10 things we love about Andalusian cuisine
Dani García hails from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. He’s earned multiple Michelin stars throughout his career, before creating his own restaurants celebrating his native cuisine. He tells us the traditional local dishes that are not to be missed
Want to learn more about Andalusian cuisine? Looking for Andalusian dishes to try? Read Dani García guide below, then check out Dani's recipe for Spanish rice pudding and our best Spanish dessert recipes. We also have our guides on must-try Spanish produce, Spain's unique regional foods and a San Sebastián foodie guide.
Andalusian-born chef Dani García nurtured his passion for food at the Málaga school of hospitality, La Consula, before he started his career with Martín Berasategui in 1996. He received his first Michelin star for Tragabuches in Málaga at just 25 years old, followed by two Michelin stars for Calima in Marbella. In 2013, he opened BiBo Andalusian Brasserie & Tapas in Marbella, and since then has opened restaurants in Doha, Ibiza and, in August 2021, at the Mondrian Shoreditch. Dani wanted to create a casual tapas and brasserie concept to democratise fine dining.
1. Mangoes from Málaga
Málaga province is the biggest mango producer in Europe – the sub-tropical climate allows all kinds of fruit to be grown there. I couldn’t make a vegan sweet recipe without thinking about this tropical fruit. I like to pair it with oranges.
2. Fried aubergine with sugarcane syrup
This is one of the most popular dishes in Andalusia, and traditionally hails from Córdoba. Our heritage comes largely from Arabian culture, which is evident all over the provinces. We fry the aubergine before breading and serve it with sugarcane syrup, which proves to be the perfect sauce. In the evenings, we eat late, around 10pm, so this is the perfect tapas dish to soak up the cava.
3. Atún encebollado
One of the most popular seafood dishes is called atún encebollado, a traditional stew from Cádiz. The dish starts with only two ingredients, red tuna and onion, and ordinarily is accompanied with herbs such as thyme or bay leaves.
4. Pescadito frito
This dish transports you to the beloved beaches of Málaga, which is globally renowned for its famous frying technique. We love to fry. We soak the fish in ice water, then flour it and deep-fry it until crispy. Andalusians like to enjoy it with lemon and garlic aïoli.
5. Tomate aliñado
This tomato salad takes me back to my childhood when I went to the chiringuitos [bars] with my family. Traditionally this is made with three key ingredients: tomato, garlic and parsley. In this case, I like to add my own touch and to make it more synonymous with Andalusian flavours, so I include orange segments and green olive jus, finishing it off with Jaén olive oil.
6. Rabo de toro
One of our signature meat dishes in Andalusia is a stew made with oxtail, red wine and vegetables, known as rabo de toro. I started to experiment with my recipe 20 years ago when I was in Ronda and my personal preference is to serve it with a garnish of fries. In Andalusia, our culture dictates long leisurely lunches which are normally a family affair and the stew is perfectly accompanied with a glass of sangria.
Gazpacho is a cold soup, also called gazpacho Andaluz. It is made with tomato, bread, garlic and olive oil. It is very popular in the hot summer months. I have made a lot of different gazpachos during my career as a chef – my most popular version is a traditional recipe, served with chopped vegetables on the side so that diners can mix and match according to their taste preference.
8. Rice pudding
Rice pudding is one of the most famous desserts in Andalusia and Spain in general. I like to use vanilla pods as a flavouring, classically cinnamon and lemon zest are used. It is slow-cooked to a creamy texture.
9. Caramelised torrija
This sweet is our Spanish take on French toast. Like other desserts in Spain, it was created by nuns. Spanish people usually eat it at Easter time. Tradition says that this is because its appearance is quite similar to a steak, which was a forbidden item during Easter. I like mine with vanilla ice cream and blueberry jam to enhance the taste.
10. Flamenquín cordobes
An Andalusian fried roll is made with pork loin and iberico ham slices coated with a delicious breadcrumb batter, and then deep-fried. Some people like to add some cheese into the filling. Usually, it is garnished with salad and mayonnaise.