Day Three-Market Lunch in Malaga


Breakfasts had been stellar in our Air BnB and this simple one was my favourite. Sister #3 grated a tomato on a cheese grater, adding just a smidge of olive oil and salt. She then toasted olive oil smeared baguettes which we subsequently rubbed with garlic cloves. We spooned a little of the tomatoes on the toast and voila! The Spaniards call them Tomato Bread and they are one dish I have managed to make since I got home!

The main entrance of the market is this imposing horseshoe archway in off-white marble, which is in fact the only remaining part of what was once a grand seven-arched shipyard – ataranzas in Arabic and old Castellano. A shipyard? In the middle of the city? Amazingly, even as late as the 18th century the sea reached right up to the present-day market, and fishermen sat alongside the south-facing wall of the building and cast their lines into the Malageñan waters.

From the market website: “From Moorish shipyard to market, Ataranzas underwent many transformations. Following the fall of the city to the Catholics in 1487, a convent was set on the site, but apparently the sound of the waves distracted the faithful from their prayers. More appropriately perhaps, the building was then turned into a huge military fort for storing weapons. Later, it became a hospital and even housed a medical school. Sadly, by the 19th century the original structure had largely fallen into disrepair and in 1868 the revolutionary government of the time ordered the remaining ruins to be demolished to make way for a modern and spacious market. The Nasrid arch was recovered thanks to the intervention of several members of the San Telmo Academy. It was completely dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt in its present location, as the main entrance to the new market in 1876 by the Cantabrian architect Joaquín de Rucoba who designed the market in neo-Arabic style, with slatted, arched windows and panels, but using the most modern of 19th century building materials: iron. it was inaugurated in 1879.”

I have been to Peak’s Market in Seattle, St Lawrence Market in Toronto, Marché de la Libération in Nice and Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem and I was blown away by the size and the food displays in Malaga’s market!

As you might imagine, we got hungry gazing at all of this delectable food, when we spied some tables on the sidewalk just outside the market. There was a gentleman valiantly trying to manage the order of the people waiting for tables. First, he said “Please stand over here. Oh, please move over here. You are behind these people; can you follow them?”

When it was finally our turn to snag a table, I was a bit stressed from being shuffled all over and wondered if the ordeal would be worth it.

After one sip of their refreshing sangria, I was convinced that this was indeed worth doing.

When we received our menus, we realized that almost everything they served was tapas style and we were delighted that we had the opportunity to regain our faith in Spanish tapas. Sister #3 and I are a little bit more adventurous than Sister #2 so we went ahead and ordered Pulpo a La Galleja (octopus in salt, paprika, and olive oil). They were pungent from the sea but tender at the same time. Loved them.

More to Sisters #2’s liking, we shared these gorgeous Gambas Plancha (grilled prawns)

and Berenjanas con miel (deep fried eggplant with honey),

as well as Alcachofas (artichokes). Both the eggplant and artichokes were lightly breaded and piping hot. The honey drizzle was a lovely idea as well as the sauce to dunk our artichokes. But try the latter sometime with hollandaise, you won’t be sorry.

Kath’s quote: “So I decided to be an artichoke: a little prickly on the outside with a big heart on the inside” – Ed Roberts

Love never fails.

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