Calima is a modern Andalusian restaurant with young chef Dani Garcia heading the kitchen. I mistakenly thought it was a one-starred Michelin restaurant but just found out today that it isn’t although they were nominated. I mixed it up because the chef used to work at the Michelin starred Tragabuches in Ronda.
I’ve been to Calima once before in the winter and remembered the food to be interesting and the atmosphere simple but elegant. This time around, all the tables were set on the outdoor terrace overlooking the sea which was lovely although the long walk from the front door through the lounge area, wine cellar and empty restaurant space was a bit depressing.
As we had already indulged in caviar and champagne at home, we opted to order first and go straight to the wine. With the help of the sommelier, A chose a pinot noir from Mallorca Vinya des More which was soft to the palate. There is a 15-course Menu Degustation and a 7-course Soft Calima tasting menu but we all opted to order a la carte. It took a while for us to make our selection as the menu was a bit confusing – the food items are not divided into starters and mains but by ingredient (which also wasn’t explained) so some of us had mistakenly chosen 2 starters instead of 1 starter and 1 main. After the initial confusion, we made our choices.
Soon after, we were served home-made bread and olive oil plus an amuse bouche of a cold soup with a lightly poached egg, tiny pieces of Iberian ham and a croquette on the side. Surprisingly enough all throughout the service, dishes were laid on the table without the accompanying explanation so we were left to guess what we were actually eating. We found out later on that it was a modern version of the traditional Spanish soup Puchero.
Our starters soon followed – A and F both chose the green tomato gazpacho, T had the cherries gazpacho with anchovies and Ronda goat’s cheese, O had the Ajoblanco Malagueno, a cold white garlic soup typical in Andalusia, K had the lobster salad with olive oil popcorn and I had the beet gazpacho with frozen oysters. The cold soups were special with the flavor of each ingredient complemented by the temperature of the soup. K‘s lobster salad was fine except that the olive oil popcorn was actually just cheese chunks made to look like newly-popped corn.
Our main courses took a bit longer but we were served more bread while we waited. The bread basket had a selection of several breads: olive oil, cereal, black olive and white. Then our mains arrived: K & O had the tuna, F had the cuttlefish with egg, T had the steamed sole with the crispy skin and a broth, while A & I chose meat dishes: stewed veal cheeks for him and the roasted suckling pig Iberian Jabugo (black-hoofed pig) for me. The main courses were fine. I ordered the best main course and the other dishes were disappointing. K didn’t like her tuna at all and only had two bites and when they came to clear the plates and the server asked if she wanted another dish, she declined as that would have delayed the table. (Strange thing is the tuna dish still appeared on the bill afterwards).
We shared two desserts: the Torcal de Antequera of chocolate towers recreating the rock formations in the natural reserve in Antequera, a region of Andalusia and the assorted sorbets of mandarin, peach and Mojito. The home-made sorbets won hands down with the flavors of the fruit and the minty rum Mojito refreshing and delicious.
Calle José Melia sin numero
29602 Marbella, Málaga
Tel: +34 (95) 276 4252
*** Food – Creative cuisine that’s hit and miss with the descriptions not really matching what one gets on the plate.
**** Atmosphere – Modern design with a lovely terrace but they need to figure out how to make the long walk through an empty restaurant less depressing.
*** Service – Friendly although incomplete, servers should have explained the menu beforehand and also indicated what the amuse bouche and the mignardises were. We figured it out by tasting and guessing.
Tip: Go and try it once but don’t have high expectations. Starters are very good and for the main courses, opt for the meat instead of fish.