Few things are as typically Spanish as “tapear” or going out to enjoy tapas, and Marbella is no exception. In fact, such is the fame being gained by its tapas, that in 2009 the Tapas Route (La Ruta de la Tapa) competition was created. This is where the typical tapas of Marbella are mixed together, with some being the result of this fusion.
In this article you will discover some of the best tapas in Marbella, spread around the different parts of the city, so we recommend you travel between them in a hire car and, at the same time, take advantage of being able to discover the most famous white villages of Malaga.
Where are Marbella’s best tapas?
In order to discover the best tapas in Marbella, you need to look around its different neighbourhoods, because each one is home to authentic places, both for locals, and for the thousands of tourists who come back to visit the city each year and already know which are their favourites.
This guide has been created by establishments that have decided to take part in Marbella’s ‘Ruta de la Tapa,’ in addition to other classics in the city which are located in the Centre and Old Town of Marbella, with this second area of the city being where you will find most tapas bars in one place.
In the tapas route below, you will find cheap bars and restaurants in Marbella, some more so than others and, some even offering free tapas.
Enjoying tapas in Marbella’s Old Town and Centre
The route starts with a venue of traditional and affordable tapas to suit all budgets, Bar El Estrecho, where you will find Marbella’s famous anchovies, meat in tomato sauce or one of the best potato salads (ensaladilla rusa), and much more. All of this in a venue which is as traditional as its tapas and one of the oldest in the city, it was established in 1954.
Next, the route moves on to Marbella’s Municipal Market where you will find Bar El Mercao, whose tapas, famous sandwiches or combined dishes are made using products from the market, guaranteeing their freshness and seasonality. What must you try in this bar? Its famous “carne mechá (mechada)” pulled meat sandwich or its “campero cubano”. A suggestion: share the sandwiches with your partner, friends or family and, that way, you will be able to try the different varieties and enjoy them all.
Finally, you end up in a street named calle Aduar 36 which is where you will find Bar Francisco, also known as “Paquito, el limpio” because the bar is always spotlessly clean. Stepping into Bar Francisco is stepping into the most traditional Andalusia and into the most representative cuisine of Marbella. There you will be able to discover a tapa of cod with tomato, one of its specialities, together with meatballs in tomato sauce or fried squid or anchovies. Without a shadow of a doubt, Paquito has managed to symbolise Marbella in his bar.
Going for tapas around Puerto Banús
The restaurants of Puerto Banús are also home to some of the best tapas in Marbella, both traditional and gourmet tapas, which have fused different styles and cuisines in a small dish.
The first suggestion is Bar Casa Blanca, located in Avenida de Julio Iglesias number 2. Here you will be able to try tapas of Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine, featuring, among other things, shrimp fritters (tortillitas de camarón), grilled prawns or scallops au gratin (zamburiña gratiná), which was the tapa entered for the Marbella Tapas Route (Ruta de la tapa) competition.
In the same avenue, you will find La Copa Fría, with a wide variety of traditional tapas at a really good price. Its options range from the fresh seafood salad (salpicón de marisco), which is so characteristic of the area, to seafood-stuffed peppers (pimientos rellenos de marisco), shrimp fritters (tortillitas de camarón), or prawn and date skewers (brocheta de langostinos y dátiles). Does anyone prefer meat? You can also opt for mini burgers or mini pork sandwiches (montaditos de cerdo).
If you venture between streets, you will find Bar El Dorado, very near to Marbella’s casino. An ideal place to try some of the town’s more traditional tapas, such as fried fish, meat with tomato sauce or potato salad (ensaladilla rusa).
In addition, its customers highlight the great service and wide range of wines and beers to accompany the tasty tapas.
The best tapas in San Pedro Alcántara
Finish the route in one of the most emblematic and traditional neighbourhoods of Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara.
You will be amazed as soon as you step foot there. This is what the owners of El Guiño Lounge Bar have achieved, situated in the heart of Boulevard de San Pedro Alcántara. It is the perfect spot to end the day and, afterwards, enjoy the evening atmosphere or one of the shows held in the surrounding area. Its cheese and ham menu stands out, perfect for enjoying a typical tapa, but there are also others including pork shoulder (el secreto), lamb stew (caldereta de cordero) and, why not end the visit with the icing on the cake, a delicious cheesecake.
Another option in this neighbourhood is restaurante Savor, where they offer a fusion of some of the land’s best produce, with the chef’s passion for international cuisine and, in particular, Japanese cuisine. That’s why you can order anything from a taco-tapa of Japanese-Andalusian tuna, to Iberian shoulder croquettes, combining it with peppers stuffed with iberian ham and black squid curry, finishing with a magnum salted caramel brownie, among other options.
Finally, we must mention La Tizona Gastro Bar where, as well as eating, you can also enjoy tasting sessions and cooking courses. But, if we focus on its tapas, where they fuse different cuisines, you should always consider the Cordoba style salmorejo soup, its premium anchovies with homegrown tomatoes, mussels in escabeche or guacamole with garlic and smoked chilli octopus. A crazy mix of flavours that you will recommend to anyone who’ll listen.
So now it’s time to put the car into first gear and start to enjoy the tapas route through Marbella.
Map of the best tapas in Marbella
To help you experience this tapas route in the most fluid way, we have created the following map which locates all of the places we have mentioned here.