We’re going shopping. We stop for a beer and, after lunch, we top everything off with a tasty coffee. We propose a day in Malaga, where you can discover delicious flavors and products that respect our environment. We do so in places full of good vibes that came to the Costa del Sol from halfway around the world: if Malaga is a great place to live in, it also is one to create your own business like many foreigners did already.

Many opted for the city center, a territory of which Spain Food Sherpas  knows all its secrets. With them, we approach these establishments set up byguiris” (foreigners) that once visited Malaga and who couldn’t bring themselves to leave anymore. You will thank them: their stores are awesome.

Recyclo bike cafe

La Brujhada 

San Agustín, 11

When Paris was a feast, Hemingway savored Turnedós in his favorite cafés. He did so hiding from familiar faces in order not to be disturbed while eating or writing. Now he could also hide in Malaga- a city that usually is as well a party. He could taste this favorite dish thanks to two Parisians, Fabienne and Patrice, who elaborate it like only few can do in this town: it’s a sirloin steak with homemade foie gras, red wine and truffle oil.

They offer it in La Brujhada, a restaurant specialized in French Cuisine that is open since mid November 2014 in the very center of Malaga. It is located next to the Picasso Museum, almost lost between ugly postcards, flamenco costumes, castanets and magnets for the refrigerator from the souvenir shops around.

Its existence is due to a series of coincidences that include a seven-meter truck, a pizza expert, a holiday in St. Jean de Monts, an unfulfilled promise and a suitcase full of ideas prepared during one weekend. Both tell you the story with the same calmness, joy and life philosophy that they applied as well to the restaurant. And to the name: “Brujhada” comes from the word “bruja” (witch), referring to the capabilities of Fabienne as a numerologist, and Patrice’s balmy capabilities like a fairy (“hada”).

With artificial lawn on the floor, some numbers on the wall and the colors green and purple as protagonists in every corner, the establishment offers seasonal French cuisine based on old family recipes and local produce. But don’t get too used to it: the menu changes completely with every season and every month is dedicated to a different region of the neighboring country with six original proposals of that region.

Behind the stoves are now helping the Moroccan Haki Hatim and the French-Hispanic Georges Avila. All together they seek to redefine the classic restaurant concept: that it’s not simply an establishment where they serve food, but also a place to chat, drink coffee and enjoy no matter how much time passes by. All of that with the excuse of eating well. And that is easy with dishes ranging from Parisian-style salmon tartar to tasty veal sweetbread or poached eggs with smoked bacon, wine and onion sauce.

But the star is the homemade foie gras based on a mysterious recipe -or so the story tells- accompanied with seasonal products (dried figs, currants and spiced bread in winter, corn bread, pear jelly and candied kumquat or mini hamburgers, apple compote). Don’t forget to try the lemon cake or chocolate mousse with seasonal fruit before you leave. And yes, you will return: not only for the food, but you will also want them to tell you again their story. They’ll be delighted.

La Brujhada

Recyclo Bike Café

Marqués Villafiel, 4

You’ll be surprised to see, hanging from the ceiling, your old Orbea Furia blue or the classic Motoretta 2 in red. The shelves are full of books about cycling, but you can also find others like Joyce‘s Ulysses, a poetic anthology of Antonio Machado or a volume on Communist Priests. The beer, which is cheaper if you go there by bike, invaded the bar, with a prominence of craft beer from Malaga.

On the walls, a young designer exhibits his artwork. And a projector is used for watching the greatest cyclist showdowns on a big screen. If this is what you’re seeing, you’re in the Recyclo Bike Café  – a place that was born as a meeting point for Malaga’s bike colony and that grew beyond it, almost accidentally.

Its cuisine is based on products from the nearby Atarazanas market and on homemade vegetarian dishes that range from lemonade to vegan chorizos or veggie burgers. Their prices accompany: menus for six Euros which speak for themselves. And their success is also based on the great and healthy environment that permeates the place.

It’s enough to say that you can make your own fruit juice pedaling on thebicibatidora” (bicycle-mixer) they have in the entrance. And in the bicycle shop next door they’ll repair your bike and you can also get a chain there, if you want to leave it tied to the door. A place focused on the “Malagueño”, something particularly difficult to find in a city that rolls-up the red carpet for cruise ship passengers and removes it as soon as they leave.

The creator of all this was an Englishman raised in the Alpujarras, a Spanish of English blood named Patrick Peckham. Patrick, a tireless traveler, discovered during his Erasmus year in Krakow his passion for small quality cafes that existed in the Polish metropolis. He also gained experience while working as a waiter in Berlin. After a while in Germany, his political consciousness brought him back: he wanted to be part of the change in Spain through social movement.

On his way back he met skinny Gregg and blonde David, a Londoner and a Californian that owned a bike shop in Pedregalejo- Recyclo Bike Shop , the bicycle nerve center of Malaga since it opened a decade ago.

With David (the Californian) as associate, it all came together to open up Recyclo Bike Café- the place to be for bikes lovers, but as well accessible to almost anyone, with truly reasonable prices. And it worked: the place is packed from breakfast to dinner, daily. Search for your spot, you’ll find it.

Recyclo malaga

Veganized 

Fernán González, 3

From Recyclo you can see Melanie arrive at work by bike. She pulls up the blinds and the light illuminates a peculiar store in Malaga. She turns on her laptop, puts on some reggae music and starts the morning in a place where you find very unusual clothing.

Everything is organic, made with ecological and recyclable materials, free of chemicals and toxic elements. Its manufacturers don’t use animal oils, fats, additives or colorings. These brands are moreover certified for having decent working conditions for their workers.

The respect for the environment (and the human being) is the protagonist in the catalog of Veganized, a store that opened this year in February in Fernán González street number 3. They offer clothes for practically all ages. And proposals committed to a better world ranging from slippers to jackets, underwear or pajamas. Everything made of materials such as linen, hemp, recycled polyester and even cork.

Melanie is the daughter of one of many Andalusians who emigrated to Germany in the 60s. Since her childhood, the Spanish blood flowing through her veins made her try her luck in Spain. After studying two degrees- economics and nursing- she always had a steady work and a good salary in her country. And Ullrich, her partner, too.

But the routine, the gray skies and the desire for new experiences changed what Melanie had wanted. And, far from conventionalism, they left everything behind and took a vital leap forward to the sun shining in southern Spain.

Although their roots are in Córdoba, both needed the sea nearby, so they came to Malaga and spend later on five years in Almuñécar on the Tropical Coast of Granada. They were lucky, because they always found work quickly. They settled down. But a decade and two daughters later, they took a new vital leap. Again they left everything behind and persuaded an idea they were having since very long: to have their own business with the same life philosophy.

And like this Veganized was born, with its own online version and perhaps the only place in the capital of the Costa del Sol that ensures that your clothing is fair for everyone involved in its manufacturing: including your health.

Veganized Malaga

Het Beste Biertje

Trinidad Grund, 7

After shopping, the team of Spain Food Sherpas  can take you to a street that doesn’t belong to anyone. A place where the breeze will bring you the smell of the sea. Mermaids of the ships entering the Port of Malaga and thousands (millions) of seagulls that seem to laugh about everything high above our heads.

A borderline street that doesn’t belong to the historic center, but neither to the new Soho district- an area that deserves a break. So sit down and switch off your mobile phone. Free your agenda from all your plans and avoid any meetings for the rest of the day: this is your moment, just for you.

Because when you order a wheat beer with coriander and orange, you simply have to relax, enjoy and savor it. Maybe to ask for another one and even better when you share it with someone. But take it easy: there you’ve got a menu with 45 other varieties. And the hours between noon to midnight are all for you.

Het Beste Biertje  (that means translated, The Best Beer) is the first establishment in Malaga dedicated exclusively to Belgian beer. The owners are the Romanian Manuel Ionel and the Russian Olga Isaeva. They met while working in Madrid- him as a waiter and her in the kitchen- in a Belgian brewery. Both had previous working experiences in Malaga and they knew that sooner or later they would end up moving to the capital of the Costa del Sol because of its climate and quality of life.

Two years later, Olga made the big step: she moved, started a business and offered Manuel to work with her. In November of 2011 they opened this place destined to become the reference for beer lovers in Malaga. Het Beste Biertje is one of the reasons of Malaga’s beer boom: some of the young guys who set up new craft breweries in the city were themselves some of the regular ones in this bar over the last years.

We approach 5 establishments set up by foreigners that once visited Malaga and who couldn’t bring themselves to leave anymore. Their stores are awesome.

There are always five draft beers– among them three that rotate and which they announce on their website on Facebook. And 40 with surprising flavors like raspberry, apple and coconut. Each one with its specific glass.

A great little book helps you to choose between brands like Duvel or Tripel Karmeliet. The most popular ones are the trapienses, made by Belgian monks and that taste like a little piece of heaven, as does Westmalle, which comes from the north.

In the bar you can accompany your beers with some classic dishes from the country of Tintin, like delicious mussels with celery, leek, carrot and French fries with a dark beer sauce. But the kitchen is international: there are Russian steaks, frankfurters and even grilled fish from Malaga. All this with something basic, but hard to find: a good waiter. Hopefully Manuel is.

belgian-beer

Bertani Café 

San Juan, 40

And we’re back to Camas Square, wandering through the center between “mitades, nubes, cortados and sombras” (names used for ordering coffee in Malaga), docking on an island in a sea full of touristy cafeterias. It’s called Bertani and if you enter, you must be warned: after today, your usual “latte” will never taste the same again.

Located in a tiny local on San Juan Street, they serve you an individualized coffee. It’s going to be you who, depending on your preferences, determines which coffee fits most: Strong or mild, sweet or sour, a fruity touch …

It will take you a while to decide the first time. You’ll discover that coffee has even more nuances than wine: Aroma, sweetness, acidity, uniformity, body or cleanliness in the cup are some of them, but also a wide variety of flavors of red fruits and vanilla. But it’s well worth it.

And since a good coffee can be ruined by a poor service, luckily its owner, Laura Cabrera, is barista: a kind of coffee sommelier who knows thoroughly all there is to know about a good coffee. Prepare yourself well, breathe and enjoy: she’ll probably serve you the best coffee in your life. And it’s even not necessary to add sugar, which harms your health and the flavour of this drink.

The menu of Bertani Café is composed of beans from nine different Latin American and African countries (from Honduras or Colombia to Kenya and Ethiopia)- but all with a common base: the farms they are produced in are certified to ensure good growing conditions for the plants and correct labor conditions for their workers, without damaging the environment.

These are the so-called “special coffees”, which are not quoted on the stock exchange and that are produced in very specific places. Laura, Argentinean by birth and Honduran by heart, knows them by heart after training in Barcelona and Honduras, where she lived for a while together with her husband and where she fell in love with the world of coffee.

A holiday led them to Malaga and soon it was clear: here she will open her coffee shop. That was in 2012 and three years later Bertani Café is a reference in downtown Malaga for having a great coffee. Moreover, you can buy the beans to make it yourself at home and, once you’re already there, taste some delicious homemade organic cookies! She can also bring it to your office, if it’s located in the city center.

Bertani cafe

English version of the article “Málaga en cinco negocios guiris que te enamorarán”, written by N. Sánchez / Spain Food Sherpas for traveler.es (01/09/15).

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