Best restaurants in Marbella, and one more for luck!
Each year I find it more and more difficult to choose only 10 out of all the fantastic restaurants here in this beautiful city, this time, as we say in Argentina, I have included “una yapa” – as a “last minute freebie”, since I just couldn’t ignore this one.
My selection is based on those which inspire their customers, those with soul and spirit………. “the soul of a chef, the soul of a restaurateur or the spirit of a venue.”
If you’re seeking an authentic Spanish culinary experience, consider venturing towards the beaches east of Marbella. These idyllic coastal areas feature quaint seafront restaurants accessible via unpaved paths. Indulge in a regal feast, with ample portions of “pescaito frito” (fried fish) served alongside refreshing “tinto del verano” (a mixture of red wine and lemonade).
Marbella’s historic district is home to charming tapas, bars and local restaurants along winding, cobblestone streets. These establishments offer various options, from classic tapas to high-end culinary treasures. Delight in a delicious Andalusian tasting menu, thoughtfully paired with complementary wines, for a truly memorable dining experience.
Puerto Banus boasts an extensive range of dining options, catering to various culinary preferences, such as Italian, Greek, Asian, and delectable seafood. Although the prices may occasionally be steep, the exquisite setting of the most opulent marina in Spain justifies the expense.
Marbella Dining with a sprinkle of Michelin stardust.
The dining options of Marbella are exotic, exceptional and sometimes extravagant. The variety and range of dishes on offer from the selection of international restaurants to be found here provides diners with a choice of the world’s cuisine—appropriately enough for such a cosmopolitan town whose residents share an outgoing view of life.
Whatever your preferences there is an establishment to cater for your taste, whether it be for traditional Andalusian recipes featuring the finest local ingredients or Japanese Sushi using the freshest fish, Argentinean grills or spicy Indian dishes, there is an option of the highest quality available.
With so many fine-dining restaurants in the area there is tremendous competition to provide the best food accompanied by top-class service, and the flagship restaurants in these respects are those that have earned the ultimate stamp of approval—a Michelin star.
Marbella has several eateries that have achieved the star honour, and here we give a brief guide to where you can sample food of the highest standards right on your doorstep.
DANI GARCIA: This takes pride of place for all Andalusians since it is the only 2 Michelin star Restaurant of the community. Dani is an innovator of traditional cuisine, an artist, a creator and a fighter. His restaurant, situated in the beautiful square of the Hotel Puente Romano, is without a doubt his very own project. In his gourmet menu the winner is the cuisine of Malaga, the stews created by his mother and the magic of fairy tales. If you are in Marbella, you absolutely must not miss this hallucinating experience which will stimulate all your senses.
The most famous of the Michelin recommended restaurants in Marbella is to be found within the grounds of the Puente Romano Hotel at the heart of the glamorous Golden Mile. One of the best-known chefs in Spain—Dani García presides over the restaurant bearing his name, serving imaginative dishes created with flair and the finest ingredients. Set within the resort’s Plaza Village and surrounded by tropical gardens, it is a special location in which to sample truly special food. The quality of the dishes, faultless service and classy décor has earned this restaurant two stars. Next door, is García’s second eatery—BIBO—which has been awarded a ‘Bib Gourmand’ for very good value.
Messina is the new face on the block
2016 may still be young, but it is already a year to remember for Messina after it was awarded a star in this year’s Michelin guide. Not only did the anonymous inspectors love the food—two tasting menus offer the opportunity to sample a variety of dishes—but they were impressed by the contemporary décor and fun atmosphere of this eatery, which is located on Avenida Severo Achoa.
Skina: Small but perfectly formed
Not far away, this time in the heart of Marbella’s old town, is Skina. It may be small, but for the inspectors it is perfectly formed, creating an attractive and intimate setting to enjoy the cuisine, which is dedicated to “showcasing meticulous technique and the highest quality ingredients,” according to the guide. It too boasts one star.
El Lago for quality local food
The fourth of Marbella’s Michelin starred restaurants is El Lago—tucked away at the clubhouse of Greenlife Golf in the leafy residential area of Elviria. Here Ronda born chef Diego del Río uses his knowledge of Andalusian cuisine and ingredients to great effect in creating dishes with a local flavour. The inspectors, who it goes without saying were impressed by the food, were particularly taken by the setting, saying: “El Lago’s standout feature is its location on a relaxing golf course opposite a man-made lake.”
These four spectacular restaurants lead the way when it comes to fine dining in Marbella, and are excellent examples of the upmarket lifestyle available in the town. Should you be considering buying a villa or apartment in the area please contact us—we can help advise you of your best options.
I hope you will enjoy each and every one of them, but please do not forget to consult other lists where you will find interesting possibilities that perhaps didn’t make it in this list – there are lots of them! My best wishes and congratulations to them all!
DA BRUNO: This venue brings back memories of my childhood, of the taste of Italian food, the simplicity and the intensity of this eternal cuisine. Seasonal produce, so one day it is mushrooms, another day, truffles. Bruno and Giuseppina always manage to make you feel like part of their family. Apart from which, we can inform you that you can enjoy top class live entertainment, opera, musicals, tribute bands, etc. There are five Da Bruno Restaurants dotted along the Costa del Sol.
LA ROSA: Spirit of Argentina…….that is what defines this venue, and so do I, as an Argentine. It is difficult to find the very specific cuts of meats, for which Argentina is famous, in other restaurants; the fantastic wine cellar with the best wines from Mendoza, the so very cosy and authentic atmosphere and a décor that oozes the spirit of the country side; all these make this my favourite spot, but there is something even more special! It’s the feeling that Cachy, Rosa and Diego, the owners, are inviting you to dine in their very own home. www.restaurantelarosa.com
THE GRILL, MARBELLA CLUB: No doubt the most elegant venue of the Costa del Sol, traditional food with the classic ingredients of French cuisine. Sommeliers who offer the best wines in silver goblets and a décor of fantastic gardens with hundreds of candles hanging from the trees, and the flowers! Fresh flowers on the tables………….all this definitely makes El Grill a classic spot that has no need to reinvent itself. A legend that keeps on going strong, year after year.
TROCADERO ARENA: The best Beach Restaurant of Marbella, its beach, its views, the incredible afro-colonial-ethnic décor, the delightful Mediterranean cuisine fused with the flavours of Asia, interesting and individually created cocktails and attentive staff make this venue one of the 10 best of Marbella. I love the Russian Salad with Crab and Herring Roe, and the rice dishes and paellas.
SANTIAGO: Fish and sea food from the seas of the north and the south, the patron, if you like, of Marbella’s restaurants. Although it was founded way back in 1965, it still maintains the spirit of its owner and founder, Santiago Dominguez, who, although he has been honoured with the best accolades in the world of gastronomy, has lost not one ounce of his simplicity. The wine cellar, one of the best in Spain, and its position right on the Sea Front, makes this venue a must, where you will find yourself coming back, again and again!
1870: It is situated in a beautiful building from the end of the nineteenth century, where you will find delightful details of vintage décor in each corner. Its large candelabras provide a very intimate and romantic atmosphere and a centuries old fig tree graces a beautiful garden. Its chef, the Basque Aitor Perurena is a passionate advocate of classic cuisine, that which his mother would create in his home town near San Sebastian, a chef who never disappoints and who combines know-how with the best of ingredients, for example fish caught in the wild and meat from free range live stock.
TAIPAN: A classic in the world of Asian cuisine, it is very difficult to find a restaurant which has been part of the city for more than 30 years. I love its décor and above all, its terrace where you can smell the summer flowers whilst you enjoy its exotic dishes. Elegant, timeless, sophisticated but, above all, offering Cantonese, Peking and Szechwan cuisine worthy of the most demanding palates. My favourites are “Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger” and “Crispy Aromatic Duck”.
CASANIS: In the heart of the beautiful Old Town of Marbella you will find this French bistro, a dining room full of art, with painted walls and an incredible patio inside a typical Andalusian town house, but if you prefer, you can dine in the street where you will sit amidst bougainvillea of different colours and hundreds of geraniums as you watch the comings and goings of the people of Marbella. It could not be prettier! But the best of this venue is its cuisine, a cuisine oozing with the flavours of the Mediterranean.
ALBERT Y SIMON: This is a restaurant which I have been going to for years, a place where I have always had a splendid meal. Albert is a chef who is well known as being one of the best, both in the world of Spanish cuisine as in French cuisine. These two brothers make personal attention to the customer a must, its wine list is one of the best in Andalusia and it offers a cuisine that is both creative and based on the classics. In their restaurant Albert y Simon Benisty have created an intimate atmosphere where you will appreciate the work of two professionals. Don’t miss out on the soufflés!!
FERNANDO Y ENCARNI: I could not finish my list without a “chiringuito” or Beach Bar, one of the eternal classics where you can enjoy the best FrituraMalagueña, or mixed fried fish Malaga style. It is a real pleasure to enjoy the Mediterranean diet where the sea is your dining companion. A simple venue, without pretentions, but where you can enjoy the atmosphere with your family and friends whilst Fernando himself dishes up the paella. It has no website, but it is on Playa Alicate, telephone number 952 837 586.
ALL STARS COME TOGETHER TO STRENGTHEN MARBELLA’S GOURMET REPUTATION.
The world of haute cuisine is undoubtedly one of the crowning glories of Marbella. The resort town offers a selection of fine dining restaurants to satisfy the appetites of the most discerning diners—and it is a significant attraction to visitors searching for the finer things in life.
In recognition of this and in a bid to maximise the benefit of Marbella’s gourmet tradition, representatives from the food industry are coming together in an initiative dubbed ‘Marbella All Stars’ to promote the area’s reputation for offering excellence with the highest level of culinary expertise.
To this end, chefs, restaurateurs, hotel owners, food wholesalers, agricultural producers and even shopping centres and golf courses are getting together with the aim highlighting Marbella as an ‘international benchmark for haute cuisine.’
Among the founding members of Marbella All Stars are the director and the chef of El Lago, Paco García and Diego del Río; Fernando Al-Farkh García, Director General of Hotel Los Monteros—the resort’s El Corzo was the first hotel restaurant in Spain to be awarded a Michelin star—the founder and commercial director of upmarket green grocer Frutas y Verduras Eladio, Eladio Fernández and Sergio Rueda, which supplies high quality fruit and vegetables to the gourmet food sector.
María Asenjo and Ángel Marco from media company Oak Power, who brought worldwide attention to Marbella by organising the presentation of the latest edition of the Michelin Guide in the town, are also involved, as is respected chef Aitor Perurena from Marbella’s 1870 restaurant.
This initiative is in keeping with the town council’s stated aim of strengthening Marbella’s position at the top end of the luxury tourism sector. Catering is seen as very important in this, with Marbella’s four Michelin starred restaurants leading the way in keeping standards at the highest level.
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