Bar Maestro, Calle Espinel (La Bola) €€

This charming & tiny tapas bar can be found in Ronda’s Calle La Bola a few meters along from the large Unicaja bank on the corner of the Calle Espinel (locally referred to as Calle La Bola) across from the bull ring.

Established in 1946, it has been run for the last 38 years by Rafa and his wife Paca (she been there for 30 years). This family run establishment is quite small, standing room only in fact, except for the small corner with a couple of stools in the front of the bar next to the entrance, a favourite spot for regulars.

Maestro arguably has some of the best tapas on offer in Ronda and the usual line-up in the way of drinks. There is nothing extraordinarily special about the food except that it is all very good, fresh, and reliably so.

Their mayonnaise is homemade, the shrimp a good size, and the paella (served in a mini-paella pan) with a hint of basil is available daily but only for the few that arrive at the right time before it has been quickly consumed by regulars who know when it is prepared (right about 13.00 hrs).

Many of the offered tapas are in a typical refrigerated glass display on the bar including fresh fish, white cap mushrooms, Russian salad, various pinchitos (meat / vegetable / fish skewered on a stick) and occasionally croquets.

Some of this reviewer’s Maestro favourites include the following:

  • Pincho de gambas – shrimp brochette with a bit of garlic dressing, dollop of mayonnaise & salad garnish;
  • Costillas fritas – fried pork ribs with roasted garlic;
  • Filete ruso – small pork burger in a tasty tomato sauce;
  • Presa a la plancha – this is not really a tapa (and priced accordingly) and is not a regular feature but when ordered the presa, which is a pork cut, arrives grilled & sliced with a garnish of roasted peppers and home-made chips and alone is a meal or ideal size for sharing;
  • “Maestro” – this is a “montadito”, a small sandwich (usually on a small bread roll), this one comprises pancetta with Roquefort cheese;
  • Pinchito de gambas y salmon – salmon & shrimp brochette with garlic dressing, dollop of mayonnaise & salad garnish;
  • Boquerones – vinegar cured anchovies with garlic in olive oil, served with anchovy flavoured olives (and sometimes potato crisps).

Rafa and Paca also offer a tapas variety plate for 10 Euros as well as other warm combination plates. While there are no tables in the bar, during the warmer seasons, there is front terrace. Good, strong coffee is also available.

Maestro’s normal operating hours are 07.00 – 01.00 hrs, Tuesday to Saturday, closed Sunday.

If you’re a woman and you are enjoying some tapas at Maestro, be warned as there is no ladies toilet, only a man’s urinal in a very small closet like space in a corner of the bar with just enough space for one man to enter and stand in front of the porcelain with the door just closed behind.

€ – inexpensive
€€ – normal
€€€ – moderate
€€€€ – expensive

Review written by David Nuyen, owner of Hotel Bandolero at Júzcar.