FOR thousands of Brits, the Costa del Sol conjures up images of beach holidays and lively nightlife. But, as I discovered, Spain also provides some serious treats for food-lovers.

Our host, Devour Tours, offers a selection of award-winning food and culture tours in six of Spain’s most delicious destinations: Malaga, Barcelona, Seville, Madrid, Granada and San Sebastian.

Seasoned travellers will always tell you, seek out the places the locals go to for the best experiences and, thanks to their highly-experienced and very friendly guides, Devour Tours make that ever-so easy, as I found out in Malaga.

“The Spanish don’t really drink sangria,” our guide Lauren said as she walked us through the streets of the city on our first morning, collecting numerous ‘holas’ and invitations to drink along the way.

As if to prove her right, in all the numerous visits to cafes and restaurants during our stay, never once were we served sangria - or paella come to that.

Our ‘Tapas Like a Local’ tour does exactly what it says and sees us heading into less-well-known streets, entering mysterious doorways and always arriving somewhere where the warmth of the welcome matches the quality of the food.

Our first stop was Wendy Gambia, where I discovered my drink of choice for the rest of the break - tinto de verano (literally red of summer) - a delight made of the summer’s red wine mixed with a hint of lemon Fanta.

At the ominously named but delightful KGB we were treated to black squid ink pasta with scallops and a seaweed dressing - told you this place is one for the foodies!

As well as learning about the food of the region, our tour also filled us in on much of its history. Another guide, Hanni, gave us a potted history of the impact the Moors had on Malaga as she led us to our next eating spot, Antigua Casa de Guardia.

Like many of the restaurants we visited, the chances are you would be unlikely to find the place as a solo tourist. There are no signs and from the outside it looks nothing special.

But, it really is a hidden gem, dating back to 1840. It is said that Queen Isabel II has been known to visit and that actor Antonio Banderas regularly pops in with his mum.

Stepping inside this traditional tavern, I was taken aback by its simplicity. Wine barrels fill the back of the room, with a long serving-table in front and more wines displayed in glass-and-wood cabinets. It’s a place to stand up, resting your seco trasañejo (a Malaga dry wine) on the table, as you nibble on bandarilla picante (pickles on skewers) tapas.

We were treated to a range of eating experiences, each one as delightful as the last, ranging from decorative platters of cheese, almonds, raisins and meats at La Mallorquina to spectacular salads at Meson Antonio.

Not only do you get the chance to taste the food, you also get to see where it comes from with tours taking in the markets, where amazing-looking fruit and veg vie for attention with freshly-caught fish and seafood.

No Malagan experience would be complete without at least two breakfasts a day and you will soon find yourself becoming addicted to unsweetened churros (a type of doughnut) washed down with strong coffee.

There are so many highlights on the tour it is difficult to mention them all. But the range and quality of the small bars, cafes and restaurants, often hidden away in the winding streets, is phenomenal.

One word of advice: try not to eat for at least a week before you go as you simply have to try everything that is on offer.

It doesn’t matter how much of a foodie you are, I think you will love to Tapas like a Local. It’s a great way to discover the rich culture of Malaga while enjoying an authentic taste of regional cuisine.

But it’s not just the food that will leave you drooling - the sights are pretty mouth-watering too, particularly the unfinished cathedral which towers over the city.

And Malaga is an art-lover’s delight, many restaurants and cafes doubling as mini-galleries with original works lining the walls, providing a feast for the eye as well as the stomach.

Now, can I go back for seconds?


Devour Tours offers a selection of food and culture tours in Spain. In Malaga there are two different tours to choose from, the Tapas Like a Local: Malaga Food and Wine Tour costs 65 Euros per person and The Best of Malaga; Foodie Feast and Walking Tour costs 57 Euros per person.Visit

Alima stayed at the Hotel Molina Lario, a superior 4 -star hotel in the centre of Malaga opposite the cathedral. Visit