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Dining in Marbella – spoilt for choice
Marbella has always had elegant restaurants and gourmet establishments, but never more so than now, when it offers a very broad range of dining experiences, cuisines, settings and budgets to satisfy the tastes of a local and international clientele alike.
Firstly, there are the traditional Spanish eateries, which offer authenticity, good honest food and generally speaking excellent value for money. They include tapas bars in the centre of town and especially its historic centre, where also some of the best churros – a special Spanish fried dough pastry that you dip in warm chocolate – can be found. You will want to try one of the traditional, family-run Andalusian restaurants in town as well, or head out onto the country roads to find a venta, where traditional country fayre is served in a cosy, ambient setting that is perfect for the winter months. The summer draws one towards the beaches, and the smell of grilled sardines and seafood prepared at seaside chiringuito restaurants.
Added to this is a broad array of Asian, European, Middle Eastern and American cuisines, from Argentina and Italy to Morocco and Japan. They come in all shapes and sizes, from family eateries to luxurious establishments or super-trendy ones. Over the years, Marbella has become a centre of fine dining, with certain restaurants and areas becoming well-known for offering a superlative level of gastronomy and service. Among the best are the old town of Marbella, which is home to a first-class choice of charming mid-range restaurants serving cuisines ranging from Belgian to Italian, Asian and Spanish, while the crème de la crème is now concentrated along the Golden Mile.
Here you will encounter the greatest concentration of gourmet restaurants, especially around the famous Puente Romano Hotel, whose La Plaza area is home to top restaurants such as the internationally renowned Nobu, the trendy Monkey Club, the Asian delights of the Thai Gallery, superlative tapas from Michelin Star chef Dani García at Bibo, Italian cuisine at its best in Serafina, classic Marbella beachside at the Sea Grill. While Marbella eagerly awaits the opening of Dani Garcia’s take on a classic steakhouse, the other Michelin-star restaurants in town are Skina, in the old town, and Messina on the main avenue, with more along the Costa del Sol and Málaga – ensuring that fine dining is always within easy reach.
Authentic dining experiences in Marbella:
Tapas are a typically Spanish way of sharing delicious snacks in a very sociable way. They are best enjoyed in a richly ambient tapas bar, and here are some of the best in Marbella and surroundings.
Taberna El Bordón – Calle Pantaleón, Marbella Old Town
Situated in a pedestrian side street, this traditional tavern offers authentic tapas often accompanied by live music and flamenco dance performances. It’s a social hot spot among locals and visitors, so expect a lively atmosphere and swift service.
Casanis Bistrot – Calle Ancha, Marbella Old Town
Marbella’s historic quarter has just the right ambience in which to enjoy tapas washed down with a glass of beer or wine. It’s a mostly pedestrian area full of charm and good cheer. Casanis adds a touch of French-Belgian sophistication to this, as well as an evocative décor and setting.
Asador de Guadalmina – San Pedro Alcántara
A classic venue within the stylish area of Guadalmina, the Asador is famous for delicious tapas, the finest steaks, fresh fish an excellent wine list and good service. It has a loyal following and is always lively, with an infusion of northern Spanish cuisine.
Chiringuitos are authentic beachside bars, originally made of wood and occupying a prime location overlooking the shoreline and sea. They are laid-back, cool and embody the summer spirit of the Costa del Sol – just the place to relax, socialise and enjoy a drink and snack.
Aurora Beach – Puerto Banús
Known for their classic Spanish/Mediterranean dishes such as paella, tuna, grilled sardines and garlic prawns, Aurora Beach enjoys a wonderful seaside setting where it’s a delight to enjoy the atmosphere and fine food along with a glass of beer or sangria.
Los Sardinales – Alicate Playa, Marbella
The views back across the Bay of Marbella and along the shoreline are truly impressive as you sip on a refreshment and enjoy classic Málaga seafood specialities. It’s a traditional yet quality venue that captures the true spirit of its surroundings.
Victor’s Beach Bar – Playa El Ancon, Marbella
A classic favourite, Victor’s Beach is a Marbella favourite on the Golden Mile’s coastal pathway, overlooking the sea and shoreline. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and seaside dishes, including Afro-Caribbean cuisine, as well as the option to luxuriate on a sunbed.
Kala Kalua – San Pedro Alcántara beach
This family-owned business has been a part of the Marbella beach scene since 1957, and is now in its third generation. A delight for fish lovers, Kala Kalua is a charming, comfortable beachside venue overlooking the sea and promenade of San Pedro.