I won’t judge if you’re drawing a blank right now. I myself did not know that Ronda even existed until our handy guide, Rick Steves (who lived in my iPad during our trip), mentioned this beautiful city. Ronda is a 12€ trip (one-way) from Malaga and takes two hours. There is only one train to and from each day. The earliest train leaves at 10am with the ride back at 4pm. Everyone who we asked nodded in approval, agreeing that four hours is more than enough. We finished the sightseeing within two hours and spent nearly the rest of the time eating.
There is not much to say about the sights, other than that Ronda is known for its white-washed houses, the arid scenery, the birth of modern Spanish bullfighting (this is where the cape originated) and a famous bridge called Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). The city is split into Ronda la Vieja (Old Ronda), settled by the Celts and the newer Ronda, which was settled by the Romans. Like most of Andalusia, there are still some remnants from the Moorish influence from the 14th century, but there is more Neoclassical influence, as evidenced by the New Bridge and the bullring.
Three Bridges- Puente Romano, Puente Viego & Puente Nuevo
Plaza de toros de Ronda, the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain
Cafe Madrid (in Malaga)
Calle Nueva 4
Phone: 95 287 7209
This tiny hole in the wall is located off a main street and sits amongst a flurry of touristy restaurants. There are few tables inside the minimalist decor, but more tables await outside under the gorgeous weather. The restaurant opened in 2006 to much acclaim and success amongst restaurant review sites.
Salmon marinado con vainilla y lima (2.97€)
Marinated salmon with vanilla and lime
Reviews on Tripadvisor rave about this dish and at under 3€, it’s definitely worth getting. Words can’t describe how delicious this was. The salmon is raw, but cooked in the lime juice. It was just so flavorful and tender. Every bite gushed of freshness. One is the perfect size for sharing between two.
Ensalada de espinacas con queso de cabra y miel (6.60€)
Spinach salad with goat cheese and honey
This is one of the most delicious spinach salads I’ve had. It’s not difficult to make any salad taste good with some goat cheese and craisins, but the kicker here is the honey, which came in raw chunks rather in the viscous form that I had expected. The crackers are interesting- they are certainly harder to chew on, but add a better depth in terms of flavor compared to regular croutons. The dressing seemed to be a light vinaigrette.
Mejillones tomate al vapor (12.65€)
Steamed mussels in a tomato sauce
For someone who doesn’t like shellfish, even I was impressed. There are two choices for the sauce- one white and one based with tomato. The server recommended the latter, which filled the air with an aroma straight out of the hills of Tuscany. Sabrina couldn’t help herself. She literally inhaled the whole pot. We loved the sauce so much that we asked for bread to dip. The bread came a bit late (the server forgot, just like he had with our seltzer), but at least it eventually made its way over.
Tataky de pato con arroz picante (15,95€)
Duck with spicy rice
The duck finally made its debut, after we had contemplated asking the server whether he had forgotten our order. As the most anticipated dish, this one was a shame. Similar to most of the other disappointments during our Spanish meals, this one was based on the saltiness. There was so much potential for the duck, if not for the darn salt. It’s as if someone accidentally poured a whole salt shaker in. The rice was even saltier than the duck! We had trouble finishing the whole dish. Luckily, it’s not something that more agua con gas could not combat.
Our total bill came out to 46.87€, which was slightly higher than expected. Prices listed on the menu do not include a 10% tax, which we had failed to include. The server accidentally charged us two beers, but he was gracious about it when we approached him. Perhaps most surprising of all, however, was when we were ordering. We had planned on ordering a couple of more tapas dishes when he stopped us at the four above saying, “For two, this is perfect.” “BUT WE WANT THE PORK ROLL!!” Sabrina chimed. “NO, FOR TWO PEOPLE, THIS IS PERFECT.” And that was that. We left feeling filled but not uncomfortably full, as all meals should end.
Calle de la Calderería, 1
Of course, we were hungry by the time we arrived back in Malaga. We had been deprived of our pork roll back at Traga Tapas, after all. We decided that we wanted something sweet, and what better to have than the famous chocolate con churros? Unfortunately, this is not eaten at dessert. At the first cafe we ventured into, the server looked at us funnily and said, “NO CHURROS! CHURROS PARA DESAYUNO!” (They’re for breakfast!) So on we went and we found Cafe Madrid, which did serve churros.
Cafe Madrid was founded in 1982, first opening as a confectionary shop. Today, it’s open for 24 hours and serves churros any time you want! These churros are addicting. They’re thin, super crunchy, and fresh from the fryer. The hot chocolate is not like your average American hot chocolate. It congeals and is lusciously thick. In other words, the two were made for each other for dipping. And unlike in America, churros in Spain are served plain, sans cinnamon and sugar. Heavenly.