Menú del Día: Great food at a budget price

Pinchitos at Ferrara Asador, Torrox Costa

For much less than the cost of an evening dinner, most restaurants in La Axarquía have a cheap, fixed-price meal available at lunchtime only.

Because the normal Spanish working day has a 3 hour break in the middle, many Spanish workers take advantage of this time (often referred to as a siesta) by catching up with friends or colleagues over lunch.

Why eat a sandwich at your desk when you can enjoy a leisurely lunch with friends?

Ferrara Asadaor, Torrox Costa, Spain

Roast pork at Ferrara Asador, Torrox Costa

Drinks and bread included

Known as Menu del Día, you can usually enjoy a two or three course meal, including bread and your first drink, for around 8 – 10 euros.  It´s usually a set menu, though there is often a choice of three or four dishes for each course.

A typical menu might include soup or salad to start, followed by fish or pork with flan or coffee to finish.  Bread, plus your choice of first drink (beer, wine or water) are usually included in the price.

Typical board advertising Menu of the Day, Spain

Look out for a board outside the restaurant, advertising the Menu del Día, which will usually be written in Spanish, and always remember to look out for restaurants and bars frequented by locals rather than tourists.

My choice in Torrox Costa:

** Ferrara Asador on the N340, near to the Repsol garage.  At only €8 with great service, good choice and quality of food, it´s well worth a visit, but go before 2.00pm as it gets very busy, especially in August.

** Fancy something a bit different ?  Try the Jing Chinese restaurant on the Paseo Maritimo along Ferrara Beach.  Their menu del día is even cheaper at €6, but drinks cost extra.  Again, excellent food and service.

Where´s your favourite place to eat, east of Málaga?

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55 thoughts on “Menú del Día: Great food at a budget price

  1. Pingback: Cost of Living: East of Málaga, Spain – April 2013 | East of Málaga .... and more!

  2. Pingback: Cost of Living: East of Málaga, Spain – November 2012 « East of Málaga

  3. I’ve never eaten out east of Malaga, we tend to stick to the city or the touristy Costa del Sol (because I really like places that are hoppin’). We don’t eat out much, 2 kids with very large stomachs can get pretty pricey!

    • The two restaurants I have mentioned in this article get pretty busy – in fact, the one with the red blinds (in the photo) which is Ferrara Asador often has people standing around waiting for a table! But then it IS good food.

      I know what you mean though, Serena, it´s mostly adults that enjoy a menu of the day.

  4. One of my favorite places is the Axarquia Petrol Station at the Nerja Frigiliana exit of the motorway.
    Great menu del dia for 8.60€ including your first drink. Really good food and great service.
    Always busy.

    • Actually, you are not the first to mention that this (relatively) new petrol station has great food. I´ve not sampled it myself – yet, but I´ve no excuse not to now!

      Thanks for reminding me, guys :)

    • Yes, very civilized – but the sting in the tail is the return to work later in the afternoon!

      I´m sure the siesta came about to escape the heat of the midday sun, with a return to work as the day cools down.

  5. Sydney has a food festival each October, this year it was called Crave Sydney – http://www.cravesydney.com/events.php?intcategoryid=88&linkid=819 – and one of the components was Let’s Do Lunch, where better known (& generally more expensive) restaurants showcased their menus for fixed priced lunch time dining, amongst other foodie things. Beyond that, I think there are lots of places to have a business lunch but when I get away from my desk, I have a few favoured CBD food court places, and tend to sushi/sashimi but nothing so impressive as the array you have displayed :)

    • What a great way for good class restaurants showcase their menus though! I´m sure that they get lots of repeat business as a result!

      Yes, there are some fantastic food courts in Sydney city centre :)

  6. It is one of the first things I noticed when in Europe is how different lunch is viewed. Here, it is almost a burden and many skip lunch or eat “something” at their desk. In much of the Europe I visited, lunch was so much more than a meal — and so much more enjoyable. When I was in Spain, I knew enough to seek out locals-approved restaurants, especially for lunch, so, I’m no stranger to “Menú del Día”. What a treat!

    • Of course, it helps that there is a long break here during the mid-part of the day – though not so great when you have to go back to work at 4.30pm until 8pm :(

      Luckily for me I don´t have to do that!

    • A visit to Ayo´s is always great fun, especially on a Sunday – the atmosphere is buzzing, there is plenty of jostling to get a table and you can always go back and get second helpings! For what more could you ask? ;)

  7. when in malaga for the day my wife and i always go to a restaurant opposite the municipal market great value more than a dozen 1st and 2nd courses and only 7.50 euros

  8. Hi Marianne

    Great pics and information! We have taken advantage on several occasions of the Menu del Dia on our many trips out there. Just curious though – when does this Menu usually get served – is it ever available during the evening too?
    Thanks
    Lesley

    • Hi Lesley

      Mostly the Menu del Día is available (around here) between around 1pm and 4pm (ish) each afternoon, Monday to Friday, though you might find an odd restaurant which extends the hours into the evening time.

      Many Chinese restaurants have their Menu del Día available all day, but outside the lunchtime trade you might pay a Euro or two more.

      Hope that helps :)

  9. I’m a huge fan of menu del día, both in Spain and Portugal. In some places, you still get a whole bottle of wine (for two people) included in the price, making it incredible value. I’d hate to have to go to work afterwards though!

    When I lived in Barcelona, my friend and I didn’t work on Fridays so we used to try out the menu del días of restaurants we could never afford to go to normally.

I´d love to hear from you, and much appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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