Marbella has a vast choice of excellent tapas bars in town. There is nothing better than spending the morning on the beach followed by a ´tapas tour´ around the streets of Marbella. Many local ingredients are used to create delicious tapas with fresh fish, olive oil, seasonal vegetables and a delicious combination of flavours.
Start in the Old Town at the Plaza de Los Naranjos and work our way down to the coast. Enjoy a glass of cold vino, some plump olives and Serrano ham to get the taste-buds going and work your way round to the excellent Russian Salad, croquetas, gazpacho and chorizo. The long, warm Andalucian evenings lend themselves to exploring the back streets of Marbella's Old Town in search of authentic Spanish cooking.
By sampling the different tapas, visitors can experience the true flavours of Andalucia. Andalucian cuisine is distinctive from other regions in Spain from its emphasis on fresh fish, including mackerel, shrimp, and mussels. Andalucia's most famous culinary export is gazpacho - the refreshing, tangy soup that's served cold as a starter. Traditional gazpacho will be made with fresh tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Many restaurants have developed their own interpretations of the dish, adapting the taste to include creamy avocado or even a seafood base.
In the gourmet restaurants of Marbella, tapas were elevated from a Spanish tradition to an art-form, and it'd be foolish not to spend at least one evening trying a selection of local delicacies. Pinchitos Morunos, or Moor's Kebabs, were born of the Moorish influence in this part of Spain, and are delicately spiced skewers of pork, best served with a rich red wine. Prawns found in the Mediterranean around Marbella are prized throughout Spanish cuisine. Langostino de Sanlucar and Deepwater Rose Shrimp are found in the shallow waters near Marbella, and are well-renowned for their succulent flavours. Both are best enjoyed grilled in garlic and olive oil or simply boiled and eaten fresh.
One of the best places in Marbella to taste authentic tapas is at La Taberna del Pinxto (Avenida Miguel Cano, 7). Waiting staff circulate between tables with plates piled full of different tapas dishes, from simple jamon serrano (the Spanish staple of slivers of cured ham) to asparagus stalks with salmon. Guests can pick all they wish from the never-ending selection and, at the end of a visit, the coloured-cocktail sticks left over from each portion are totted up to calculate the bill.
In Marbella, colourful tapas bars like these sit shoulder-to-shoulder with chic, international restaurants, serving excellent local dishes, including stews and casseroles in the winter, and cool bites in summer. Lunch should never be rushed in Marbella, and visiting several different tapas bars and trying different dishes is highly recommended.
Walk through the cobbled streets from the Old Town down to the Avenida Ricardo Soriano and sample the superb Patatas Bravas and Boquerones al Vinagre in one of the many busy Spanish eateries along the way. Whether you want to try the authentic Spanish tortilla, nibble on octopus tentacles or enjoy a seafood salad tapa with citrus vinaigrette, you will find plenty to go at in Marbella. Cane mechada is also delicious, and usually consists of roast pork, cooked in its juices and sliced thinly, served on rounds of french bread.
Marbella´s tapas bars provide a fabulous choice for lovers of meat, fish and vegetables, and you will also get to sample some of the finest wines and sherries by the glass as you enjoy the sunshine. The great thing about this type of eating is that there always seems to be room for just one more, and you will end up enjoying much more than you bargained for.
Highly recommended tapas bars in Marbella and Puerto Banus include:
- Bodega del Gusto Italiano, C/Fontanilla, 4, 29600 Marbella. Tel: 952774090.
- Bodeguita Andaluza, CC Cañada, Local 87/88, 29600, Marbella. Tel: 952861 711.
- Bodeguita El Callejón, C/Alamo, 5, 29600, Marbella. Tel: 649715314.
- Bodega La Venencia, Avda Miguel Cano, Marbella. Tel: 952863722.
- El Estrecho, C/San Lazaro, s/n, 29600 Marbella. Tel: 952770004.
- La Querencia, C/Tetuan, 9, 29600, Marbella. Tel: 952771208.
- La Taberna del Pintxo, Avda Miguel Cano 7, 29600, Marbella. Tel: 952 829 321.
- La Verbena, C/Castillejo, 29600, Marbella. Tel: 952827 410.
- La Bocana, Muelle Benabola, Local 1, 29660, Puerto Banus. Tel: 952817386.
- Gambrinus, Plaza Antonio Banderas, 29660, Puerto Banus. Tel: 952929202.
- La Moraga, opposite El Corte Ingles, 29660, Puerto Banus. Tel: 952817448.
Whether you fancy a full meal, a tasty tapa or a plate of local ham with olives, accompanied by a few cold beers or iced sherry, take a trip down Marbella way and enjoy a fantastic choice of local food and specialities, at very reasonable prices.