Al fresco dining

by Thomas Harper

Summer nights in Marbella are all about dining under the stars. Folio picks out some of its al fresco favourites.

The Farm

One of the defining features of Andalucian architecture is the ‘patio andaluz – an interior courtyard where you can shelter from the harsh summer sun or enjoy the cool of the evening. Step through the doorway of The Farm, on the eastern side of Marbella’s Old Town, and you will find a simply delightful interior. Set over two levels, The Farm is a space to enjoy, to disconnect, to connect with others, to participate, to exchange, to listen to music, while surrounded by plants and colours. As the name suggests, The Farm offers slow food, at km “0”, with the accent on organic and creative food.

Live events are a major part of this self-styled ‘urban beach bar’, with Flamenco shows three times a week as well as live sessions from some of Marbella best loved DJs, as well as regular blues, jazz, rock, reggae and indie performances.


Easily one of the most romantic settings in Marbella, Casanis has been a firm favourite for years. Situated on an atmospheric pedestrianised street leading up to a church, the restaurant offers sidewalk dining as well as an interior patio. French and Belgian influences can be found on the menu, all supervised by head chef Chef Fabián Cangas. Born in Mendoza, in the heart of Argentina’s wine country, Canagas takes inspiration from seasonal products, without losing the flavour of traditional recipes. Take our word for it, if you are looking for a restaurant to put you and your partner in the mood for love, dinner a deux in this beautiful townhouse is a recommended starting point!

Nota Blu

Recently opened on the site of what used to be Le Meridiana restaurant a short drive up from the Hotel Puente Romano, Nota Blu is an impressive addition to Marbella’s restaurant scene. Superbly stylish, from the parking valets in their blue bellboy outfits to the hostesses that greet you – although you might be forgiven for thinking that they are Vogue models enjoying a little Marbella down time – Nota Blu whispers wealth, as the supercars pulling up will attest to. This is stylish money, however, so you will not see blinged out wannabie gangstas ordering champagne brought to the table with sparklers (shudder). The dress code is platinum card Mediterranean chic, as guests enjoy superb cuisine on a stylish but understated terrace. If you feel like working off the calories from your meal, there is even a private nightclub downstairs!

Villa Tiberio

Something of a Marbella institution, Villa Tiberio has been a favourite among the British community for decades. Still overseen by Sandro Morelli – who ran the legendary Babarella’s in London – the restaurant is unashamedly ‘old school’. The walls are decorated with photographs of Sandro and some of the many famous patrons over the years, including Sir Sean Connery and what seems like a who’s who of British light entertainment and sport – including Cilla Black. Jimmy Tarbuck, Cliff Richard, Harry Rednapp…the list goes on.

The extensive gardens are festooned with an eclectic mix of statues, columns and water features and really come in to their own in the evening, when they are beautifully lit. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but Villa Tiberio is certainly an experience!

The Grill by Marbella Club

A genuine classic, the Marbella Club Grill is where it all started. Since Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe first opening his modest place for the fledgling Jet Set in the early 50s, the Marbella Club Grill has seem film stars, royalty and a mix of the good and the great, famous and infamous dine there. While Marbella may have changed beyond recognition since the 50s, this restaurant still maintains its aura of timeless elegance with its old style service. I defy anyone not to get a little shiver of expectation when the waiters lift off the lids covering the dishes. As you sit in the gardens on a moonlit evening, you can close your eyes and almost believe that former resident and regular Audrey Hepburn is at the next table…

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