In recent years Fuengirola has enhanced its reputation as one of the Costa del Sol’s centrepieces of culinary excellence and diversity. From a burgeoning array of tapas establishments to high-end restaurants offering Spanish and international gastronomy, the town’s eateries cater for all tastes and budgets.
The town council even promotes an annual “erotic tapas” competition that might displease some steadfast connoisseurs of haute cuisine (and which can sometimes be slightly daft and chintzy) but has proved to be increasingly popular among fun-loving foodies and tourists.
Now, locals and visitors have an eye-catching new attraction that raises the gastronomic bar even higher. Located in the heart of the town, opposite the post office (Correos), the La Galería Gastromercado is the creation of four childhood friends from Fuengirola, Juan de Dios García, Alvaro Castñeira and architects Pedro and Carmen Martin.
Work began in May last year on a vacant plot in the town centre, and earlier this year the space was transformed into an innovative gourmet market with a commercial area under a large glass dome (overhead blinds for sun protection will be incorporated for summer), an indoor patio with a verdant vertical garden, and a connecting corridor to a second street access – thus effectively creating an attractive new pedestrian mall in the town.
The market comprises 13 different outlets run by leading culinary professionals: a cafeteria-cake shop, specialist beer bar, wine bar and cocktail bar; and nine offering a diverse range of cuisine including Italian (pizzas and pastas), croquettes, prime meat, gourmet, seafood, muffins, salmorejo (a creamy cold soup), traditional Spanish and sushi.
Another treat for visitors to the market is an exquisite selection of extra virgin olive produced at the family-run mill O-Med, based in Granada (www.omedoil.com). Open all year, Sundays to Thursdays 12 noon to midnight and Fridays and Saturdays 12 noon to 1 am.