IT bills itself as ‘an oasis on the Costa del Sol’ and I’d be struggling to put it any other way.
For starters, La Capucine’s chefs Jose Maria and Pilar Castro have worked at some of the best restaurants on the coast (Frutos, El Lago, etc) and even around Spain.
While its maitre d/sommelier Jorge Perez did his time at Spain’s three Michelin-star temple Akelarre in San Sebastian.
And the food definitely does not disappoint, it being beautifully presented and with numerous stylish touches.
The vol au vents with chicken, asparagus and boletus mushrooms were stunning, while the ravioli filled with foie and with a Perigord sauce is hard to beat for a starter.
Recently renovated and taken over by a local expat family, it has a lovely leafy garden with views towards distant mountains… an oasis indeed.
Up in the pueblo there is another spot that could equally be described as an oasis.
Appropriately called the Secret Garden, it sits behind a more typical white walled restaurant Aroma.
This amazing garden is a delight to kick back and dine in good weather and the menu is a nice mix of authentic Iberian dishes alongside Argentinean fare – particularly steaks.
Next door make sure to look out for the Secret Garden’s sister restaurant Taberna Meguinez (which means ‘Are you winking at me?’) which has an excellent menu.
While easily the most exciting launch of the year is Latitud 36, a new fish restaurant also owned by the same group.
Another authentic restaurant in the pueblo is Restaurante La Reja, which is charm personified and has an amazing dining terrace looking over Mijas and the faraway hills.
Run by Manolo and his wife, it has a simple good value menu, described as ‘traditional Andalucian kitchen’, and expect to eat delicious aubergines in honey, perfect steaks and the freshest fish.
If you are more in the mood for Italian, then next door La Bella Coppia, meaning ‘beautiful couple’ is a surefire winner.
Run by Pedro for 25 years, it has a superb dining terrace for warm weather and is charming inside, serving up a good range of pasta dishes and pizzas.
Last, but very much not least in the village, you must look out for the excellent Blue Coffee Bike, a stylish café with excellent food.
Run by Catalan Rosa, a fashion designer, who has an amazing eye, this is one of the hippest spots in town.
Rosa’s partner Antonio is the chef, knocking out some incredible dishes such as the mushroom risotto and his ‘croqueton’, a giant, succulent croquette.
But no visit would be the same without a plate of the amazing mixed burgers, each in their own flavour.
On the coast, there is a great variety including The Hut, a well established British-run bar and Capitan’s Bar, popular with a great garden.
The pick of the busy El Zoco centre must certainly be Italian Villa Paradiso, in a typically romantic square and with excellent fresh food, while El Toro nearby is also highly recommended.
On the main road near La Cala look out for Snack Attack, one of the busiest cafes on the coast.
Its capable owners Mark and Robert are busy throughout much of the day.
Start the day with an amazing Eggs Benedict or Florentine or go for the great value €3.95 breakfast deal with all the trimmings.
They also own the popular cocktail bar and lounge venue Bar Tuta next door.