“Marbella is the land of opportunitiesand I had mine…”
We’re at ‘Restaurante Santiago’ with its owner, the renowned and admired Marbella restaurateur, Santiago Domínguez.
How long have you been in Marbella?
Since the year 1957.
Tell us about your professional career.
I have very fond memories of my beach bar, ‘El Primero de Marbella’, on la Fontanilla Beach, where I set up the first draft beer in the province of Malaga.
When did you open your flagship restaurant, Restaurante Santiago?
It was back in 1973, before the current promenade existed.
Which dish is most representative of the Restaurant?
Honestly, there isn’t one in particular, because I like them all. The same dishes never stay on the menu for long. I like to change it. Fish and seafood are what best represent Restaurante Santiago. The lamb, as it’s from Burgos, is another dish I highly appreciate.
We understand you have an extensive wine cellar. Which of your wines would you highlight?
From many countries and places. My wines are a very important part of my professional and personal life. Romanée-Conti, a French wine, and of course, the Spanish Vega Sicilia, which, moreover, are two of my own favourites.
A large number of celebrities have passed through here. Who do you remember most fondly and made the greatest impression on you?
One cherished memory is of Christopher Lee, the famous Count Dracula, who far from striking fear, was a pleasant, endearing person. Meeting Sofia Loren certainly made an impression on me, a woman of spectacular beauty. Stunning! King Don Juan Carlos, a down-to-earth, affectionate man, very jovial. And an amusing visit was that of Paul Belmondo, as he and his girlfriend (at that time, hahaha), had to dress as chefs and stay inside the kitchen of the Restaurant, so as to not be recognised by the paparazzi, until they left, and they were able to dine in peace. It was the Marbella of the old days, of glitterati…
Which dish does everyone order in your Restaurant?
Fish and seafood! The diners follow our recommendations, and they almost always opt for the fish or the seafood of the day.
Which dish do you usually recommend?
A good grouper, a magnificent snapper, or the always tasty sea bass.
Have you ever considered retiring?
I’ll leave that question up in the air… it depends!
Which chefs do you admire?
Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui, Juan Mari Arzak, and of course, our Dani García, a young man with a very bright future.
What prizes have you received in your professional career and which is closest to your heart?
I don’t remember the exact number, about 400 awards, and the one I remember most affectionately is the Gold Medal of this city, Marbella, to which I’m very grateful. I can’t forget my hometown, VADOCONDES, where my Burgos roots lie, but Marbella is the land of opportunities, and I had mine… I like to express my gratitude.