Marbella’s Gastronomic Sweetspots, Old and New

Nestled on the sun-drenched shores of the Costa del Sol, Marbella is an irresistible blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and unparalleled luxury. Renowned for its breath-taking beaches and glamorous lifestyle, it is also a culinary haven that tantalises even the most discerning visitor.

Marbella’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses that is as vibrant and eclectic as the area itself; a culinary centre for food connoisseurs… and I was delighted to try three of the best restaurants the city had to offer.

Nota Blue

My journey started with a visit to the recently opened and highly acclaimed Nota Blu, which is conveniently located between Marbella Town and Puerto Banus. ‘Sparkling lights and gourmet delights’ is their promise, and one they definitely delivered on.

Nota Blu begins to impress from the minute you arrive and climb the cream marble steps towards the magnificent wooden entrance doors. The grand entrance leads into a stunning inner courtyard where beautiful trees, fountains and lights set the scene for the adventure ahead. Although the restaurant is large, the tables feel secluded and intimate with most having sight of the impressive 350 square metre open kitchen where you can witness the culinary masters at work.

Executive Chef Fabian Cangas has built a reputation for creating classic French dishes with a Mediterranean twist. Our experience started with a traditional smoked Norwegian salmon with a horseradish crème fraiche which literally melted in the mouth, along with a cauliflower salad, yellowtail tuna tartare with ponzu sauce, some incredible shredded sweet potato and my personal favourite: the truffle pizza. Our sommelier Adrian expertly guided us to a bottle of fresh and crisp Casa Do Sol Albarino, a perfect wine to compliment all of our courses.

They were all hard acts to follow. However, the rich flavoured chermoula marinated lamb chops, beautifully buttery gratin sole miso meuniere and the Lobster gratin were equally as memorable. Scorched broccoli, green beans and a very special “Robuchon” potatoes purée complemented all our main choices. The service had been constant but subtle throughout our dinner, but our delightful waiter encouraged us to find a ‘little more space’ for their signature chocolate bomb dessert – and it was a wonderful finale.

Having tried a few of the delicious cocktails from their impressive selection of traditional and signature drinks, the party continued in the secret Blu Bar. Featuring a live DJ, this seriously stylish venue with champagne, cocktails and some really cool people to dance with capped off a fantastic evening.

La Plage Casanis

Day two, and it was time for a different sort of a party at La Plage Casanis. Nestled along the glamorous shores of Marbella’s famed Golden Mile, La Plage Casanis beckons with its chic beachfront ambiance and tantalising Mediterranean cuisine.

The breathtaking backdrop of the sparkling sea, golden sands, relaxed atmosphere and cool sophistication create a stunning setting for a memorable experience. We were seated on the patio in the warm afternoon sunshine where couples, whole families and groups of friends had all gathered to chill for hours, eat, drink and be happy in this haven by the water. The greeting was warm and the staff were very welcoming, taking the time to talk us through the tempting array of Mediterranean-inspired dishes. There is a focus on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, and we were definitely sold on the house speciality of full sized  sharing paella.

We chose a selection of starters that included a platter of delicious local meats, a melt in the mouth Lubina Ho Chi Min fried sea bass with jalapeno mayonnaise, and some Pil Pil Prawns that bubbled in a beautiful sauce that was perfect with the fresh crusty bread. Having washed this all down with a predictably crisp bottle of Whispering Angel, we moved on to the highlight of this gastronomic foray; their speciality Paella La Plage. Overflowing with lobster, scallops, calamari, clams, mussels, prawns and fish, this was a truly authentic encounter with this part of the world’s iconic flavours.

El Patio, The Marbella Club

We saved the most traditional Marbella experience to last. As the owner Prince Alfonso says: “Elegant simplicity – it is the Marbella Club philosophy. It is our way of life.” The Marbella Club epitomises the region’s gentle microclimate, sea air and mountain views. A haven for royalty, celebrities and the refined since 1954, the MBC is everything that Marbella represents.

El Patio is in the middle of the grand hotel, and stands as a culinary gem nestled in a beautiful courtyard. It promises authentic Andalusian cuisine served in an enchanting ambiance, and the setting is captivating and charming, adorned with fragrant orange trees and flickering candlelight.

The menu at El Patio reflects the culinary heritage of Andalusia, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations. Each dish is a masterpiece of flavour and presentation, expertly crafted to showcase the vibrant tastes and textures of the region. We started with some beautifully presented heritage tomatoes with whipped feta and a bubbling dish of woodfire tiger prawns with garlic and chilli. As tradition dictates, the latter dish was combined with freshly baked flatbreads, ensuring we didn’t waste any of the sauces.

From the tables on the patio you can admire the talented chefs cooking your food in the open kitchen, allowing you to enjoy the alluring aromas of traditional Andalusian cooking. For the main course we were recommended the marucha wagyu steak with chimichurri and the sea bream with olive, tomato and basil salad – both were cooked to perfection. We did manage to find room for their famed chocolate nemesis dessert, which is served with crème fraiche and ensured a luxurious finale to our truly exceptional meal.

The Marbella Club’s hospitality is impeccable, and once we had completed our dining experience we were offered a night cap in the exclusive piano bar. You cannot help but admire the opulent and traditional décor as you walk through the hotel – the walls are all adorned with photos of famous visitors and special moments across the incredible 80 year history of this iconic location.

The staff know many of the guests personally and many generations of families have made this magical hotel an integral part of their lives. There is an embedded sense of respect and honour in everything about the Marbella Club and we enjoyed the stories of long-serving staff who were allowed to continue living at the hotel long after their service years were over.

Simply put, El Patio and The Marbella Club are nothing short of extraordinary. From the exquisite cuisine to the enchanting ambiance and impeccable service, every moment spent in this oasis of tradition and glamour formulated special memories, sure to be cherished.

If anything, these three culinary explorations proved beyond all doubt that Marbella is so much more than a destination, it’s a gastronomic lifestyle experience … and one I’m honoured to have encountered in such peerless style.

Sarah Morgan

An astute marketing professional with over 20 years’ travel, hospitality and leisure campaigning under her belt, Sarah is passionate about the consumer / brand experience. She now works from the other side of the table as Global Travel Editor, have pen will travel.

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