The sunny weather of the Costa del Sol makes dining al freco possible almost all year round. In Spain, long, lazy lunches and dinners that start late (around 10pm) are often preceded by an aperitivo (alcoholic beverage) or two on the seafront; in the quaint huts and summertime restaurants known as chiringuitos.
BEACH SIDE DINING
Here, the freshest fare from the sea can be enjoyed, with favoured dishes including chopitos (fried baby squid), adobado (fried fish) and best of all, espetos (barbecued sardines), which are not only packed with flavour but are also one of the most anti-oxidant foods you could find.
In the winter months, diners head for city centre tapas locales, where they sip on beer or wine and sink their teeth into traditional delights such as jamón ibérico (Spanish ham), morcilla (blood sausage) and callos (tripe). Seafood and tapas are perhaps the most characteristic of all foods on the Costa del Sol, so if you’re looking to savour the real Spain, there couldn’t be a better place. And if you’d like to take seafood to the next level, you cannot skip a visit to the emblematic Santiago, arguably the most famous seafood restaurant in the South of Spain.
GOURMET SPANISH CUISINE
Did you think that Marbella was just about fun in the sun? You may be surprised to learn that Málaga is actually somewhat of a gastronomic capital, with more Michelin stars to its name than any other city in Andalucía (El Lago, Calima and Skina and La Veranda at the Hotel Villa Padierna are four Michelin-starred establishments in Marbella alone). Foodies from all over the world rave over Spain’s creative chefs, many of whom have honed their crafts under greats like Martín Berasategui or Ferrán Adriá. Michelle Obama made it no secret that creative Spanish cuisine is a favourite in her books, and she was seen enjoying a fine meal at the outstanding Buenaventura restaurant in the quaint Old Town and selecting La Meridiana del Alaberdero for her final meal before heading for Madrid to greet the King and Queen of Spain. Most top establishments have an impressive wine list in addition to a wide selection of dishes that will tempt your sense of sight as much as your sense of taste. ¡Buen provecho!
As befits one of Spain’s top tourist destinations, Marbella is home to excellent restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. Gastronomic stalwarts such as Tai Pan (serving Chinese food), Suko Thai or Thai Gallery (serving Thai cuisine) delight those who love spicy food, while those who are happily addicted to authentic sushi and sashimi delight in the creations of Saito and his team at Sushi des Artistes, who serve dishes that can only be described as pure art. French, Belgian and international cuisine also find their home in Marbella, with fantastic al fresco restaurants like Casa Mono, in the city centre, offering a cosy yet chic ambience, which is perfect for a night out with your loved ones and friends. Indian is another favourite for families and friends, who flock to popular restaurants such as Taj Mahal.
WORDS BY Marisa Cutillas