La Paz Garrido, Fuengirola for 5* tapas

When in dining mode, I am a grazer.  I like to sample a range of flavours, and try new things as often as possible.  Chinese banquets are great.   I like my Indian food to be served on as many plates as possible so I can play culinary Russian roulette with my taste buds.  A spot of lime pickle on a spoonful of Vindaloo is like walking your tongue across hot coals, but this is far superior to pavement slabs of bland meat.

The ultimate grazer’s delight is a combination of three words:  Spain, seafood and tapas.  I think I may have found my mecca, ironically just to the west of the railway station in Fuengirola, Costa del Sol.  This place is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten in and almost certainly the best value.

Not much to look at eh?

Arriving at Malaga airport and en route to Puerto Banús for a lads’ weekend, our first part of the journey was an interim stop at Fuengirola.  Even though it is only a short taxi ride, my mates are as tight as gnat’s chuffs so we took the train.  It sounded like an adventure and it was – a long and boring one.

Paul and Glenn - glum on the train

By the time we arrived several eons later, we needed somewhere to eat lunch, and fast.

La Paz Garrido is a back street place patronised almost exclusively by locals.  Every hungry voice was Spanish.  Luckily Paul spent 10 years in Spain so is almost fluent.  Unlike “pidgin Spanish” Jeffo who once asked a taxi driver what time we would reach our destination.  “Sunny just like here” was the response.

The wine list is hardly extensive but it is tremendous value.  We chose a 2006 Monopole by CVNE, a little sour, citrus, lemon, apricot and some vegetable (onion?).  Not the best wine I have ever tasted but sometimes in the right situation wines can over-achieve and this did, when matched with seafood.

But the monopoly was on fine food...for some reason

Wine is one thing, but the food was simply as good as it gets.  We had a range of sea sourced dishes including baby octopus (below), razor clams (see next photo) and cuttlefish served not only with its ink, but also with the budgie food backbone – yum.

Octopussy...but not as deadly

I can’t recommend this place highly enough.  The food is astonishingly fresh and beautifully cooked.  If only we could get tapas like this in the UK.

La cuenta, at €77 for three people (about US$100, or £50 at time of writing) is value beyond the realms of possibility, as it included coffees and a number of large brandies.

Sharp wit and razor clams

The only downside was the company.  Paul with his annoying and incessant Spanish, and Glenn’s dithering put a slightly sour note on an otherwise awesome Thursday afternoon.  I had to take them to a bar nearer the sea to get them excited about being on holiday.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

More to come later from our midsummer lads’ trip to the Costa del Crime…..meanwhile if you are in the region make a journey (but not by rail) to Fuengirola and try Bar La Paz Garrido, you will not regret it, I promise.

Bar La Paz Garrido, Avenida de Mijas 1, Edif. Milano, 29640 Fuengirola, Spain.  T:  +34 952 478 341.

7 Responses to “La Paz Garrido, Fuengirola for 5* tapas”

  1. Gastroplod Says:

    Thank you for providing me with just the argument I need to persuade a reluctant partner to visit mainland Spain on the cheap. Looks like just my kind of place – and prices 🙂

  2. Nick Small Says:

    My favourute restaurant in the world. Just about the only thing worth going to the Costa Del Sol for. Simple food done brilliantly. Great atmosphere too, though it can be hellish busy….so let’s keep it quiet.

  3. Kathy Calvert Says:

    Cannot recommend this place highly enough. I was introduced to it by a friend who lived in Fuengirola 8 years ago and always head there first whenever I go back. If you arrive for lunch around 1.oo/1.30pm you can probably get a table as the locals tend not to arrive until around 2.00pm. Evenings get there for about 8.00/8.30pm. Food is absolutely fabulous, fresh and reasonable. Their patatas brava sauce is a secret family recipe and they will not tell you how they make it. If they sold it in the restaurant, they’d make a fortune. Enjoy but don’t tell anyone else!

  4. Liam Mulkeen Says:

    I agree, the most amazing fish place I have been in. Nearly everything is cooked on a hotplate behing the counter. It’s the same staff that was there 12 years ago. I go to Tarifa down the coast a bit and make a point of stopping into Fuengirola (funky town to the local ex pats) to have lunch there. The adobo (monk fish, marinated in lemon juice given a light flower dustng and deep fried so it looks like a fish finger are down right astonishing. Good call.

  5. Jamesey Says:

    First disobvered La Paz when we bought a holiday flat in Las Palmeras, Fuengirola, in the mid-to-late 80s. In those days it was a typical tapas bar with stools at the bar and a few tables and everything was freshly cooked on the grill by tha staff who always furtively laced their bottles of coke with 103 brandy. The pinchitos, mushrooms and gambas were the best I have ever tasted.

    I made a sentimental trip to “Fungo” in 03 to visit an old friend and hotfooted it to La Paz. It had been refurbished and extended into a proper restaurant but the food was still as good and, mercifully, there weren’t many tourists although it was in January…

  6. EasyLay Says:

    My wife and I have been going to this restaurant for years. Looks nothing special from the outside but simply fantastic food and great value. First place we go when we arrive in Fuengirola.

  7. Chris S Says:

    Best place in Fuengirola for seafood. Not touristy and mostly locals only. Get an outside table at 8:30 and by 9:30 the place really becomes alive. Patats a la brava and the sauce is amazing. They also do great little lamb chops and Moroccan kebabs for non seafood eaters. Highly recommend the cigalas, navajas and adobo.

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