Lunch at El Tintero: A Fun Dining Experience in Málaga

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Restaurante El Tintero in Malaga

"El Tintero" - On the beachfront in El Palo

There are plenty of amazing restaurants and beach bars up and down theCosta del Solwhere you can sample some of the most amazing fish dishes; however, today I am going to tell you about a famous restaurant on the beaches of El Palo, just to the East of Málaga: El Tintero.

The El Tintero Restaurant has become somewhat of a landmark in Málaga. It looks like your everyday “chiringuito” offering a wide range of delicious fresh fish; however, after you’ve spent a few minutes at your table – with a bit of luck, overlooking thebayofMálaga– you’ll realise that El Tintero offers a “different” and refreshing eating experience…

Grilled fish from the BBQ

Grilled fish from the BBQ

You won’t be offered a menu, instead you will see waiters walking up and down the restaurants isles shouting out the names of the dishes carefully balanced on each arm. Much like a town cryer, they broadcast – to the whole restaurant – what they are carrying; if you like the sound of it you can call them over to your table and take a closer look at the dish; if you want it, you keep it, if not, just wait for the next dish to come along.

We’re basically talking about a food auction; each dish has a set price which is set by the size or specific colour of the plates. For example, a plate of calamares or sardines will cost you around 8€; something a little more extravagant like lobster or barbecued fish will cost more.

The quality of the fish is very good and you have an amazing selection to choose from: Calamares, sardines, grilled fish, shell fish, a wide selection of salads… there’s something for everyone! Prices are very reasonable but watch out for the large plates with the blue borders, those are a little pricey! (You can check the prices on the board next to the large charcoal grill).

Don’t expect the typical bill when you’ve finished your meal either. You’ll see – and hear – a guy running around the tables shouting “Y yo cobro!” which literally means, “And I’ll charge you!” Once you’ve got his attention, he’ll come over to your table and count all the plates and drinks on the table; he’ll then write a few figures on the paper tablecloth (no high tech used here!) and add them up to give you the grand total. Apparently, many years ago, the restaurant floor was made up of sand; they soon changed this as many clients were hiding their empty plates in the sand so they wouldn’t be charged for them!

Waiter with Food at El Tintero

A waiter juggling various plates of "Calamares"

A word of warning: Don’t be put off by the high noise levels. Because of the large amount of waiters shouting out dishes, and the shear size of the restaurant, noise levels are high, but you soon get used to it and the fun experience makes it worthwhile ;-) Weekends are the busiest time so if you don’t like too much hustle and bustle, it might be better for you to head down during the week.

How to get there

You’ve got two choices: You can drive in to the centre of Málaga and continue driving through the city until you reach the area known as “El Palo” or you can take the ring road around Málaga, heading towards Almería and Motril, take the “El Palo” exit and just head straight down towards the beach. If all else fails, just ask someone where El Tintero is… you’ll have trouble finding a local who doesn’t know it!

Address: Restaurante El Tintero, Playa del Dedo, 29018, Málaga. Tel 952 206826

I thouroughly recommend you make a day of it and visit Málaga in the morning and then head down to El Tintero for a really different and fun lunch experience! Let us know what you think…

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