End of an era on the Costa del Sol as we bid farewell to Valparaiso restaurant legend Raffaele Morelli who has passed away aged 82
The world of fine cuisine has lost one of its true heavyweights today, Friday, September 22, with the sad news of the passing, aged 82, of Raffaele Morelli, the well-loved Italian co-owner of the stunning Valparaiso restaurant, who had been battling prostate cancer for some time.
Valparaiso was opened in 1984, located on the road to Mijas, on the Costa del Sol, by Raffaele and his wonderful brother Vittorio, arriving off the back of running the renowned London restaurant Barbarella’s, and quickly became famous not just in Southern Spain, but the world over, with a reputation that stretched to all corners of the globe, regularly receiving diners from far afield, and one only has to look at the celebrity photographs that adorn the walls of this restaurant – including David Beckham, Bruce Forsyth, Sean Connery, Cliff Richard, and Antonio Banderas – to understand exactly the high esteem in which this establishment, and Raffaele, was held.
From the moment you entered, you would be met with Raffaele’s ever-smiling face, an elegant man simply oozing natural charm, always immaculately turned out, and instantly making his customers feel at ease, which without a doubt, definitely played a huge role in the success of his business, with this host treating everybody with the same respect and attention, where women, in particular, were made to feel like they were the most special person in the world, and always got handed a souvenir rose as they were leaving.
Who could wish for a more magical setting than dining outside ‘al fresco’ under the stars on the flower-covered Valparaiso terrace, with a view to die for across the whole coast below you, listening to live entertainment, and being attended to by one of the most efficient and polite restaurant owners you could ever encounter.
I, for one, spent many a wonderful night at this beautiful restaurant, and I lose count of the hours we must have spent discussing football, one of Rafaelle’s loves, and it warms my heart to know that before he left us he got to see his beloved Italian national team win the Euros this summer at Wembley, he might be gone, but I will cherish some wonderful memories of this ‘gentleman’.
One Valparaiso customer, John, recalling his first visit, said, “In the mid-1980s, soon after we married, when we had some spare money, the one place to visit was Valparaiso, and we were never disappointed. More than 30 years later we got to spend more time with Raffaele, and were so impressed at how charming this true gentleman was”.
Everybody here at the Euro Weekly News sends our heartfelt sympathies to the Morelli family for their loss, and we thank you Raffaele, for all the beautiful memories you have graced us with, R.I.P
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