Venta de Alfarnate
Antigua Ctra. Málaga-Granada Km.513 S/N, 29194 Alfarnate, Málaga
Tel: 952 75 93 88
SERVING food for around 800 years, Venta de Alfarnate rightly claims to be the oldest restaurant in Andalucia. There are documents proving its existence in the 13th century and it has been frequented by everyone from bandits to King Alfonso XIII. Full of legends and stories, it has even managed to keep – allegedly – the ancient cell, where legendary bandollero Luis Candelas, from Madrid, was finally caged, after stealing two horses and a mule in 1824. He is still there today, like a Madame Tussaud waxwork, looking bored and waiting for his fate. While all this might sound a bit gimicky, the truth is rather different. For the restaurant has not only kept most of its character, but the owners serve up some of the best local venta fare in the whole province.
At a crossroads in the high hills of once lawless Axarquia region, the ancient boarding house looks charming from the outside, while inside still has all its old barro floors, small wooden windows and gnarly old beams. Tables are stylishly set with striped burgundy and ochre cotton tablecloths. Nice sturdy wooden chairs. There are plenty of old etchings, ancient newspaper cuttings and the odd bulls head hanging from the wall. While not over original the food is simple and well sourced. A large amount of meat dishes, including splendid goat and even osobucco, is to be commended. The local hot chorizos from Colmenar soaked and cooked in local white wine were delicious as a starter. The thinly-sliced aubergines with sugar cane honey was a classic and excellently executed Malaga dish. The Spanish go for the primeval dish Huevos a lo Bestia (eggs of the beast), which is a classic dog's breakfast, comprising the infamous migas bread crumbs with fried bread, egss, chorizo, blood sausage and pork loin. It is a monster, and you can appropriately perhaps eat it in Luis Candelas' cell if you so wish.
Top dish: The Spanish would tell you Huevos a lo Bestia (eggs of the beast), which is a classic dog's breakfast, comprising the infamous migas bread crumbs with fried bread, egss, chorizo, blood sausage and pork loin. I personally prefer the Oso Bucco or Chivo, goat.
Top tipple: For a venta the wine list is very good... and even better there are plenty of half bottles, such as Arzuaga at 15 euros or Ardanza at 19 euros. The locally-produced Montespino rose is great for the summer at just 12 euros.
Top tip: Take a wander around both towns of Alfanate and Alfanatejo, which while just a couple of miles apart have been sworn enemies since the Civil War, when one side sided with the fascists, the other the republicans. Apparently never the twain shall meet, and it is practically still all but forbidden to even date someone from the other village, let alone marry. Both have their own character, particularly being set in such delightful high mountain scenery.