When it comes to wining and dining there is plenty of pedigree in San Pedro Alcantara.
At over three decades old, the glass of Oloroso sherry is rich, smokey and immersive. For 14 euros this gem from Jerez’s award-winning Bodegas Tradicion is possibly the best value escape from a bad day at work that you could possibly wish for.
And when served alongside a delicious dish of rabo de toro oxtail, as tender as any served up in Cordoba, this is a true pairing from heaven.
Garnering 98 points from American wine guru Robert Parker, it is among the 50 top white wines in Spain. But this is some way down the list of the best wines on offer at Alberto’s remarkable restaurant La Bodega del Cantinero, in San Pedro.
“I’ve got every 100 point white wine from Parker,” insists the friendly restaurateur, who has been improving his offering at his locale for over two decades now.
This is THE spot for sherry lovers and he has hundreds of them, many going into the hundreds of euros, including a 1946 Pedro Ximenez and a 40-year-old Amontillado from Azuleta.
Increasingly though he is investing in other white wines from around Spain, including some from the north, as well as nearer to home from Montilla Moriles, in Cordoba.
And besides the wine the food keeps getting better with plenty of specials, including a delicious tartaki blue fin salad, ajo blanco and ultra fresh clams. This year he has added the most amazing thick creamy chocolate moose perfect for one of his range of pudding wines.
And you don’t have to go far if you fancy trying out someone else creative around these parts.
Aside from the ancient grande dame Alfredo, right next door, across the road you must check out Savor, run by talented local chef Pablo Castillo.
Already recommended in the Repsol guide, his food is creative and rich in the same mouthful.
A glorious mix of northern Spanish, Cuban and south American flavours make it one of the more original meals in the Marbella area.
A real livewire, Pablo, 46, has a notepad he jots down recipes every day to try out, depending on the ingredients he can get.
He is also a genius when it comes to inventive tapas and he has won Marbella’s Best Tapas competition on more than one occasion.
His amazing Niguiri croquettes with wasabi and kimchi guacamole sauce are legendary, while his delicious langoustines in orange juice, basil and yuzu sauce are well worthy of note.
“The pandemic was really tough but we continued to soldier away and try out new things,” explained Pablo, who trained with two-Michelin starred Ramon Freixa, before travelling the world with the Melia group.
There are so many other great places to eat around San Pedro, from the new wine bar El Cid on the main drag up from the boulevard to the established garden restaurant Casa Fernando and from the historic Albert & Simon, which once had a Michelin star, to stylish El Ancla, with its natural salt pool swimming pool on a headland by the beach.
I also like G-Wine, recently set up on one of the main drags down to the beachfront, set up by Armenian businessman David and his partner, a Russian journalist/therapist.
It has an extraordinary list of tapas, 20-plus, as well as almost as many starters and mains, with a real highlight being Boletus mushrooms on toast in sherry wine.
Heading down to the beach you will be spoilt for choice, but there is only one genuinely amazing place to eat… that of Macaao.
This Belgian-run place, soon to undertake a big renovation through the winter, is a surefire winner for comfort and quality. Owned by Michael Dhondt, who trained under French legend Alain Ducasse on the Cote d’Azur, it is understandably one of the best beach restaurants in Marbella.
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