Nerja Restaurants
Nerja Restaurants

The 20 Best Nerja Restaurants:
Plus Most Popular Dishes & Recipes

The Best Nerja Restaurants - No. 34 - Terrace
** Beautiful terrace overlooking the sea at Restaurant No. 34 at Hotel Carabeo

Welcome to our guide to the best restaurants in Nerja...

Nerja is one of the busiest towns on the eastern end of the Costa del Sol and as such it has a GREAT selection of top quality restaurants. There are over 320 restaurants in the town of Nerja alone. And due to its coastal location, Nerja's cuisine is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean diet... known worldwide for its amazing health benefits!

The best Nerja restaurants are known not only for their delicious food, but also for their picturesque settings. Many are located along the town's stunning beaches or in charming plazas with breathtaking views. Restaurants like Ayo's, famous for its paella, are located right on Burriana Beach, allowing you to enjoy your meal while watching the gentle waves roll in.

You can choose from high-end Michelin recommended hot spots (like Oliva), a huge selection of international cuisine (like Italian, Asian and even Morrocan) or the down and dirty, back to basics, but amazingly delicious, beachside chiringuitos... whatever you crave, you are sure to find it in Nerja!

Living just 5 minutes down the coast from this charming village, we make it a habit to eat here often... and in our opinion these are the 20 BEST Nerja restaurants...


Designation Restaurant
Best Overall Nerja Restaurant Oliva
Nerja Restaurant with Best Sea Views Antica Roma
Nerja Restaurant with Best Paella Chiringuito de Ayo
Nerja Restaurant with Best Sangria Oliva
Best Place to Enjoy a Cerveza Hotel Balcón de Europa Terrace

The 4 BEST High-End Spanish Restaurants in Nerja

These four Nerja restaurants might be on the pricey side but they are WELL worth the money. If you are on holiday and want a meal to remember, try one of these favorites below...



Nerja Restaurants - OLIVA
OLIVA - €€€€ - MICHELIN 2020
Restaurants in Nerja
International - Mediterranean - Spanish Cuisine

This is one of our all-time favorite restaurants in Nerja. It's been open for years and has always been of the highest quality. It's our go-to restaurant for date nights or special events.

Oliva is an upscale restaurant with a modern and creative twist on traditional Andalusian cuisine. They are constantly experimenting with new flavors, textures, techniques, presentations and fresh produce. They also have a great wine list that includes wines from all over Spain for you to try.

You can find Oliva right in the heart of the Nerja old town, in the Plaza de España.

We recommend: The selection of Spanish cheeses, the Iberian pork shoulder and you MUST try their sangria... it's literally the best we've ever had!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - Patanegra 57
Patanegra 57 €€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
International - Mediterranean - European CUISINE

Patanegra is another upscale restaurant in the old town of Nerja. Its chef, Sergio Paloma, a lover of Mediterranean and international cuisine, studied at the prestigious school of hospitality "The Consul" and has worked as a chef in many prestigious restaurants. He has also received numerous awards throughout his career.

Patanegra 57 offers dishes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine with exquisite presentation. It's open for both lunch and dinner.

The restaurant itself is small and cozy with a quaint garden in the back with a wall of plants and flowers. It's the perfect place to try if you really want to treat yourself to something special.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - Bakus
Bakus €€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
Mediterranean - European - Spanish Cuisine

Bakus is located very close to the Nerja Parador and has excellent views of the Nerja beaches (Burriana & Carabeillo) and the mountains and cliffs of the Maro Nature Reserve in the distance. It's a favorite among locals and never disappoints.

The restaurant itself has a very cozy, warm feel and there is an outdoor seating area in front of a beautiful terrace overlooking Playa Burriana.

Bakus is popular for both lunch and dinner, so reservations are recommended. The menu is extensive and focuses on Spanish/Mediterranean cuisine prepared and presented at the highest level.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜


Restaurante #34

Nerja Restaurante 34
Restaurante 34 €€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
Mediterranean - European - Spanish Cuisine

Restaurante 34 is perfectly located in the Nerja Old Town inside the Hotel Carabeo. It has one of the nicest terraces in town with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea in every direction as well as the famous Balcon de Europa.

This Mediterranean style restaurant focuses on creating a wide selection of exciting new dishes and whenever possible using the organic fruits, vegetables and olive oil that come from their own farm.

Reservations are recommended as this is a popular choice in Nerja. Outdoor seating is also available on their beautiful terrace.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Moderately Priced Nerja Restaurants



Nerja Restaurants - Unico
Unico €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
International - Mediterranean - European CUISINE

Unico is located in the heart of Nerja's shopping district, close to all the tapas bars and nightlife. It's a small but upscale restaurant that serves seasonal Mediterranean cuisine at an affordable price.

This is a great restaurant to try if you don't want to break the bank but still want a great quality meal. The menu and quality of the food is up there with some of the higher-end options above.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - Avalon
Avalon €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
International - Mediterranean - European CUISINE

This restaurant is located just on the outskirts of town in the Hostal Avalon. It's absolutely superb with amazing food, a beautiful terrace overlooking the town of Nerja and the coastline from afar, and it has a cozy indoor area with a fireplace for when it's chilly.

The chefs at Avalon have traveled extensively throughout North Africa and Southeast Asia and infuse their dishes, which are based on typical Mediterranean cuisine, with the flavors and spices from their travels.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Tapas Bars in Nerja



Nerja Restaurants - Raw Lounge & Tapas
Raw Lounge & Tapas €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
TAPAS BAR / Mediterranean CUISINE

You will find this unassuming tapas bar right on the beach at Playa Burriana. It's known by many as having the best tapas in Nerja and for a relatively good price.

It's a popular spot for expats in the evenings and gets quite busy, so you might want to call ahead. The goat cheese and walnut salad is fantastic, as are the prawns!

If you are hanging out on Burriana Beach and want a light snack and a refreshing drink, Raw Lounge is the place to go!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - Mo Gastro Tapas
Mo Gastro Tapas €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
TAPAS BAR / Mediterranean CUISINE
Certificate of Excellence 2016 - 2017 Winner

Mo's Gastro Bar is an experience, it is a special tapas bar with a flair! You can order a full meal or choose different dishes in tapas size to share with the table. If you're not sure what to order, just tell them and they'll keep bringing out new dishes until you've had enough!

You can find Mo's on the outskirts of town heading towards Maro and the Nerja Caves. You will see their sign on the right side of the main road before you reach the Carrefour. The actual restaurant is tucked away on a side street. It's a quaint and cozy spot with a modern twist.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Breakfast / Lunch Cafes in Nerja

In town for a visit and need something good first thing in the morning... we've got you covered. You can't go wrong with either of these two choices...



Nerja Restaurants - GOODSTUFF CAFE
Restaurants in Nerja
DESSERT - CAFE - European

Another local favorite in Nerja is the Goodstuff Cafe. It specializes in fresh baked goods, salads and sandwiches with lots of flavor!

They have amazing coffees and teas and a wonderful selection of cakes, muffins, croissants and other sweet pastries. They also have savory options like salmon and cream cheese bagels, quiches and spinach pies.

For lunch, there are fantastic fresh salads, couscous, quinoa, and very creative wraps and sandwiches.

If you are looking for something fresh, light, homemade and healthy .... try the Goodstuff Cafe!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - Tito's
Tito's Cafe €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja

If you are in the mood for a hearty English breakfast, Tito's is the place to go. They serve an excellent breakfast of bacon, sausage, hash browns, egg, beans, tomato and mushrooms with a round of toast... and it all comes with coffee!

They are located a short walk from Plaza Cangrejos near the sea on Calle Mediterraneo.

Tito's also serves lunch and dinner, which are just as good...

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Italian Nerja Restaurants

For some reason, Nerja is packed with some really good Italian restaurants... Most do a combination of good Italian and Spanish, here are our favorites.


Nerja Restaurants - Antica Roma
Antica Roma €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
ITALIAN - PIZZA - Mediterranean

Antica Roma is our go-to spot for a great pizza, salad and the best views of the Balcon de Europa. Located in the old town shopping district, it doesn't look like much from the outside. But once inside, it opens up at the back to reveal a large terrace overlooking the sea.

The restaurant is run by a real Italian who knows what he's doing and the menu shows it. They have a wide variety of pizzas, pastas, salads, bruschetta and Spanish tapas.

Our favorite is the Pizza Rustica, a simple thin crust pizza with Spanish ham, arugula and Parmesan cheese. It goes great with the avocado and salmon salad and a cold cerveza!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - La Bottega
La Bottega €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
ITALIAN - SPANISH - Mediterranean

La Bottega is another popular Italian restaurant located in the Plaza de Cangrejos near Torrecilla Beach and the Hotel Riu Monica (adult-only accommodation).

They have an Italian chef who focuses on fresh fish and pasta with an Italian twist, as well as a large selection of wines, great steaks and burgers!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurants - La Fuente
La Fuente €€ - €€€
Restaurants in Nerja
ITALIAN - PIZZA - Mediterranean

La Fuente is a popular Italian restaurant right next to the Balcon. It's tucked away right behind it in a plaza with about 5-6 other restaurants, but La Fuente stands out as one of the best. They have a very varied menu that will appeal to most, especially young children. They serve pizzas, pasta, paella, fried fish dishes, meat dishes and more...

It's a great family restaurant, the prices are reasonable and the service is always good.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Steakhouse in Nerja



Nerja Restaurants - El Refugio
El Refugio €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja
Certificate of Excellence 2016 - 2019 Winner

El Refugio is just a short walk from the Balcon, past the El Salvador church. It's a quaint little family-run restaurant that specializes in good meat. They have an excellent tenderloin, ribs and leg of lamb among other delicious choices.

They also serve all the other traditional Andalucian dishes you would want to eat in Spain... and they do them well...

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Indian Restaurants

So you come all the way to Spain and you want... Indian food? No problem, because of the large number of British ex-pats living in Nerja, you will have your choice of good Indian food...

There are at least 15 Indian restaurants in Nerja, but these are our two favorites...



Nerja Restaurante -  Namaste
Namaste Nepali & Indian Restaurant €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja

Namaste doesn't look like much from the front but don't let its appearance deter you. Once inside you will be greeted by cheery staff that aim to please.

Their food is fresh and creatively spicy! Just the way we like it.

Namaste is located right in the heart of old town Nerja, in the shopping district.

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurante - Jaipur
Taste of India €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja

Taste of India is a typical Indian restaurant done right. They have all the signature dishes that most people want, and the quality is great.

Sometimes it's hard to find a good Indian restaurant in Spain because they use slightly different ingredients than what you're used to, but Taste of India has it down!

The staff is friendly, attentive and the prices are reasonable. It's located just a short walk from the Balcon and the Boutique Hotel Carabeo. Highly recommended!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Asian / Thai Nerja Restaurants



Nerja Restaurante - Yuu Taley
Yuu Taley €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja

If you are looking for a good Thai restaurant in the area, this is it. Yuu Taley is an upscale restaurant just off the Plaza de Cangrejos. It's small, but warm and inviting.

The food is spicy, full of punch and flavor, and done with a really creative style.

The chicken pad thai and green curry dishes are excellent!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurante - Lan Sang
Lan Sang €€€
Restaurants in Nerja

Lan Sang is another Thai option. It's located on Playa Burriana. It's just a small out of the way restaurant that's pretty casual, but the food is great.

If you are in the Playa Burriana area and need to spice things up, this is a great choice!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The Best Nerja Chiringuitos

What is a chiringuito, you may ask? It's a small bar or restaurant located on the beach 🏖️. They are known for their casual, relaxed atmosphere, and are popular spots to enjoy a drink, a quick snack, or a full meal. The menu typically features fresh seafood, tapas, and traditional Andalucian cocktails like sangria and tinto de verano.

These are our two favorite Nerja chiringuitos...



Nerja Restaurante - Playa Y Sol
Playa Y Sol €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja

Playa y Sol is great because they have a little bit of everything. Their menu is huge, but I've never had anything that I didn't really like.

They have all the typical Spanish dishes, plus a great selection of large, very tasty salads, delicious wraps, burgers, pizzas and amazing desserts!

Playa y Sol is located right on Burriana Beach. It's the perfect place to go when you just want to kick back, relax, have a drink and eat some good food!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜



Nerja Restaurante - Ayo
Chiringuito de Ayo €€-€€€
Restaurants in Nerja

The last restaurant on our list is a family run business that has been around for years. Senor Ayo is a fixture in Nerja and his packed restaurant is proof that people love what he's selling.

Ayo is a typical Spanish chiringuito located on the beach at Playa Burriana. They serve all the typical fried and grilled fresh seafood, grilled meats and paella. Their signature dish is their massive "all you can eat" paella that people go crazy for.

Remember to make reservations here during the summer as it is packed every day!

Check TripAdvisor for location and reviews ➜

The most popular dishes in Nerja restaurants

With the sea as its backdrop, Nerja offers a dining experience that embraces its long coastal traditions, from the freshness of its seafood dishes (like the fiery Gambas Pil Pil 🔥) to its wonderful meats, salads, soups and desserts.

Influenced by thousands of years of Mediterranean life, combined with the relaxed charm of the village and its beautiful coastline... eating in Nerja is an absolute pleasure!

Here is a list of some of Nerja's most popular and delicious dishes... Be sure to try them while you're in town!

Best Seafood Dishes

Espetos de Sardinas: One of the most typical dishes along the Málaga coast, these are sardines skewered on reeds and grilled over an open fire... usually on the beach. Their smoky flavor, combined with the salty sea breeze, offers an authentic Nerja experience.

Espetos de Sardinas on a Nerja Beach
** Espetos de Sardinas on the Fire

Boquerones en Vinagre: Fresh anchovies marinated in a mixture of vinegar, garlic and parsley. The acidity "cooks" the fish, resulting in a tangy, spicy bite. A staple in many of Nerja's restaurants, it's a must-try for anyone who loves seafood.

Gambas Pil Pil: A wonderful dish not only in Nerja but all over Andalucia and one of our favorites!!

The shrimp are sautéed in sizzling olive oil with garlic, chili and sometimes a hint of paprika. Served piping hot, the shrimp are juicy and flavorful, and the oil makes a delicious dip for fresh bread.

Make it yourself at home:

Gambas Pil Pil


  • Prawns (Gambas): 500g, fresh or frozen (deveined and peeled, with tails intact)
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil: 150ml
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves, finely sliced or minced
  • Red chili peppers: 1-2 (adjust according to heat preference), finely sliced
  • Paprika: 1 tsp (optional, for added color and flavor)
  • Lemon: 1, for zest and juice
  • Fresh parsley: A handful, chopped for garnish
  • Salt: To taste


  1. Preparation: If using frozen prawns, make sure they are thoroughly thawed. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

  2. To Cook: In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic to the oil. When the garlic begins to sizzle (but not brown), add the sliced chili peppers.

  3. Prawns: Add the prawns to the pan. If using paprika, sprinkle it over the prawns now. Season with salt.

  4. Sizzle: Cook the prawns for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until they turn pink and opaque. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the prawns, so keep an eye on them to make sure they don't overcook.

  5. Finishing touches: When cooked, grate some lemon zest over the prawns, squeeze in some lemon juice, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

  6. To Serve: Transfer the prawns and flavored oil to a serving dish. Gambas Pil Pil are traditionally served hot and bubbling straight from the pan, with crusty bread to soak up the delicious oil.

  7. Note: The key to Gambas Pil Pil is the sizzling garlic and chili flavored oil. Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot; it should sizzle gently to infuse the flavors without burning the garlic.

  8. Note 2: You can also buy a Gambas Pil Pil spice mix at the Nerja market, just go to the spice tent and you will see it!

  9. Enjoy: This classic Spanish tapa should be enjoyed with a chilled glass of white wine or a cold beer!

Gambas Pil Pil in a Nerja Restaurant
** Gambas Pil Pil

Gambas a la Plancha: Grilled prawns seasoned with sea salt.

Calamares Fritos: Deep fried squid rings, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, another favorite. Served with a lemon wedge and alioli for dipping!

Best Meats Dishes

Paella (Meat and Rice Dish): Paella is probably the MOST popular dish you will find along the Spanish coast. Although originally from Valencia, paella is a popular dish throughout Spain, including in Nerja. The Andalucian version includes a variety of meats like chicken, beef or seafood, making it rich, flavorful and very filling.

Rabo de Toro: This is a traditional Spanish oxtail stew and it's delicious! Its typically slow cooked until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. The sauce is made with a base of tomatoes, red wine, and a mix of vegetables and spices that provide a deep, robust flavor. This dish is especially popular in the more inland villages along the coast, like nearby Acebuchal.

Rabo de Torro in a Nerja Restaurant
** Rabo de Torro

Jamón Ibérico: While not a dish in itself, Jamón Ibérico is a type of cured ham that people love in Spain. It's usually served as a tapa, thinly sliced, and enjoyed with local cheeses, bread and wine.

Flamenquín: Although not exclusive to Nerja, this Andalucian specialty consists of ham and meat (usually pork) breaded and fried. It's a heavy dish that contrasts with the lighter seafood options.

Albondigas en Salsa de Almendras: Meatballs in almond sauce. The kids will love this one!

Best Soups and Salads

Ajoblanco: A cold almond soup that's both refreshing and nutty. Garnished with grapes or green melon, it balances creamy and sweet elements, perfect for Nerja's sun-drenched days.

Gazpacho and Salmorejo: Gazpacho and Salmorejo are two traditional Spanish cold soups that have won hearts beyond their native Andalusia. Both are primarily made from tomatoes and bread, blended to a creamy consistency and garnished before serving.

Gazpacho, the more widely known of the two, typically includes other vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, and onions, giving it a lighter flavor profile and a slightly thinner consistency. It can be enjoyed as a refreshing drink or as an appetizer... especially during the hot summer months.

Salmorejo is thicker and creamier, usually made with only tomatoes, bread, garlic and olive oil. This soup is often garnished with hard-boiled eggs and jamón serrano (Spanish cured ham), making it more hearty and filling. Salmorejo is found more often in rural villages.

Both are excellent! 👍

Gazpacho VS Salmorejo in a Nerja Restaurant
** Gazpacho (left) vs Salmorejo (right)

Ensalada Malagueña: This salad combines potatoes, oranges, cod, olives and onions, drizzled with olive oil. The combination of the citrus taste of the oranges and the salty taste of the cod makes it a unique dish in the province of Málaga.

Ensalada Andaluza con Miel de Caña: This salad is a wonderful fusion of Andalucian flavors, with a bed of mixed greens, creamy goat cheese, and crunchy toasted pine nuts, all beautifully tied together with a sweet drizzle of miel de caña (a kind of local molassis).

Best Desserts

Flan: A creamy, caramel-topped custard dessert that is both simple and elegant. The base is made with eggs, milk, and sugar.

Arroz con Leche: A comforting rice pudding with a subtle hint of cinnamon and citrus.

Churros con Chocolate: These are a popular treat throughout the south of Spain. They are long, fried dough pastries that are typically eaten for breakfast. They are best when dipped in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar or thick, hot chocolate. In Nerja you can find them in the local cafes, especially in the mornings.

Churros in a Nerja Cafe
** Churros Covered in Sugar

Best Beverages, Wines, or Spirits

Malaga Wine: This sweet wine from the Malaga region is often paired with desserts, but can also be enjoyed on its own. Made from Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grapes, Malaga wines range from dry to very sweet. 🍷

Cerveza: Cerveza is the Spanish word for beer, and it's a staple with a good Spanish meal. It is typically served very cold and in smaller sizes called cañas (small glasses) or tubos (tall, thin glasses). 🍺

Tinto Verano: Tinto de Verano, which means "red wine of summer", is another popular drink in Nerja. It's a mixture of red wine and carbonated lemonade or soda (like Sprite or Fanta Lemon) and is served over ice with a slice of lemon or orange. Tinto de Verano is similar to sangria, but simpler and less sweet, making it a refreshing and lighter choice for a hot day. It's also easy to make at home! 🍹

Sangria: Sangria is perhaps one of the most internationally recognized Spanish drinks. It's a fruity, sweet cocktail typically made with red wine, chopped fruit (like oranges, lemons, berries, and apples), a sweetener (like honey, sugar, or orange juice), and a small amount of brandy or other spirit.

Some versions use white wine or cava (Spanish sparkling champagne 🍾) instead of red wine. Sangria is served chilled and is popular in Nerja restaurants, especially as a summer drink.

Sangria in a Nerja
** Fruity Sangria

Make it yourself at home:



  • Red Wine: 1 bottle (750 ml) of a dry red wine (like Tempranillo, Garnacha, or other Spanish red wines)
  • Brandy: 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on how strong you want it
  • Orange Juice: 1/2 cup
  • Fruit: 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 1 lime, all sliced into thin rounds, plus other fruits like apples or berries, if desired
  • Sweetener: 2-4 tablespoons of sugar, honey, or simple syrup, adjust to taste
  • Carbonated Water or Soda: (Optional) for a fizzy touch
  • Ice: For serving
  • Cinnamon stick: For garnish
  • Fresh mint: For garnish
  • A splash of a liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)


  1. Preparation: Slice the orange, lemon, and lime into thin rounds. If you're using apples or other fruits, cut them into small, bite-sized pieces.

  2. Combine: In a large pitcher, combine the sliced fruit and sweetener (sugar, honey, or simple syrup). Muddle the fruit lightly with a spoon to release some of the juices and help dissolve the sweetener.

  3. Add the Liquor: Pour in the brandy and orange juice. If you're using any optional liqueurs, add them now.

  4. Add the Wine: Pour the entire bottle of red wine into the pitcher.

  5. Mix: Stir everything together to combine. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.

  6. Chill: Refrigerate the Sangria for at least 2 hours, or overnight. This allows the flavors to meld together.

  7. Serve: Just before serving, if you want a fizzy Sangria, add some carbonated water or soda. Serve over ice in glasses.

  8. Garnish: Optionally, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint for an aromatic touch.

  9. Tips:

    Wine Choice: Choose a wine that's good enough to drink on its own. It doesn't have to be expensive, but its quality will significantly affect the Sangria.

    Fruit Variations: Feel free to experiment with different fruits based on seasonality and your preferences.

    Make Ahead: Sangria benefits from sitting for a few hours to let the flavors meld, so it's a great make-ahead drink for gatherings.

Local Dining Tips for Eating in a Nerja Restaurant

Here are three things you should know about eating in a Nerja restaurant, or any restaurant on the Costa del Sol for that matter. Things work differently here and it's best to know what to expect...

Tipping: While tipping isn't mandatory in Nerja, leaving small change or up to 10% in restaurants for good service is appreciated.

Dining Tips for Eating in a Nerja Restaurant - couple tipping

Embrace the Timing: Spaniards typically eat lunch between 2pm and 4pm and dinner late, around 9pm to 11pm. It's a good idea to sync with the locals for the best experience. Or, go early to beat the crowds.

Relaxed Pace: Dining in Nerja is not a rushed affair! Service is much more leisurely than what you're probably used to. Locals are more accustomed to a laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle, so enjoy the relaxed pace, savor your meal, and use the extra time to take in the beautiful views.

Reservations: As things have gotten busier over the years, making a reservation for dinner has become almost mandatory. Not because the restaurants require it, but because the high season is getting longer and you don't want to miss out!

Other Important Info About Eating and Dining in Nerja

The Tapas Culture in Nerja

In southern Spain, especially around the Costa del Sol and Nerja, the tapas culture is an integral part of daily life. The restaurants in Nerja pride themselves on their tapas... competing to serve the tastiest and most traditional Andalucian flavors.

A fun thing to do while you're in town is to go on a 'tapas crawl'... which involves moving from one restaurant or bar to another, enjoying a drink and a small tapa at each stop. The tapa is usually free with your drink!

Read: Nerja Tapas Bars: Where to Find the Best Tapas in Nerja

The Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean Diet found in the best Nerja Restaurants

Known worldwide and appreciated for its numerous health benefits, the Mediterranean Diet is a style of eating (and living) found in cities and towns along the Mediterranean Sea.

In Nerja, the Mediterranean diet is a natural part of daily life and is prominently featured in many of Nerja's restaurants. It reflects the culture of the town and the abundance of local, fresh ingredients. When people talk about the Mediterranean diet, they are usually referring to a diet high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil; a moderate amount of fresh seafood, chicken and dairy products; and a low amount of red meat and sweets.

The diet also emphasizes the importance of physical activity, meal times (larger meals in the middle of the day rather than at night), and sharing meals with others.

In recent years, many people have settled in Nerja and the Costa del Sol because of the amazing health benefits of the diet and lifestyle. The Mediterranean diet is known for its healthy heart benefits, weight management, diabetes prevention and control, cancer preventing antioxidants and brain health with a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

So if you haven't experienced the Mediterranean diet and way of life... why wait?

Gastronomic Festivals in Nerja

Another way to experience the culinary delights of Nerja (besides eating in one of Nerja's best restaurants 😉) is through one of the many lively festivals that take place throughout the year.

One of the most popular events in Nerja is the 'Feria', a week-long festival held in October that transforms the entire town into a gastronomic hub. The streets come alive with food stalls, live music and dancing. And Nerja's best restaurants show off their culinary skills with a range of traditional Andalusian dishes, tapas and local wines. It's the perfect time to experience the local flavors and festivities.

Gastronomic Festivals in Nerja - Feria

Another important festival is the Fiesta de San Isidro, held in May, where food plays an important role in the celebrations. This fiesta, in honor of the patron saint of farmers, includes a grand procession followed by a community feast in which Nerja's restaurants and residents contribute dishes made from traditional recipes.

Local Nerja Markets

A final way to experience Nerja's culinary scene is to visit one of the local markets, which are vital to the Nerja restaurants that pride themselves on using fresh, high quality ingredients.

These bustling markets, full of vibrant stalls, offer an array of fresh produce, meat and seafood, spices, olives, organic products, nuts, teas and much more...

You can also find amazing handicrafts and souvenirs!

Nerja Markets - Fresh Produce

Also: Check out the BEST restaurants in these nearby Costa Tropical towns...

photo of Darsey and Izzy

Who are we? An American expat with over 20 years of experience living and traveling in Spain, specifically in Malaga and Granada. Darsey is a seasoned explorer of Andalucia. Drawing from decades of immersive experience, she offers deep insights into this enchanting region of Spain, including off-the-beaten path destinations, the best places to stay, and the top bucket list activities to try! More...

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