Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes


The Grill House Banus, Marbella – artisan grill dishes with a unique smoked taste and a Mediterranean twist

Smoking food goes back to our caveman ancestors when it is believed that smoky caves led to better preserved, and tastier food. Now, smoking food is truly part of the gourmet food scene, and at The Grill House Banus  in Marbella, Head Chef Tim van Buchem fuses the classic southern BBQ culture with a contemporary artisan approach, displaying a delicacy and sophistication not normally associated with food from the grill.

Andrew Forbes with Tim Van Buchem at The Grill House Banus Marbella

Andrew Forbes with Tim Van Buchem at The Grill House Banus Marbella

Artisan southern style, with a Mediterranean twist

Tim introduces touches and flavours from North Africa and the Mediterranean to transform classic grill and BBQ dishes into a truly memorable meal.

Last night we enjoyed a gourmet meal, in a relaxed, and friendly environment. It was a chance to get a real understanding of the dishes available, as we were lucky to have a tasting menu, showcasing some of the many highlights from the restaurant’s very reasonably priced menu.


We started with a beautifully presented ‘Tartar of Tuna’ with finely prepared avocado on a stroke of lime and saffron mayonnaise, with homemade pickles, and smoked cherry tomatoes. The fine, dwarf greens, mesclun and herbs leaves and a few tiny petals, combined with the citrus mayonnaise made this tartar exceptional – not something you might expect in a Grill House  – and the cherry tomatoes were our first introduction to the restaurant’s signature smoked flavour.

Grill House Banus, Tuna Tartar ©

Grill House Banus, Tuna Tartar ©

I took photos with my iphone, but the light didn’t do the dishes justice, so I’ve used images by professional photographer Kevin Horn that are from the Grill House website.

The next tasting dish was the ‘Seared Scallops’, served appropriately for Halloween, on spiced pumpkin; with a small sliver of crispy tasty jamon iberico on top.

Grill House Banus, Seared Scallops ©

Grill House Banus, Seared Scallops ©

Continuing with the seafood dishes from the starters menu, came a small version of the ‘Flame Grilled Octopus’; perfectly cooked, melt-in-the-mouth slices of octopus on a bed of truffle mash. We were having such a great time! And although this is a Grill House, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious, fresh seafood or salads.

BBQ and Grill dishes

But then came the meat dishes. First was a wooden board of smoked ‘BBQ Pork Ribs’ to share, piled up on a bed of red cabbage sauerkraut. These ribs are prepared to a secret family recipe, and no one was giving me any clues, but I was told they are smoked for up to 12 hours, which must explain why the tender meat falls off the bone.

I have to admit that I wouldn’t normally order ribs. I’ve had them in the States many times, but that thick typically sweet BBQ sauce smothers any flavour. That’s certainly not the case here; the Grill House Banus BBQ ribs are delicately flavoured, so you really taste and enjoy that smoky taste, and the BBQ sauce on the side is home made, and is light and just right with the ribs. The side of bread toasted on the grill, with butter prepared in-house with smoked garlic and lime was so simply yet divine.

Locally sourced

Marbella’s Grill House Banus owners, Rafa and Joanna are hands-on proprietors and are there to welcome you and check in with you throughout the meal. With their cosmopolitan backgrounds and a family history that includes a genuine passion for food and hospitality, it’s no wonder that this restaurant is focused on perfection. Joanna explained that all ingredients are sourced locally in Spain. That even includes the wagyu beef used in their signature Kobe gourmet burger, as well as the ‘BBQ Surf & Turf’ which was our next dish.

Grill House Banus, Surf & Turf ©

Grill House Banus, Surf & Turf ©

This meat feast included a super tender, wagyu beef rib off the bone, with slices of tenderloin beef, and of course shrimp for the surf, and A Side of home-made fries!  Okay, I know, I am sounding now like a real glutton, but in my defence the dishes were prepared as a tasting, so they weren’t the size of the normal menu plates!

Wagyu beef comes from a Japanese breed of cattle that have been protected for millennium, so they are pure breed, and their pampered existence gives exceptional meat. Joanna and Rafa source their beef from specialist farms here in Spain.

Perfect ending

So, it had to be done – we had to try their home made cheese cake, again from a family recipe. Put aside all thoughts of those all-American, over sweet heavy cheese cakes. The Grill House Banus cheesecake is light, fluffy with a real crust.


Grill House Banus, Cheesecake ©

So, I’ve now a new favourite restaurant in Marbella – The Grill House Banus, just opposite the west entrance to El Corte Ingles, in the Cristamar Centre.



During the week, you can enjoy a chef’s 3 course lunch for 9.50 euro.


A la carte prices range from 2 euro to 29 euro


Grill House Banus- Marbella

C.C. Cristamar, local 32
Puerto Banus – Marbella, 29660

Phone +34.951.319.842

Monday to Saturday
12:30 – 15:30 lunch
19:30 – 23:30 dinner

Grill House Banus, Marbella, © House Banus, Marbella, ©

Grill House Banus, Marbella, © House Banus, Marbella, ©



I was hosted by The Grill House but this has not influenced by piece. Please bear in mind that this site and my articles are intended as entertainment only and not a definitive resource for purchasing decisions. Before making any travel or purchasing decision I recommend that you seek as much information as possible from various sources including review sites, guide books and other blogs. If you act based on my writing you do so at your own risk. If you wish to add anything to this piece, simply comment using the WordPress or Facebook plug-in.


6 people like this post.

  1. Shirley Dias
    Shirley DiasNov 03, 2013

    congratulations to Joanna Dias, Rafael Benet & everyone at The Grill House Restaurant on your success!

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »