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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Railway sheds (muelles) have been converted into restaurants throughout Spain. Along the railway line down to Algeciras, we are fortunate to have a few which have made a name for themselves. In addition, there is a great choice of other eating establishments on or at stations from Arriate down to San Pablo de Buceite and beyond. In the following article, Joe King, who loves his food, takes a look, starting in …..



El Muelle de Arriate

This restaurant in the former muelle, railway shed, on the platform at the village station, is consistently and deservedly high in the Trip Advisor ratings. Indeed, it has been number 1 in Andalucía.

Run for 10 years by Dutchman Frank Rottgering the food is outstanding, the wine list is very good and the setting beside the line is delightful.

Added to that, Frank’s personal touch, whereby he greets every table on arrival, then describes the menu to his guests in whichever language they speak: Spanish, English, German and, of course, Dutch. The diners love it, as it instantly makes them feel welcome and special.


Venta El Chozo

100 metres from the station. This is a real locals’ bar where everybody goes to meet up for breakfast, lunch, tapas and dinner. Fish and chips (pavias de bacalao con papas fritas) are on the menu! Recommended.



Bar Restaurante La Estación ADIF Ronda.


Despite the somewhat cumbersome name, this railway-owned hostelry, in what looks like a muelle, is really good. It ministers to the needs of rail travellers, as well as to rondeños. The restaurant offers a wide range of tapas and raciones at popular prices.

The décor has a toros theme, with many old posters advertising the Feria de Pedro Romero. The 2022 edition has just taken place (first weekend in September).

In addition, there is sometimes live music on Friday nights.

I recently had breakfast there. Excellent and only 2.50€ (coffee and a mollete con aceite y tomate).

Hotel Cafeteria Andalucía


Diagonally opposite the station is another option. Has a nice terrace. A regular cafeteria. Always busy with Spaniards – a good sign.


Nothing here, although there is an abandoned muelle just waiting for someone to do up and open as a restaurant.

Hotel Ronda Valley

On the main road, about 200 metres away (A-374 at km 26) is the Hotel Ronda Valley (actually my local). Great coffee (Campanini), breakfasts, tapas and San Miguel on draught.



At this station, which serves the villages of Benaojan and Montejaque up the hill, there is a choice within a stone’s throw of the platform.

Within the station precinct itself is

Asador El Muelle

Known locally as Gina’s after the owner. She and husband, chef Cristóbal, serve tasty food prepared on their large wood oven.

Not for veggies or vegans, this is an eatery for carnivores with big appetites.

Also on the station is:

Bar Cantina

Here they offer drinks and tapas at value-for-money prices.


Bar Ankanita (formerly Bar Stop)

Directly opposite the station, this place has been feeding wholesome food to locals and visitors for years. Now run by Alberto and Diego, late of the celebrated Restaurante Molino del Santo, also in the village, the recently re-named Bar Stop continues this fine tradition.


Restaurante Quercus

This restaurant, housed in the former muelle on the platform, is unfortunately closed at the moment. We hope it will re-open soon, as it served excellent food for many years.

Bar Allioli

This bar across the road from the station provided great beer, brilliant burgers and live music at weekends for 14 years. Mine hosts, Paul, a Yorkshireman, and Synnove, his Danish wife, have recently retired, sadly.

However, the good news is that this bar re-opened two weeks ago as Allioli Bar y Más. I was there on the opening night and it was heaving. The new landlord, Jose Antonio, plans to continue with the tradition of live music. On the opening night local guitarist and singer Marcus Myers provided a great musical background to the buzzing atmosphere in the square outside the bar.


Specialities of this area include venison stew, mountain lamb, scrambled eggs with asparagus, veal, codfish omelettes, refried stew (fried bread, tomato, garlic, pepper and onion), Swiss chard soup, breadcrumbs with garlic and Guadiaro rabbit.

There is nowhere to eat on or at the station but there are two establishments within a stone’s throw.

Meson-Bar La Cañada (Pili’s Bar)

We’ve been here for coffee and breakfast but not a meal as such. They have a delightful little yard at the back which offers a shaded terrace with flowers. Pili and Alonso are very friendly. The reviews of their food are extremely good. Diners love Pili’s home-made dishes, which are generous in portion size and reasonably priced. The café cortado is outstanding. 

La Parra

Recently re-opened under new management, this tapas bar is slowly building its reputation.


In this beautiful spot by the River Guadiaro and on the edge of Los Alcorconales (cork forests), there are three places opposite the station and another abandoned muelle, ripe for re-development. It had been an asador (carvery) but it has been closed for many a long year.

Bar/Mesón España 

This traditional bar with a roomy shaded terrace is very popular. Not surprising because the menu is large and varied and the prices will not break the bank. We ate there last week and the portions were so generous we needed a doggy bag.

Bar Las Rosas 

This is similar, apparently. Good food at sensible prices. On the day we were there it was unfortunately closed.

Restaurante Rincon del Cani

This is tucked away behind the other two. This is slightly more upmarket with gourmet tapas.


Although outside of the Serrania de Ronda and in Cádiz province, I have included this village as our final stop on this journey, because it too has a restaurant in an old muelle.

Restaurante La Estación

I haven’t had the pleasure of dining here yet but hope to do so soon. Restaurante La Estación has a fine reputation for its setting - with two terraces, one in a garden, the other on the old platform - to the décor, the friendly service and most importantly the quality of the food.

According to the very positive reviews they have received they offer excellent croquettes, salmon and jamón, as well as tasty leche frita, home-made ice cream and chocolate custard. 

The wine is excellent and so is the café cortado.

With thanks to Julie Wilkinson for additional information about the three most southerly stations on this route.


muelle Ronda Serrania el muelle de arriate el chozo bar estacion hotel andalucia cafeteria la indiana Arriate Ronda Valley Benaojan Montejaque asador el muelle bar cantina bar ankanita bar stop hotel molino del santo jimera de libar bar allioli allioli bar y mas quercus cortes de la frontera cañada de la real tesoro bar cañada pili la parra el colmenar gaucin meson españa bar las rosas rincon del cani san pablo de buceite Bar la estacion

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Friday, September 2, 2022

Joe King likes his food. He is a devoted omnivore, ie he eats anything. However, he is sympathetic to people who prefer to leave meat out of their diets, whether vegetarians or vegans. In addition, there seem to be increasing numbers of people who are ceoliacs or gluten-intolerant, so where can all these people go to eat?


10 to 15 years ago, if asked that question, I would have said “practically nowhere”, but things have changed dramatically here in the Serranía de Ronda.

I have a vegan step-son and a vegan niece and finding vegan options used to be a nightmare. Even sourcing vegan ingredients from supermarkets was problematic. In restaurants waiters would routinely suggest a salad, forgetting that Spanish salads typically contain boiled eggs, tuna, cheese or small pieces of ham and there was very little understanding of what “veganism” means.

With vegetarian family members, in the past, it used to be almost as bad. All there really was were salads or dull pasta dishes.

Gluten-free has proved to be less of a problem. Supermarkets stock gluten-free beer, bread, cakes, burgers and other items. Mercadona is particularly good, but Super Carmela and Supeco aren´t far behind. Surprisingly the German discounters ALDI and LIDL offer very little in their Spanish stores (in Germany the situation is much better).

Several bars and restaurants also offer gluten-free bread as well as gluten-free beer, which pleases my son-in-law, Carlo, a great deal when he visits from London, where the gluten-free beer option is quite limited.

So, in answering that question “Where can I find vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food in and around Ronda?” nowadays, my answer is not the same. It’s a different story altogether.


Vegetarian – Vegan – Gluten free food options in Ronda


Restaurante Bifana – Calle Comandante Carrasco s/n, near the bus station, is a vegan restaurant which also serves animal products for carnivores.

Restaurante Bifana - Ronda

Restaurante Bifana – Ronda

On Its current menu (July 2022) the highlights are tabule, onion, tomato and raisin salad, fried aubergine with cane sugar honey, tomato with extra virgin olive oil and garlic, vegetable croquettes, quinoa salad and hummus with vegetables of the day.


Cafetería las Campanas in Plaza de Socorro proudly boasts that it is gluten-free. It’s a delightful place to sit outside and watch the world go by and not that expensive, given its location in one of the main squares in Ronda.

Cafeteria las Campanas
Cafeteria las Campanas

Restaurante Abades - Ronda

Restaurante Abades – Ronda


Restaurante Abades behind the Plaza de Toros at Paseo Blas Infante 2 has recently reduced its vegan options which is a great shame as it used to have the most diverse menu for non meat/fish eaters.


Café Bar Murillo at Calle Santo Tomás 1, in the up-and-coming San Rafael district of town, also offers “opciones vegetarianas y veganas”. I’ve been there a few times. Great food at local prices. Clean, modern and busy with locals which is always a good sign.

Cafe bar Murillo - Ronda



Cerveceria el Bandolero on Plaza Ruedo Alameda 29, is located in the popular Barrio San Francisco to the south of the town. Rafael, whom I first met 21 years ago when he was a young waiter in another bar nearby, now owns his own place, together with his uncle. They also offer “opciones vegetarianas, veganas y sin gluten”. Sitting on the square over the road from this tiny bar, is a delightful experience. Good food at sensible non-city-centre prices.

Most Pizzerias will adapt their vegetarian options to make them vegan.

The outstanding pizzeria in Ronda is Il Forno a Ligna on Calle Tiendas 24.

Omar, Italian and still in his twenties, is most accommodating.

Pizzeria Forno a Legna

Pizzeria Forno a Legna – Ronda


Pizzeria Michelangelo on Calle Lorenzo Borrego 25, just off Plaza del Socorro, is also very good value.

Pizzeria Michelangelo

Pizzeria Michelangelo – Ronda

Other restaurants in the Serranía de Ronda that serve vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food

Since good restaurants invariably cook meals from scratch, many chefs are happy to adapt their standard dishes to make them conform to vegan or vegetarian criteria. So , for example, the scrambled eggs with asparagus and Iberian ham can be made a delicious vegetarian dish simply by asking the waiter to cut out the ham. The same goes with many other dishes. Salads and soups often have a sprinkling of ham or something else. The key here is just ask the waiter!

Restaurante la Cascada

Hotel Molino del Puente


All those years ago, when my afore-mentioned vegan step-son was living with us for several months, we found Iain Love at Restaurante la Cascada inside the Hotel Molino del Puente – Partida Fuente de la Higuera – Carretera de Ronda km 26 to be a most accommodating chef. He was happy to prepare vegan meals just for Johannes and 10 years on he was happy to do the same for my vegan niece Dana. Needless to say, we have eaten there a lot in the last dozen years.

Further afield

In the village of Montejaque, Max, the owner and chef at Pizzeria la Casita, is happy to prepare vegan dishes to order.

In Gaucin, La Tienda Verde is a shop specialising in healthy, eco-friendly food products, always has a wide range of vegan products available and Restaurante Azulete – Calle Toledillo 13 has great reviews for its vegan food.

In tiny Atajate, the smallest village in Málaga province, is the outstanding Restaurante Audalazar – C. Nueva, 4- They offer a great menu with Arabic influences, including several vegan and vegetarian options.


So, all in all, vegetarian and vegan food, and gluten-free options in and around Ronda are fairly easy to find nowadays. I am an omnivore but I often eschew meat and/or fish and go for a vegetarian or vegan dish. I love them!

I hope you find my recommendations helpful.


¡Buen provecho! and please, feel free to leave a comment or suggestion to help other people get the most out of their eating experience during a visit to Ronda and the surrounding area.


Joe King doesn't really want anybody to know anything about him. He prefers to stay under the radar. He is blogging because he thinks he has valid things to say. He doesn't take life too seriously but he will tell it like he thinks it is.

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