A gourmet’s paradise: Exploring Marbella’s Little Soho

Teba Siles | · 2 min. read

Dubbed as the Costa del Sol’s dining mecca, it is a nondescript area of around a dozen streets and at least the same number of excellent places to eat.

Marbella's Little Soho

Just south of Marbella’s Old Town, around Calle Notario Luis Oliver, this nerve centre for gourmands has become the best place to eat on the Costa del Sol. Forget Malaga or Sevilla, this is a true dining Mecca full of Michelin-starred joints and where all the business people, politicians and wealthy lawyers go for lunch.

“If you want to survive here, you need good. quality food and wine,” explains chef Luis of Elocated here from the Casco Historico two years ago.

Casa Tua boss Catherine Visentin, who also moved here from the old town, adds: “While it lacks the charm we have a nicer space and have built up a good loyal trade.”

Sometimes called ‘Downtown’ or ‘Little Soho’ by locals, I identified the area for dining last year. And there are so many good young restaurateurs here.

Take Jose Godoy, at Contracata. He won the first Michelin star for a Spanish restaurant in the UK, having trained at Mugaritz and Arzak in the Basque Region.

Chef Angelica Menin at La Notaria
Chef Angelica Menin at La Notaria.

His dishes include ‘yogurt of foie gras’ with Parmesan foam, while his punchy fish red curry with coconut milk is full of flavor and, at €9, is the best value dish around.

Italian Angelica Menin, 29, at La Notaria, trained under French genius Michel Roux at three Michelin star Waterside Inn, in England and her Spanish tortilla was the best I’ve eaten in Andalucia, while her red mullet was cooked to absolute perfection. 

“This is the most exciting area to cook in Andalucia with so many good chefs,” explains Angelica. 

My favourites include Ta-Kumi, Kava and Back, which won its first star six months ago under David Olivas, who ran Dani Garcia’s kitchens for well over a decade.

Takumi restaurant in Marbella
Ta-Kumi Restaurant

Ta-Kumi is a consistently brilliant Japanese, which is unsurprisingly where celebrities like Ronaldo eat when in town and counts on 80-something Japanese maestro Toshio Tsutsui to oversee its quality control.

A great new spot is La Madrina, a home of ‘pure gastronomy’, and with great dishes like black pudding wonton with sweet chilli, while the bluefin tuna on toast is a classic ‘bomba’.

For something more traditional head for El Albero, whose owners from Salamanca and the wine region of Valdepenas offer superb fabadas and classic stews.

Last but not least, Gaspar has been serving great quality food here for a quarter
of a century.

Simple, good value soul-cooking it’s a charming joint with a lot of seasonal dishes, including stews such as a potaje of chickpeas and chard.