La Buena Vida Gastro Bar opened in August 2016 within close proximity to the recently redeveloped San Pedro Boulevard. It is a family owned business by Roisin, her husband Dessie and their son Nathan who originate from Armagh in Ireland. Since that time it has certainly made its mark among the plethora of other gourmet establishments that have opened within the area. The location is perfect with easy parking.
Having heard, by word of mouth, extremely favourable reviews from many of my friends, I simply could not resist, on a gloriously sunny day, indulging in a sumptuous lunch and taking a well-earned break from my hectic work schedule with my flat mate Alex. We were so looking forward to it.
Prior to our arrival I was impressed by the eclectic design of the exterior and interior of the restaurant. Needless to say they had only wanted the ‘best of the best’ and employed renowned interior designer Jonty Lewis. His designs are even replicated on the place mats. On arrival my friend Alexander and I were warmly greeted by Nathan and swiftly shown to our table on the terrace which was beautifully bedecked with an array of pink tables, green cushions, a flowery decorated dazzling cocktail bar with a board stating ‘Our cocktail barman Josh will be happy to make any cocktail that is not on the menu’.
Cocktails are one of their many specialties. These include Pina Colada, Frozen Daiquiri, Bloody Mary Alex’s favourite – typically British), Espresso Martini among many others. On Friday Saturday and Sunday all day they make special cocktails for only 5 Euros. The average price here on the Costa del Sol is 8-10 Euros!
Whilst we perused the menu we ordered a bottle of their house rose Nuvina Rosado Cabernet Sauvignon Temprinillo 2015 – very reasonably priced at 13 Euros which went down a treat. A second bottle was shortly ordered once we had made our menu choices.
Nathan had to dash out so we were tended to with every attention to detail and our wishes by the Manager Juan Manuel Gomezveas who is Spanish and has a passion for English people and the language which he speaks fluently. He also speaks Polish. He only started working there one month ago. Prior to that he has an impressive employment record having worked for The Marriott 5 Star Hotel, Sinatra Bar Puerto Banus and in Benahavis where he lives. He is only 21 but exudes exceptional spirit and enormous energy. Indeed in December he is travelling to New York to take a degree in bar-tending.
With his busy schedule attending to the many customers dining there that day I managed to pin him down for a few minutes to glean the background behind the concept of La Buena Vida from Juan.
Said Juan, “It is focused on looking at life with the best smile both young and old. The name is like life in Malaga just good life’.
Your international menu is also described as International fusion with healthy food.
“Fusion because we include international dishes from many parts of the world but merging it with the Spanish and Asian style as well. We always offer healthy food and we try that all the clients from Vegan to people who eat meat can have a pleasant evening. Always fresh produce”.
Also on your menu are Mediterranean and European dishes. Please let me know which ones are your signature dishes?
“Curries and our wonderful steak’.
I gather you renowned for your home-made desserts. Please can you give me a few examples?
‘”We have delicious cakes from Pavlova to scrumptious brownies made by our chefs and also by a great confectioner called Warren.
La Buena Vida also has a collection of Shisha which is a water pipe; smoked in a hookah. There is zero percent of nicotine but flavours including grape, apple, mint and water melon amongst others. It is only 10 Euros to smoke for an hour and a half. It is known as ‘Hubble Bubbles’.
It was now time to place our orders. Alex chose for a starter spring rolls with avocado and prawns and for me garlic bread with two different melted cheeses. Yum. I could not resist it. Said Alex, “The spring rolls were melt in the mouth with a nice chilli sauce and a completely different combination of ingredients from average spring rolls. My naughty garlic bread was just a heavenly ‘comfort food’ appetizer.
Onto the main courses. Alex chose Cod Loin & Chips with home- made mushy peas and tartare sauce. Alex remembering from times gone by regarding mushy peas quipped, “When Peter Mandelson, now Lord Mandelson went into a fish and chip shop and saw this favoured accoutrement said ‘oh I love Guacamole’ and the owner said it is not Guacamole you posh simpleton it is mushy peas’. Now there’s some food for thought! Alex continues, “The fish was beautifully cooked in a very light beer batter and the chips were like women, not too skinny and not too fat”.
I ordered the classic mini burgers with melted cheese and bacon. Juan very kindly offered me three but, although small, one has to watch the waistline!!! They were succulent and perfect for my somewhat small appetite.
Their menu, without a shadow of a doubt, caters for all nationalities who visit there. It boasts a medley of breakfast choices amongst others served are a full Irish recommended to boost your energy and La Buena Vida Eggs – poached eggs on English muffins with gammon and cheddar sauce. Starters include King Prawn Pil Pil, chicken satay, Thai spring rolls to a range of snacks and sandwiches including hot chicken wings and sweet potato skins with melted cheese and crispy bacon and salads such as chicken Caesar, spicy prawn and a personal favourite of mine baked goat’s cheese (frightfully healthy….for once….for me). Amongst their main dishes – all reasonably priced mirroring the rest of their cuisine are a grilled sirloin steak at only 11.90 Euros, green Thai chicken curry (which seems to be the preferred dish here on the coast for many), King Prawn Red curry and for those who just like a taste of Italy – pasta dishes.
The icing on the cake following your sumptuous lunchtime or dinner feast and not to be missed are their selection of home-made desserts.
For those food lovers here, I highly recommend a visit to La Buena Vida. I asked Juan in one statement Juan how would you describe La Buena Vida?
“Great, fabulous and fresh. Also what sets us apart from the other plethora of restaurants here in San Pedro is our atmosphere, our cocktails, cuisine and our team.
That is certainly true on all counts. I will definitely be making a return visit so do hope to see you there.
La Buena Vida Gastro Bar – Avd. Del Mar Mediterráneo, Edificio San Pedro del Mar, 5, 29670 San Pedro de Alcántara
Tel: 951 914 452
Opening hours – 9am-2am 7 days a wee