Who lunched here: Illustrious eating spots


How would one feel if a chef as eminent and famous as Karlos Arguiñano dropped  by your restaurant, was pleasantly surprised by what he ate and recommended “Pepa’s white soup called gazpachuelo” to the rest of Spain?

We asked the said Pepa, owner of the Fonda Casa Pepa, directly and she replied that she had been somewhat surprised. She went on to tell us that the very agreeable Basque chef came into the kitchen to ask how to make the dish that had pleased him so much.

Arguiñano is just one of prominent personalities who have eaten in this small restaurant in Carratraca. The actor Antonio Banderas, TV presenter and journalist Jesús Quintero, playwright Antonio Gala and singers Romina Power and Al Bano are among their customers. But the guest who really rendered Pepa speechless was a certain member of the British royalty who “was tucking into his plate of pork stewed in tomato and potatoes. Some fifteen years ago Prince Charles came in to eat and Pepa confesses that at first she didn’t recognise him. Another guest alerted her to the royal presence. “Of course, in the end I did recogise him because of the…” that very characteristic feature of his anatomy. We will leave the matter here, just in case Buckingham Palace should read our magazine and be offended.

This small restaurant could be considered one of the illustrious eating spots to be found around the Malaga province. The Refectorium is another magical spot and in this case, it boasts two private dining rooms named after Evaristo Guerra and Jaime Rittwagen, two remarkable Malaga painters. Bélen Ramiréz, the owner of Refectorium explains “They are very special artists with local roots and with whom we have very close ties. We opened these private rooms in 2005 and filled them with both artists’ work.”

Now come with us down into the centre of town to visit the famous Chinitas, favourite of a local figure who had half the country laughing their heads off. Chiquito de la Calzada is his name and he feels totally at home in this restaurant where the excellent fried fish and wholesome soups taste like nowhere else. A fishy noodle dish with anchovies and mussels, squid with chickpeas, crispy shrimp tortilla, roast Malaga sucking kid… Eat, laugh and be alive. Let’s follow the example of the city’s favourite son, from Malaga “by choice”, as the great Gregorio Sánchez, our Chiquito de la Calzada, has said on many occasions.

Casa Pepa,

Calle Baños 18, Carratraca, Málaga.

El Refectorium del Campanario

Paseo de la Sierra 36, Cerrado

de Calderón, Málaga.

El Chinitas

Calle Moreno Monroy 4, Málaga.