The Costa del Sol is home to over 130 beaches but Playa Arenal, home to trendy dining spot, Bono Beach, enjoys a particularly well-earned reputation for its clean, powdery, soft sands.
Located just 10 minutes away by car from Marbella’s town centre, it boasts a chilled island vibe that takes it worlds away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Bono Beach Marbella comprises two dining areas: one, located on the beach, with elegant Balinese beds and sun loungers, where diners can enjoy a meal of a lifetime while sunbathing. The other is a wooden decked area with both indoor and al fresco dining, overlooking the glistening Mediterranean.
Bono Beach was already an established restaurant when the savvy Metro Grupo took over a few years ago. This group owns and runs 11 restaurants on the Coast (including Cibo, Jacks Smokehouse, Gaucho Grill and Mumtaz Indian Restaurant).
Its newest establishment, Kaleido, brings sexy tapas and drinks to the scenic Puerto Marina port in Benalmádena. Each of Metro Grupo’s restaurants has its own unique vibe, though all venues offer top quality cuisine, served with panache by a dedicated staff with a true passion for service.
It was a perfect day on my recent lunch visit to Bono Beach – the sky was a vibrant turquoise and the sea breeze was welcoming on a hot summer’s day. My husband and I sat right by the beach dining area, close to the lapping waves and families and groups of friends enjoying a refreshing dip in the sea.
The menu contains dishes that tempt and entice – fresh salads, char-grilled steaks, seafood both grilled and fried. Traditional chiringuito dishes (such as Málaga-style fried baby squid chipirones) vied for our attention alongside Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Thai delights. Then there were the cocktails – long, tall and wonderfully icey.
We started our meal with a sweet caipirinha, made with cachaça, lime, brown sugar and orange bitters, which seemed to instantly erase any ounce of stress from our minds. The menu offers a host of snacks to enjoy with your cocktails – including slow roast pork gyozas, Cajun chicken nachos or Indonesian chicken satay.
We enjoyed a bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio with our shared starters – the Sashimi Salad (bearing tender slices of tuna and salmon sashimi, topped with black sesame and served over a refreshing seaweed salad with a chilli, soy and yuzu dressing); and the tuna tartare – comprising generous cubes of tender tuna served with freshly sliced avocado.
We continued to be inspired by the sea for our main courses, as we tucked into a plump seabass fillet, lightly grilled, topped with a moreish herb butter and served with steamed spinach and baby potatoes.
The healthy simplicity of the fish was perfectly complemented by another shared main – the Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) – a colourful, sweet and slightly spicy blend of chicken pieces, shrimp, and vegetables.
We loved the presentation of this dish – the rice was served with various sides, including a sweet soy sauce, crushed peanuts and chives, which we added to taste and mixed with the rest of the ingredients. We instantly fell in love with the inviting flavours – somehow, Oriental and fusion cuisine seems to fit so well when dining on the beach.
Bono Beach is as famed for its desserts as for its savoury temptations. The portions at this restaurant are generous, so although we were more than satisfied, we could not resist sharing a slice of Key Lime Pie – devilishly delicious and worth every calorie.
The pie was tangy, creamy and invitingly sweet all at once – a sweet end to a magnificent meal by the sea and definitely the stuff that the very best summer memories are made of.
Words Marisa Cutillas Photography Kevin Horn
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Urb. Costabella, Playa del Arenal, Avda. de Cervantes s/n, Elviria, Marbella. Tel: 952 839 236.