Ayo in Nerja – The World Famous Paella included in Eating Out Guide

Major eating out guide expands its Soletes category for summer and includes 12 new additions from Malaga province

The Guía Repsol describes the establishments in this section as friendly, appealing places that you would recommend to a friend, and that includes chiringuito beach restaurants and even ice cream parlours

Ayo in Nerja? Spain’s Guía Repsol has added 41 restaurants in Andalucía, including a dozen in Malaga, to its Soletes category this summer, as it decided to recommend places which are very popular locally but do not normally make it onto these lists. The new additions were announced at a gala event in Ibiza on Tuesday.

The guide describes the restaurants in this section as friendly, appealing places that you would recommend to a friend, and that includes chiringuito beach restaurants and even ice cream parlours.

The recommendations in this section for Malaga province are: Helados Lauri, Santa Gema, Chiringuito Gutiérrez Playa, El Tintero II, Miguelito El Cariñoso and El Caleño, in Malaga city; La Mar Bonita, in Torremolinos; La Plata Casa Matilde, in Benajarafe; Alma Playa, in Rincón de la Victoria; El Saladero and El Hornillero, in Vélez-Málaga; and Ayo, in Nerja. Read more from the Sur in English

Ayo in Nerja – The World Famous Paella

Ayo in Nerja - The World Famous Paella
Ayo in Nerja – The World Famous Paella getting dished out

I am truly amazed at the inclusion of Ayo in Nerja to this list! Not because the food is bad, not because the prices are high or the service is poor; no! It’s because Ayo and his paella are actually world famous.

You can trawl the Youtube and Internet and you will find programmes featuring Ayo’s on Burriana Beach in Nerja. There are videos, blogs, articles and so on, all featuring this great Nerja Merendero /Chiringuito.

It is one of the ‘must visit’ sites on your trip to Nerja. Along with the Balcòn de Europa and the Nerja Caves, Ayo’s is a tourist attraction. The restaurant is always packed and people gather to watch the Paella being made over a roaring wood-burning fire.

There are, of course, other chiringuitos on the Burriana beach-front. One such as La Barca but, Ayo and his paella are the best known.

So, when you come and stay at the Nerja Beach Holidays apartments or villas, go to Ayo’s.

Espeto de Sardinas – Sardines Cooked on Skewers

Top tip from the Costa del Sol’s new King of the Espeto: “The secret is to cook them with love”

Espeto, Chiringuito, Merendero Skeward fish
Espeto de sardinas served up in Torre Del Mar

The chiringuitos that made it through to the final were La Batea Churrianera, Narval Marisquería and Restaurante Las Acacias, all from Malaga city, Chiringuito Royal Beach in Mijas and Marina Playa in Rincón de la Victoria

No dish is identified as closely with the Costa del Sol as the ‘espeto de sardinas’ – sardines cooked on canes over an open fire on the beach – which has become famous worldwide.

And Malaga now has a new Espeto King, following the recent gastronomic route organised by SUR, sponsored by Turismo Andaluz and Sabor a Malaga, in collaboration with the Chiringuitos Association of the Costa del Sol and Cruzcampo.

On Tuesday, the final of a competition to find the best ‘espetero’ took place, and the representatives of five beach restaurants were charged with cooking an espeto their way for the judging panel led by SUR’s food critic Enrique Bellver to try. Read more


A person using the espetar method of cooking. This involves driving fish/meat, skewered on bamboo, into mounds of sand close to very hot charcoal fires to cook it.


A Chiringuito is a small enterprise, usually a bar, selling mainly drinks and tapas, and sometimes meals, in a more or less provisional building, often on a beach or loose surface where a more permanent structure may be inviable.

Although there are large restaurants to be found on many beaches, such as Burriana Beach in Nerja. La Barca and Ayo’s to name just two. Sometimes also referred to as a Merendero (although, strictly speaking, a Merendero is a place in the open air where people gather to eat. Usually, bringing their furniture, food and drink)

Espeto de Sardinas

Espeto de Sardinas - Sardines cooked Espeto fashion. Espetar means 'to skewer'
Espeto de Sardinas – Sardines cooked Espeto fashion. Espetar means ‘to skewer’

The verb espetar means “to skewer.” Normally, on the beaches of Nerja and other places, this will be fish; sardines usually. The fishes are impaled on a bamboo skewer (nowadays, some chiringuitos will use metal skewers) and placed close to a large, very hot, charcoal-burning fire. They are dressed with rock salt and are delicious.

Meat and other types of food are also cooked in this manner, although fish and sardines are the norms.

When you come and stay in the Nerja Beach Holidays villas, apartments or townhouses, make sure to visit the chiringuitos. The fish is fresh from the Mediterranian and off the skewer straight onto your plate.


Eating out in Nerja – Tapas and Sangria

Eating out in Nerja – What is ‘Sangria’?

Sangria is an alcoholic beverage originating in Spain and Portugal. Under EU regulations only those two Iberian nations can label their product as Sangria; similar products from different regions are differentiated in the name.
Now, until I started writing this post, I never knew that; the bit about the EU regulations. Although I have drank my way through a fair amount of Sangria in my 20 years of living in Andalucia.  Some of it good, some of it, shall we say, a bit on the sweet side.

How to Make Sangria

The easy way? Get a big jug full of ice, add a bottle of red wine, a half bottle of lemonade / bitter lemon and some Cointreau (Cointreau is a premium triple sec orange-flavoured liqueur) and bung in some chopped oranges and apples. Bingo! That is a basic Sangria! You can check out Kieth Floyd’s version on this Youtube video.

There are numerous versions of this drink and you may even come up with your own. If this proves a little too sweet for you, ask for ‘Tinto de Verano’ which is chilled red wine with soda or lemonade.

Tinto de verano is a cold, wine-based drink popular in Spain. It is similar to sangria and is typically made up of 1 part of table red wine and 1 part soda, usually lemonade. Traditional brands of soda, or gaseosa, such as La Caserta, can be replicated by mixing Sprite or 7-Up with carbonated water. Cheers Wikipedia

#Note: Do not mix the word ‘Sangria’ with ‘Sangre‘. One is a wine cocktail, the other is stuff that Dracula drinks…Blood!

Eating Out in Nerja – Tapas

Eating out in Nerja - Tapas and Sangria in Nerja Andalucia Spain
Salchichas en el Infierno (Sausages in Hell)

Anyone who has the remotest idea of Spanish cuisine or Spanish culture will have heard of ‘tapas’.

There are numerous stories about the origins of this delightful habit, my favourite goes as such: the king of Spain was out riding and stopped at a place for a glass or two of wine. To keep the flies out of the king’s drink, he was given a slice of bread to cover the glass.

So was born a beautiful tradition.

Since then, things have advanced (or got silly) as now tapas can be as elaborate as you like.

There are standards that you will find in almost every bar offering tapas in Nerja. Cheese in oil, anchovies, prawns, Russian salad, Serrano ham, boiled eggs, Tortilla and so on, all with a slice or two of bread.

The more elaborate tapas, such as sausage and black pudding on skewers served over a roaring flame. Salchichas en el Infierno (Sausages in Hell) can be found in Nerja.

Tapas are both hot and cold dishes. You will find all sorts of meat, chicken, fish and so-on being served up.

#Tip: For those not too keen on ‘exotic’ types of tapas, stay clear of the ‘Seso de Chivo’. They sometimes come fried in breadcrumbs.

Take a walk around Nerja, go on the Tapas trails, try different establishments and, by the time you are ready for home, you’ll be quite an expert. I can’t think of anything more enjoyable. Ask the good people at Nerja Beach Holidays where to get the best tapas, they should know.

Go further inland, they also serve their versions of tapas, they are also, in some places, free with the drink.

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed – Best Spanish Food Dishes

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

Piqillo Peppers - Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
So much joy from such a small bottle – these peppers are sold everywhere

This is a fantastic dish, as a tapa, side dish or even a main course. Piquillo  Peppers can be stuffed with meat, fish, rice, potato or a mixture of the lot. There is no end to the variations, however; there are some standard piquillo pepper dishes that you will find everywhere in Spain, not just in Nerja.

Piquillo Peppers stuffed with cod and potato

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers - Tapas, side dish or, main course
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers – Tapas, side dish or, main course

My particular favourite variation is cod mixed with mashed potato and chives stuffed into the peppers.


This really is the most simple of dishes. There are few ingredients and not a lot of preperation. The ammount of peppers you need depends on how many are going to partake in this little delightful dish.

The best bet is to use all of the peppers.

Remove the peppers from the bottle and rinse under a cold tap. Pat them dry and check for any that are split, these are great for a sauce.

Boil a pan of potatoes and then mash them with butter and milk. You can then add chives or whatever herbs or spices you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the potatoes are cooled, push them into a pastry / piping bag. (If you don’t have one, no worries, simply cut off the bottom corner of a plastic freezer bag, put the contents in and it works just as well)

Squeeze the potatoes into the peppers. Thats it!

You can reheat them in the microwave for 2 minutes, eat them cold or even freeze them for another day. In the picture above, I used fresh parsley.

These piquillo peppers are great as a tapa, side dish or, a main course. They are very adaptable: you can stuff them with anything. Let me know how you get on with yours. A photo would be greatly recieved.

So, when you visit us at Nerja Beach Holidays, you will have your first tapas dish to look for.

Menu del Dia – A Great Feast for 20€


As is the norm for a lot of ex-pats, eating out during the hot summer days, just has to be done. Fast food is fine and pretty cheap but, there is another option; menu del Dia.

Menú del día, or menu of the day, is a menu served by Spanish restaurants during lunch, one of the largest meals of the day in Spain.

Featured today were: Starters: Guiso de papas y Atun (a potato and tuna stew) and Ensalada Malagueña (Malaga Salad that includes potatoes and oranges)

Main: Costillas a la Barbacoa (BBQ Ribs) and Merluza (Hake in batter)

Dessert: Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding) and Cuajada (Cuajada is a cheese product. Traditionally it is made from ewe’s milk, but now it is more often made industrially from cow’s milk.

It is popular in the northern regions of Spain and also in Andalucia. Topped with Honey (Miel) this really is a great dessert dish.)

Also included bread, a bottle of water and 2 x Alhambra beers. All for less than the price of a Mcdonald’s of the same size; 20€ for a couple!

When you compare the Menu and the McDonalds; there is only one winner.

Next time you come and stay at Nerja Beach Holidays, make a point of going for this great meal that is served everywhere. All quite different but, still at a great price.

Further inland, the prices are even cheaper. Use your villa or apartment in Nerja as a base to discover the rest of the Malaga and Andalucia areas.

Doggy Bags to be made Compulsary in Spain


Dogs in Spain - Dogs life in Spain
Pablito and his friends waiting on their doggy bags

As somebody who often takes food home for the dogs in the campo area (countryside), this is great news. Restaurants in Spain will have to offer clients doggy bags for their uneaten food.

The Spanish government has approved a new law to prevent food waste, including rules which will also affect supermarkets and farmers, among others. 

How often have we walked away, leaving uneaten food because we are too shy to ask for a doggy bag. Now, that’s one less thing to worry about.

Even if you don’t have a pet yourself, there is no shortage of takers sniffing about for a free meal. I don’t mean the human kind.

See more of this great story from the Sur in English