Holidays to Costa del Sol aren't complete without a few special meals and in Marbella you'll find a wonderful selection of modern and traditional cuisine from around the world. With almost 1000 different restaurants you'll be spoilt for choice, but wherever you choose you'll always be impressed with the quality of the food and the surrounding atmosphere. Marbella is known for its Michelin star restaurants, some of which are pushing the boundaries of modern gastronomy. In order to help you get started, here are 10 of the best restaurants to be found in Marbella.
Dani Garcia is probably the most famous and important chef working in the Costa del Sol. His restaurant provides an intimate and playful dining experience with a menu that blends the traditions of Andalusia with current trends in gastronomy. The menu is themed around well-known stories such as 'The Little Prince'. For the quality of its food and service, Dani Garcia has been awarded a coveted Michelin star.
Not only has El Lago's exquisite food resulted in it being awarded a Michelin star, it also boasts one of the best views and interiors of all the restaurants in Marbella. Located in Elviria, in the grounds of Greenlife Golf, you'll be surrounded by lush greenery and a beautiful lake. At night clever lighting creates an intimate atmosphere. Both taster and a la carte menus are available and you'll find Andalusian traditions mixed with a contemporary attitude and expertise.
Skina is a tiny restaurant that makes a big impression on all its visitors. The food is Andalusia meets molecular gastronomy and has gained Skina a Michelin star. The Andalusian tasting menu comprises six elegant and intelligent dishes designed to utilise the very best of Andalusian flavours and ingredients.
El Cortijo is a traditional Spanish restaurant specialising in paella and meat braised over an open fire. It's a favourite among locals and might be the best place in Marbella for honest and authentic Spanish cooking. You can find it in the old town, just off Orange Square.
Casa Lola is a small, cosy restaurant serving great value tapas and raciones (a bigger portion if you like the tapas). You'll get to taste influences from northern Spain as well as Andalusia, and the friendly staff will always be on hand to explain each dish. While there are lots of All Inclusive Costa del Sol options available, it's worth venturing here for a meal one evening.
One of the reasons we like Beckett's is that there's a giant image of the playwright Samuel Beckett hanging one of its walls. Other reasons include its extensive menu – sometimes a bad sign when it comes to restaurants but at Beckett's they manage to pull it off. Their international influences and use of the best ingredients means that Beckett's manages to be elegant and interesting while remaining a crowd pleaser.
Paco Jimenez is one of the most talked about restaurants in Marbella. Paco, the patron chef, has 40 years of experience cooking with the best of Andalusian ingredients. The menu is divided into food from the sea and food from the meadows and valleys, so you can expect beautifully fresh fish and full-flavoured meat, all cooked with passion and a complete lack of pretension.
There are several Da Bruno restaurants on the Costa del Sol, all specialising in authentic Italian food and especially the use of homemade fresh pasta. For a large restaurant Da Bruno manages to execute fine Italian cuisine with considerable expertise. With its large capacity, views over the Mediterranean and programme of evening entertainment, Da Bruno Sol Mare is a great restaurant for large parties out celebrating.
With so much tapas available in Marbella it's impossible to award anywhere with the best tapas award. However, the Arco Tapas Bar would certainly be in the running. Arco is different in that it's dedicated to tapas, rather than being a general Spanish restaurant serving lots of other things besides. Arco makes sure to use only the best local ingredients, and serves them as they're meant to be.
Ta-kumi is a curve ball designed to demonstrate the variety of food you'll find in Marbella. It's an authentic sushi restaurant that many people claim is one the best in Spain. If you're hungry then things can get expensive there – around €100 per person if you do things properly – but its level of expertise and refinement demonstrate why Marbella is one the best places in Spain for travelling foodies.