Imagine a Mediterranean palazzo surrounded by lush vegetation, a menu with such a wide choice it suits all palates, a cellar that brings a sparkle to wine lovers' eyes.
That's Villa Tiberio, the 18-year old restaurant known for its high standards and faultless service, where owner Sandro Morelli looks after clients as if they are guests in his own home. Notwithstanding the extensive menu, a note at the bottom asks clients to ask for their favourite dish. Sandro points out that you can never offer a typical menu for Marbella as it is so cosmopolitan. "What we are trying to do is offer the best that Spain produces, which our chefs incorporate into the Italian and international recipes."
The pasta is home made, the sauces rich and full of flavour, the osso bucco, made with Dutch veal, is finger licking good.
Even the fettuccine salmone is made with the finest Scottish smoked salmon. Capesanti e gamberoni alla thermidor (scallops and jumbo prawns served in a cream and brandy sauce); porchetta alla Villa Tiberio (crispy roast suckling pig): anitra all'orange (duck baked with orange and curaçao liqueur) plus baby lamb braised in Barola wine are only a few of the signature dishes that have made the restaurant such a popular rendezvous.
And if that isn't enough, a 1938 Chateau Margaux, a Romanée Conti Grand Cru 1973, Vega Sicilia, Sassicaia and Tignanello Antinori are only a few of the many desirable wines stacked in the bodega.
The Wine Cellar
Villa Tiberio's wine list, comprising some 3,000 bottles of top quality Spanish, French and Italian wines, is as fascinating as the menu and lists a 1938 Chateau Margaux, Petrus, Romanée Villa Tiberio Restaurant - MarbellaConti Grand Cru 1973, Vega Sicilia, Sassicaia, Tignanello Antinori and an 1894 bottle of Chateau Haut Brion, which Sandro Morelli purchased at auction from Christie's. "You would be crazy to open it," he laughs, anticipating the obvious question. What you do is buy that bottle of wine and put it in the dining room to show guests that you have a 100-year old wine, but you can never open it. "You don't buy a piece of history and ruin it," he says.