Lobito de Mar Av. Buelvar Principe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, 178 Marbella Hours: 13-16 and 20 - 24 Tel: 951 554 554 http://www.grupodanigarcia.com/restaurantes/lobito-de-mar/restaurante/ Food: Specialised on fish and seafood focused on Andalucian cooking. Drinks: Extensive wine list, well sorted bar Ambiance: Casual, modern, good acoustics Accessible: Yes Vegetarian: Yes, limited The bill: €99 (one starter, two mains, one desert one bottle of wine and still water). Plus Popular, good ambiance and great potential. Minus Service and a more reliable food standard.
The well known and ‘Two Michelin Star’ awarded chef Dani Garcia has recently opened his fourth current restaurant. Adding to the food scene in Marbella is Lobito de Mar on The Golden Mile. According to the marketing material it aims at taking the ‘Chiringuito’ (popular beach restaurant) concept to a new level, specializing in fish, seafood and rice dishes. Further the website states that popular and affordable are two key elements for the concept.
The restaurant consists of two areas, one bar area and one restaurant area with different menus. The Concierge team, this Friday evening consisting of two people has made a reservation for 20.45 in the restaurant area. Worth noting is that when making a reservation on their website it is very clearly stated that any booking only allows you two hours at the table if you are less than three persons, slightly longer for larger companies.
When arriving, the restaurant area is barely half full although the bar area is a bit more busy. The ambience is fresh and casual with some interesting focus points in the interior.
We are welcomed by no less than three hostesses and rather quickly showed to our table. While being offered drinks and presented menus and wine list we start considering our table. It is one of three tables for two where one person has to sit in a very low sofa making a smaller person almost disappear under the table. Further this table is placed close to a serving station and a busy staff pass through clearly interfering with the other seat. Given that there are a lot of open tables we ask to change, and after three attempts we are suggested another.
The menu is well designed and sectioned depending of what type of food is wanted. It is easy to follow and offers a good selection without being too large. On top of the normal menu, we are offered daily specials consisting of a number of tapas and fresh fish suggestions. The wine list is comprehensive and leaning to the expensive side, according to the website featuring 450 wines with a good selection by the glass.
There is a lot of staff on the floor and the sommelier arrives quickly to assist However, when we ask for ‘a dry white’ his only suggestions are three variants of the same wine (€50 €75 €100). After some probing we settle for a Louro do Bolo by Rafael Palacios (€34), a wine both in the company enjoy.
We start to share ‘The Real Garlic Shrimps’ (€19). It arrives very shortly after ordering, a very well tasting variant of the so common ‘Gambas Pil-Pil’. However we are surprised of the small dish considering its price.
For main dish my company has chosen Grilled Razor Clams (€14) and I go with Tuna Tartar (€16/€25). The wait for the main dishes is normal, but we miss having our wine glasses refilled during the wait. Both dishes are served without anything on the side and in both cases rather small. In my case it turns out that I have received the ½ portion even if ordering the full.
Both dishes are beautifully served, the tuna made from’ Cadiz area red tuna’ has a perfect colour and is delicious in its simplicity. The Razor Clams are neatly served, good tasting but contains a lot of sand, making us think that they haven’t had enough chance to release the sand in freshwater during preparation.
Feeling good I opt out of deserts, but my company chooses ‘Vanilla Rice Pudding’ (€6,5). The dish arrives served in a sort of cup within minutes. No possibility to first finish the wine, no offer of coffee or any other drink. It has a good texture for a pudding and offers a nice balance of sweetness with a clear vanilla taste.
At times during the evening we have felt a bit rushed, and after 75 minutes we are ready to leave, the place has then filled up a bit but is not full, still the wait to settle the bill takes another fifteen minutes.
Overall, we came expecting a good experience worthy the rumour of Dani Garcia set in a casual and creative ambiance. Although the food has its moments and the ambiance and menu has a lot of potential it does not come to an experience. Not the least because of the service. Although a lot of staff there seems to be no working order. We are constantly served by different persons, among other things, at one point leading to that we are served the neighbouring table’s wine. At no point, neither the wine or food is in any way presented by the waiter.
Our conclusion is that Lobito de Mar has a lot of potential but still a long way to go before we get the expected experience or that feeling of affordable or even value for money.