Ibiza foodies

Irresistible moments – MAINE Ibiza

Ibiza’s hottest new restaurant is all about carefully sourced cuisine prepared with care among the Las Salinas salt flats.

Set among the salt flats of Las Salinas, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site, MAINE Ibiza brings together carefully sourced produce with bundles of flavour in a low-key but lavish celebration of life’s little moments.

Words: Abby Lowe Photos: Luana Failla

Every summer, hundreds of flamingos flock to the salt flats of Las Salinas, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site and national park on Ibiza’s unspoilt southern coast. The long-legged birds settle in to roost during the warmer months and the pink-flecked parade that ensues is a spectacle for all to admire. Nearby, opposite the small church of Sant Francesc de S’Estany, visitors of a different kind are also arriving in scores. These ones, however, are making haste for MAINE Ibiza, the first Balearic outpost of the internationally lauded restaurant brand, where the promise of subtly extravagant celebrations and fabulous food is proving irresistible.

Housed within a restored 18th century finca overlooking the geometric salt pans and the flamingos’ temporary homes, the Ibiza fine dining destination settles into the tranquility of the surrounding landscape with ease. Inside the whitewashed parocchia (parish), MAINE Ibiza founder Joey Ghazal has dotted the space with Colonial-inspired vintage pieces sourced from mainland Spain and juxtaposed them with nods to Spanish Brutalism and monastic minimalism, adding a contemporary touch to an authentic Ibiza scene. Simple and inspired by the principles of wabi-sabi, guests are encouraged to accept imperfections as intrinsic to beauty.

Set among the salt flats of Las Salinas, MAINE Ibiza brings together carefully sourced produce with bundles of flavour.

Outside at MAINE Ibiza, the same principles apply. The plentiful gardens have been curated as an extension of the picturesque scene, while the stylishly decked dining terrace offers the perfect amount of light and shade. Up on the mezzanine, views abound — first taking in the salty pools of ‘white gold’ once so intrinsic to Ibiza’s past, then heading out towards the Mediterranean Sea, which sparkles in the distance. At sunset, the salty waters glisten like a grid of mirrors, reflecting back the evolving colours of the skies above — it’s a vision worthy of an ice-cold cocktail with a collection of family and friends.

But first, food. Because that’s what MAINE Ibiza really excels in. Ingredients are carefully sourced, which means a deep sense of provenance plays a key role in every dish. MAINE Ibizas dedicated team of chefs have searched the globe for the very best produce, travelling to the small village of Villarrica in Chile to secure the most sensational cuts of Wagyu beef — shortlisted from over 28 varieties — and to La Rochelle in France to procure coveted Gillardeau oysters, so fleshy, delicate and time consuming to produce that they’re considered the Champagne of the oyster world.

That’s doesn’t mean Ibiza’s abundance of exceptional produce has been overlooked, of course, as MAINE Ibiza chefs have also called upon local farmers and fishermen to supply their kitchens with the finest ingredients from right here on the island. Organic vegetables are pulled directly from Ibiza’s rich soils and branches, and fish comes from the surroundings seas. The result is an array of menus, perfectly cooked, presented simply, and showcasing a carousel of Mediterranean and international flavours that explode across the tastebuds, while crucially, still reflecting a commitment to sustainability.

It’s a good idea to begin your culinary journey at the Raw Bar, where the low-key luxury of ingredient and expert preparation combined is palpable. Three varieties of freshly shucked oysters are available at MAINE Ibiza, each served with fermented jalapeño mignonette, while diners can also select from Baerii classic or Kaluga classic caviar, chosen specifically for their colour, firm form and smooth texture. Elsewhere, the refreshing sea bass ceviche with blood orange is colourful and delicious, and don’t miss the delectably fatty tuna belly; hand-dived scallops; or red shrimp crudo, with succulent prawns sourced from Formentera.

MAINE Ibiza is the perfect fine dining destination for a low-key but lavish celebration of life’s little moments.

For starters, a plethora of delectable options to suit every palate awaits. Starters include plump tomato carpaccio served with sumac, herbs, lemon juice, oregano, olive oil and of course, Ibiza salt; razor clams come with white wine, parsley, lemon and thyme; and spicy chorizo is served with clobbered cranberry mustard and a zesty lemon wedge. Other favourites at MAINE Ibiza include the crispy fish taco with pico de gallo, white cabbage and hot sauce, and the baked smoked Scamorza with truffles, oregano, rosemary honey and malt bread.

Moving to the mouth-watering main courses, and classics include tasty, blackened chicken with lemon-spiced yoghurt and tzatziki; angry lobster pasta, homemade with linguini, bottarga and spicy bisque; and roasted eggplant with tzatziki, garlic chips and radish cress. Fresh fish options include the local delicacy of salt-baked sea bass; grilled wild turbot; and luscious carabineros a la plancha, while meat aficionados will relish the sweetness of maple pork chops served with sticky rice; Black Angus filet mignon; and the bone-in rib-eye Wagyu steak served with a sumptuous selection of sides like charred cauliflower and lobster mash.

Food cravings satiated, MAINE Ibiza’s talented mixologists take the reins. Likened to las brujas de Ibiza (the witches of Ibiza), who were famed for brewing healing elixirs from hand-picked herbs and flowers, the team whisks up magical concoctions imbued with the restaurant’s ethos of seasonality and sustainability. Think hibiscus margaritas made with hibiscus-infused tequila, Cointreau and agave, and plenty of afterhours sours, made with bourbon, crème de cassis, rosemary and fresh pineapple juice. A premium menu of tequila and mezcal is also available, as well as a sommelier-picked selection of old world, new world, and biodynamic wines.

Day or night, dining dates at MAINE Ibiza are suffused with the same laid-back, lavish charm that’s been delighting the island’s devotees for decades. Under the guidance of founder Joey Ghazal, the man responsible for dozens of successful restaurant and bar concepts across the world, guests can expect an eclectic programme of happenings to unfurl throughout summer, featuring the best Ibiza DJs and live musicians. Kick back with an ice-cold cocktail, a plate of food made with love, and watch as the flamingos become silhouettes at sunset. These are the moments worth celebrating.