Where To Eat In Puerto Banus, Marbella: The Best Restaurants In Puerto Banus

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“No carbs before Marbs”, as the old (new?!) saying goes. 

But what about when you’re actually in Marbs, all footloose and fancy free, with a beach body that’s ready to be compromised by a load of irresistible grub?

Over in Marbella’s Puerto Banus, a glittering gem on the Costa del Sol renowned for its superyacht-filled marina, luxury villas, extravagant nightlife and for being a ‘playground for the rich and famous’, there are, unsurprisingly, some pretty premium places to eat.

We’re going to be honest; some of those places are, to put it frankly, all style over substance. You know the place; the kind where your steak is served impaled on a sword or your sandwich on a roofing slate.

That said, this illustrious enclave also boasts some top class places to eat. Because not all billionaires are on a diet of bespoke supplements and pushing their dinner around the plate, after all…

With that in mind, here’s our guide on where to eat in Puerto Banus, and the best restaurants in Marbella’s most exclusive marina.

El Gaucho de Banús

Standing proud on Puerto Banus’ main waterfront promenade, and with a row of supercars always parked outside, El Gaucho de Banús offers a culinary experience grounded in traditional Argentine cuisine. 

The restaurant’s forte is its expertly grilled meats, overseen by grill masters trained in the art of the Argentinian parrilla. That said, you can’t come to El Gaucho without ordering a round of northern-style empanadas to kick things off, with beef, spinach and chicken all clocking it at an eminently reasonable €5.50. Careful here; these guys are lava-hot when they first hit the table. We speak from painful experience.

Images via @elgauchobanus

Move on to the steaks with haste, which come in three cuts – sirloin, ribeye or topside – from either an Argentinian Black Angus or Spanish Rubia Gallega. Go for the former; its natural marbling and sweet, yellow fat melting beautifully over the coals. Pair it with a Malbec – of which the bracing Norton Colección comes by the glass for just €8, and bask in the views of the harbour in front of you and, behind, Puerto Banus’ luxury villas which overlook the water from their exclusive hillside vantage point. Allow yourself to fantasise about winning the lottery for a moment, even. Ooft.

El Gaucho de Banús is open daily from midday to 1am


BREATHE Marbella

Located within a sprawling 2,000 square metre plot with plenty of contemporary design flourishes, clean lines and abstract corners, BREATHE Marbella is a fine example of a building blending earth elements into its architecture to provide a captivating dining experience.

Founded by Aguilene Benicio and committed to environmental sustainability, having planted over 60,000 trees in the restaurant’s name, BREATHE stands out for its focus on creating a beautiful and eco-friendly environment that’s set back a little from the shoreline, allowing room for the place to spread its branches and, erm, breathe.

Accordingly, BREATHE is divided into three unique concepts; an artisan bakery and cafe (GROUND), a restaurant and garden (BREATHE), and a rooftop cocktail bar (AIR).

The eponymous restaurant is clearly the main event and focus of the action, with foliage falling from the ceiling and a general sense of verdancy and nourishment in the air. On the menu, things are equally wholesome, with a globetrotting roll call of dishes using premium ingredients to pleasingly paired back effect. We were particularly taken with the most simple of dishes here; be it the burrata with pickled aubergine and green olives, the Indian spice-spiked BBQ-grilled cauliflower with beetroot hummus and tabbouleh, or the grilled miso-marinated salmon and pickled ginger. Gorgeous, life-affirming stuff.

BREATHE Marbella is open daily for dinner, from 6:30pm to 1:30am


Pasta Factory

As we’ve already cracked once, ‘no carbs before Marbs’ ends once you’re actually here. If you’re keen to catch up on all that starchy goodness now you’re in situ, then it’s to the Pasta Factory you should head. Position yourself, mouth wide open, at the end of the production line, and let the fettuccine amatriciana roll towards you.

Image via @pastafactoryspain

Or, you could behave like a grownup, take a perch at the restaurant’s convivial countertop, and order a couple of bowls of the good stuff, none of which top €20. Seeing as we’re by the sea, why not plump for the tagliolini frutti de mare, which is a generous affair featuring mussels, squid, clams, prawns and more. Silky and glossy, it’s a treat with the smell of the sea breeze wafting about and the lapping waves audible. 

With a bottle of house wine priced at a ridiculously reasonable €15.95 (and almost drinkable, too!), the Pasta Factory is awesome value for a restaurant in such a luxurious corner of the world.

There’s pizza here, too, but it is, quite frankly, bad.

Pasta Factory is open daily from 1:30pm to midnight


Los Bandidos

Often celebrated as the best restaurant in Puerto Banus, Los Bandidos offers an indulgent French menu that’s been refined over a near four decades of operation, whilst still retaining its distinctly old-fashioned feel. So, that’s veal tenderloin stuffed with Bavarian cheese sitting alongside a medallion of foie gras, or sole in a cream sauce with lobster medallion, prawns and duchesse potatoes. 

Yes indeed, they love a medallion at Los Bandidos. They also love a premium wine, with several bottles on the rundown of Grande Reservas topping €500. With splendid views of the marina, a raft of rich cream sauces, and prices that are even richer, this is a special occasion kind of place. Sure, neither your accountant nor your cardiologist will be happy about you going, but they don’t have to know!

Los Bandidos is open daily for dinner, from 7pm to 1am

Read: Where to eat in Ciutadella de Menorca


OCCO

Adding to the luxe nightlife of Puerto Banus, OCCO Marbella is a Lebanese restaurant and after-dinner club that all goes down in a particularly high-end, sleek and modern space. The restaurant enforces a smart elegant dress code which chimes succinctly with the admittedly gaudy design elements. 

Still, the food is genuinely delicious here; light, fresh and packing plenty of energy into a single bite. You’d do well to base your whole meal around the hot and cold mezzeh, which is where OCCO shines. Its strongest suit, a trio of sambosek – delicate, crisp pastry parcels stuffed with gently spiced beef – is superb, as is the fried halloumi, which arrives in generous blocks that resemble gold bars (surely this isn’t deliberate?). 

Also gorgeous on a hot Marbella night is the house labneh, which boasts really piquancy. Drag through some of OCCO’s freshly baked pitta, and keep things light with a signature Paloma or two (these guys should come with a warning; they are strong) and you’ve got yourself one of Puerto Banus’ gold standard dining experiences.

OCCO is open daily for dinner, from 7pm to 1am. On Fridays and Saturdays, those hours are extended.


La Sala By The Sea

A Thai-inspired beachfront destination, La Sala by the Sea is a lively affair, with its live DJs, saxophonists, and vibrant daytime atmosphere. They also offer a buggy service from Villa Marina entrance to the venue, operational daily between 11 am and 7 pm, which is useful when you’re looking to lose yourself to the music (and, of course, the cocktails!).

Image via @lasalabythesea

This bar and restaurant, co-owned by British entrepreneurs Ian Radford, Rob Segal, and former Birmingham City captain Stephen Carr, who have brought their very own version of Phuket to Marbella. On the menu, it’s not actually all Thai, which feels like they’ve missed a trick, as it’s certainly La Sala’s strongest suit. 

Dig a little deeper, though, and you can eat very well here. Amongst the gambas, buffalo wings, club sandwiches and fish and chips, you’ll find pad Thai, green curry, chicken satay and more. Directionless? Maybe. Delicious? Certainly. Still, the beers are cold and the pool chlorinated just right, so you can’t really complain…

La Sala By The Sea is more of a daytime operation, opening from 11am to 7pm daily


Mistral Beach

If dining with your toes in the sand sounds appealing, Mistral Beach offers a beachfront dining experience that’s hard to beat. Specialising in fresh seafood (finally, a bit of focus!) the restaurant’s proximity to the sea ensures the freshest catches. Or, at least, a very convincing mis en scene…

The tranquil terrace with waves lapping close by is perfect for a leisurely lunch while enjoying views of azure waters, and on the menu, the fritto misto is crisp, generously seasoned and freshly fried. A nice big sharing paella, a round of tiger prawn skewers blistered from the barbie, and perhaps a side salad of tomato and onion, is all you need here. Except, of course, a cold glass of Pinot Grigio, available by the bottle only here, for just shy of €30.

Mistral Beach isn’t just a beach club. It also caters to the itchy-footed and restless with water sports including jet skis, banana rides, and water skiing, as well as a sunbed service at €15 per person, free Wi-Fi and all-day music.

Mistral Beach is also more of a daytime operation, opening from 10:30am to 7pm daily


PiCú

We end our eating tour of the best restaurants in Puerto Banus at PiCú, a restaurant that celebrates Southern Spain’s culinary heritage and traditions with their signature seafood sharing dishes.

The highlight here is without doubt the lobster served in the Formentera style- that is, a rich and flavourful stew from the Balearic Islands, particularly Formentera and Menorca. At PiCú, the whole lobster, plump and sweet, arrives in a rust-coloured, tomato-spiked stew, and is served over crisps and fried eggs. It’s glorious, and at €48 per person, you’d damn well hope so.

The seafood paella is also excellent, with a layer of socarrat reassuring you that things have been done correctly. If shellfish isn’t your thing, there are also baked and grilled whole fish dishes that hit the spot. Savour it all on PiCú’s seafront terrace, and feel very smug about the way things have turned out for you.

PiCú is open from 10am to midnight every day


In Marbella, dining is loose, low and leisurely, with lunch often served from 2 to 4pm and dinner often not kicking off until 10pm or later. Bear that in mind if you’re seeking a bit of atmosphere!

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