Tapas is something that is universally renowned as something typically, quintessentially Spanish. There are but a few theories as to how it came about as being Spain’s most popular cuisine, especially vis-à-vis the size of the dish, and how it came to be served mostly with a drink for each dish. One of the main theories that’s gained traction is that King Alfonso X fell ill, and his physician prescribed him a diet consisting of small amounts of food coupled with wine to aid digestion in order to recover. This method of eating pleased him so much, that he decreed that snacks and the like could not be sold unless accompanied by a drink, or so they say.
More likely is the that tapas comes from the Spanish tapar, which means ‘to cover’ – or tapa meaning ‘lid’. Drinks sold would be covered during this time with bread to stop all manners of dust getting into your cup. In this sense, the food stems from the verb and has evolved over time to what it is today, a snack and a drink! Now that we’ve covered some history, let’s delve into the best tapas in Ronda!
The best tapas in Ronda isn’t exactly few and far between. Of course, most restaurants here serve some decent tapas, but if you want to experience the best tapas in Ronda here are some of the must visits during your stay:
Price point: £-££
Dinner for two and a bottle of wine: £25-£40
Vegetarian and vegan friendly
The Almacen is a restaurant just a few minutes’ walk from the city’s iconic bridge, making it an ideal location to go for lunch and recharge after exploring the city.
It has a great vibe on the inside which matches the translation of its name (storehouse), with old style piping going up and down all over the place and is one of the rare places that you can get yourself a pint without having to ask for two smaller glasses. The vibe isn’t lessened by the fact of it being turning into a more bar-oriented scene during the evenings, as it genuinely adds to the atmosphere.
It offers typical dishes, such as morcilla, which is similar to black pudding for the brits, and blood sausage for the rest of you! It comes from the north of Spain from a town called Burgos, but don’t let that fool you as the Almacen has the recipe down to a tee. On to one of my favourites is their handmade croquetas of goat’s cheese, which has the taste and melt-in-your-mouth consistency of a baked camembert without the mess. A good pairing to this is the pork cheek stew, known as carrillada as its richness works in tandem with the sweetness of the cheese. Their signature dish (and my colleague’s favourite!) however is a pasta, made with small vermicelli strands cooked in squid ink and served with a light garlic butter and legendary Pedro Ximenez sweet wine. All of this at a really reasonable price of a just a few euros per dish.
If tapas isn’t really your style, don’t let that get in the way of eating here as they still serve some international favourites, such as their hamburgers and locally renowned guacamole and beetroot nachos.
Price point: £
Dinner for two and a bottle of wine: £20-25
Lechuguita is something of a local legend in the Malaga region.
Just a minute’s walk from the main attractions of the city, the Lechuguita sits on the corner of an unassuming street. That does little to diminish the fact that this absolute gem of a restaurant/bar/eatery/social spot is perhaps the most sought-after place to eat in Ronda by the locals. It’s easy to find and even easier to order, even if a language barrier exists. All you need to do is tick off a few boxes on their ‘menu cards’ and present it to the bartender, wait a few minutes and you’ll have your goods – making this for us one of the places to get the best tapas in Ronda.
As of the time of writing this blog, it sits at 4 ½ stars on TripAdvisor with 1300 reviews. If that’s not enough to sell it to you, then this might: every dish is ninety cents. €0.90. Less than a quid, less than a buck, less than a euro. Not only is it cheaper than a typical fast food joint, but considerably healthier and much tastier than what anything at its price point could possibly offer. Doubling up this value for money is that you can try most every typical Spanish tapas dish on the cheap, which will give you some idea of what you want when you go somewhere that offers larger plate sizes.
A good go to on the menu is their goat’s cheese with a delicious raspberry jam, which sits delicately on a slice of bread. Couple this with one of their Pisto’s – a typical Spanish stew of tomato and pepper, spiced perfectly to keep you warm in the winter months. They also have the basic tapas but having it there you would think it anything other than basic. Grilled chorizo, Asturian meatballs, bread with alioli – anything that is typically Spanish that you can think of, the Lechuguita has it.
As it’s Ronda’s most popular spot for tapas, it can often feel hectic in there. However, it does not have the frenzied atmosphere that usually accompanies a very busy restaurant. In fact, most people say it adds to the experience and makes it feel like an authentic Spanish bar (which it very much is).
Price point: ££-£££
Dinner for two and a bottle of wine: £50-£60
As much as Lechuguita is the go-to for a cheap, hearty meal, Tragata is the opposite. Opulent, lavish dishes to sate the fine dining desires of our readers.
A stone’s throw from the famous Tajo that Ronda boasts is a restaurant that is completely unmissable. This restaurant takes tapas to a new level in many various ways, not least the fact that the owner, Benito Gomez, has a Michelin star to his name. Not only this, but because it is a tapas restaurant, you get the experience and creativity of a Michelin star chef but for the low price that is quintessentially tapas. The restaurant is architecturally a mix of both abovementioned recommendations. It is built in a way to provide you with a sufficient space to enjoy your meal as you typically would in a restaurant, but also bar-like areas to stand, eat and chat away the evening with friends. It captures the essence of the best tapas in Ronda, then tempts you back like a firefly in the night.
Culinary fusion is one of Benito Gomez’ specialties, and so being able to incorporate the soul of tapas using a delicate Asian inspired flavour profile is one of the main reasons that Tragata is so popular. Furthermore, the scope of the menu isn’t limited to tapas, so you can mix and match whatever tickles your fancy on the day. One such dish that nails the balance between Spanish heartiness and the gossamer fine fragrances and delicacy at this restaurant is their Thai seabass. Just a quick glance at their TripAdvisor page is enough to sway any doubts you may have regarding if such a blend of cuisines is even possible. A more tapas-y dish is their spicy fried squid, but the twist to it is that the bread is made using squid ink as well. The bread is made to such a degree that it is almost weightless, fluffy and incredibly light, which gives you the full breadth of flavour of the calamari.
A final favourite of mine is the salmon fillet with a vanilla and lime dressing on a bed of yoghurt and roe. I know it sounds like a gastronomic catastrophe found only in the minds of the mad chefs of the world, but it’s often said that there’s a fine line between madness and genius, and in this case I’ve got to say this dish lies on the latter side of that divide.
If you’re still hungry and looking for more recommendations, we also have some restaurants in mind that aren’t necessarily tapas based!