Dining Out


Charleston’s Neighborhood Spanish Tapería and Mercado

By: Amber Chase
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Written by Amber Chase
zanahorias with dill at Malagón

Steps away from King Street in the beloved Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood in Charleston, Malagón is marked by a single “M” and a large window peering into the Spanish tapería. Upon entering the dining space, eyes are immediately drawn to five jamón Serrano cured hams hanging above the cold case that turns into a long bar leading directly into the kitchen. Malagón’s interior is characterized by marble tabletops, baroque industrial lighting fixtures, and antique oil paintings set against moody black accents.

One of the most distinctive qualities of Malagón is their extensive Spanish mercado, carrying exclusive Spanish imports like tinned fish, olives, wine, beer, charcuterie, and nuts. A mark of a well-curated market is when the objects double as décor, and Malagón’s mercado is highlighted by natural light pouring in from the main window, beckoning guests to gather Spanish souvenirs. 

Malagón is headed by executive chef and co-owner Juan Cassalett. With Spanish roots, he grew up in the South and lives in Charleston with his wife, Jill Mathias, executive chef and co-owner of Malagón’s sister restaurant, Chez Nous

The market at Malagón

Upon being seated, guests are offered a petit pinch bowl of Spanish corn nuts, a delightfully layered crunch to prepare the palate for a number of tapas. The tapas menu is divided into eight sections, moving through para picar (snacks), vegetales (vegetables), tapas (small plates), mas tapas, del mar (from the sea), carne (meat), charcuteria y queso (charcuterie and cheese), and café y postres (coffee and dessert). Each section details selections of tapas to move guests throughout their Spanish culinary journey. We recommend sharing one to two plates from each section depending on the size of your party, but insist on gathering a diverse range of dishes. With an extensive wine list and two signature cocktails, discussing your tapas selections with your server will lead to optimal pairings.

Perhaps the most mesmerizing facet of Malagón is their ability to create a symphony of flavors in every dish, each building and synchronizing harmoniously as you move throughout the meal. Though the menu changes frequently, if you happen to come across the zanahorias a la plancha (grilled carrots with ñora pepper and almond sauce), la bomba de la Barceloneta (pork-stuffed mashed potato bomb with tomato and aioli), or the ensalada de pimientos con naranja y atún (tuna salad with red pepper, olive, and bright citrus), we cannot recommend them enough. Regardless of the specific tapas that grace your table at Malagón, you’ll carry the authentic flavors of the Spanish peninsula with you as you depart.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Juan Cassalett

  • Address

    33 Spring Street
    Charleston, South Carolina

    • Spanish & Portuguese

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