The name Pablo Castillo first came to our attention when he won two highly coveted awards. Firstly the Best Tapa at the Málaga en la Mesa competition (2017) and then for Best Five-Star tapa in the Ruta de la Tapa here on the Coast. Both are commendable considering the fact that tapas play a key role in southern and national cuisine. Moreover, the Ruta de la Tapa is an 11-year old event that is one of the highlights of the yearly gourmet calendar.


Around the World

Pablo’s penchant for fusing world flavours was evident in his winning recipes. Namely the liquid nigiri-croqueta with kimchi and tuna belly tartare. Also the pan con tunaka. (tuna loin sashimi on crunchy crystal bread, semi-dried tomato, shichimi togarashi and dehydrated tomato). Last but not least, the smoked ajoblanco with barbecued sardine and fig sorbet.

The culinary traditions of Japan, Korea, and Spain were strongly present. Yet Málaga born Pablo is just as likely to grace his dishes with Cuban or Morrocan touches. He is certainly knowledgeable about world cuisine. Studying at the Escuela de Hostelería de Bellamar,  he then honed his craft under the great Ramón Freixa of Mesana. He then set his sight on Varadero (Cuba), picking up an extensive knowledge of its rich and varied gastronomy.

In Marbella, he has shone at many top establishments – including Ocean Club, where he undertook the role of Executive Chef. His many years of experience would lead to fruitful meetings with other chefs and restaurateurs. For instance, Top of Top Thai, as well as chefs specialising in Japanese cuisine. Even Arabian influences find their way into Pablo’s beautifully presented creations. “My father lived in Tangiers for a time so I also feel connected in some way to its gastronomic heritage.”

Success at Savor

Pablo is now a founding partner and the Executive Chef of Savor – a chic restaurant in the heart of San Pedro de Alcántara. Here, Pablo and his partners sought to bring sophistication to a town known for its passion for tradition.

The restaurant has an à-la-carte menu for those after a quick bite. Here, you will find tapas and media raciones of some of Savor’s most popular selections. These include the delicious patatas bravas (fried in tempura and served with ali-oli and sriracha foam). Also creamy croquetas filled with bellota ham and tomato mayonnaise.

For an extended encounter, we try one of the three tasting menus on offer. These vary slightly in price and the number of dishes offered. “The tasting experience begins with a sampling of different varieties of extra-virgin oil served with fresh bread. Made with ecological flour that has been pre-fermented for 20 hours, it bakes beautifully. This lends it a crisp exterior and a soft interior,” states the Chef. Delights that follow include award-winning tuna, cold soups and taste of the sea and/or taste of the land. All of which are as surprising in presentation as they are in taste.

A New Take

If you love new takes on classics, then Savor is an experience to be embraced. This year, the idea of ‘beach picnics’ was the inspiration for Pablo. If you have been in Málaga for any length of time, then you know that families often pack tortilla, gazpacho and breaded chicken for lunch on the beach. Pablo gives these treats a twist by serving his version of them on a transparent dish perched atop sand sourced from Tarifa.

“I like to surprise diners and I sometimes achieve this by using ingredients that form the basis of revered recipes in countries in Latin America. Fresh papaya, tubers like yams and yucas as well as other regional staples. The concept of world cuisine is infinite and I enjoy creating completely new dishes that are still reminiscent of well-loved recipes.”

Despite enjoying experimentation, Pablo says, “I always keep my feet on the ground and my starting point is invariably traditional cuisine.” He imbues the latter, of course, with layer upon layer of creativity and imagination. Similarly changing ingredients and techniques according to the seasons and the seeds of inspiration he finds. This passion for innovation is something that makes a meal at Savor unique every time.


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