Believe it or not, Austin’s restaurant scene only has a few really great restaurants reflecting Spanish influence. If you put aside the hundreds of Mexican restaurants in town, one can probably count the number of Spanish Tapas restaurants on only one hand. With Austin’s food and restaurant scene spiking at an all time high, we’ve seen a bit of an increase of the quality and interest in Spanish cuisine throughout the city in the last couple of years.
If you’re in the metro area looking for a romantic Spanish Tapas bar, paired with a fun casual night downtown, dine at Malaga Tapas & Bar. This handsome spot is located in the heart of the vibrant historic 2nd Street District next to Violet Crown Theater and Austin City Limits. Malaga offers a wide variety of Spanish tapas and other Spanish influenced dishes in a handsome with an impressive selection of 150 carefully selected Spanish wines that pair perfectly with your tapas selections.
Malaga has recently announced the debut of their new menu created by newly hired executive chef, Mario Medina. This is Malaga’s first major menu overhaul since the restaurant opened in 1999. A graduate from The Art Institute of California, Medina spent several years in California and Las Vegas working with notable chefs like Charlie Palmer, Jose Andres, Huber Keller, Michael Mina, and Gordon Ramsay. He’s now brought his culinary talents to Austin where he’s already impressing the masses with his own inspiration and creativity.
What to Eat
If you love Tapas as much as I do, you’ll be impressed with Malaga, as the menu is not only creative, it’s bold and delicious! Tapas is about small plates to be shared with friends and family. The menu focuses on high-quality and locally sourced ingredients from Austin-based purveyors like Farm to Table and Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Our favorites include Carnes y Queso (Serrano ham, Spanish chorizo, idizabal, manchego, mahon), Datiles con Tocino (dates, Niman bacon, almonds, blue cheese), Fritura de Pescado(branzino, house aioli, mojo verde), and Carne Asada (Malaga strip, mojo rojo, cipollini onions). My absolute favorite is Gambas Al Ajillo (shrimp, garlic, lemon and olive oil), it’s so simple but it’s prepared in absolute perfection, as the shrimp are juicy and tender with a crunchy pop, and the oil sings with a melody of layered garlic flavors. It’s truly transcendent, making it the perfect tapas snack!
Malaga is located at 440 West 2nd Street Austin, Texas 78701. The restaurant is open Sunday–Thursday from 4:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 2:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. For more information, please call (512) 236-8020 or visit http://www.malagatapasbar.com/
Gambas Al Ajillo