As one of Costa del Sol’s most popular beach destinations, you might expect the food in Marbella to be overpriced and mediocre. But even though the vast majority of restaurants cater to tourists, there are still great places to eat in Marbella you won’t want to miss.
Touristy but delicious
Bodeguita El Torero
Bodeguita El Torero is located on one of the most popular streets of Old Town Marbella. They offer good cocktails, sangria, and a huge variety of Andalusian dishes ranging from oxtail to shrimp along with everything in between. It’s basically impossible to leave hungry, as the portions are not tapas-sized, which is good because they’re definitely not tapas-priced. An order of patatas alone can feed a family of four. It’s relaxed and great for people watching.
MIA CAFE is another Old Town café with an incredible menu. It has a bit of a tiki bar vibe with plenty of outdoor seating, and occasionally, a dog named Tinto that hangs around. If you’re not bringing a big appetite, you can order six small tapas from the bar (not the menu) for €10. The location is excellent, just off the Plaza de los Naranjos, nestled on the corner of two adorable alleys so you have beautiful views all around no matter where you sit. Notable menu items include the tuna tartar with mango and avocado, the huevo roto, and the croquettes.
Kanaloa is smack in the middle of the Marbella Promenade with views of the boardwalk and the beach and a cozy stylish atmosphere that borders on the high end. It’s probably the priciest restaurant on this list, but the food is incredible and the dishes tend to come with a bit of flourish – there’s probably no need to torch the shrimp right at your table, but it’s nice. They have good drinks and all the food is guaranteed to be high quality, even if it’s totally overworked for Spanish tapas. Considering many of the places to eat on the Marbella boardwalk are likely to be in the same price range, the food here is actually worth the price.
This dive bar was recommended to us by someone from Marbella, and it did not disappoint. Bar Francisco is the kind of place that looks like frequented by the same older people who are there all day, but they’ll still welcome foreigners like family. There’s no menu, though they’re known for a drink called a ligaillo which is a mix of white wine and sherry – it’s as delicious as it is killer. It might not look like much in photos, but the food is excellent. You basically pick out fresh seafood from the bar to have fried up on the spot, and they bring it out with a little bread and olives. For the quality of the fish, there’s probably no cheaper place to have seafood in Marbella.
This cafeteria is a great spot for to eat breakfast in Marbella, though we wouldn’t have known it because the server just asked what we wanted the second we sat down without giving us a menu. In fairness, what we wanted was sitting on every table in the place – an order of churros and hot chocolate. The service at Churreria Generalife is fast, if a little frantic, and the churros were absolutely incredible. But if you are hungry for more, they also have full breakfasts, sandwiches, shakes, and waffles.
Though you can’t sit down and eat at Pasteleria Cantero, you can line up with the locals to get your daily bread and fresh pastries. They are known for their palmeras, a thin rolled puff pastry, which they offer in several varies including stuffed and covered in chocolate. But what really stood out for me were the glazed donuts. They’re rich and flavorful, but totally disintegrate in your mouth like clouds. They put Krispy Kreme to shame.
So if you were expecting crappy food made straight from the freezer and a menu translated into six different languages, the food in Marbella might surprise you.
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