Cosy inside and set on a charming little square in the heart of Marbella’s Old Town, La Famieke makes fine dining a very sociable experience.

The Old Town is an area that seems made for a pleasant evening out, gaining an additional glow when the lights come on and its cobbled streets and little squares acquire a picture postcard aspect. The ambience is lively yet gentle and laid-back, with restaurants, cafés, boutiques and little wine bars making this the true social heart of the town.

La Famieke is a fine example, tucked into a corner off the main Calle Cruz, its terrace area forms part of a delightful little square that offers a little more privacy than some of the larger streets – making it possible to absorb the atmosphere and watch the world go by without being in the midst of it.

This family-run establishment is a restaurant for all seasons, as the cosy interior is just made for intimate winter dinners while the terrace area offers the best mix of ingredients in summer. With the Indian summer we’re having it made sense to opt for the latter, though I made a mental note to come back for the winter ambience later in the year.

The owners, Maryse and Benoit, are experienced restaurateurs, and it shows. La Famieke is run smoothly and seemingly effortlessly, with attentive staff who are there when you need them but never hover around nervously. The restaurant invites you to relax, socialise and enjoy excellent food in a richly atmospheric setting.

A fine blend of cuisines

Though the owners are Belgian, and draw on the country’s proud culinary tradition, this isn’t an overtly Belgian restaurant. The menu does carry some delicacies from their homeland but Maryse and Benoit also offer a handpicked selection of Italian, Mediterranean, Asian-inspired and classic French dishes.

The menu is therefore a very personal one, representing the inspiration of the chef, and the popularity of La Famieke among those who enjoy a great meal and evening out, is down to the quality of the ingredients, the cooking skills and the ambience and service offered.

You feel you’re in safe hands at La Famieke, where we were offered a tasty appetiser in the form of Manchego cheese and Serrano ham croquettes as we made our choices. Having set itself free from the restrictions of a national-based kitchen, the menu gives you a very broad range of complementary possibilities that avoid the repetition of pastas or steaks seen in some restaurants.

You will be equally well served if you’re looking for meat, fish, seafood or even vegetarian dishes, and the experienced team barely blink an eye when faced with dietary requirements – they swiftly find an equally tasty solution.

Our starters consisted of a Tartar Famieke, which features salmon, scallops, foie gras and nuts in a beautifully prepared and presented ensemble. Light and tasty in a very refreshing way, this is the kind of dish that allows you to avoid heavier options and still dine out well.

The Terrine de Foie Gras with apple and fig compote on toasted brioche was hearty yet also light and together with a glass of the house white – a fresh, dry Viña Sanzo verdejo from Rueda – sets one up for the main course.

The starters in some restaurants are so heavy that you’re a little too full when the main course arrives, but here the experience and expertise of Maryse and Benoit shows again, for their offering is perfectly balanced and satisfying.

Fortunately so, as it would have been a great shame not to do the delicious mains justice – the Roasted Provencal Turbot and Thyme being one of the most delicious fish dishes I have enjoyed in some time. The texture and flavour of the fish, accompanied by a lovely sauce, makes this the kind of main course you would return for.

My companion enjoyed one of the day’s specials, a warm salad of fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes, baby potatoes, crispy bacon snippets and onions topped with fresh seared tuna cuts and a butter sauce. And so on to the desserts.

We opted for the impressive Famieke Pavlova with fruits of the forest and Mascarpone cream and happily tucked into a fantastic new discovery, Brussels Ice Cream with coffee and Speculoos flavour – yum!

For a fun, ambient night out you can’t beat Marbella’s Old Town, and when you’re there you’ll be supremely well catered for at one of its most charming and well-run restaurants, La Famieke.

Words Michel Cruz / Photography Kevin Horn

C/ Cruz 5, Plaza Puente Ronda, Old Town, Marbella. Tel: 952 775 412.