A travel post on Marbella. Is that something people want to read? Up until recently, I wasn't sure. Marbella is no New York or Paris, but then again, many people do go there and if you don't know the place you could easily end up eating every night at a tourist restaurant. That would be a shame since this lovely Spanish town has so much more to offer. So I decided to write it. I can tell you one thing, composing a list of favorite places of a town you know by heart is much harder than doing the same for a city you've only visited once.
Our first trip to Marbella was in 2009, when Rob's brother opened a lounge bar in the Puerto Deportivo: Hestia. He built this place from the ground up and nowadays it's a well known cafe where people come to enjoy a drink, a cup of coffee or dinner. Throughout time, Marbella has become a second home for us. In the first year (I was only 19!) everything was new for us. Walking through Old Town (Casco Antiguo), having tapas at Venencia, still a favorite, strolling down the boulevard, shopping at the local mall La Canada, spending a day in Puerto Banus (many people confuse Puerto Banus w/ Marbella, but to be clear, these are two very different towns) staring at all those enormous boats and expensive cars.
I remember Rob's mom telling us: "If you get lost, don't worry, just walk downwards, you'll always end up on the boulevard and find your way back." And we did. After a few years we got to know Marbella very well. Rob's brother moved a few times and we explored new parts of town. I learned Spanish and could finally have conversations with locals, even if it was only small talk. As I got more interested in food, I discovered new places via Instagram. Hence, our lists of go-tos continued to grow. Every year we spend time visiting old favorites, but we also make new memories. Marbella is one of the few places were I can relax 100 percent. When I arrive I always immediately notice that particular smell. A mix of fragrant flowers and sunscreen, of tapas and the salty sea. I hear people honking their car horns, birds singing, and Spanish pop music blasting from the car radio, while the sun is kissing my skin. This is my recipe for a perfect holiday. Oh and let’s forget about the mosquito bites.
Scroll down for our list of favorites!
Bodega la Venencia - best tapas in town. Both locals and tourists love it. Good food, easy to order. Late night summer vibes.
Hacienda Patagonica - a modern/Spanish style (read tapas) steak house. Lots of meat, so if you're vegetarian this might not be your place. Otherwise, very good.
La Red - a favorite of Rob's brother. And I can see why. This beach restaurant has a super relaxed vibe, not too expensive but tasty food. The beach is only a few feet away. A romantic place for dinner.
Hestia - this is the bar of Rob's brother. It's situated in the calm but cozy Puerto Deportivo. Many folks go down here in the evening to have a drink. When you do, go to Hestia. They'll take good care of you, it's sociable but not too crowded, they have comfortable couches and not only serve nice cocktails, but also homemade juices and smoothies. And their dinner menu is definitely worth a try as well.
Cappuccino Grand Café - I remember our first visit here. I loved it. This restaurant along the boulevard is definitely not your typical Spanish place. Cappuccino is very cosmopolitan. You'll find tourists here, but never too many. It's one of the few coffee places in town and their menu is so good. Nowadays they also serve sushi (upstairs there even is an entire sushi restaurant called Tahini (I love that name). Every holiday, we walk down here at least once or twice. Not in the mood for coffee? Try their iced tea or homemade lemonade!
Organic Market & Food - This place opened up two years ago or so. I heard about it on Instagram and convinced Rob to go with me. It's a thirty minute walk from the city center. The best way is to walk all the way down the boulevard, until you're at Marbella Club. Walk up, through the resort, until you hit the main road. Cross that and you'll find Organic. This restaurant serves only healthy food. Some dishes are vegan and/or gluten free. They also have a wide selection of smoothies and juices and in the back you'll find a cute little market with products to fill your pantry with.
Marbella Club - A beautiful resort near the sea. White casas covered with bougainvillea. Picture perfect. We had lunch at their beach restaurant this summer - a wonderful experience. Kind and helpful waiters, high quality food, and fresh coconuts. While you're enjoying your meal you hear the waves rolling in.
Momo - a romantic restaurant for fine dining in old town Marbella. Delicious and original dishes. Tight on budget? Try the early bird offer.
Candealia - if you're done with all the tapas and in need of an avocado toast. Go here. :)
La Casa del Te - if you've been to Granada before you might have noticed all the teterias. It's a relic from the ancient Moorish culture I believe. I absolutely love having a cup of tea in one of these places. When I found a similar tea house in Marbella, I was so happy! I sometimes come here to relax. They also serve very good smoothies by the way.
Giolatto - the best froyo in Marbella. They also have vegan ice cream!
Purobeach Marbella - what a place! All white, a beautiful pool, comfortable sun beds and great food. This luxurious beach club is situated near Estepona. Go up here with a taxi and enjoy a day on a very comfortable sunbed next to the beach or pool. Their restaurant serves excellent meals and special Spanish sushi (with Iberico ham instead of nori). Relaxed vibes, good music, not too exclusive. Just right.
Salduna Beach - an elegant chiringuito, off the golden mile towards Estepona. This beach restaurant is excluded, low key and romantic. Here you won't find many tourists. The owners are very passionate about their work and the food is delicious. On the menu you will find mainly Spanish food, but with a modern twist.
If you're craving some fresh fruit, I suggest going to one of the many small fruit and vegetable stores. You will find them everywhere in the streets that lead up to the main road, when you're coming from the beach. Just ask for a "fruteria" and people will help you.
Bio C'est - a high quality and organic skin care store with amazing brands from all over the world.
American Vintage - my favorite clothing store in Puerto Banus. Go in during rebajas (sale) in July. You'll go crazy.
Eywa - a nice yoga studio in Puerto Banus. In case you want to work out a bit.
This is just a selection of our favorite places in Marbella. If you have any questions, just email me or send me a message on Instagram! -x