Austin >Malaga Tapas & Bar
Cheese for all seasons: Malaga's "Plato de Quesos y Fruta" is one of my go-to downtown snacks when I'm feeling virtuous, while their "Queso de Cabra Frito con Miel" (fried, breaded goat cheese cakes with honey) is not. Both are out of this world delicious.
Wine and tapas are the stars at this understated and upscale Second Street District eatery..
Spanish-themed paintings adorn the walls, brick and wood accents are highlighted by soft lighting. Stools line the long bar and immense wine racks are everywhere. Attentive waitstaff and bartenders offer wise recommendations to novice or expert wine fans. Menu highlights include: fried calamari, kalamata olive tapenade served with pita bread and a delightful tiramisu with an exquisitely light texture and just the right balance of delicate sweetness and strong brandy-espresso flavors.
I have yet to go to the new 2nd street location, but am going this week. I enjoy the service as it has always been spot on. The desserts are my favorite and I have to say that I like all of them. The prices though, are way above tapa prices in Barcelona. They should be priced lower because the purpose is to have many appetizers, not just a couple. Still, it is a great place.
Responding to Klua's post on 7/14/08. YOU were rude, not the restaurant. Restaurant's are places of businesses. Businesses are expected to make a profit. Using one of the few tables available to sit and chat shows a lack of etiquette. Fighting to keep the table after explanation shows a lack of Intelligence. there are curbs outside to sit on. Try those.
Excellent Tapas. Just tried the new location on 4th and I didn't think it could be better than the old location... but it is! The wine selection was great as usual and the food even better. We had the Quail Legs and the Portobello and the Lomo. All were excellent. The atmosphere was a fun and exciting (but a little loud for me) since the place was packed on a Friday night. I think we had a new server, she could have know the wine list a little better. But, we were having so much fun we hardly noticed!
WOW! WHAT SERVICE. I have yet to visit the new location, My date and I finally checked it out on Sat night. We started out at the bar bc it was packed. The bartender , Mike I believe, turned us on to an amazing martini called Mona vie. It was delicious and he was very friendly and funny. We then went on to our table were WE were served by a charming young man named micah, he was very knowledgable and anticipated all our needs. Great service!!.
Malagas I + II.
Malaga I (old location): Nearly everything about this place is perfect so it is easier to get the only "con" out of the way. The food selection is somewhat limited, or should I say, not as adventurous as I've had in Spain, Boston (Dali restaurant in Cambridge), or even Raleigh (Red Room Tapas). What was ordered (portabello mushroom, scallops, asparagus, and some type of tortilla pie) was hit or miss. The rest was excellent, from being seated immediately and accomodating our late arrival, to the wine selection, to the prompt service, the incredibly romantic ambiance, the attentiveness of the waitstaff, the reasonable prices, etc.
Malagas II (present location) I feel awful for not giving more stars (after all, I didn't get food poisoning or anything...am I being too picky?), but when I try to look at it objectively I just can't muster up giving them more than one.
First off, I'm no professional critic nor a bona fide foodie but I have eaten my fair share of awesome food in restaurants of all different stripes in many regions and countries. Tapas is my absolute favorite style of eating next to the Chinese dim sum, and I've had tapas in its birthplace, Spain, as well as in several large US cities--the absolute best stateside being Dali in Cambridge near Harvard Square. I digress...
My husband and I went to Malaga's last night and were promptly seated, which was impressive considering that we did not have reservations. For that reason, I didn't mind paying the consequences when we were seated at bar-height tables pushed up along the back corner of the restaurant. At least our view of the restaurant (once we ignored the stacked extra seats that shared the same space) was nice as we could see that others were enjoying their tables in the well decorated, contemporary space. While we truly loved Malaga's old space before moving to this new location, we also enjoyed this one.
Our server was nice enough; nothing remarkable either way which I would take any day over an incompetent or rude one so we were okay with that.
We had hoped that the menu would receive an overhaul, or at least a noticeable improvement over its past menu, but we were disappointed to find it similar if not the same. The dishes were not creative, nor traditional...just boring. Fried this and that. Does it matter what it is if it's been fried? Artichoke dip that is indistinguishable from that at any nondescript chain restaurant. The shrimp and scallops were decent but again, unremarkable. For an example of real tapas, look at Dali's menu online!
The drinks were okay, but the Sangria was awful. It reminded me of the Hurricanes you get at Pat O'Briens in New Orleans where you have to be drunk to get past the kool-aid powder taste of the drink and just be happy it has alcohol. I was embarrassed that we had sent a pitcher of it over to a group of friends we ran into. OOPS!!
The prices were steep considering the quality of food.
There are too many wonderful places in Austin to eat that we will not make this mistake again.
Better than Spain. I just read through the reviews for this restaurant and was shocked that anyone could have had a bad experience at Malaga! I've been going there for years with friends, family, dates, you name it. Every time it's been a perfect, unforgettable, delectable experience for all. From the moment you walk in you feel that you've left Austin (or the US for that matter) and entered romantic old-world Spain. The ambiance, the music, the lighting, the smells all enchant your senses. The hostesses and waitstaff only serve to enhance the experience - caring for you exactly the way you wish everyone would: there when you need them, knowledgable, helpful but never intrusive. So welcoming! The wine list is to die for and the food is a culinary experience like no other. In fact, I've been to Spain many times and I have to say I like the chef's interpretations of the Spanish classics better than many I've had in their country of origin. And very frequently the chef makes the rounds, visiting with customers, sprinkling his charm and passion for food and wine like pixie dust on everyone. Truly, if you're into great wine, fantastic service, old world ambiance and mouth-watering food - you absolutely MUST make Malaga your next dining experience.
I found my new favorite brunch spot. So we hadn't been to the new location in about a month and decided to get our Malaga fix this past Sunday afternoon. To our surprise they had just started a new brunch menu. In short, it was amazing. It was my husband, 2 friends and myself. We all ordered different items off of the brunch menu and as usual Malaga did not disappoint. To top it all off they have Mimosa's and 4 different Sangrias for $1.00!!! That's right one dollar. I think I just found my new favorite brunch spot and can't wait to go back this weekend.
This place gave me PTSD!. This was the worse restaurant experience I have ever had in my 25 years of living (I know that?s young but I'm old enough to know how a good, paying customer should be treated). Beware of Adam (the host) this man quite literally has never had any social training. My girls and I were trying to have a girls night out and we loved the look of this place but you can forget about the service! Bad bad bad! There are so many places in Austin where you can have a great time, this is not one of them. Please guys, don't take your dates here.
We've never been treated so poorly. You get better service at MacDonald's.. RUDE, RUDE, RUDE! I have been going to the Malaga for the past three years and have very much enjoyed it. I was eager to bring friends of mine one recent evening. However, that evening ruined it for me. My friends and I came in and were shown a table. As simple as that. When we said we were not going to order food, the waitress became visibly annoyed and left. A minute later, the host (the same that gave us the table) told us we had to wait at the front until a space was free at the bar because tables were reserved for meals. This was not mentioned by him when he gave us the table nor was it written anywhere. So I asked if we could wait at the table instead of moving twice seeing it was his mistake. He said fine then came back with two customers and told us to get out. It got ugly very quickly when I got angry and he threatened to get the police. We put him to the challenge. He left for a good 5-10 minutes while people were piling at the door and came back without the police. Meanwhile, the staff had obviously been told not to serve us. Waitresses and bartenders ignored our orders. We were finally told by the host that he was going to throw us out if we didn't leave. We did. But we told everyone that we encountered that we had found small creatures at our table :) NO CLASSY ESTABLISHMENT TREATS THEIR CUSTOMERS LIKE THAT.
Great happy hour, great food. I can't believe the slew of negative reviews. I have eaten here many times and the food is always great. The wine pours are huge, really more like two glasses.
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