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A few days in Málaga after COVID-19 lockdown easing.

After ten plus weeks in lockdown, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the prospect of a few days in Málaga was something to look forward to with relish. We normally tend to stay at

Atarazanas Málaga Boutique Hotel Calle Atarazanas 19, 29005 Malaga +34 952 12 19 10

This is a nice, basic hotel, centrally placed next to the Mercado Central de Atarazanas (Málaga’s daily food market) and also near the oldest bar in Málaga, the Bodega Antiqua Casa de Guardia.

On leaving the hotel our first visit here is always to,

Mercado Central de Atarazanas Calle Atarazanas 10, 29005 Málaga +34 951 92 60 10

This is an old-school covered market with a variety of food items and several tapas bars in a colourful setting. The original and still the best bar in our opinion is Café Bar Atarazana. The market is open from 8 am - 3 pm.

It wasn't very busy, only a few stalls were open but we could still sit outside and enjoy the early summer sun.

Almejas (clams)

Verduras fritas (deep-fried vegetables)

Sardinas (sardines)

Chipirones fritos (deep-fried baby squid)

Anchoas y boquerones (salted anchovies and pickled anchovies)

On walking around town, it is noticeable, that not everyone is wearing the now, obligatory face masks. This is being policed quite well and noticed, a few people in the market being made to put them on.

My first stop that evening was a return to an old favourite, the now social distancing,

La Cosmopolita Malagueña +34 95 221 58 27 Twitter @_lacosmopolita

This is a great little spot, just off the Calle Granada in the centre of Málaga old town. The decor is modern, with a traditional twist, which is the same as the tapas.

On the menu this night were,

Anchoas Rafael Lopez Anchoas de Cantabrico Primavera 2018

Tartar de Lomo de Atún (tune tartar)

and a tapa we always have here, the stunning albóndigas de cola de toro en salsa (bull tail meatballs in gravy.

Jorge Ordonez & Co. No. 2 Victoria Moscatel, Malaga

Next day, it's a stroll around the old town and a early caña

We then stopped for lunch at

Casa Lola Calle Granada 46, 29015 Málaga

This is a great bar and is used by locals. A varied tapas menu is available at very reasonable prices as well as a daily dish of the day, which is particularly good value for those on a tight budget.

They have an excellent house vermut, which seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment all over Spain.

Tomato Atlántico bonito en escabeche y cebollita (Tomato with pickled tuna and onion)

Pincho de sardina ahumada con pepinillos, cebolla, huevos de codorniz y mayonesa (smoked sardine with pickles, onion, quail eggs and mayonnaise).

Mini kebap de pollo con cebolla caramelizada, rúcula, cheddar y salsa con toque picante (mini chicken kebab with caramelized onion, arugula, cheddar and sauce with a spicy touch).

Large bull fighting pictures adorn the walls

The inside of the restaurant is still closed.

Una copa Máis De Cunqueiro 2018, a blend of albariño, godello y torrontes D.O. Ribeiro (Galicia).

This is an excellent place that is always busy, where you can people-watch from its lively terrace. There is normally a queue to get in (even pre Covid-19) so be sure to give your name at the door or you will be left standing outside.

In the current climate, it is not easy to find which restaurants are open but the next day we stopped here for a lunchtime meal in the sun. There are tables outside, so you can sit and watch the world go by.

Garum Casual Restaurant Calle Alcazabilla 1, 29015, Málaga +34 952 218 408

This bar-restaurant has a great location, just opposite the Alcazaba and near the Picasso museum.

it serves traditional dishes, which are made in a more modern, refined way.

Verde que te quiero ver (green that I want to see)

Mini hamburguesa de atún con papas fritas (mini tuna hamburger with chips)

Passion Turca (Turkish passion dessert)

Copa Verdejo Rueda

On a brick wall inside, you can write a message on a piece of paper and post it in the cracks between the bricks.

Nobody is allowed to eat inside at present.

Next day, we decided, to leave town and head a few miles down the coast to Pedregalejo for a sea breeze lunch. Not all the restaurants are open but the excellent Andrés Maricuchi was.

Andrés Maricuchi Paseo Marítimo el Pedregal 14, 29017, Málaga +34 95 229 04 12

The restaurant is on Paseo Maritimo el Pedregalejo, it is overlooking the beach and the small boats, where the barbecued espetos are cooked (espeto refers to fresh sardines, although, you could use other kinds of fish, sardines are the most common used and are skewered and cooked over a pit of coals or wood).

Gambas (local prawns)

Pargo (red snapper)

Which was filleted at the table by Julián, as was requested.

Some people may consider this a waste of the other succulent and edible parts of the fish but each to his own.

After another lunchtime stroll,

we had our last lunch in town at

El Refectorium Malagueta

Calle Cervantes, 8, 29016 Málaga +34 952 21 89 90

The Ramirez family have been serving high-end Andalusian comfort food to locals, since the 1970s.

Ensalada de la casa (house salad)

Espárragos con aguacate y tomates (asparagus with avocado and tomatoes)

Foie gras,

served with bodegas Quitapenas Dorado Malaga Moscatel by the excellent waitress, Ana.

The restaurant is very near the Plaza de toros de La Malagueta.

All in all, the few days in Málaga were quite a surreal experience without tourists, many places still closed, people walking around in masks and very little social interaction, which is a complete anathema to the Spanish psyche.

Hopefully, things will return to normality in the coming weeks and months.

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