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“Avoid at all costs!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Calima - CLOSED

Calima
Price range: $144 - $216
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
London, England, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Avoid at all costs!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2012

The Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel is an exquisite location. Entering the hotel we were awestruck with its beauty and this continued as we walked the grounds to the Calima Restaurant. The hotel staff however did not wish to discuss the Calima Restaurant, this should have been our first hint at what was to come.
The Calima Restaurant is magnificent; the restaurant opens onto the ocean. The atmosphere however is not so resplendent. There is a cloud over Calima of superiority, a disconcerting quietness that never lifts. The staff are robotic in their service and manner with the patrons.
The main draw for our group was that Calima boasts a Michelin star and many reviews compare it to the fabulous ‘Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck’. This is most definitely a mis-representation of the food we received. There were five people in our group, all enjoy a varied diet and try exotic and unusual food. The food prepared for us at Calima was inedible and made three of the group physically sick. None of the courses were hot or even tepid; many of the courses were reminiscent of the texture of baby food. Dani Garcia seems to prepare a sour yoghurt and parmesan cheese foam and put this vile mixture on all his dishes. Granted presentation of all course was exceptional but isn’t the point of a restaurant to have food prepared that can actually be eaten?
We chose to end the twenty four course meal half way through, by this point our stomachs were churning, the courses were not bettering and when we asked the maître d' if in his opinion it would improve we were told he only liked two of the courses himself, one of which was the ‘Wedding Cake’ which turns out to be ‘petit fours’. These were similar to chocolates you could buy from your local M&S.
Receiving intimidating ‘death’ stares from the open kitchen for ending the meal early we asked for our bill. At this point we informed the restaurant manager that we would pay for all drinks consumed and partially the food bill as we had stopped half way through the set menu. We were told that this would not be a problem and that he would amend the bill. To our dismay and shock five minutes later we are confronted by the Spanish police. The restaurant has informed the police that we are refusing to pay the whole bill as we do not have the money to pay. As the Spanish police do not speak English we pay the bill in full. Surely this is not the way to treat customers? And lying to the police cannot be good business practice?
My advice to all would be to visit the Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel, have a few drinks in their grounds or perhaps the restaurant in its grounds but avoid Calima Restaurant at all costs!! I could think of better ways to spend £1200 being miserable, going to Australia for my next bushtucker trial!!

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
7 Thank Caroline D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

165 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    96
    32
    14
    11
    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Wetteren, Belgium
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“remains a top resto; summer 2012 menu 'heavy on the side'”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2012

2nd visit to Calima with the same complete and very professional service and excellent culinary program. But the 2012 menu is heavier than last year. Less original but still top level. Some entries were with goose liver and that's a killer for appetite (cherries with cream). Also too heavy were the emulsified béarnaise +/+ and the tomato nitro (with a granité of brandade).(tomato nitro). But overall top with super champions such as the empanadilla, the egg with no egg and especially the ROCKY SEABED.


we'll be back.

Children have a light lunch (3 courses) and this is not charged

Opnieuw top service voor kinderen; eenvoudige voor- hoofd- en na-gerechten aan 0 euro.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank riva97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
298 reviews
173 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 710 helpful votes
“El Bulli + Cirque du Soleil -- Andalusian style”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2012

We 'attended the Oxymoron 2012 performance' this summer. Although it lacks music or acrobatics like Cirque du Soleil, it's a spectacle nevertheless! And like any successful show, it leaves a lasting impression on the audience. From the reviews of previous diners, one loves - or hates - Calima. One is seldom nonchalant about it.

We had fun with almost all the dishes. There were a few that didn't work for us but that's typical of molecular/modern cuisine as well as of modern art. For the most part, we loved the presentation and the flavours.

The restaurant itself is gorgeous, with a wide terrace and open view of the ocean. The service was decent during the early part of dinner. Once the room was full, servers were challenged to juggle the demands of various tables. Our glasses remained empty too long and I had to remind our waiter more than once to refill them. Perhaps they were short-staffed that evening.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Gigis_mum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Highlight of my trip to Marbella”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2012

I have never tried molecular cuisine, nor El Bulli's invention. We were recommended to this restaurant by one of the staff at the hotel, and boy were we in for a surprised. At first we were reluctant as we thought it was a normal restaurant with a la carte menu. But when we were presented with a menu of 22 courses, we were slightly unsure about it. Because out of the family, I'm the only vegetarian, the decision came when whether they could cater for me. I'm so glad they did, because our family had an unforgettable experience at this restaurant. I do agree with the rest of the reviewers that 22 courses were a bit much. For my non vegetarian family members, they just couldn't finish everything. For me, I guess because it was all well.. vegetables, I was quite alright with the 18 courses they represented me. To be fair, each course is nothing more than 1-2 mouthful of food. This year's menu was called Oxymoron. It was a play with the name, the appearance of the food, and what it actually is. For instant, there was a dish that looked like a cherry tomato, but besides the leave on top, it was completely constructed out of something else... I thought it was extremely playful, we were all tasting the last drop of it to understand the combination of fantastic flavours. We will be telling all our friends to come at least once to try this. It was certainly a highlight of our trip.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank mackythecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marbella, Spain
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Has Dani Garcia lost the plot”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2012

Been going to Calimas once a year for 6 years. used to love it and felt it was an expensive but value treat.Last year was not so impressed with the new 19 course menu and price but still loved the food. This year the food was not good. Far too much foam, liquid and soft textures. I never expect to love everything on such a large menu but this year I struggled to like anything and it was a random and ill thought out series of combinations. On top of this out of 7 of us 6 were decidely sick.

This time no second chance I will not be going back unless he goes back to reasonable size taster menus with inventive but exquisite food.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Heather C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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