You’ll be surprised by the haute cuisine and fusion flavors at Kava, a luxury restaurant in the heart of historic Marbella.
When you go to eat at Kava Marbella, you’re not actually going to the touristy Plaza de los Naranjos. You’re going to Fernando’s gran’s house. The gourmet, modern restaurant is not what you would expect in this plaza that many people avoid strictly because it’s become known as a tourist trap. But for owner and head chef, Fernando Alcalá, the plaza is something more. It was named for his grandfather and his grandmother still lives in the white building adjacent to the restaurant. A few years ago, while he was working as a lawyer in Zurich the restaurant was for sale and it was clear that it was time to come home.
We sat at a beautiful patio table next to the wall filled with potted plants and guitar music floating through the air. We started with a cold glass of white wine which paired excellently with the Andalusian summer night. The first dish was a little taste of two different regional olive oils. The bread was the perfect texture and it was served in a tall black cylindrical bowl. “We’re going to have to go up into the mountains of Málaga for our olive oil,” Pedro told me as he soaked a second piece of bread in the golden oil. Soon after we were served lamb dumplings in a beautiful red dish. It was clear from the start that Kava pays close attention to detail.
After the dumplings we tried the swordfish ceviche. I’m not usually one for swordfish, but in the lemony ceviche with pickled onions, and cilantro it was the perfect texture. Next the waiter brought us a dish that wasn’t on the regular menu. We later found out that it can’t be a regular dish because the small squid, “chipirones” in Spanish, are not always available at the market and Chef Fernando goes to the market every morning to get the freshest ingredients. “People probably think I’m crazy,” Fernando told us, “but I come back from the market laden with bags full of vegetables, meats, fish, and fruit. Everything is local, but I use the ingredients to create fusion and modern flavors.”
My favorite dish we tried was a classic on the menu, although the restaurant is only in it’s second season. It was a flamenquín (which is traditionally pork, ham and cheese rolled like a cigar and then fried.) In this case it was pork with a bit of shrimp in the center fried and served in a spicy thai curry sauce. I love thai cooking, so this was the perfect fusion dish for me! Lastly we had the pleasure of trying the steak tartare served with a crunchy rice cracker and parmesan cheese shavings. I must say that I’m not usually a big fan of steak tartare because of the texture, but this was delicious. As I’m sure it’s clear by now, we were enjoying a bit of a tasting menu that the chef had put together for us.
For dessert there was a torrija (Spain’s answer to french toast) drenched in a milky vanilla sauce. It was rich and sinfully delicious. On the menu there were various cocktails that caught our eye, but those will have to wait for another visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Kava Marbella and would recommend it as a gourmet option with Michelin star quality in the heart of old town Marbella. Every bite was better than the last and the servers were extremely attentive. Without a doubt, Kava is a place worth seeking out both for the service and the quality of the dishes. I know we’ll be back!