Previously, I had always visited Sea Grill, the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa’s beachside dining haven, by day, when the restaurant comes alive with the colour of the sea and the appealing sight of families and friends who gather at the tables to enjoy a hearty buffet and cocktails or refreshments by the bejewelled Mediterranean.

This visit, however, was different; a friend and I chose Sea Grill for a dinner feast, eager to taste the freshest charcoal grilled fish and seafood after a surprisingly long hiatus from the sea.

The buzzing daytime atmosphere gives way to a distinctly more romantic, elegant vibe after the sun sets. The stylish interiors, by renowned British designer Andrew Martin, feature modernistic pieces, which somehow mesh perfectly with the cosy sofas, wooden decked flooring and cool-hued furnishings.

The man behind Sea Grill’s appeal is Thomas Stork, hailed Best Chef in Andalucía at the Andalusian Gastronomy Awards in 2013. If you’ve met Thomas before then you know he is as dynamic as he is forward thinking; the seasoned Chef is very much on the pulse of what a five-star dining experience should be.

His vast experience at stalwart establishments on the Coast and abroad, combined with his confidence and keen knowledge of world flavours, make him the ideal captain for such a key ship to the Resort’s success. Tradition meets innovation in his dishes, many of which are prepared atop sizzling coals or within a Tandoor oven.

Sea Grill is the ideal venue for those after a hearty or light dinner alike. When in Spain do as the Spaniards… keeping dinner healthy and fresh. We started out by sharing a wonderful Angus beef tartare, prepared on the spot by the friendly waiter, who also suggested a lovely wine to accompany the exquisite meat: a fragrant, full bodied Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja.

I don’t know about you, but as a big fan of tartare I am quite particular about the spice level and capers are a must! All the ingredients were laid out before us and we selected our respective spice levels, ingredients, etc. The result was a wonderfully appealing temptation whose tender quality was appreciated with every bite.

Before our starter, Thomas surprised us with an unexpected treat: an oyster served in its shell above a warm mountain of salt, topped with a beautiful citrusy curry sauce – quite possibly the most enjoyable oyster experience I can recall.

I am not a fan of raw oysters, yet this was a totally different thing – the moreish sauce definitely sparked my interest in sampling this delight again. We also tucked into a plate of tender manchego cheese and jamón pata negra, complemented beautifully by a dry fino.

My dining companion then delved in to a juicy Tandoori Jumbo Madagascar Prawn with Ginger and Chilli – the lover of Indian cuisine that he is, he raised his thumb at this one, enjoying the exotic flavours alongside various sides, which included basmati rice and crisp sautéed seasonal vegetables.

I opted for something lighter: an entire sea bass cooked a la sal, cut into fillets and served with a generous bowl of patatas a la lionesa (a baked potato dish with onion) – heavenly in its simplicity, texture and flavour.

The menu at Sea Grill is select yet well crafted enough to tempt everyone, with impressive looking cocktails (including a tangy pisco stone sour or a refreshing rain forest mojito), warm starters, pasta and rice dishes, charcoal grilled fish, seafood and meat, and a list of mains which includes everything from slow cooked shoulder of baby lamb with thyme to a sole meunière.

As tends to be the case with five-star restaurants, the sides are also to die for, with various sauces, rice, potato dishes and salads available.

The dessert list is too tempting for anyone attempting to shed unwanted pounds. We tucked into a warm chocolate dessert served with fruits, nuts and a smooth orange-mint sorbet. Afterwards, we enjoyed great conversation as we somehow found room for delicate mignardises and a comforting cup of coffee.

Sea grill was buzzing with diners on the night of our visit, testament to the fact that its night offerings are no longer such a ‘well kept secret’. The knockout combination of ambience, service and top quality dishes make this restaurant a modern classic to be frequented when the heart fancies an evening to be remembered.

Words Marisa Cutillas / Photography Kevin Horn

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe, s/n, Marbella. Tel: 952 820 900.