In Malaga there is nothing more typical than going out for tapas, in Spanish called ‘ir de tapas’ or ‘ir de tapeo’, a well established practice not only in the province but all country.
Tapas are small portions of food offered in a bar at a cheaper price than a full ration, literally it means ‘to cover’. It is a very popular way to try some of the dishes of the menu, many of the visitors wonder about the history of tapas.
History of Spanish tapas
Although know by many foreigners as Spanish tapa it is original from Andalucia, an exquisite taste that make those who try wonder about its history as with the marinated anchovies or the Spanish omelette. There are several theories that attempt to explain where they do come from, but surely its origin comes from the ancient Al-Andalus.
According to a popular legend an old king visited a tavern in Cadiz, he asked for wine and he was offered a glass of wine with a slice of cheese on it to avoid possible bugs. The king welcomed the invention and ended up asking for another wine with a ‘tapa’, word that eventually became popular through the crowd. Although this is a curious event, it probably never happened as it is not documented.
Another theory talks about the field workers who used to bring their food to the job with some wine. The fact of covering the glass of wine with a piece of bread for protecting it from insects would give the name of tapa.
The most likely theory leads the origin of the tapa to a distant past, exactly to Al-Andalus period. At that time it is well known that both Arabs and Jews used aperitif before the main meal, this practice was not known yet as tapas, but it for sure influenced the culture of the area as with many other customs.
A documented fact tell us about commercial establishment of the late nineteenth and begining of the twentieth centuries. It was common that some of those locals were allowed to sell alcohol and food, it was a simple room with a wood desk, chairs, some tables and of course Spanish hams and sausanges ganging from the ceiling, wine was offeered with a ‘tapa’ on the glass to avoid flies.
Another documented event was the visit in 1916 of the king Alfonso XIII to a restaurant, a place with all kind of tapas and drinks to the king and his companions. By that date the typical flamenco restaurants begin to open outside Andalucia, from in advance the press became to use the word ‘tapa’.
One of the events that would set the culture of tapas will be the Civil War in Spain, a time when the population had very low economic capacity. Tapas will be an affordable way to enjoy a wider variety of food at a cheaper price with a drink, it was becoming popular to offer miniature dishes.
Actually tapas are part of the cultural heritage in Spain, many events related to them are celebrated everywhere like the tapas route ‘ruta de la tapa’ or contests in the province and other municipalities in Spain.
Where to eat the best tapas in Malaga
It is difficult to recommend the best tapas in Malaga, it is a matter of each person and their culinary tastes, we can however recommend some good tapas bars:
Atarazanas market bar
A good place where start your gastronomic route, even with its short history because it is a modern place, the centric location made of this bar a recommended place where eating while enjoying the city.
Cozy atmosphere where you can breathe the market, fresh food from the market used daily from 9am to 3pm except on Sundays.