Yesterday, we had dinner at a tiny restaurant in Marbella's Casco Antiguo (old town). La Famiglia has been there for ages but we had never been as it's one of those places that people know of but forget to mention, not because the food isn't any good but because the place is so good that they want to keep the address to themselves. Before we went, I tried to Google the restaurant but not much appeared except a few listings in directories - no write-ups or reviews.
We met up with E and E at the parking lot of the Mercado Municipal and walked to the restaurant from there. Just off the Plaza Puente de Ronda is the tiny (two-step) street, Calle Cruz and right smack in the center of the street is the brightly-lit facade of La Famiglia with the entrance enclosed in wrought-iron gates. Peep inside and the first thing you'll see is the antique red hand-cranked meat slicer right by the entrance where a large hunk of Prosciutto di Parma sits (a good sign). Inside is a long narrow room lined by tiny tables on both sides and with an open kitchen at the end. We were led towards the back to a cozy table by the gregarious owner who knew E as one of his regular clients.
Menus and grissini were left at the table and drink orders taken. The menu is a simple two-page spread with about half a dozen each of starters, pastas, main courses and desserts (another good sign). It's always better when there aren't that many dishes to choose from as it's better to have fewer dishes made well than so many choices and just a few that are worth ordering.
Since we had never been to La Famiglia, we left it up to E to order our starters. He asked for a plate of assorted antipasti, some Prosciutto and a bottle of Sicilian red - Corvo. The platter of assorted antipasti arrived soon after - thinly sliced grilled aubergines and zucchini, sweet roasted red peppers, button mushrooms and flat beans in vinaigrette and Parmesan-covered pan-fried tomatoes. Along with this came a platter of extra-thin slices Prosciutto di Parma to be eaten with crunchy tomato bruschetta. The food was simple but delicious - the sweetness of the grilled vegetables, the saltiness of the Parmesan and the sweetness of the sliced tomatoes and the amazingly sweet and nutty flavor of the soft ham (a rest for the palate from the salty and more fatty Jamon Iberico) on top of the warm and crispy tomato bruschetta.
After such a promising first course, I was slightly worried that my main course couldn't possibly be better and was pleasantly surprised with my simple dish of thinly-sliced sauteed veal with lemon. The veal was tender and flavored subtly with lemon and came served with some potato gratin. E had ordered off the menu and his pan-fried veal with home-made pasta and fresh tomato sauce looked even more delicious than mine. E had sauteed chicken with mushrooms and A the rigatoni alla amatriciana - pasta with bacon and onion in tomato sauce - of which I had a few yummy bites.
Dinner ended with two desserts - a shared tiramisu for us and a shared chocolate tart for them. The tiramisu was the only disappointment in the otherwise perfect meal - it lacked Mascarpone and bitter espresso to make it just right. We skipped coffees and lingering over the meal as we got a call from our seven-year old who was supposed to be on a sleepover and had changed his mind. We left quickly, said our goodbyes in the parking lot and planned to meet up for another meal in Las Vegas over the holidays. Our night ended with us picking up our half-asleep son and taking him home. Good thing that dinner turned out so well. So much so that we're already planning our meal at La Famiglia.
Calle Cruz, 5
Casco Antiguo, Marbella
+34 952 77 54 12
Open for dinner only.
Reservations highly recommended as the place is tiny.