Marbella feels like home to me, the minute I get off the plane I relax. Our home is bang in the middle of Marbella Old Town and the world famous Puerto Banus, five minutes apart but two very different places! Rewind five or ten years ago and I loved nothing more than going out for drinks and to the clubs in the Port but these days it's just not for me. I will however give you a list of my favourite spots you should check out incase you do feel like a bop and a kebab!
My favourite thing about Spain has got to be the food, I can get sun anywhere but some of the restaurants in Marbella are seriously worth the trip, even in winter! Let's start with breakfast and brunch, one of my favourite things to do before the beach.
The first two stops are in the Puento Romano Hotel, a huge resort made up of a hotel and private accommodation so it's full of restaurants. Rachel's Eco Love is a super cute tiny restaurant slash health store located by one of the resorts pools, they do healthy, fresh food that's light enough not to bloat you for the beach! Their lunch options are also delicious and it's reasonabily priced too. 200m away, bordering the Golden Mile entrance to Puento Romano you'll find Celicioso, a 100% certified gluten free restaurant that's set in the most beautiful little patio. Their fresh juices are amazing, I normally go for an omelette or the poached eggs and avocado. Do not leave without getting one of their red velvet cupcakes to take away and have later. You can thank me later. If you require some soakage, Pan Y Marmalada is amazing, the best big breakfast that isn't greasy and their pancakes are divine! Finally Cappuccino on the promenade is my favourite spot to eat breakfast by the sea and people watch. We cycle there in the morning and stop even for just a coffee or juice, heaven.
Lunches I usually do on the beach so skip down to the beach bar section if that's all your here for. However, if you fancy something extremely decadent you need to try the buffet lunch at the Marbella Club's Beach Club, it's about €80 per person but my God it's the best spread I've ever seen. Fresh lobster, steaks, chicken, sushi, sea grill, amazing salad bar, if you're into food you'll love it.
Dinner time in Marbella is tough, too many good options. We have found some amazing restaurants to suit all budgets so I'll start with the affordable and work my way up. If you like Indian head to Bollywood in Nueva Andalucia, a little too good so make sure you're wearing something with an expandable waist line. Cabana Nagueles is an Argentinian Grill that is tiny and always packed with Spanish so you know it's good, the food is next level and really reasonably priced. If you go, get the black pudding as a starter, life changing. Opposite it is a chinese buffet called The Golden Wok, it is not fancy at all, I go straight from the beach if we're just looking to eat and go home. It's €14.95 pp and the food is great, they have a fresh teppanyaki station too with giant king prawns, steak or chicken, whatever you want so well worth the trip especially with kids! Neighbouring restaurants Sutton (very pretty) and Cibo Italia (amazing pizza) also great too!
De Bruno's is an old favourite, it's family run and they have 3 or 4 dotted around you might see. The couple who own it still come up to everyone's tables and greet them most evenings which is such a nice touch, my favourite one; Sul Mare, is on the promenade so you can sit out and people watch. Do not exit the building without trying the Prawn Pil Pil. Villa Tiberio is simply stunning, set in the most beautiful gardens, you can tell it used to be a private house, we had a huge dinner here with about 30 of our friends the week of our wedding and it was one of my favourite nights of the week. The food is exceptional and I highly recommend it, especially the lobster linguine.
In the old town you'll find so many good restaurants it'd take to long for me to explain them all, my favourites are La Mena, Cafe Flore, The Virgin on The Balcony and last but not least Casa Tua owned by a lovely Irish lady and her Italian husband who's the chef. Not to be missed!
When I say beach clubs I don't mean the ones where people wear full makeup and walk around in high heels and bikinis at midday, if you are after this type of thing head to La Sala Beach or Ocean Club Spray parties. My favourite beach clubs are the ones with good food and chilled vibes. Trocadero Playa is just this, always interesting to people watch here, Trocadero Arena is also amazing as is their new branch in Sotogrande. One of my favourites is Victor's beach, very laid back but it has a cocktail bar down on the sand so things can get a bit wild late afternoons. They have bean bags and bar seating on the beach too so it's nice to pop by even if you don't want to rent a beach bed for the day, full of all ages.
La Mila is a gorgeous spot on the beach by Puento Romano, affordable luxury and impressive food, definitely worth a try. Down the far side of Puerto Banus on the beach is Pedro's beach, it feels like you're in the Caribbean as you sit on steel drums while you eat lunch, the BEST prawn and avocado salad! Further down the coast Puro Beach is a mix of flash and chill, more expensive than the others but not as pretensious as it's competitors. Back up the coast towards Malaga you'll find The Beach House, Sunday's here are great fun as they have live music and the food's great too. Next door is Nikki Beach, wear your best bikini and you'll fit in just fine. Their day parties are really fun and stilettos are thankfully not required.
If you're late 20s/30s and after a late night bar try La Suite in Puento Romano or La Sala. If you're younger and on a mad one I love Seven in the port, the best music! Nightclubs are all over the port but Tibu is fun as is Pangea.
My third favourite pass time in Marbella, eating and sunbathing taking the first two spots. I always go to La Canada, a huge shopping centre that has EVERYTHING, a great day to pass the time if it's raining too. In Puerto Banus I love El Corte Ingles, Marina Banus centre and the boutiques along the front line. There you'll find all the big designer stores, this is really the only reason I spend time in this part of town, some trips I never even set foot in Puerto Banus so please make sure it's not your only impression of the place. Wander the streets in the old town and you'll find some amazing little gems, especially for shoes and jewellery! My favourite shops that we don't have here in Dublin are Uterque (imagine a grown up slightly more sophisticated version of Zara), Hoss Intropia, Pedro Del Hierro, Oysho and Women's Secret!
If you have any favourite spots in Marbella that you think I should know about please share them with us all in the comment section! I love discovering new places! Happy Holidays if you're off soon, Jodie xx