Marbella is a town on the Costa del Sol of Spain, well known for being a playground for the rich and famous. In 1981 actress Joan Collins accepted her iconic role in the hugely popular Dynasty (my mom’s favorite!), while living in her Marbella vacation home. It has been used in movies like the George Clooney political thriller, Syriana. Its seasonal residents and visitors include Antonio Banderas whose daughter was born in Marbella in 1999.
What I found on a recent vacation to this area was that Marbella is also the home to one of the best tapas bars! Located in the old quarter of this seaside resort town you will find one of the best seafood tapas bars around – that is not on the beach. We stopped into Bar Altamirano at 3:30 pm, 30 minutes before closing and had one of our best meals of our vacation. Small paper covered tables are surrounded by football (soccer) memorabilia, tiled walls and photos taken of successful fishing trips.
We started with a bottle of vino blanco and a tomato salad.
The menu was in German, English, French and Spanish so our order taking was done quickly (nice for those challenged with foreign languages). They brought us hot off the grill, fried anchovies that were lightly salted and crunchy. Yum and yum!
Those were soon joined by a plate of grilled baby squid that were swimming in olive oil. We ate those and used our bread with the excess olive oil.
Next we had a plate of salted gambas plancha or white shrimp. There shells and heads were still on but it didn’t matter. They were lighted salted and hot, so all you needed to do was quickly pull the head off and eat the whole thing down to the tail. And if you like, eat the head too, just like in Japanese restaurants. The shell will give you lots of calcium.
Bar Altamirano is definitely going into our book for a return visit, because this place is the real deal. The waiters are efficient without being surly. The seafood was fresh and served hot to your table in no particular order. They were the only restaurant to put our white wine in a bucket of ice. And best of all, besides being really reasonable (the most expensive item on the menu was about $10), Bar Altamirano was amazingly easy to find walking from the car park.
Especialidad y Mariscos
Plaza Altamirano 3
29601 Marbella, Spain
+34 952 82 49 32
Photos by Sharon Castellanos