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The 10 best restaurants in Marbella, and one more for luck!

Selection by Maria Elena Paganini

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.”
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. www.dabruno.com


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. www.marbellaclub.com


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. www.trocaderoarena.com


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! www.restaurantsantiago.com


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 Romana, 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. www.grupodanigarcia.com


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. www.1870.com.es


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”. www.taipanmarbella.com


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. www.casanis.es


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!! www.albertysimon.es.


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.


Published in Blog de Maria Elena Paganini |