Ibiza foodies

A midsummer night’s dream

If the world of restaurants were compared to bird watching then La Veranda at night would be the most prized, beautiful and rarest sighting of all.

If the world of restaurants were compared to bird watching then La Veranda, the gorgeous garden restaurant at Agroturismo Atzaró, at night would be the most prized, beautiful and rarest sighting of all.

Rare – because it’s only open at night during July and August, a true midsummer night’s dream. Beautiful – because have you seen Atzaró? And prized because it’s a sanctuary, attended only by those in the know. If David Attenborough did a documentary about restaurants his dulcet tones would turn positively excited about La Veranda on a summer’s night. Crisp white tablecloths are dressed with vases of wildflowers; lanterns swing from the branches and bushes in lush pockets of greenery. Huge circular pendant lights hang from the pergola casting a warm glow over the refined yet relaxed space, shadows from the palm trees are playfully reflected in the content faces of fellow diners. There’s something really special going on here, something that many attempt to imitate but few are able to achieve.

Starting with a cocktail is the perfect way to ease into the occasion. Resident mixologist and all round cocktail obsessive, Rubén Ruivo, presents a beautifully curated list of his greatest creations and classics. The Umami is concocted with premium sake infused with cucumber and a splash of Atzaro’s homemade organecello – like limoncello but made with oranges grown in the garden directly behind the restaurant. It goes perfectly with anything but comes into its own when accompanied by a sushi board. When ordering Rock & Ron make sure you watch the making. A cup is placed over burning cinnamon. A few slices of ginger, a splash of Kraken rum, a little cane sugar and a squeeze of lime are shaken with ice. As the cup is lifted, the smoky cinnamon aroma is captured by the icy liquid and topped with Thomas Henry ginger beer. A tiny cup of dehydrated pineapple is added as a sweet, crispy counterpart. Lift cup, sip, and relax…

The La Veranda menu has its roots in the Mediterranean with some delightful side trips through Asia and South America. Appetisers come under the title ‘Something to nibble’ and are straight up Spanish delicacies including Santoña anchovies, homemade croquetas, morcilla from Burgos, grilled red prawns and the highest quality hand sliced jamón. Enjoy these as a little pre-dinner snack with an aperitivo. Entrées are where things start to really infuse the Atzaró vibe. Bright beetroot and watermelon gazpacho with kefir and sauerkraut is refreshing and delicious. Sweet and savoury combine beautifully in the foie micuit with figs, onion jam and torrija – a traditional eggy toast. Three hearty salads are designed to be enjoyed by one or more, plus the creamy burratina makes it difficult for your dinner companions to keep their forks away.

Even though there are touches of the traditional about La Veranda, diners can feel free to break away from convention and order a bunch of mains to share at the table. The sushi boards are as varied as they are colourful and make a perfect beginning to the rest of the taste bud popping show. Don’t forget to order sushi with the aforementioned Umami cocktail – a match made in heaven. Moving right along to the ceviche, which is served in a whole fresh coconut shell where succulent sea bass and cubes of sweet potato swirl in a piquant and perfectly sharp chilled broth. The red tuna is tender and thinly sliced and comes resting on a dense dashi consommé accompanied by crispy sesame crackers. Order as much as the table can fit because the scallops and rotja are also divine.

Beef sirloin is served with three Jerusalem artichokes stuffed with a creamy filling sitting atop homemade kimchi – this dish is surely the La Veranda signature. Or perhaps La Veranda has created a whole menu of signature dishes when you consider the local sucking pig and the marinated rack of lamb. Plus everything is a work of art, even the olives and aioli comes out with the daintiest scattering of miniature red and purple petals. As if magic really does exist, an elegant gentleman sits alongside a young man with a guitar. A gentle beat emanates from his weathered hands. This enigmatic character begins to sing a Flamenco deeply rooted in the culture of Sa Penya – the neighbourhood under Dalt Villa where he resides. The ambience is electric with the knowledge that something unique and authentic is being transmitted via his heartfelt song.

Eventually the musicians move to the bar area where more cocktails, drinks and snacks are on offer at oversized sofas and beds. The atmosphere is so alive with joyfulness that it’s not long before everyone is up and dancing to shouts of olé. No doubt later on the resident DJ will continue the festivities but for now everyone is in the moment, one they know few other tourists will ever get to experience. Except the lucky ones, of course…