There is no denying that Spain has a renowned food reputation. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between the excellent and poor restaurants while on holiday. Therefore, Costa Excursions has carefully selected a compilation of the top dining options in Marbella just for you. Whether you prefer the relaxed pleasure of Jamon Iberico or the innovative molecular gastronomy reminiscent of El Bulli, this list is sure to offer something that will satisfy your palate.
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Marbella Best Gourmet
Despite its generally relaxed atmosphere and casual dining area, Skina is a superb restaurant. There is no arrogance or gimmicks, just expertly prepared dishes made from the finest ingredients. Chef Jaume Puigdengolas, hailing from Barcelona, constantly introduces enticing new creations to the menu, ensuring that even regular customers never get bored. Reservations are highly recommended due to the limited seating in the dining room, which is in high demand thanks to its 2 Michelin stars. The sommelier offers a selection of local wines from both small, lesser-known wineries and larger, more renowned producers. One of our personal favorites, Bodegas Bentomiz, is included in their carefully curated wine list.
Please note that Skina is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Address: Calle Aduar 12, Casco Antiguo, Marbella. Restauranteskina.com.
BEST LOCAL CHEF
Dani Garcia, a young resident of the area, owns two dining establishments in Marbella – BiBo and Lobito de Mar. The restaurants are located in close proximity to each other, and they serve dishes that are visually appealing and satisfying to even the most refined palates. The cuisine, although occasionally bold and unique, remains true to its Spanish roots.
BiBo is the perfect option for a fast or lighter meal. It is a lively and busy yet relaxed restaurant with four distinct areas: the outdoor seating area, Grandma’s table, the Raw and Oyster Bar, and the Cocktail bar. While the food is consistently delicious, the level of sophistication is slightly lower compared to traditional restaurants run by famous chefs. The menu offers a variety of stone-baked pizzas, burgers (Garcia’s bull burger is a popular dish that has been imitated throughout Spain), whole stuffed chickens and slow-cooked lamb legs for sharing, sushi, as well as tapas, steak, and fried fish dishes. To top it all off, the cocktails at BiBo are simply the best in Marbella.
Address: Hotel Puente Romano, 29602 Marbella, Malaga. Bibodanigarcia.com.
Top spot all year round.
Cascada Cocina & Bar
Located on the outskirts of town, in the hills above La Cañada shopping centre, Cascada Cocina & Bar is a recent addition to the Marbella restaurant scene. Actually, it is quite literally one of the newest establishments. The restaurant, which commenced operations in early 2018, is situated next to a collection of flowing pools and waterfalls, all surrounded by beautiful green gardens. Even before placing our order, we were already extremely impressed. The location is simply delightful.
As we entered the restaurant, the atmosphere was equally warm and inviting. The interiors consist of a combination of weathered terracotta flooring, teal-colored tiles, comfortable sofa seating near the bar (complete with a fireplace for colder winter nights), and tastefully designed Scandi-chic chairs. These elements seamlessly blend together to create a subtly stylish ambiance.
What about the food? It perfectly complements the atmosphere. The establishment was launched by Dutch individuals Maryn Gerrits, Arjan van de Vrande, and Jaap Schaafsma, who are passionate about food. They are dedicated to providing a laid-back and simple dining experience, allowing the local ingredients to shine. During our most recent visit for lunch, the grilled naan bread, beef carpaccio, and delicately fried tempura vegetables were all outstanding. The wine cellar, made of shiny glass, is also highly praised.
Address: Urb. Montua 39, 29602 Marbella, Malaga. Cascadamarbella.com.
Top choices for small snacks and mixed drinks
This eatery is part of a small, flourishing chain in Spain. Despite being located at Plaza de los Naranjos – the historic central square right in the heart of Marbella’s old town – the dining area features a combination of both high and low seating. It has a bright, contemporary, comfortable, and modest atmosphere. If you’re looking for extravagance and glamour, this is not the place for you. However, if you’re seeking a meal to catch up with your female friends, it undoubtedly satisfies. The cuisine is straightforward but delightful, and there is a great selection of wines and cocktails. The restaurant occupies the entire structure of a traditional Andalusian townhouse with a central courtyard.
Address: Plaza de los Naranjos, 7, 29601 Marbella, Malaga. Lateral.com.
Top-rated Classic Spanish Tapas
Taberna la Niña del Pisto
This tapas bar offers a diverse selection of simple and flavorful traditional dishes from Cordoba. Guests can look forward to enjoying classic Spanish favorites such as salmorejo (a chilled, thick soup with ham and hard-boiled egg), berenjenas con miel (lightly fried eggplant with honey), spicy snails in sauce, local cured cheese, and bull’s tail stew. It is highly recommended for those following a low-carb diet in Marbella.
Address: Calle de San Lazaro, 2, 29601 Marbella, Malaga.
Bar El Estrecho
Established in 1954, this popular eatery in Marbella is still operated by the same family to this day. The restaurant lives up to its name “estrecho,” which means narrow, as the available space can be limited, especially on weekends. Visitors have the option of standing at the bar or choosing a table in the casual dining area where they can enjoy a variety of delectable tapas. While this establishment leans more towards a rustic and casual dining experience rather than a gourmet one, it provides an authentic and enjoyable stop in the historic old town. The menu offers no surprises, but there is a good selection of dishes such as croquettes, fresh seafood (including clams, prawns, and octopus), and pork options.
Address: Calle de San Lazaro, 12, 29601 Marbella, Malaga. Barelestrecho.es.
Ideal for an Early Birds
The Spanish have a habit of eating dinner at a later time. It’s a fact that cannot be ignored. If you have not been able to fully adjust to the Spanish dining schedule, then this is the ideal spot to have an early evening meal…
The Harbour Bar & Restaurant
Setting aside earlier reservations, if you’re also craving for something that feels like home, then The Harbour is undoubtedly the finest eatery in Marbella. Positioned on the harbor with breathtaking views of the ocean, it offers both outdoor and indoor seating options. They offer an early dining special menu (before 6-8pm) at a price of €29 per person. The place is renowned for its scrumptious steaks, particularly their high-quality rib-eye and Angus beef fillets. On weekends, it becomes vibrant with live music, so if you desire a calm and romantic meal, it is advisable to explore other restaurants. However, it is perfect for a fun-filled family dinner and can easily accommodate large groups.
Address: Club Maritimo Puerto Deportivo, Marbella. Theharbourmarbella.com
Paella y Más
Situated in the heart of Marbella, this establishment is the ideal destination for an authentic and delectable paella or fideua. These traditional Spanish dishes, known for their comforting and satisfying nature, are expertly crafted by Chef Javier Ponte. The fideua, a variation of paella featuring pasta noodles instead of rice, is always cooked to perfection, achieving a moist and slightly crispy texture. Additionally, there is an enticing variety of starters available, such as salmon tartare. For those who may not be inclined towards paella or fideua, there is a diverse selection of Iberian pork cuts that are sure to please any meat enthusiast. Operating hours are 12:30pm for lunch and 7:30pm for dinner.
Address: Calle Hermanos Salom, 3, 29601 Marbella, Malaga. Restaurantepaellasymas.com.
Top small eateries
The present-day and up-to-date dining area is cozy and does not disrupt the enjoyment of the food. It may lack some ambiance when it’s quiet, but usually, it is filled with content customers. We appreciated that the wine expert, who has a genuine love for Spanish wine, would suggest regional wines when suitable as well. The cuisine is exceptional and could easily be worthy of a Michelin Star. The dish featuring creamy Payoyo cheese is incredibly delectable and melts in your mouth.
Address: Av. Severo Ochoa, 12, 29603, Marbella. Restaurantemessina.com.
Everyone can feel relieved because your beloved Japanese restaurant is now available to enjoy during holidays. Finally, Nobu has opened in Spain. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, a renowned international restaurateur and chef, is the genius behind this famous Japanese food.
Located in La Plaza, alongside the stylish restaurant Bibo, Nobu Marbella offers a beautiful and ideal environment. The restaurant exudes a vibrant atmosphere and has terraces filled with lush plants. The dining area showcases a modern design with sleek lines, wooden paneling, and minimalistic table arrangements. It is all about elegance and simplicity, without any unnecessary complications.
The team is putting in a lot of effort to meet the standards of the famous Nobu Park Lane (the first Nobu restaurant in Europe, and one that we really like). If you haven’t been to Nobu before, we recommend starting with a glass of sake and trying their set menu, which changes with the seasons. This will give you the opportunity to sample some of their iconic dishes, as well as ones that are unique to Nobu Marbella. If we had to mention a downside, it would be that the tables are reserved for specific time slots, so on busy nights you can’t linger and enjoy a leisurely drink after your meal.
Address: Boulevard Alfonzo H, s/n, 05200 Marbella, Malaga. Noburestaurants.com/marbella.
Ideal for CONTEMPORARY GOURMET FOOD
Lobito de Mar
The stylish and elegant building of Dani Garcia’s latest restaurant, Lobito de Mar, follows a pavilion-style design. This establishment is Dani’s interpretation of a beachside chiringuito, albeit without an actual beach. Instead of the expected rustic and casual seaside hut, the interior is adorned with white and black tones, complemented by natural hues and vibrant green plants. As a result, the atmosphere is laid-back and casual, providing a conducive environment for dining.
Lobito de Mar offers two menus, catering to different preferences. One features reasonably priced tapas and light snacks, while the other presents a complete dining experience. Both menus predominantly showcase a variety of fish and seafood, prepared using simple and traditional cooking methods, ranging from skewering on a barbecue (espeto) to the iconic paellas. During our recent visit, one dish that captivated our taste buds was the perfectly cooked fideua paella, which comprised dry noodles cooked to perfection.
And mentioning Lobito is impossible without at least acknowledging the wine cellar, a breathtakingly vast assortment handpicked by Carlos García Mayoralas to suit every taste and dish. Additionally, the sangria menu – no, we too had never seen a sangria menu before – offers five distinct blends of the classic sangria to sample, undoubtedly sparking engaging conversations (or kickstarting them).
Address: Av. Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, 178, 29602 Marbella, Malaga. Grupodanigarcia.com.
Best for Kids
It is important to mention at this stage that the Spanish have a fondness for children and in most places, they won’t even flinch at the sight (and noise) of a big, unruly group of children entering. However, while a restaurant being very laid-back about it is one matter, providing high chairs, menus for children, and facilities for changing is something entirely separate.
Costa Excursions has included Bono Beach in their list of the top Marbella restaurants, as it is the perfect beach bar for a family lunch or dinner. The beach provides countless games for the children to enjoy, and the casual dining atmosphere at Bono Beach is truly delightful. They offer a kids menu, as well as amenities such as high chairs and baby changing facilities, ensuring a comfortable experience for families. Additionally, this stretch of beach is ideal for families, offering valet parking and the option to rent sunbeds, Balinese futons, and beanbags if you wish to spend the entire day there.
Address: Av. Cervantes, 29604 Marbella, Málaga. Bonobeachmarbella.com
Located in the heart of Marbella, this unconventional eatery can be found in a historic dwelling featuring a hidden garden in the courtyard. The menu boasts a concise selection of unpretentious dishes, prioritizing locally sourced, organic ingredients. The overall atmosphere of the establishment exudes a carefree, street food vibe, rather than an upscale dining experience. Visitors can anticipate a range of activities, including yoga workshops, small-scale gatherings, temporary craft vendors, and, most notably, captivating Flamenco performances at the convenient hour of 7:30 PM. Consequently, it is no wonder that this venue earned a spot on our list of the top child-friendly eateries in Marbella.
Address: Plaza Altamirano n2, 29601, Marbella Spain. Thefarm-marbella.com
Ideal for the ambiance after a meal
Oak Garden & Grill
Situated in Nueva Andalucia, not too far from the Puerto Banus harbor but close enough to walk between the two, Oak Garden & Grill offers a vibrant atmosphere with its well-lit dining room and lively outdoor decking area. As part of the popular La Sala group, this fairly new establishment falls within a reasonable price range and is perfect for families and larger groups.
True to its name, Oak Garden & Grill specializes in deliciously grilled meat and seafood dishes, which are often cooked right at the table to suit your personal taste. If you visit, make sure to indulge in their renowned grilled meats by ordering the ribeye or Galician fillet without hesitation.
Adjacent to Oak is La Sala, an excellent venue to conclude your night with drinks, live performances, and observing others.
Address: Calle Belmonte, 29600 Nueva Andalucia, Marbella, Malaga. Oakgardenandgrill.com.
Top-notch Golf Course Restaurants
Established in 2005, Magna Café provides a traditional dining experience at the Magna Marbella Golf Course in Nueva Andalucia. While the interior design may not be extraordinary, the captivating views of the golf course will surely capture your attention.
This well-established restaurant has a reputation in the Marbella food scene, although occasionally they may serve a dish that seems outdated. We highly recommend trying their lobster soup and roasted leg of lamb. It caters well to a variety of tastes and is able to accommodate large groups comfortably.
Address: Avenida Calderón de la Barca, 29660 Marbella, Malaga. Magnacafe.com.
This list is definitely not comprehensive when it comes to fantastic dining options – there are countless other delectable choices for you to explore in and around the city including:
1. The Farmhouse: A cozy restaurant that focuses on locally sourced ingredients and farm-to-table dining.
2. The Seafood Shack: For seafood lovers, this casual eatery offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes, from crab cakes to lobster rolls.
3. La Pizzeria: If you’re in the mood for pizza, head to this family-owned Italian restaurant known for their thin-crust pies and delicious toppings.
4. The BBQ Joint: For finger-licking good barbecue, this restaurant serves up tender ribs, pulled pork, and all the classic sides.
5. Noodle House: Craving Asian cuisine? Head to this authentic noodle house that offers a variety of noodle dishes, stir-fries, and dumplings.
6. The Burger Bar: A popular spot for burger enthusiasts, this restaurant offers a wide selection of gourmet burgers with creative toppings and sauces.
7. The Vegan Cafe: For those looking for plant-based dining options, this cafe offers a range of vegan dishes, from hearty salads to vegan burgers.
8. The Tapas Bar: If you enjoy small plates, this tapas bar offers a variety of Spanish-inspired dishes to share and savor.
9. The Sushi Spot: Sushi lovers will enjoy this sushi bar that offers fresh and flavorful sushi rolls, sashimi, and other Japanese favorites.
10. The Dessert Shop: Don’t forget to save room for dessert! This shop offers a variety of sweet treats, from artisanal ice cream to freshly baked pastries.
Remember to explore and try out different eateries to find your favorites and uncover hidden gems in the town’s culinary scene.