Here in Ibiza, secret gardens can pop up in the most unexpected of places – take gorgeous island eatery Finca La Plaza, for example. Set amid the bustling main square of Santa Gertrudis – a cobblestoned plaza lined with busy restaurants, a church and the occasional palm tree – it could be easy to miss it if you blinked when strolling past its low-key entrance. It’s merely proof that it pays to pay attention, particularly for gourmands on the Ibiza gastronomic trail, those who wouldn’t want to bypass the opportunity to dine here. Now open seven days a week in August, this village gem is unlikely to stay a secret for much longer.
Tucked away in an unassuming corner of the square, the Finca La Plaza façade still retains the feeling of an ancient farmhouse. Rough sandstone, white walls and wooden garden gates denote the typical Ibicencan style, while strings of festoon lights twinkle like fireflies after dark, drawing you into the restaurant’s warm and welcoming embrace. Step over the threshold and it’s easy to see why Finca La Plaza has become a firm favourite among locals, visitors and most of all, foodies, since it opened in 2018. The sophisticated interior leads into a beguiling secret garden space – the perfect place to savour an innovative menu that presents the finest fresh, seasonal and local ingredients through the impressive culinary lens of the restaurant’s chefs.
A vision of alfresco bliss, towering palm trees in the Finca La Plaza garden shade bountiful banana leaves below; the arms of crooked cacti take aim for the forever blue skies above, and the torch-like flowers of Aloe arborescens blaze like bright orange torches. At dusk, leaves of every fascinating shape contort beneath a distinct amber glow. Then, at nightfall, festoon lamps and fairy lights draped from branch to branch light up, filling the air with a certain romance. Once discovered, this secret garden wins the hearts of all those who dine here, guaranteeing they return again and again throughout the year.
This season sees the recently reinvigorated menu brimming with inspiration from Ibiza’s unique countryside, featuring flora and fauna indigenous to the island while reflecting the seasonality of ingredients. Simple by nature but executed with flair, dishes at Finca La Plaza are as beautifully presented as they are delicious. Starters include an incredible artichoke confit served with a 65-degree egg, foie gras and Iberian pork shoulder while the Formentera red prawn carpaccio with yuzu pearl and coral seasoning is a sliver of fresh seafood brilliance. Vegan options are equally as creative and flavour-filled, such as delectable seasonal vegetable ceviche served with a shot of liquid tomato or white asparagus served with black truffle and roasted almond pesto and tarragon emulsion, showcasing the bounty of Ibiza’s rich fertile soil.
Main courses at Finca La Plaza are equally as enticing. Crayfish rice with sea urchin and lemongrass are hard to resist, vying for attention on the menu against pan-seared black cod with smoked aubergine, stovetop garlic and tamarind – an innovative flavour profile that gets the tastebuds buzzing. Diners would be remiss not to sample the lobster tempura served with courgette flower and ginger ponzu sauce, which seamlessly merges Mediterranean produce with a punchy Japanese staple. Straight from the wood-fire grill are a whole citrus turbot or sea bass and chargrilled octopus with guanciale flambé and nut crumble.
Meat dishes are in abundance too, with melt-in-the-mouth filet beef tartare served alongside triple-fried Pont Neuf potatoes: no frills but plenty of finesse. There’s also a smoked pork rib hot dog that’s unlike any other hot dog you’re likely to have tried in your life, and a glazed Marela beef filet — again, it’s all about the unrivalled quality of the ingredients. Smoke-infused specialities include whole crispy suckling cochinillo, and a Japanese A5 Wagyu beef entrecôte, and for vegans craving a barbecue fix, there’s deliciously aromatic smoked tofu served with yellow cauliflower, pickled onion and lime, or the classic Miso violet aubergine. These are dishes produced with care and consideration, a Finca La Plaza forte.
To finish, Finca La Plaza desserts include an Amarena cherry and almond lollipop; a carob biscuit (with the carob harvested fresh from trees in Ibiza) served with passionfruit and Guandaja chocolate (70%) mousse; and of course, a Spanish premium cheese selection, featuring Idiazábal from the Basque Country, Mahón from Menorca, and Payoyo from Cadíz and served with homemade compote and toasted fig bread.
To accompany the entire experience, only the finest cocktails or wines will do of course, courtesy of one of the best-curated wine cellars on the island, which includes internationally renowned drops like the Sassicaia 1997, Vega Sicilia, Petrus or Dom Perignon P2, in addition to selections from family wineries such as Bodegas Comenge and its renowned Jacobus – exclusive to Finca La Plaza.
While the idea of a secret garden is that it’s a private sanctuary, at Finca La Plaza, that paradise is open to the public and available for everyone to experience. Foodies will be in their element here, but so too will anyone in search of that indescribable Ibiza enchantment. Just look to the palm tree-tops and follow the firefly-like twinkle of the stars and lights across the plaza. After all, not all those who wander are lost…