Malaga Restaurant | Photo © 2014 Bullet,

If you drive past 740 SW 8th Street, you’ll notice it’s nothing but an empty lot with cars parked on the property, but back in the 70s and 80s, it was one of the most popular restaurants on Calle Ocho in Little Havana.

Built in 1938, it was known as the Madrid Restaurant in 1960s before it was bought and reopened as Malaga Restaurant in 1975.

The owners, Amador and Teresa Fernandez, had been adding on and renovating perpetually since they bought the tiny one- room Madrid Restaurant in the 1960s. It was described as a homey complex of eight dining rooms around an open-air courtyard decorated with new Spanish tile. Upstairs was a small terrace where guests can dine under the night sky.

The Malaga was best known for its lobster paella, a Valencian rice dish which originated from Spain and where Malaga gets its name from. The restaurant took inspiration from the variety of seafood dishes from the town, and cooked in traditional Spanish style with wine instead of water.

Malaga Restaurant | Photo © 2014 Bullet,

On May 24, 1991, three armed men entered the restaurant flashing weapons and yelling out threats to the crowd. Two of the men, one armed with a pistol and the other with a knife, herded patrons and staff to into the backroom; while the third robber, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, demanded everyone to give up their belongings. As this ensued, one customer picked up a glass and threw it one of the men. This caused a scuffled and ended with the man being stabbed twice, and shot by the man with the pistol. The assailants fled soon after.

It’s difficult to pinpoint when the restaurant closed down. Despite all the praise and attention it received in the 1980s, the only mention it received thereafter was the robbery mentioned earlier. The owner, Jose Fernandez, transferred the deed to his wife in 1996 who then sold it in 1999. It was resold again in 2002 to Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Centers of Dade County, Inc. (LHANC), a non-profit charity that provides various service to the elderly, free of charge.

In 2015, the building was demolished and is nothing more than an empty lot used for parking.

Malaga Restaurant | Photo © 2014 Bullet,


  1. Nadine Francis

    I ate here in the early 80’s and ate their featured specialty “Lobster Paella” It was wonderful. At that time they didn’t have a bunch of dining rooms and it was always crowded, reservations were necessary. So sad that is in such disarray.

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  3. My father was the flamencon guitarra player for over 9 years in this ver y popular restaurante. If anyone has images of the flamenco from the late 80s thru 95-96 I would like have. Just to keep in memory, it was a place I went to as a child watching my father play.. I would appreciate if anyone might have any images of the show..

  4. I visited the restaurant several times at the end of the 80s. It had the most beautiful Flamenco show I have ever seen. The guitar player was an incredible artist. The dancer , Karla was outstanding. I always wondered what happen to them. They forever will be a great memory. So sad what happened to the restaurant. I have been looking since then for a place in Miami where we can enjoy a show of such quality but it has been in vain.

  5. Hi

    Yes it was one of the best restaurant in Miami… Mant artista you can think of waklked through those doors… I was about 9 years old since my dad started working in Malaga as the main guitar player… Miguel Mesa– Katka did work do many years with him and many other performers. The singer was Jose Miguel Herreo was like an uncle to me still continued playing until he passed away last year… Great memories if you would like a picture of the group I can send it over just send me your email…so far I have not seen a place like that restaurant.. Met many actors actresses, singers, news comintators even Jimmy Johnson NFL coach would go there to watch a show some nights… At that moment he was the coach of UM university of Miami…

  6. Hi Mercedes Perez my email is contract me that way i can send a picture of the group if your like….

  7. Is this place abandoned because they still have a website



    Not the same ownership. The Website is a New Restaurant in NJ with the same name. The original Malaga was open within the 80’s-90’s on Southwest 8 ST. Miami, FL.