Restaurant La Tienda - Marbella (Malaga)
Escape. Escape from the hustle and bustle, from the tedium of the lights and a Marbella that has unwittingly turned into something new and different to the hidden gem that made history during the golden era of the Costa del Sol. Find sanctuary in a place inhabited by eternal travelers who decided to make this their home surrounded by the brushstrokes of bohemians who found peace in this refuge filled with flowers and fountains that is the urbanization/village of La Virginia.
In the 1960s, the architect Juan Manuel Figueras thought up an urbanization filled with vegetation, cobbled paths and white-washed homes with windows that invite in the light and scent of the lady of the night. The flower-covered facades now guard a restaurant in Marbella that has become a meeting point for those lucky enough to find it.
Far from the cold minimalist interiors of new restaurants in Marbella La Tienda has maintained its original decor and laid-back vibe which has attracted people for decades. Now Fernando and Alejandro Dogan run the show, creating a warm and colourful atmosphere where delicious cooking takes centre stage.
Big names such as Stuart Granger, Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Edgar Neville, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor or even the voluptuous Claudia Cardinale have spend time at La Tienda. Guests today can enjoy the carefully prepared dishes of chef Nacho Souvirón: “Putting together an expensive menu is easy. The hard part is to work with fantastic produce in the right way. I’m not against modern cooking, in fact I’ve done it, but I want people to understand what it is they are eating and to leave with a smile on their face. That’s all I’m hoping to achieve”.
He’s succeeding. The red beet gazpacho with shrimp and candied Modena vinegar is surprising. The warm cheese, eggplant and tomato salad is perfection thanks to the anchovy vinegar. Meanwhile, the house pate is made succulent by the sweet Malaga wine sauce. The grilled tuna with caramelized onions is powerful, while the beef tenderloin with truffle sauce is cooked to perfection and enveloped by a penetrating aroma.
On the dessert menu you’ll find tiramisu, crema de leche frita, pears in red wine and chocolate cake. But ensure you save a little space for the delicious rice pudding mousse toped with a cape gooseberry. Souvirón, a self-taught chef who has worked in Denmark, Andorra and kitchens including El Portalón and the Las Brisas Golf Club, is anything but pretentious, and yet achieves excellence in the kitchen.
Alejandro Dogan has carefully selected the perfect accompaniment for their dishes with an interesting wine menu. His father, Kurt Dogan, founded Florida Park and Parrilla Rex in Madrid, both of which were renowned during their time. A graduate from the Escuela de Hostelería de Madrid, Dogan considers himself to be old school and proves it by the way he attends to his guests and friends when they visit La Tienda.
By bringing together her husbands experience and her desire to maintain this unique landmark in Marbella, Fernanda has created a cozy meeting point ideal for intimate get-togethers, The two-story dining room is ideal for winter evenings (yes, they exist in Marbella too), but the restaurant is in its element in the hotter months when the tables spill out into open air. Here you’ll hear the murmur of conversation filter through the bougainvillea and the nooks and crannies of the main pathway of La Virginia which culminates in an intriguing chapel that is the heart of the community.
“Everyone who has eaten at these tables has left their mark and a slice of their history. It is a very special place,” explains Fernanda as she signals the books and photographs that litter the shelves. They are the accumulated memories of the people and stories who have made this restaurant their home and help create one of the last genuine vestiges of Marbella.
Restaurante La Tienda
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 13:30 to 16:00 and 20:00 to 01:00. Closed on Sundays.
Price: € 35 - € 55 per person.
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