In November 2013 I made my second visit to Marbella and stayed for a couple of nights. The first occasion was about 25 years earlier when I was working as a painter and decorator for a Liverpudlian club owner who was selling his flat there.
It hasn’t changed much, it’s still a high end resort for wealthy expats and is the kind of place I’d avoid like the plague if I had the choice. Even in the off season, the only language I heard being spoken on the streets was English, usually with an Essex accent. However someone was paying me to be here again so I made the best of it.
There are heaps of top notch restaurants all about town but I really couldn’t justify paying their extortionate prices. Many of them are on my Google map, along with the more reasonable places below. I remember this place on the edge of the sanitised old town as being fairly good value:
Marisqueria La Pesquera (Intermediate B+), www.lapesquera.com
Mentioned in Frommers, albeit without a star rating, this place seems to be a bit of an institution amongst the indigenous locals. I sat out on the large enclosed terrace but there’s also a buzzy tapas bar at the back that you might prefer. As the name suggests they specialise in seafood.
My parrillada (mixed grill) was on the small side for €36 but the seafood was good (B+). Total cost with a bottle of white and a brandy was €63. Service was fine. It’s handy for a nice stroll in the narrow streets of the tiny old town afterwards.
Chowka (Intermediate B-), 11 Bulevard Principe Von Alfonso Hohenlohe, www.chowka-marbella.com
I always grab the chance of a decent curry if I can as I usually need a change from whatever cuisine I’m eating. This modern, comfortable place would be particularly good for my colleagues as it’s very near our hotel and it’s relatively cheaper than anywhere in the old centre or by the beach, although it’ll still cost a few bob.
I had the curried chicken livers followed by a lamb curry, dahl, chipatti and rice which were all fine (B).
The extortionate asking price for an after-dinner brandy stirred me to complete one of their feedback forms though. Nice local servers but the owner/manager only seemed interested in getting my money (€50).
I stayed at the NH Marbella on Avenida Conde Rudi. The room, wifi, breakfast and staff were all fine and there’s also an okayish gym and an outdoor leisure pool. The only downside is that it’s a 20 minute walk to town, but I quite like walking around so this wasn’t a problem.
I was actually working in nearby Estepona which had no hotels open in the off season. A lasting memory is of having breakfast at the bus station at 6am with the local workmen, all of whom were sinking carajillos (coffee with a shot of brandy) before going off to operate heavy machinery. Only in Spain!
So not much of interest for me here (please tell me if I’m wrong) and I was glad to move on…