REVIEW: Pushing the boat out at Los Marinos Jose, Fuengirola

You can avoid the 3,000 euros wines and eat incredibly well and cheaply at Malaga’s best fish restaurant, writes Jon Clarke

IT has just been voted the third best ‘casual restaurant’ in Europe by US foodie website Opinionated about Dining.

Yet, most locals in Fuengirola would struggle to guess which joint it was referring to.

But, the moment you step into Los Marinos Jose you know you are in the hands of professionals.

Just re-opened after a stylish refit, it has the sort of swagger found up the coast at Campero, in Barbate, or Aponiente, in El Puerto de Santa Maria. 

MAN ON A MISSION: Owner Jose Sanchez

We can thank the ambitions of owner Jose Sanchez for this… a man on a mission, who conveniently (for a seafood restaurant) owns his own fishing boat.

The emphasis is therefore on super-fresh, daily-caught fish (not coincidentally all landed from his boat) and none of that factory-farmed stuff, but genuine bona fide morning-netted specimens. 

That is obvious from the morning’s catch displayed on the bar – and backed up the second it hits the taste buds.

The menu is incredibly simple, apart from the wine list (more of which later).

Most things are served by weight and – given it’s all about what’s available at a fair price from nearby – there are, at most, two dozen dishes to choose from. And if you don’t like fish, don’t bother.

We chose three starters and one main course, with a ‘busano’ (meaning sea snail) as an appetizer and perhaps the most bizarre seafood I’ve ever tried, even odder than barnacles (or ‘percebes’, as they call them in Spain). It was from Marbella, after all.

BIZARRE:A Busano or sea snail

The small clams were difficult to differentiate from other places on the coast, but the red mullet sashimi was a step above. Served thinly sliced it was then braised for 60 seconds by a waiter at the table with a culinary torch and in a word ‘awesome’.

Next up were grilled small squids beautifully presented and clearly hoiked out of the sea that morning.

For a main we could have chosen turbot, sea bass or sea bream, plus a couple of others, but Jose insisted we went for the better value ‘borriquete’ from Conil, on the Costa de la Luz.

PERFECTION: The red mullet sashimi was finished at the table

Good call, it was de-boned and grilled to a tee, served with fresh new potatoes and green peppers.

A self-effacing chap with Joe 90 glasses, Jose buzzes about ensuring everything is going to plan, occasionally chatting to guests, or barracking a waiter.

He certainly knows what he’s doing… but then again, his family have had this place for 40 years, he explains, while another part of his family owns a beach restaurant across the road, somewhat confusingly called Los Marinos Paco. It certainly caught me out.

I shouldn’t sign off without mentioning the simply extraordinary wine list, with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of champagnes alone, running up to the eye-wateringly priced Clos Ambonnay 1999, by Krug, at 2,700 euros a bottle.

There are better value bottles, such as Deutz’ classic brut at 69 euros, or you can just have a glass of Fabrice Bertemes house champagne for 12 euros.

Meanwhile, take your pick from eight different Albarinos and seven Godellos from Galicia, while the choice of white Burgundies (including 15 Meursaults and seven Chassagne Montrachets) is perfect for pushing the boat out, if you’ll excuse the pun.


P.º Marítimo Rey de España, 161, 29640 Fuengirola, Málaga

Teléfono: 952 66 10 12

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