Going for tapas in Andalucia, the best time is Spanish times of 1:30 to 3 PM and again from 8:30-10:30 PM. This guarantees the liveliest crowd, freshest food, and the best of atmospheres. Málaga is no different from the rest of the country. It is a perfect place for Tapas and the local dishes are remarkable.
Tapas bars have the look and feel of a bar or tavern, rather than a cafes or restaurants. They usually are clustered together, as they are not in competition with each other. They create a Gr8 environment for a few hours of relaxation, conversation, and tapas. In some Spanish villages and cities, it can be hard to know where the tapas cluster will be located. In Málaga, they are everywhere. The more difficult question is how you find one, off the beaten path. If completely unsure and are not looking for adventure, ask the hotel staff for recommendations.
Otherwise, explore nooks and crannies of the city street – leaving the main walking paths behind is essential. If the menu is in English, do not bother. If you cannot see, hear, or smell anything don't go in. We found such a gem, called Vermuteria La Clasica (Plaza de Uncibay, 1). This corner treat was a very lively place with delectable small dishes, lots of locals and good wine.
Vermuteria La Clasica is a brand-new restaurant serving traditional Andalusian cuisine and drinks. The manager was excited as they had not been open but for just a few days and wanted us to know what a great spot it was. This place did not disappoint, and I will definitely visit again, when I make it back to Málaga.
Make sure to try the variety of fried fish served with lemon wedges, aka fritura malagueña. There are tremendous number and styles of garlic pickled shrimp, cheeses, and quail's eggs.
Don't miss out on the prawns, which are delicately flash fried with garlic, paprika, fresh chilies and white wine, tremendous flavor with just a touch of heat (caliente y picante). Other local dishes include a tremendous meat dish cachopo, and of course the delicious paella, which varies hugely in Andalusia, but always superb in Málaga with the availability of fresh seafood. Do not forget to try the numerous varieties of fantastic local red wine for 2-3 Euros.
Happy Travels and Buen Provecho!