Food & Drink

Where to eat tapas in Marbella

Tapas is, as you would expect, extremely popular in Marbella and throughout Spain. Here, we point you in the direction of some places in central Marbella where you can get good tapas. And you will of course find plenty more great places to eat tapas in our Restaurant Guide.

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An evening at Jacks Smokehouse in Puerto Banús

Many people will no doubt be aware of Jacks restaurant in Puerto Banús. Previously known as Jacks American Brasserie, it first opened its doors back in 1999 and soon became a firm favourite with locals and visitors to Marbella.

It enjoys an enviable position on Puerto Banus’s frontline overlooking the iconic marina and it has now been relaunched as Jacks Smokehouse – an idea based on Metro Group head chef Lorenzo Otterburn’s visit to Las Vegas. 

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Where to enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch in Marbella

If you are visiting Marbella or you are living here, everyone enjoys a traditional Sunday lunch. Well, why bother going to all the trouble of cooking it yourself when you can enjoy at one of the many restaurants in Marbella offering traditional Sunday lunch.

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How to read a Spanish menu

Visiting Spain?

You may find this helpful when eating out.

Spanish restaurants and tapas bars can be an absolute delight. Some of the best restaurants in Europe can be found in Spain and they are usually in the major cities or in tourist areas.

Unfortunately, many of us are not fluent in Spanish. So, when we encounter a restaurant with a Spanish menu, it is sometimes difficult to know what is on offer.

We have listed below some of the key ítems with a translation into English.

We hope you find this useful.

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Spain’s coffee culture

Drinking coffee is a way of life in Spain!

You can experience the coffee culture in Marbella in so many ways.

Spanish people will typically have a coffee first thing in the morning with their breakfast to get them started. Then, at about 11.00 am, they will stop for a short break and have a coffee with a light snack – perhaps a pitufo or a bocadillo.

There are traditional Spanish bars where you can stand at the bar and drink coffee from a glass.

You can visit one of the small cafés in the old town or on a bustling high street.  Or, you can go to one of the many cafés on the paseo and enjoy magnificent views of the Mediterranean while you drink your coffee.

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History of Spanish coffee

Coffee was discovered in the area now known as Ethiopia in north east Africa about a thousand years ago and it arrived in Europe in the early 17th century. Coffee houses became popular meeting places in many European cities and over the last 400 years it has become an integral part of our culture.

Coffee became extremely popular in Spain at this time and the early Arabic traders were able to take advantage of the Spanish coffee merchants by increasing their prices. Portugal, Spain’s nearest neighbour, had colonies in several regions of Africa and they started to sell coffee to the Spanish at more reasonable prices. However, the quality wasn’t as good and some importers continued to pay the higher prices for the better quality Arabian coffee.

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Popular Cocktails

A cocktail is an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or spirits (typically vodka, gin, rum, whiskey or brandy) mixed with other ingredients such as vermouth or a fruit juice. However, these days almost any mixed drink can be referred to as a cocktail.

Here are a few popular cocktails with details of how to make them:

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Jack’s American Brasserie to become Jack’s Smokehouse

Jack’s American Brasserie, the popular restaurant on Puerto Banús’s front line, is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment and a change of interior design, re-opening 14 February 2017 with a new name – Jack’s Smokehouse.

The change will be reflected in its new design, decor, drinks and notably the food. Offering a new dining experience to Marbella inspired by the top smokehouse restaurants in New York. Featuring authentic fall-off-the-bone smoked BBQ meats, Jacks will be the only smokehouse on the Costa del Sol to offer a traditional wood-smoked menu where the meat is cooked for 40 hours. Dishes include Chunky Chili Con Carne with Smoked Beef, Smokin´ Skins, Boston Beans with Smoked Pork and 40-day dry-aged steaks.

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Juan José Carmona – the new chef at El Lago

This year, the El Lago restaurant in Marbella is celebrating its seventeenth year. It has held a Michelin star since 2005 and the chef Juan José Carmona has introduced a new winter menu.

His first dish is a delicious red mullet with artichokes that are ecologically cultivated by the Hevilla family in Coin. He says the key to the success of this dish is that these two unusual ingredients with their distinctive and unusual tastes work wonderfully together. The mullet with artichokes is one of the most risky and outstanding proposals of the new winter menu.

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Michelin Stars shine at the Kempinski

On the 7th and 8th of September, three renowned Michelin starred chefs cooked together to create a 12 course culinary extravaganza at the 5* Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona. Jaume Puigdengolas from Skina, Diego Gallegos from Sollo and Mauricio Giovanini from Messina each cooked four amazing courses and Ana Núñez, Head Sommelier of Kempinski Hotel Bahia expertly paired them with wines.

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Dine with the stars at the Kempinski

On the 7th and 8th of September, three renowned Michelin starred chefs will be cooking together at the 5* Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona.

Jaume Puigdengolas from Skina, Diego Gallegos from Sollo and Mauricio Giovanini from Messina will create a sumptuous 12 course tasting menu, with each chef cooking four courses. The event will showcase the incredible culinary talent on the Costa del Sol and the amazing local produce of the region and each course will be paired with a wine to complete the gastronomic experience.

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La Sala Banús re-opens with new look’s Roz and Derek James were delighted to receive an invitation to La Sala Banús’s re-opening party on Monday 5 December following the popular restaurant’s complete transformation to bring you the ultimate social and dining experience. The FOC Design team were behind this total refurbishment, having designed La Sala Gibraltar and the Oak Restaurant.

None of the current vibe has been lost but has enabled extra seating it is still glamorous and chic. The restaurant now has a fresh and open feel, with design details providing a comfortable feel for diners. The main bar still has the DJ area and it will offer amazing entertainment from guest artists as normal. Check out the La Sala Banús website for up to date information.

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La Sala collaboration with chef Aitor Perurena

La Sala will collaborate with Chef Aitor Perurena to promote Spanish cuisine. This follows a successful collaboration with the La Sala in the Sky project this summer.  Aitor was the perfect choice to collaborate with a number of upcoming unique events to promote famous Spanish dishes of Spain.

During these events Estudio Gastronómico will be preparing a variety of exciting national delicacies promoting the different and varied gastronomic regions of Spain. As well as designing a menu based on local dishes from each province, the exquisite dishes will be paired with regional wines and Cavas including the famed Marqués de Riscal wines.

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A Cuatro Manos 2016 – four days of gastronomic excellence

The dates for this year’s “A Cuatro Manos” are from 18 -21 April at Dani Garcia’s restaurant in the Hotel Puente Romano in Marbella.

Last year’s “A Cuatro Manos” boasted chefs with 20 Michelin stars. This year, the elite of the world’s chefs will be joining Dani Garcia and chefs with 71 Michelin stars will be in attendance.

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Celebrate the majesty of the Tuna at Kempinski

A “Ronqueo de Atun” is a traditional Spanish spectacle, where chefs prepare a whole tuna for cooking, delighting guests with the almost choreographed art of slicing and filleting this majestic fish. On the 22nd of July from 7.30pm, the team at the Kempinski Hotel Bahia in Estepona will be hosting a Ronqueo de Atun in their beachfront restaurant La Cabaña del Mar for the very first time.

There will be a welcome drink from the Bodega Villa Tondonia, then the Kempinski’s team of talented chefs will prepare the tuna, explaining the different cuts of the fish, demonstrating how to cut, slice and fillet the fish and answering questions.

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La Sala in the Sky in Puerto Banús

The La Sala Group has teamed up with famed local chef Aitor Perurena to bring a new concept to Marbella – the ultimate social and dining experience 50 metres above the ground!

This is a unique concept meant for anyone who wishes to transform an ordinary meal into a magical moment that will leave a lasting impression. This floating restaurant will be the highest view point of Marbella, offering 360 degrees views whilst enjoying a gastronomic experience and champagne.

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Oak Garden & Grill in Puerto Banús

The La Sala Group is opening a new garden restaurant in Nueva Andalucia, adjacent to La Sala Banús on Friday June 10 2016. The Oak Garden & Grill will offer charm and elegance for Marbella’s more discerning diners.

This new restaurant is located in the garden of an Andalucian style villa and will feel like an intimate secret garden with the spectacular backdrop of La Concha.  La Sala’s Executive Chef James Adams has created a menu which incorporates delicious grill specialities as well as a selection of La Sala’s signature dishes.

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La Sala Banús’s Sunday lunch was this week invited to review La Sala Banús’s Sunday Lunch menu. We were of course pleased to accept their offer..

This very popular venue in Nueva Andalucia offers a traditional Sunday lunch menu from October to June. There is a wide choice of starters, main courses and desserts and the cost is as follows: Single course for €15.95, two courses for €20.95 or three courses for €25.95. They also offer a children’s menu for the under 10s for €8.95 – which is of course very popular with families.

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Ambrosia Gourmet Market Marbella

Thursday 23 July 2015 saw the official opening of the Ambrosia Gourmet Market in Puerto Banús, Marbella. More than 400 people atended, including Marbella Azul and RTV Marbella’s “Marbella Now” programme.

Marbella’s new mayor José Bernal, Manuel Garcia (Concejal de Fiestas) and Manuel Osorio Lozano (Concejal de Hacienda) were there representing the Ayuntamiento along with many other Marbellís lucky enough to get an invite to this prestigious event. Other attendees included the vice president of Malaga Ayuntamiento Francisca Caracuel and Patricio Baeza (Honorary Consul from Hungary in Malaga)  offering support for one of Ambrosia’s partners who is Hungarian.

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Ambrosia Mercado Gourmet opening

Ambrosia Mercado Gourmet will be opening for business in Marbella on 24 July 2015 at 09.00. It is located in Urb. La Alzambra in Puerto Banús, right next door to the Iceland supermarket and it will be offering gourmet and luxury food to all of Marbella’s residents and visitors. There is good parking and it even offers a children’s play área.

Ambrosia’s aim is to provide something of times past, making food shopping enjoyable again and enabling the customer to taste and learn about different foods from different countries whilst buying the produce and drinks.There are fourteen different areas offering Iberian specialities including meat, fish and a bakery. There will also be national and international delicatessens offering Japanese sushi, Thai cuisine and Iberian ham and cheese. There is also a cerveceria with indoor and outdoor seating offering food and cocktails.

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Ambrosia Mercado Gourmet Press Conference

A press conference was held at the Melior Vasari Business Centre in Puerto Banús today for the Ambrosia Mercado Gourmet owners Antonio Ortiz and Gabor Somlai to present their latest project. The event was attended by the new mayor of Marbella, José Bernal and Marbella Azul were there to bring you the news and images.

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A carajillo is a Spanish drink that combines coffee with brandy or rum. It is thought to date back to the Spanish occupation of Cuba in the 16th Century when conquistadors combined coffee with rum to give them courage before going into battle – the Spanish word for courage is “coraje”.

There are a number of ways to make a carajillo. The simplest way is to pour brandy or rum into a cup of black coffee. Another popular variation is to heat the spirit with lemon, sugar and cinnamon and then add the coffee.

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The Orange Tree Review

The Orange Tree Restaurant in Marbella’s Casco Antiguo (Old Town) has become a firm favourite with residents and visitors, returning time after time for this amazing fine dining experience.

You will enjoy the warmest of welcomes from owners Frank and Irene who opened the restaurant twelve years ago. You can dine inside the restaurant and enjoy its contemporary modern lines or outside soaking up the atmosphere of being right in the heart of the Old Town. The menu is both international and creative and it is changed every six weeks to keep it fresh and seasonal.

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Becketts Restaurant Review

Becketts is a well established restaurant in the centre of Marbella and a dining venue popular with both residents and visitors. Opened in 2004, it has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2014, Becketts again received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. Over the years, it has played host to a number of celebrities including Liam Neeson, Antony Worral Thompson, Rebecca Loos and Sir Alan Sugar.

Becketts offers international cuisine to an excellent standard under the watchful eye of chef and owner Marc Quinlan. They offer a wide selection of specials to suit all tastes and there is also a three course Early Bird menu between 6pm and 8pm.

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The Playwright Restaurant Review

The Playwright opened its doors in February 2011 following the success of its sister restaurant Beckitts in the centre of Marbella. The owners of this restaurant are offering a unique experience with fine food and regular entertainment. Judging by its popularity, they have clearly succeeded in both.

The Playwright is a great place to pop into just for a drink. There is a large whiskey collection, with some dating back to the early 1800s. Alternatively, you can enjoy a perfectly served pint of Guinness. Here, you can enjoy a delicious meal with a selection of wines carefully chosen by wine expert Charlotte Rodríguez. The food is freshly prepared daily by their award winning chef and his team. And, with the excellent entertainment, this is a great venue for a great evening.

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Peperoncino Restaurante Review

Peperoncino is probably the most authentic Italian restaurant we have visited in Marbella. We love it and we have been there several times. Daniella, Fabrizio and her staff will welcome you warmly and they are extremely attentive. They will ensure that your visit is one to remember.

The restaurant is tastefully decorated and the tables are beautifully laid. The outside terrace is a great place to enjoy a typically Italian lunch or dinner. The lighting and the decor create a wonderful atmosphere. The starters are well worth considering. Everything is light and fresh, leaving room for home made pastas and an array of different sauces. You won´t have tasted flavours like it. They also offer a full menu of meat and fish dishes.

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L’Angolinos Restaurant Review

L´Angolinos is one of our favourite restaurants – during the winter and the summer. The owner has decorated it in a very individual way. Apparently, her favourite colour is purple and it features throughout the restaurant. The tables inside and out are beautifully laid out.

The inside is very quaint and a wonderful place to eat during the winter months. The walls are covered in interesting photographs. The terrace is shady and comfortable and the colour theme continues in the garden. There is even an old bicycle which has taken on the purple theme. The Menu del Día is excellent and very good value. It is three courses plus a glass of wine and a cup of coffee.

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