aubergines with honey.

Miguelito el Cariñoso (Paseo Marítimo del Pedregal, 77). This beach shack restaurant is very popular with locals. Their friendly waiters serve great espetos.

Laura - Marketing Team

Eating in Malaga

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