Visit: 10 October 2023
El Pimpi occupies an old 18th century home in the city centre on Granada Street in the old town, close to the Picasso Museum. It was converted into a bodega in 1971. Malaga historians say that ‘el pimpi’ was the name given to early tour guides who accompanied ships’ crews around the city, showing them the sights of interest and where to find food.
The bodega is divided into different halls on multiple floors and patios, with old bullfighting posters, internal patios, exposed wooden beams and stone archways, each one with a particular atmosphere that makes it unique. There is a large outside terrace with views of the Alcazaba.
Malaga-born Hollywood star Antonio Banderas is a shareholder in the bodega. He also owns the rooftop apartment next door.
The menu is varied and includes a selection of Malaga’s most typical dishes and local wines. I was surprised that Manzanilla was not available.
We arrived at about 8.30pm and the restaurant inside and out was packed with customers. Fortunately, we had booked a table, as the queue outside for walk-ins was very long. This is a very popular bar and restaurant. We waited about ten minutes and were shown to a table in the upstairs restaurant area. The menu was available using a bar code and then viewed on your phone.
We chose a selection of tapas type dishes, including Pimpi prawns, slices of Spanish potato omelette (cuna tortilla), cold almond and garlic soup with a sorbet (ajoblanco sorbete), fried calamari, and fried boqueron (anchovies). The Pimpi prawns were cooked in olive oil, garlic and chilli and served sizzling. These were tasty. The ajoblanco is a popular Spanish cold soup from Granada and Málaga, made from bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and sometimes vinegar. Here, the soup did not have as much garlic as others I have tried and lacked any flavour. We ordered two of the fried calamari. One was cooked accurately and was tender, while the other was over cooked and rubbery.
I think most people go to El Pimpi for the atmosphere. It really is a very lively and popular restaurant. On this visit, I found the food lacked taste and the service was very poor. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had visited when the restaurant was not so busy.