Best Restaurants in Benalmadena: Expert Food Tips [2024]

Best Restaurants in Benalmadena: Expert Food Tips [2024]

Looking for the best restaurants in Benalmadena?

You came to the right place! 

I have been living right next to Benalmadena since 2020 and eat out regularly in Benalmadena Costa and Pueblo. In my culinary adventures, I found a few local gems that do not disappoint, and I will happily share those here.

Please also check the end of the article for my tips on what local food to try while you’re staying in Southern Spain.

3 Best Restaurants in Benalmadena

There are plenty of restaurants in Benalmádena, but the quality varies quite a lot.

If you’re staying in Benalmádena, you’re probably located close to the coastline, where you will find mostly local Chiringuito restaurants offering mostly fried fish in all shapes and sizes, of very bad quality – I have never had a positive dining experience in any of these.

The best places to eat are normally not right on the beach, and those on the main strip of the coastal promenade are frequented more by tourists than locals.

My list of recommended places is not very long, because I only add places I’ve personally visited and can provide an honest review. In addition to my picks, I often ask for local recommendations from people living in Benalmadena from a facebook group, and I have included those at the end of the article.

1. Restaurante Escorpio (La Fonda Hotel)

I’ve been struggling to find a new restaurant to test in Benalmadena Pueblo and this one was a very pleasant surprise – it’s located in La Fonda hotel and offers beautiful views towards the coastline – something that’s fairly hard to find in the Pueblo part of Benalmadena.

I arrived during a busy weekend lunch hour but was lucky to find a free table (unfortunately not on the terrace with the gorgeous views).

The service here was immaculate and I loved the whole interior, it felt very much Mediterranean and super stylish. The food also lived up to the expectations and I found some new flavour combinations that I never thought would taste so good (onions + blue cheese toast!).

They have a large selection of different wines and menu has some classic staples along with a few creative choices.

Menu: check on their website

Reservations: (+34) 636 451 724

Location: Just off the Plaza de Espana heading towards the coastline, check on map here

meal in a local restaurant in Benalmadena, on Costa del Sol
meal in a local restaurant in Benalmadena, on Costa del Sol
meal in a local restaurant in Benalmadena, on Costa del Sol
meal in a local restaurant in Benalmadena, on Costa del Sol
meal in a local restaurant in Benalmadena, on Costa del Sol

2. Yuca’s Mare Restaurant

Yucas combines three different concepts in one place – a more luxurious Yucas Mare Restaurant on ground floor, Yucas Cafe & Bar on the first floor and the newly reopened beach bar called Mar de Copas (Sea of Cups). Each of these has its own menu, but they all share one thing in common – gorgeous sea views all around.

It tends to get very busy at weekends, so we avoided the crowds by booking a table for very early lunch start of the week, giving us the option to choose the best seats in the house.

The terrace offers a variety of seating options – there are indoor and outdoor tables for smaller or big groups, and then the glass cupolas which hold up to 3 tables each (seating 2 persons each).

The restaurant menu is a bit on the expensive side, but both the cafe and the beach bar have less fancy and more affordable dining options. It offers a very wide variety of fish dishes, with a good selection of meat dishes and also a few vegetarian options.

I took a bit of a gamble and ordered a Salmon Curry, something I would normally only order in an Indian restaurant. I have to say, it was better than any other curry I had – well balanced, with mix of textures, perfectly cooked salmon and the most delicious sauce.

If you’re looking for an experience in food with a gorgeous view (for a special occasion), this is is the place to be!

Menu: check on the website

Reservations: book online here

Location: off the main coastal road outside of Benalmadena, location on map here

Yucas Mare Restaurant in Benalmadena, Spain
Yucas Mare Restaurant in Benalmadena, Spain
Yucas Mare Restaurant in Benalmadena, Spain
Yucas Mare Restaurant in Benalmadena, Spain

3. Lime & Lemon Restaurant

It’s been a long time since I was singing praises about tapas, but this place certainly deserves the crown for tapas in Benalmadena.

A very recent discovery of mine, they specialize in bite-sized tapas but also have a selection of main dishes, salads and a few burgers. Set in a lovely bright premises near the roundabout, just a few minutes walk from Bil Bil Castle, you wouldn’t give this place a second glance from outside if you wouldn’t know what treasures hide inside.

The menu was so original and creative I had hard time choosing just a few items to try.

We ended up ordering a selection of different tapas, each more delicious than the other, along with a tapas selection of desserts – a first one for me.

The dishes are very reasonably priced and they also have a very good selection of wines and cocktails (even dedicated range of ‘Instagram Cocktails’ if that’s your thing!).

Menu: check on the website

Reservations: essential for dinner service – 0034 951817476

Location: short walk from Bil Bil Castle, location on map here

tapas meal at Lime & Lemon Restaurant
tapas meal at Lime & Lemon Restaurant
tapas meal at Lime & Lemon Restaurant
tapas meal at Lime & Lemon Restaurant

Other Recommended Restaurants in Benalmadena

What to Eat in Benalmadena

Exploring Benalmádena, Spain, offers a delicious dive into Andalusian cuisine, celebrated for its variety and flavors.

When in Benalmádena, you should definitely try dishes like “espetos” (sardines skewered and cooked over a coal fire), perfect for seafood lovers.

Don’t miss out on “gazpacho” or “salmorejo,” cold soups that are refreshing and packed with flavor, ideal for hot days. Meat enthusiasts will appreciate “jamón ibérico,” a type of cured ham that’s both rich and savory.

For a hearty meal, “paella” and “rabogato al ajillo” (a local fish dish with garlic) are must-tries.

Each of these dishes offers a unique taste of Andalusia’s culinary heritage, blending fresh ingredients, traditional recipes, and the Mediterranean’s bountiful offerings.

Vegetarian and Vegan Food in Benalmadena

Vegetarian and vegan dining in Benalmádena, and Southern Spain in general, offers a variety of delicious options that cater to plant-based diets.

Look out for dishes like “salmorejo” (a thicker version of gazpacho without ham toppings), “berenjenas con miel” (fried eggplants with cane honey), and various tapas made with local vegetables and legumes.

Many restaurants in Benalmádena are increasingly offering vegan versions of traditional dishes, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the rich flavors of Andalusian cuisine without compromise.

When to Eat in Benalmadena

You will notice that the eating time in Benalmadena will vary quite a lot. 

Spanish people tend to eat quite late, both for dinner and lunch. For lunch, they would start gathering between 2pm and 3pm, and they love going to chiringuitos for family lunch, especially on Sundays.

For dinner, locals eat usually as late as 10pm, and it’s not uncommon or unusual to see kids dining with adults up to midnight. 

I’m not suggesting you should follow the local customs, but having an idea of when locals eat will give you guidance on when to visit local restaurants so you can avoid busy times.

Basic Spanish Restaurant Phrases

  • Una mesa para dos, por favor. (A table for two, please.)
  • Me gustaría pedir… (I would like to order…)
  • ¿Qué recomienda? (What do you recommend?)
  • ¿Puedo tener la cuenta, por favor? (Can I have the bill, please?)
  • ¿Tiene opciones vegetarianas/veganas? (Do you have vegetarian/vegan options?)
  • Agua (Water)
  • Cerveza (Beer)
  • Vino blanco/rojo (White/Red wine)
  • Sangría (Sangria)
  • Refresco (Soda)
  • Café (Coffee)
  • (Tea)
  • Zumo de naranja (Orange juice)

How I Research Restaurants

I almost never use Tripadvisor or similar websites to research restaurant options.

I find them highly biased and centered towards a very specific crowd (tourists) and the top picks for specific cities have always been a massive let down for me. The way the restaurants are ranked in there is completely biased by the amount of reviews a place receives just because it happens to be in a location hot spot and no local would set foot in there.

I normally use google maps to manually check different restaurants at a specific location and check the images/reviews in google and lately I’ve been also following local Facebook groups where you will find up to date tips for best places to try.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article gave you plenty of ideas and inspiration to find the best restaurant in Benalmádena for your dinner or lunch.

Whether you’re planning to taste the local tapas, looking for a place with the best fish, or a selection of jamon, I’m confident you will have a delightful dining experience!

What to See in Benalmadena

Here are some other places you might want to check out while staying in Benalmadena:

LOVE it? SAVE it for Later!

Researching your trip to Benalmadena? Save this article for later in your Pinterest account, and while you’re there don’t forget to follow me here for more inspiration on all things Southern Spain.

I also have a dedicated board with visual inspiration on best things to do in Benalmadena and tips for Benalmadena Pueblo.

pinterest image showing tapas in Spain with headline: best restaurants in Benalmadena, Southern spain food guide
pinterest image showing tapas in Spain with headline: best restaurants in Benalmadena, Southern spain food guide
Photo of author
Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

Make yourself at home and find the best places to explore in Andalusia and beyond.

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