By Tara Coumbe
This month we introduce Tara, the face behind the @foodiefromgib Instagram account. “Although admittedly all recommendations are my husband’s finds!” quips Tara. “We have put together a list of four of our best eats in the area worth exploring in the coming months once we start returning to some post-COVID normality.”
LA COSMOPOLITA – MALAGA
La Cosmopolita in the centre of Malaga is owned by Chef Dani Carnero and serves traditional Andalusian dishes with a modern twist. It is popular with locals and tourists alike, and it can be quite challenging to get a table during peak times. We recommend booking a couple of weeks in advance. Some of their signature dishes and must tries are their tomates alinado (with unique varieties of locally grown tomatoes), prawn tartare with bone marrow (our favourite dish), tortilla encebollada con changurro, and probably the best ensaladilla rusa we have ever had! They have a good and focussed wine list with plenty of local selections, and also offer al fresco dining. La Cosmopolita is a hub for food lovers bang in the city centre. It is also worth noting that the chef has recently opened Kaleja, a more formal tasting menu affair, just a couple of streets away.
TAKUMI – MARBELLA
Takumi is, in our opinion, one of the best Japanese restaurants on the coast. Regularly frequented by Michelin-starred chefs and local foodies, this restaurant is on its way to receiving a star of its own. It is located in Marbella old town and has recently been refurbished with a more modern interior. A refined but unpretentious dining experience, Takumi is mainly about sashimi and nigiris; raw (or sometimes blow torched) fish on a bed of sushi rice. Don’t miss the butterfish with truffle nigiri! A sign of a top sushi restaurant is often a wide variety of seafood, and Takumi always has more on offer more than your usual sushi staples. A perfect spot for an indulgent Saturday lunch, and only 10 minutes’ drive from La Cañada. Reservations can be made over the phone.
CASA BALBINO – SANLUCAR DE BARRAMEDA
Casa Balbino is located in the main plaza of Sanlucar de Barrameda and is a laid-back tapas bar serving impeccable versions of traditional seafood tapas. They are particularly famous for their tortillas de camarones which are, hands down, the best we have ever tasted. Foodies travel from far and wide to taste their perfectly formed, deep fried tortillas paired with a glass of local manzanilla. There is no table service at Balbino and no reservations; first come first served. There are usually people waiting to grab a table as soon as it opens, so get there early unless you are happy to wait.
LU COCINA Y ALMA – JEREZ
Lu Cocina y Alma is a one-star Michelin restaurant situated in the heart of Jerez, run by Juan Luis Fernandez and his team. Perhaps rather oddly for the area, the restaurant focuses primarily on French cuisine albeit with Spanish/Andalusian influences. Whilst you have three different sizes of menu to choose from, the menu progresses as a largely blind tasting; you won’t know what you’re going to be served until the plate is on the table in front of you. This is a good choice for those looking to mix it up from your usual local specialties or tapas bars. Bear in mind that, in classic French fashion, the dishes are fairly rich and indulgent; this isn’t a good choice for a light meal!