The summer season as we know it has come to an end much sooner than usual in 2020, however for those who still have an October trip on the cards, all is not lost! The island has simply segued into winter mode a little earlier than expected, and if you’ve ever heard an Ibiza resident wax lyrical about the off-season, then you’ll know you’re in for an extra special treat. Our on-island team – all year-round locals themselves – have rounded up a list of the best places to dine in Ibiza this October. Fantastic food, both rustic and luxe settings, that same warm Ibiza service and no crowds – this month, it’s all about living (and dining) la vida local!
In summer, islanders are usually up and off to work – perhaps with a quick homemade coffee and a tostada before hitting the road. In ‘winter’ however (yes, we know it’s autumn, but here in Ibiza, locals tend to simply split the year into two seasons, summer and winter), there’s plenty more time to treat yourself to the types of brekkie or brunch spreads you often see tourists sharing on Instagram – and thankfully, there are still quite a few places open that tick all the right boxes in terms of freshness, variety, quality and indeed, quantity! None of our team members can walk past a Passion Café – Marina Ibiza, Vara de Rey [pictured], San José and Santa Eulalia are all still open – in the morning without being tempted in by the scent of the island’s finest coffee, then staying for the mega breakfasts on offer. All types of pancakes, the island’s biggest avo toast menu, eggs aplenty, creative juices and smoothies, healthy bowls, corn fritters – you name it or you crave it, you’ll find it at Passion.
Meanwhile, over on the west coast of the island, there’s a new place in town that’s piqued our interest when it comes to brunch – Hawker Beach Club Ibiza looks over the beach of Cala de Bou and offers a creative breakfast and brunch fusion that crosses continents and cultures – from yoga brekkies and the classic full English, to New York style salmon bagels and then over to Latin America for arepas or Thailand for Yam Kai Do with a fried egg and back to the Med for a Spanish tortilla with jamon Iberico. There are only a few weeks left to try it, so be sure to book a table before October is out. In the village of Santa Gertrudis, Numero 74 L’Atelier is another breakfast favourite – fresh baked croissants and pastries, healthy bowls with tapioca or seasonal fruit, banana cake, Ibiza almond cake (we love cake for breakfast!), all available to eat in the sunny, spacious garden or take-away to sit on the beach. Just around the corner, at Wild Beets (another island institution when it comes to health and wellness), you can tuck into healthy and homemade, plant-based dishes such as blueberry porridge, almond and coconut raw porridge, chia breakfast bowls, eggless scrambles and so much more.
Ibiza ‘winters’ are renowned for being filled with sunshine – apparently the sun shines on Ibiza for 300 days a year and aside from the odd monthly downpour, we often don’t see cloudy skies until at least February. All the more reason to live the beach life, and there are still plenty of amazing places to indulge in a long, luxurious seaside lunch – if you know where to look! You’ll need to be quick if you want to catch lunch at the iconic Amante Ibiza, which remains open until the end of this month, much to the delight of locals who can’t find the time to nab a table in the summer. Back towards Ibiza town, just a few minutes’ drive down the bumpy camino to the secluded cove od S’Estanyol, Cala Bonita also remains open (locals are hoping it will sustain its usual year-round hours), serving up some of the finest fresh Mediterranean fare right on the beach.
Over on the west coast, the stunning Cala Gracioneta Chiringuito [main photo] continues to impress locals and visitors alike daily with its Valencian style rice dishes and amazing grilled meats and fish – not to mention the beautiful views and relaxed ambience of the protected cove it presides over – reservations still highly recommended. And finally, on the south east coast of Ibiza, looking out over the sands of Es Cavallet and across to Dalt Vila, the family-run institution that is La Escollera [pictured] has always been a resident’s winter beach restaurant of choice – open 365 days a year and offering a combination of dishes based on decades-old family recipes and new contemporary creations (with a great selection for vegans). If you’re thinking to the future and wondering about Christmas in Ibiza, this is the place to be!
When the seasons change (in this case we’ll concede to call it autumn), there’s nowhere more beautiful to be than the gorgeous Ibiza countryside. The light is just a little more golden, the air just a little more crisp (note, not cold!) and a breeze rustles the treetops with an air of romance that’s unlike the heavy, humid summer days and nights. It’s fair to say that the north of the island shines at this time of year and there’s an array of restaurants in the heart of the campo that remain open so you can dine beneath the trees, by fields of flowers (or sheep) or even right next to the organic garden where your food has been grown. La Paloma has long been a local’s favourite, from the days when it was a secret, until now, when it’s almost impossible to score a walk-in during summer. In the off season however, the pace is a lot slower – lazy lunches in the sunny garden from Wednesday to Sunday, or get cosy in the interior by night from Thursday to Saturday.
Keep driving north and take a right turn to follow the winding roads to luxury Agroturismo Atzaró, where the garden restaurant La Veranda offers the opportunity to sit beneath the shade of a vine-covered trellis, surrounded by beautiful lush lawns, orange groves and ancient olive trees. Farm-to-fork is the concept here, and you won’t find any fresher – the produce comes straight from the expansive Atzaró Vegetable Garden, right onsite. Back on the road, and just before you reach the village of San Juan, Shamarkanda offers a rustic hideaway, with an amazing fusion restaurant saluting the best of Asia and the Mediterranean alike, with live music on Sundays. And of course, one can’t visit San Juan without paying a visit to the iconic secret garden, The Giri Café [pictured] – whether by day or by night, the magic of this restaurant has been winning the hearts of island foodies for a decade now. Be sure to pay a visit before the season is up!
The arrival of winter in Ibiza normally gives couples an excuse to bunker down and Netflix and chill, but after experiencing a three-month lockdown right before summer, it’s easy to see why islanders in love (or those on the dating scene!) are keen to still spend their nights exploring the island. We’re not ready to stay home or inside just yet! Dining alfresco is still a possibility – though wrapping up warm is recommended, as restaurants can sadly no longer give clients blankets to keep warm due to the C-word – and with some of the most beautiful, and Instagrammable locations in the world on our doorstep, it’s not hard to find a place with cosy corners, great food and an intimate, romantic atmosphere to spend your date night.
La Mesa Escondida, housed within boutique hotel Petunia Ibiza, wins hands-down when it comes to views – the restaurant has a front row view of the mythical rock of Es Vedra, with fine Italian and Mediterranean food that equals its epic location. There are still a few weeks left to enjoy La Mesa, so be sure to check it out before it closes for the season. La Torre Ibiza, on the west coast of Ibiza, offers the double dreaminess of an Ibiza sunset – soundtracked by the best Balearic DJs no less – combined with fantastic food, and is the perfect place to while away an October evening. Back inland, on the famous San Juan restaurant road, the softly-lit space of Nagai [pictured] offers plenty of cosy corners perfect for lovers – especially for lovers of sushi and fine Japanese fusion cuisine. A newcomer on the Ibiza culinary scene is the in-house restaurant at Cas Gasi near Santa Gertrudis – now open to the public and helmed by one of Ibiza’s very finest chefs, David Reartes. Open all year round, the restaurant introduces a new level of gastronomy to Ibiza, one that no foodie should miss.
At the moment, the current health and safety restrictions mean Ibiza homes can only host up to five people in total, which can put a dampener on group gatherings like birthdays or special occasions. And while restaurants also have limits on the amount of guests per table, there’s nothing to stop your friends being clever and booking multiple tables in one venue, right? (Let’s just keep that our little secret for now though). Some of our favourite places in Ibiza have menus that are ideal for sharing – and whether you’re a group or just a small table, it’s still nice to know that the age-old tradition of breaking bread with friends can still be enjoyed, even if it is on a slightly smaller scale.
For the ultimate in barbecues, we can’t go past the magical alfresco setting of Casa Maca [pictured], on the outskirts of Ibiza town and overlooking Dalt Vila – ideal for a sunny weekend lunch. If you’re looking for something more traditional, Tapas Ibiza – as the name suggests – in San Antonio serves up the finest selection of both typically Spanish and twists on tapas, and has long been loved by locals all over the island. In Santa Gertrudis, Bottega Il Buco remains the place to be seen (and to spot visiting A-listers and models – yes, even in October, you never know who you’ll be sitting next to!), snacking on focaccia by the slice by day or by night and sipping fine organic wines. Just a little further up north, Bambuddha never fails to satisfy, with its temple-like setting and amazing MediterrAsian menu, not to mention ‘all you can eat’ evenings and a big screen for the football. Back in Ibiza town, there’s no better place to share a meal with friends than Locals Only – how could we not congregate there, with a name like that? Of course, it’s not exclusive to islanders – rather, the name implies that citizens of the world should all feel welcome to dine here, and with amazing lunch specials, the freshest produce, a creative Italian-influenced menu, and a buzzing atmosphere at night thanks to its Plaza del Parque location, there’s all the more reason to go there, my dears…
We’re all very much aware that 2020 is the year that Ibiza lost its famous nightlife scene, however that doesn’t mean islanders weren’t allowed to have fun! It just had to be pre-arranged, pre-booked and partaken in a slightly more civilised and socially distant manner – with a much earlier bedtime than many of us are used to. Well, they say change is a good thing and the only thing we can do with these government mandated changes is try to look on the bright side, and from our perspective, the bright side is that some of our favourite, more intimate places, remain open and there’s more space and time for us to enjoy them in the winter!
Pikes has always been an island institution when it comes to hedonism, and they’ve managed to keep the hotel’s authentic spirit alive this year no matter what restriction has been thrown at them. There’s just one week left to experience the magic – be it indulgent gourmet pizzas and burgers, washed down with champagne and cocktails as you chair dance on the sunset terrace or by the pool, a decadent evening meal in the hot pink Pamelas restaurant, watching the inimitable blondewearingblack sing live on Friday night, tucking into the final Sunday Roast soundtracked by The Brothers Grim and special guests next weekend – make the most of it before winter hibernation sets in! Of course, there’s always good vibes to be had at Bambuddha’s in-house bar, Tantra Cocktail Palace – where you can sip on bespoke cocktails or fine wines before or after your MediterrAsian feast, but for an all-year-round haunt with a very Ibiza twist, we can’t go past our favourite cocktail bar, Paradise Lost [pictured], in the back streets of the gypsy quarter in Ibiza town. Now serving up tasty quesadillas, so you don’t need to quaff your cocktails before rushing off for dinner, the little bar with a big heart is one of the last bastions of hedonism in Ibiza town – again, socially distanced, closing up a little earlier than usual (but opening earlier too!) and with lots of hand sanitiser of course!