(updated on 19th Sept 2023)
After over three years of living and eating out in Fuengirola, I finally narrowed down my taste buds ‘Hall of Fame’.
Before we start, a word of warning – the culinary scene in Fuengirola is not exactly exciting. The city lives from tourism and unfortunately, that’s also impacted the culinary options.
There are a few gems in between the usual tourist traps, but they are hard to find especially if your only point of reference is glowing five-star reviews in Tripadvisor.
If you want to know what restaurants to avoid in Fuengirola, scroll to the bottom of the article for a bit of a rant!
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Best Restaurants in Fuengirola
Here are my favorite picks from the local culinary scene, in no particular order.
- Tapa y Thai (my current no 1) – all-around best food and beautiful dining atmosphere
- Picoteo – the perfect pick for the old town district
- Chiringuito La Cubana – lunch by the beach
- Go Green Cafe – for a healthy breakfast and lunch
- Kudam Berlin – for meat lovers, next to the marina
- El Higueron – fine dining with a view
- Merryland Restaurant – great value food that delivers on flavour
1. Tapa y Thai Restaurant
A very recent addition to the local culinary scene (winter 2022), this place is my absolute favorite, as evidenced by 4 or 5 dining experiences so far.
Not only it has amazing food, but they put a lot of effort and thought into the decor. It feels so welcoming and cosy, nothing like you will find in most of the restaurants in Fuengirola.
The menu features some of the classics of Thai cuisine and a few chef specials. Unfortunately, it is not available anywhere online, so I will take a photo on my next visit.
The food is very reasonably priced, and you will find plenty of meat specialities, but balanced really well with meals suitable for vegetarians and vegans (I love their tofu options!).
The most important thing – the food is absolutely delicious!
It’s hands down the best meal and the best curry I’ve had in Fuengirola.
You can really taste the freshness of the ingredients and the fact that the chef is using local Thai spices and knows what they’re doing. The food may look simple, but it’s full of flavor and texture, and in case you like it spicy, it does deliver on the promise!
Pay them a visit, you won’t regret it!
PS: they close for winter, opening in February again
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2. Picoteo Restaurant
Picoteo is situated in what I call the ‘Post Office Square’ as it’s the location of the very dated main post office building. The square is usually buzzing with life, with lots of restaurants and full terraces even outside of the main summer season.
Picoteo is a well-established restaurant that has been operating here for years and specializes in modern Mediterranean cuisine. The ambience reminds me a bit of a cute French cafe, with stylish chairs, quirky decor and always lovely music playing in the background.
Picoteo stands out with its original and creative menu, something you don’t see very often, especially in Fuengirola. Yes, it also comes with a price tag – it’s more expensive than the rest of the restaurants in the area, but it at least delivers on the quality of the food.
The seating options are fairly limited, especially on the terrace which is the most popular, so booking in advance is recommended. The service in the restaurant can be quite slow, even on quiet days.
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3. Chiringuito La Cubana
Even though I go into a very long rant at the end of the article about how bad Chiringuito restaurants are, this one is the exception to the rule.
La Cubana is at the very end of Fuengirola, in an area called Carvajal (technically it’s under Benalmadena but within easy reach of Fuengirola).
When I visited a year ago, it looked very rugged but they have massively upgraded the places and it gets busier and busier every year. You will spot it immediately thanks to the colourful chairs and tables, and the fact that it’s absolutely packed every time.
Even though they are super busy, we always find a table and never had to wait too long for the food.
The menu is a really good mix of healthy bits, naughty treats and anything in between. For such a busy place, the service is incredibly fast and friendly. And most importantly, the food is delicious and served with a side of a sea view!
(please note the restaurant is completely closed for the winter season from October till March/April – check their Facebook page for updated opening times)
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4. Go Green Cafe
Go Green is always my number one option for healthy breakfast or brunch, for a number of reasons: great location (they are close to where I live), lots of vegetarian options, and very reasonably priced.
The menu caters to anything you could think off and all of them are healthy options. They have a wide selection of freshly made juices, breakfast sandwiches (Nordic favorites too), and even scrambled eggs.
Their brunch deals are a treat for the whole family (photos below) and include refreshing drinks like their ginger shot or freshly made juice.
My go-to is usually the vegetarian burger or the falafel bowl. Great value fresh food – can’t go wrong with that!
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5. Kudam Berlin Restaurant
If you want to take a break from tapas and fried fish, Kudam Berlin might be just what you need!
Kudam Berlin can be described as a meat lovers heaven in the Marina area of Fuengirola.
This German restaurant owned by chef Michael Lienhoop made its name among locals for its great value food, traditional old-school dishes, and very generous portions.
This was my third visit to Kudam, and every time we go, I forget about their portion sizes – they are huge! Not just that, but the food is actually delicious and tastes super fresh.
Traditional German schnitzels and sausages of all kinds are dominating the menu, but you won’t be stranded either if you don’t eat meat. They have delicious (and very big!) salads, homemade soups, and a few small tapas options to choose from, including a few Spanish classics like Gambas Pil Pil.
The menu is updated seasonally, so in the winter you will find a nice selection of soups and stews and in the summer more fresh salads to choose from.
The restaurant also offers a great 14.99 euro set menu consisting of three courses and plenty of food options to choose from.
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6. El Higueron Restaurante
El Higueron is a well-established restaurant sitting on the foothills of Sierra Mijas, by exit 217 from the main coastal highway (A7).
It combines three of my favourite things, which are sometimes hard to find on Costa del Sol – great food made from fresh ingredients, immaculate service and amazing views.
They have a very large terrace which is perfect for the summer and also a beautiful space inside of the restaurant.
The views were certainly one of the highlights of the experience – it’s probably one of the highest set restaurants in the area of Fuengirola and one with very easy access.
The menu at the restaurant is a breath of fresh air – innovative, creative and with interesting flavour combinations. The quality of the ingredients and execution of the dishes were superb.
If you don’t mind a bit of a drive outside of the city, I can guarantee you will be as impressed as I was!
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7. Merryland Restaurant
Merryland is located in Los Boliches and they specialize in Lebanese cuisine. They also have an extensive international cuisine menu, from which I sampled almost everything it offers.
The menu is a perfect mix of salad dishes (my favourite with prawns, avocado & mango), pasta dishes (my son loves the salmon pasta), meaty specialties of the house, small bites and of course all the Lebanese flavours.
On the numerous visits me and my companions sampled everything from salad, dips, fish and meat and everything was absolutely spot on.
The presentation, flavours and delivery is always the same, and they never miss the mark – and I’ve been going there for years now.
The restaurant might not have the best setting as it’s by a busy road, but they always deliver on flavour and that’s why I keep coming back there, along with many other expats.
Restaurants to avoid in Fuengirola
Let’s start with the worst – most of my worst food experiences involved Chiringuitos.
These are the shabby-looking restaurants scattered around the beaches focusing mainly on fried seafood. They all have wonderful views of the sea (in the winter, when it’s not blocked by sunbathing tourists in front of your table), but that’s where it ends.
They normally have very cheap plastic furniture and service that leaves a lot to be desired.
The old advice goes ‘eat where the locals do’ – in this case, it can’t be further from the truth.
Yes, Chiringuitos are full of locals, but they are probably there because fried seafood is something of a staple of the local cuisine and I feel like it’s more of a cultural thing, rather than a culinary experience.
The food is pretty basic, a lot of it cooked from frozen fish (which they don’t tend to mark on the menu), without taste or proper seasoning. Zero presentation and complete lack of culinary imagination.
There are a few exceptions, one of those is the Chiringuito Oasis. Great quality food, immaculate service, and unlike the other chiringuitos, it is built higher off the ground, so you actually get to enjoy the sea view.
Paseo Maritimo Restaurants
Scattered around the promenade are even more tourist traps – restaurants displayed sun-drenched images of burgers with chips, best deals for English breakfast, or deals on Paella. You will be happy to grab a quick sandwich to take to the beach, but anything beyond that is at your own risk.
Fuengirola even has a Michelin star restaurant which turned out to be an utter disappointment.
The dish looked like something that’s served in a Chiringuito and slapped together in a hurry. After I returned my undercooked half-raw salmon, I was told by the waiter that apparently that’s the correct way to cook salmon (leave it completely raw in the middle). Note to self: next time tell the waiter you don’t want to eat sushi. Normally I would give each place a second try, but this restaurant was so bad that I didn’t want to waste my money there for the second time.
Got Your Favourites?
I will keep updating this list regularly, but if you have a favourite of your own, leave a comment below so I can test it out!
Fuengirola: Recommended Day Trips & Experiences
- Caminito del Rey Day Trip with Guide – explore the world-famous pathway of the king, and admire the stunning views from the gorge El Chorro. Includes pick up in Fuengirola, entrance to Caminito del Rey and helmets.
- Day Trip to Gibraltar – with pick up from Fuengirola with a minibus, with free time in Gibraltar for shopping and an optional tour of the nature reserve.
- Gibraltar Sightseeing Day Tour – a more structured day trip with a full tour of the nature reserve, showing you all the highlights, with free time for shopping. Pick up from Fuengirola.
- Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas Day Trip – see the famous Puente Nuevo bridge in Ronda, with one of the oldest bullrings in the country, and admire the homes and restaurants built into caves in Setenil. Pick-up in Fuengirola – includes a walking tour of Ronda and a complimentary glass of wine in Ronda.
- Day Trip to Granada with Alhambra Tour – see one of the architectural wonders of Spain, the Moorish Palace complex of Alhambra, with free time to explore Granada. Includes pick-up from Fuengirola, tickets to Alhambra and a guide.
Explore more in Fuengirola
Southern Spain Travel Tips
BEST CAR RENTAL
To rent a car, I highly recommend Discover Cars, an award winning price comparison site for car rentals.
BUS & TRAIN TICKETS
To get the cheapest bus or train tickets, take a look at Omio to find the timetables and prices.
Local travel companies offer many day trip options from almost all the destinations in Southern Spain. You can check them out here.
I have been using booking.com for all my trips in Spain and abroad, and it’s the best place to book your hotel.
If you would like to leave your luggage behind to explore the city on your last day, you can use Radical Storage service, which lets you book luggage storage in all the destinations in Spain.
LOCAL SIM CARD
If you want to avoid surprising extra charges from your operator, you can use a service like Airalo, where you can buy digital packs for e-sim cards.
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