An Andalucian banquet: an introduction to Marbella cuisine

  1. Enjoying An Andalucian Banquet - An Introduction To Marbella Cusine

Taking a trip to a foreign country is a wonderful opportunity to sample the food of the region, enjoy a cuisine very different to what you’d normally eat.

Marbella, lying within the Andalucian area of Spain, has a delicious blend of traditional Spanish recipes but with a greater seafood influence, largely due to its waterfront location.

You can find food from around the world in Marbella with Chinese, Thai and Indian food all widely available, but don’t stick to menus that you recognise when Andalucian dishes are simply delicious.

Here are a few ideas about food in Marbella that you won’t want to miss.


Not simply another item on the menu, tapas is an important part of the Marbella social scene.

Tapas is not just available as part of a wider restaurant selection, there are bars and cafes all over Marbella which offer just tapas and nothing more. This is because tapas is a particularly social type of food, and the chance for people to come together to eat and chat. These tapas bars aren’t just popular with visitors, they’re also frequented by locals too so they’re a great opportunity to enjoy a more authentic atmosphere.

Dinner in Marbella is typically enjoyed between 9-11pm so tapas are seen as the perfect way to grab a snack between lunch and the evening meal.

Tapas are available in both hot and cold varieties and include a range of food including shellfish, meat, vegetables, olive oil plus herbs and spices.

Some of the delicacies include Boquerones (anchovies cured in vinegar with garlic, Calamares (squid rings in batter), Habas con jamon (cured ham with broad beans) and Pescada frito (fried fish in batter, usually dorada).

Main courses

Being so close to the ocean, seafood and fish plays a prominent part of much of the typical Marbella menu, with many recipes given a twist to include new ingredients.

Paella for example is a dish enjoyed by much of Spain, originating from the Valencia region, and it’s also popular in Marbella too. Inland, paella is traditionally made with snails and rabbit but in coastal areas such as Marbella, these core ingredients are replaced by fish and chicken, particularly the former.

Holiday in Marbella

It will be easy to find Paella in your holiday in Marbella

It will be easy to find Paella in your holiday in Marbella

Pescado frito, although a popular tapas inclusion, can also be part of a main menu, including a range of fish such as prawns, anchovies, shrimp, cuttlefish and baby squid.

Fish cooked on an open flame is a local dish which is extremely popular, particularly in beachfront restaurants and eateries.

If you’re not a huge seafood fan, there’s traditional Andalucian fare to tantalise your tastebuds, with hearty dishes a particular speciality. Suckling pig, oxtail, Iberian Ham, chicken and pork are all readily available in a variety of presentations.

Drinks and desserts

Pudding plays an important part in a typical Marbella meal so don’t expect dainty desserts that disappear in a mouthful.

Creme caramel, natillas (chocolate or vanilla flavoured custard) and arroz de leche (rice pudding) are typical desserts which can be found on any Andalucian menu, along with home-made favourites such as flan.

Alcoholic tipples often form part of an evening meal, with sherry and win being the traditional accompaniment to both the main course and also tapas.

In the beach clubs and bars which line the waterfront, champagne cocktails are also very popular particularly in the warmer summer months.

Local markets

If you want to rustle up a banquet yourself rather than dining out, you’ll find some of the local markets are wonderful sources of fresh produce.

Marbella and the surrounding areas have a wealth of farmers’ markets where you can not only buy a souvenir for your trip, but also stock up on fresh meat, fruit and veg which is produced locally. Cured meats are a particular speciality for the area and shouldn’t be missed.


Marbella food is typically Mediterranean, full of herbs and spices but based on fresh produce and local ingredients. Fish and seafood arrives straight on your plate from the ocean and is succulent and fresh, while cured meats are a culinary delight.

Whether you want to stock up for a picnic in the area or enjoy a night out at a top restaurant, Marbella food is not to be missed!

Image Credits: Ali Rashidi and Mrs B

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