It is that time of the year again and with new locations comes new foods and drinks, This year we flew to Costa Del Sol in the hopes that Spain would have some treats in store for us.
So first thing is first.
I am a Vegetarian verging on Vegan and He is a carnivore but together we both have a fair amount of food allergies, so we are a bit tricky to feed if I am honest.
That being said we did get a self catering flat, complete with oven, hobs, microwave and fridge so we did cook for ourselves some nights.
On the nights we went out, we tried to go for a more Spanish feel lifestyle and food but it was hard, You would think Spain would have traditional restaurants however it is all about the Indian, Chinese and Italian, cause well duh… why not?
So on the first night we tried the Indian restaurant a short walk from our apartment in Calahonda.
He ordered the Lamb Dhansak, which was supposed to be a medium spice curry and in the UK tends to be, here however it was bland, it wasn’t that it didn’t have any spice it was that it didn’t have much flavour at all.
She ordered the Vegetable Bhuna which was suppose to be medium/hot but in this case was so mild and bland as to be unfunny, I ended up munching on the popadoms and Naan as they had more flavor than anything else.
After our day out in Fuengirola’s Bio-Park we were in need of sustenance, we decided to wander around to see what we could find. We looked for Vegetarian and hopefully Spanish. After a great deal of ‘All Day English Breakfasts’ and Irish Pubs Galore we were stopped by one of the never ending supply of Shillers and Barkers (never heard of this before but hey lets roll with it) We settled on a ‘Traditional Spanish Restaurant’ Called La Gondola! We ordered Sangria and Vegetarian Paella to share.
From what We can remember it was a large portion, full of flavour, enough for both of us and a doggy bag too. We would recommend it, it was nice enough and at least it was Spanish! In a street full of English pubs. The only off putting part was the street musicians that were serenading every restaurant/pub goer with non stop loud English songs.
On Friday night the San Juan bonfire festival kicked off, we didn’t go anywhere to eat that night. We did take a short trip down to La Cala De Mijas to witness and even take part in the festivities, there was huge crowds of people. Stalls, booths and vendors selling drinks and snacks, so we grabbed dos pintos . After the bonfires and the swims, the stage in the square drew the crowds to dance, sing and just generally dance the night away. Its probably one of the best experiences of our holidays so far. We finally got our Spanish culture and had a great time participating too.
We explored a bit again on Sunday and set out to try some of the restaurants across the road from us. We settled on Da Vinci, though it was an Italian Restaurant we figured that we may as well get used to it.
The layout made it feel like we were sitting in the outside walkway and it was more like a cafeteria than an restaurant. There was no drinks list, only the statement ‘We have everything, just name it’.
I asked what bitter they had and was told ‘No we don’t have that’. So we guessed that the House White was the safest option but given it didn’t have a price or any idea what it was we felt put off.
I ordered Prawn Tagliatelle, the prawns must have been frozen, they were too watery and hard (with no flavour) to be fresh. The sauce was the only thing that had any taste to it, the pasta was mehh.
I ordered the Vegetarian Pizza (There was not a lot of choice) I know I said the Indian was bland but this… well it was so bland it verged on the edge of disgusting. There was literally no flavor at all, at first I thought this may be a frozen Pizza reheated but no, there was a guy chucking dough in the air, so it was cooked from fresh, Yuck!
All together both meals were very bland and non descript and when we asked for the bill, we were shocked at the price! For such crappy service and crappy food wtf initiated this cost?
On the Monday we went to Mijas Pueblo and though we had been recommended some of the restaurants there by a friend who had been there previously, we actually didn’t find anything to eat. There was legitimacy no vegetarian restaurants (unless you wanted Pasta Neapolitan) and after walking round and round (thinking that there had to be something!) We gave up and got on a bus back to Fuengirola.
There we found this place, La Grappa.
I know its Italian, but there were a lot of vegetarian options! It was also great to have a place ask us what we wanted and they would make it without any problems. If we had any allergies they would remove that ingredient and if we wanted something not on the menu they would do their best to accommodate.
I ordered Chicken Tagliatelle with a cream sauce, which was not on the menu, It was originally meant to be Penne, but they adjusted to suit my needs, including adding spice. It was really good, I would have gone back if we had been on holiday for longer.
I ordered the Vegetarian Cannelloni (but I did ask for a spicy tomato sauce) It was good, full of flavor (ok maybe not that hot but I have a high tolerance of spice) It was probably the best meal of the trip, if only because the service and quality was so good.
If you get a chance go and check La Grappa out, the staff are friendly, there is lots of options and the clientele is very mixed. Whilst we were eating there was a group of Spanish, French, Italian and …. sitting together behind us.
Then because we are Masochists we attempted to walk all the way back to La Cala De Mijas but eventually gave up after walking for at least 2 hours.
After all that walking around, the climbing, the walking some more we got off the bus at La Cala de Mijas so we could get a drink at Biddy Mulligan’s. Biddy’s is one of the more famous pubs in La Cala and when looking for possible night life, that was the place that kept coming up. So we took a chance and went in and had a few pints of Guinness and it was good pint.
It was a typical Irish pub inside but there we no seats in there, everyone sat outside and you were expected to order via the waitresses, but thinking it was a ‘pub’ I went to the bar and confused the barman!
All in all it was exhausting day but the food and drink made it all worth it.
After all that walking the previous day we decided go adventuring to the opposite end of the bus route. Marbella, where we did (you will never guess!) some more walking, It was a lovely day but the water was very choppy and it was quite windy. We looked around, took some pictures, got lost, found our way again and then looked for lunch.
Well after looking in at restaurant windows, we couldn’t find anything that go our attention, so we reverted to google searching vegetarian friendly (we ended up finding this really good website – Happycow – that tells you weather the place had veg or vegan options) we input our location and it gave us several options. As I have said before I was at the stage of (NO MORE PASTA) so instead we decided to try the Gourmet Burger Room
I am so glad we found this! It was such a change.
I had the Chicken Mexican (minus the Chipotle, this was REAALLLYYY good, for a simple burger it had lots of bits and pieces and so much flavour. I am not a huge chip fan but the chunky chips were nice.
I had the Persian and some onion rings (yumm) the burger was just right, and the onion rings were yummy.
Th price wasn’t too high, with a couple of pints and we would recommend this if you are in the area.
We started our day with two coffees and a Baileys and a Brandy (ERRKKK YUCK!). It was alrighhht but nothing special the service was abysmal and it seemed rather empty, then again maybe it was more a night time place.
After seeing the sea life in the Aquarium, we decided to find the restaurant dubbed ‘one of the best vegetarian restaurants in malaga’ Terra Sana
Terra Sana had a decent selection of food and it wasn’t all veg or vegan, there was some fish and meat options.
I ordered the Original California, it was alright, it was just a bit too squishy and had no consistency, lots of little flavours but no defining strength. It took forever to be served by a grumpy woman who slammed our food down in front of us.
I ordered A Tofu Wrap, It was alright but again I can’t say that it had a lot of flavor it was more like a Chinese stir fry minus the sauce stuffed in bread. The chips were nice though.
On to Malaga itself, we had read online that one of the worlds best vegetarian restaurants was here (somewhere). After wandering around and around looking for the right place and getting lost at least several times. We eventually found it, but after all of that It didn’t really look that great, it was almost empty inside and there were no waiters. So we started thinking where else to go and just happened to turn around and down an adjacent alley we found this.
We wandered through and found La Invisible Piazza.
It was a brilliant atmosphere, with some some quirky wall art and filled with people of all ages, who were mostly (Spanish) Yay! Culture! Art! and then there was the food.
I ordered my second burger of the holiday (not usually a burger fan), but the classic beef burger, with cheese looked good. I liked the fact the waiter refused to serve this to me at first, because I had ordered her Vegan Chilli first, he told me that it was meat and ‘No!’. However after some explaining, he relented and realized I was ok to eat meat. With that sorted, the burger was really good!
I had the Vegan Chilli, I was so surprised this was vegan! The cheese had so much flavor (in my past experience vegan cheese has tasted more like plastic) The chilli itself wasn’t spicy but had a really nice taste and came with yummy nachos.
This was the great find of our holiday, we found it literally by chance, it was completely worth the bus journey and the getting lost.
Last year we weren’t that successful with the whole ‘clubbing all night long’ experience. We vowed that this year it would be different. We had spent a little time before going on holiday researching where to go and what kind of clubs there were on offer.
– Just to let you know, google reviews are a few years out of date and all the clubs that were reviewed have been shut down a long time ago, but we only realized this when trying to find them.
After a while of walking around, some of the bar staff that were hanging around outside all the clubs and pubs managed to lure us into one.
The New Tramps, seems to be relatively new pub in Fuengirola, but it sure seems to be packed with Brit’s. It is a very small bar, with lots of people jammed in, with a tiny dance area and loads of TV’s showing various music videos. To be quite honest it was pretty tacky but I guess thats what the name says? (That may be too harsh, but it is true!)
After hanging around in there for one drink, we asked the bar staff where they would go for the night life, they told us it was the bar on either side of them. The farthest one had mostly males cueing up, so we figured it would be a ‘Sausage Fest!’. As much as the name put us off, The London Pub/Club seemed our better bet, as we were told we would probably know most of the music in there.
There are two sections, the pub area and the club area downstairs. The club costs €10 per person entry! However you do get two free drinks, So I guess thats an acceptable deal.
Well we didn’t know any of the music, it was all mixed in such a way that the beat and rhythm was the same throughout thus making it sound like the same song had been playing for the 3 hours we were there. Mix that with the plastered drunk Brits, who were all so tacky and grabby it was too hard to enjoy.
I got groped at least 10 times, men seemed to walk up to the girls grab their bum and be rewarded by the girl jumping on top of them and making out, where as I was much more inclined to punch and ask questions later. It was very skeazy and I felt very uncomfortable, it was like watching a really bad porno, or a social experiment on how to have a one night stand and regret it in the morning. The free drinks were peculiar, everything was super sweet no matter what you ordered and smothered in mixers.
After all of this we actually discovered that the club scene now in 2017 is actually Benalmedina Old Town, where there is a more local vibe. Fuengirola is now known for the drunken antics of Brits.
Oh we wish we knew before.
On the last Sunday, we took a trip to Fuengirola again, to go shopping. What idiots we are! We are not religious so it didn’t even cross our mind that all the shops would be shut and the town would be empty, save for the brief moment when the church services finished and the squares were filled with families.
However whilst we where there, I finally got some Churros. My friend had suggested trying them.
Im not sure what I was expecting, I thought it was going to be more doughy but it tasted more like fried batter and was not that appetising, but I loved the dipping chocolate.
I didn’t mind the fried batter but I don’t get the chocolate, it just wasn’t all that.
That evening we decided to try El Gusto, the restaurant next to Biddy’s (in Cala De Mijas), It had been packed when we had sat in Biddy’s and the food looked pretty good.
I ordered the Sea Bass with Jacket Potato. When they brought it up, it was whole (head and all). I become very aware of the Vegetarian sat next to me. But the waiter artfully skinned and boned it and it was simply delicious, I would have liked a bit more, maybe more veg or something, it was quite a small portion in the end.
I ordered Honey glazed Goat’s Cheese on a mushroom and a mushroom and white wine sauce in a puff pastry with asparagus, which were both starters. (There wasn’t any of the mains I could have due to allergies).
The Goat’s Cheese was nice but a little too sweet for my taste.
The Mushroom, white wine puff pastry was delicious though, I would highly recommend it.
I ordered far too much, but we did need something to keep in the fridge for the next day, so we got the left overs to take away.
That night we decided to try a cocktail somewhere and what better place than the Max Beach Sun Club. Now as we said the shops during the day were shut, but we were rather surprised to find this beach bar – that was packed every day – to be nearly empty and we only took one sip of our drinks when the staff started putting chairs on tables ready to close up and it was barely even eleven.
Except for that, the cocktails were different and rather nice, even if my Pink Squirrel is so ridiculously girly!
The Grasshopper was probably one of the best cocktails I have ever had – Yes it was Yummy!
The restaurant looks quite nice and as we said during the day is busy, with a DJ playing to the clientele and those on the adjacent beach.
Our last day was spent on that beach attempting to make sure those airport scanners didn’t wipe away all our hard earned sun tans (It didn’t work, the moment we passed through we were pasty white again, even though we looked golden in the Malaga sun!)
We decided to pop back to the beach to make our title picture and to visit the little tapas bar with the pretty dog once more.
When he heard we were leaving, the owner made us a couple of little Tapas to go with our cocktails.
A little tomato and garlic puree was delicious and we finally got some tapas, even if it was only one.
As for the cocktail, I order a very green, Brazilian thing, called a Caparinelllllalalala* or something like that. I am always wary of anything green, but it sounded nice and I have a problem with cocktails, they always sound great, except for one ingredient that ruins it. So trepidatiously I sipped this and found it to be ‘yummy’. No sharp, bitter or disgusting Tequila. It was nice, I just wish I could remember what it was called!
I ordered a Margarita and it too was yummy, I wanted something sharp and tangy and thats what I got. When we went to leave the owner took my glass and refilled it with the left over mix he had made, saying it was a shame to waste it. It was a shame we didn’t discover the Chandos Beach earlier in our holiday, it could have been an really enjoyable and drunken night as this seems to be the typical service!
*OK found it (after a long google search – It’s a Caipirinha.
Finally we had to say goodbye to the sun and sea and head back to the cold and rain. But before we went we had one last drink we had to mention. Everyone knows the local wine in Spain is supposed to be great, but you find most of the supermarkets carry the same big brands as you get here. However we soon discovered these…
Campo des Gules, seem to make all different wines and bottle them with these very basic labels and all of them are delicious, they are really cheap too, usually around €2-3 a bottle. You really can’t go wrong with that can you? So if you go, bring us back a couple of bottles!
Well there you go, a selection of bars, restaurants and even clubs to try in the Costa Del Sol, it is just a drop in the ocean of the thousands there are, but should you find yourselves there, we hope this will help your choice.
If you visit any or know of any of these, do let us know and tell us what you think.
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