There are few better feelings than the freedom of hitting the great open road, foot to the floor, windows down; the bonus of grabbing food from the quintessential roadside pitstop. That’s especially true in the case of Lydia’s Smokehouse, an Ibiza restaurant where hearty portions of comforting, delicious fare are served with a side of classic American diner charm, and where wood-smoked meats and smash-style burgers are the sustenance you need to keep moving forward on the journey. An under-the-radar gem that’s fast becoming an island institution, this is a dining experience you simply can’t miss.
It all started in the back streets of downtown Ibiza, where the scent of smoke-infused meats lingering in the air enticed hungry diners from their city strolls. Now, Lydia’s Smokehouse has gained another, bigger premises in the north, where the neon bulbs of its sign hint at the nostalgic Americana vibes within. Chunky wooden tables contrast with industrial inspired touches and guests sit perched on stools, gathered round former beer kegs.
Redefining what it means to eat at a classic South American diner, owner of this Ibiza restaurant, John Malek, is on a mission to change the way you think about the centuries-old barbecue. Don’t worry, you’ll still find all the favourites on the menu, but they’re all cooked with a Lydia’s Smokehouse twist. Starters include hot dogs served in a brioche bun, topped with ketchup, mustard relish and raw and crispy onions, as well as an interpretation of a traditional quesadilla that’s filled with juicy pulled pork and melted cheese and served with sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole.
But let’s not mess about. It’s the Lydia’s Smokehouse burgers that bring people to their knees, and who can be surprised when John confidently claims that they’re perfect? The cheeseburger is the bestseller at this Ibiza restaurant, coming with two meat patties, two slices of high-grade cheddar cheese, chopped pickle, onion and lettuce, and the all-important Lydia’s cheeseburger sauce. Other favourites include the BBQ burger, the crispy chicken burger and the plant-based Beyond Burger, with recommended sides like fries, sweet potato fries and coleslaw, all served on checkered paper and USA-style enamel baskets so you can tuck right in with your hands.
It goes without saying that there’s also a barbecue section of the menu at Lydia’s Smokehouse, featuring mouth-watering slow-cooked pork ribs plus pulled pork smoked low and slow for 12 hours. Try it on the Lydia’s Toast, a pulled pork sandwich served between two thick stacks of brioche. On some nights you might be lucky to catch a karaoke session mid-flow (recommended lubrication: beer or whiskey) or a live rock band in ripped jeans serving electrifying guitar riffs. Road trip or not: this Ibiza restaurant is well worth making a detour for.