Ibiza restaurants: El Chiringuito by Night – Magic under the stars
Beautiful Ibiza beach restaurant El Chiringuito holds iconic status in the minds of islanders and holidaymakers, and quite rightly so. Offering a transcendent blend of picture perfect seaside location, exceptional cuisine and an abundance of atmospheric magic, the Es Cavallet dining destination is a must-visit for anyone seeking to shrug off the hedonistic midemeanours of the night before, while simultaneously providing sanctuary for young parents and their sprightly offspring. Historically, this was confined within the parameters of daylight, but now, thanks to popular demand after nine seasons, you can bask in the unparalleled bliss of El Chiringuito by Night.
In essence, it is the authentic El Chiringuito experience you’ve come to know and love, however lived beneath a twilit sky and with a slightly more sophisticated slant. The restaurant’s decision to extend service to the evening hours was inspired by the many unforgettable bespoke private events hosted in the past. Guests who had been lucky enough to experience El Chiringuito after the sun went down often remarked on the different yet divine ambience the restaurant took on as the sun begins to set and thus the new luxuriant dinner concept was born. A move, it seems, that is set to propel El Chiringuito to the forefront of island evening dining.
The stunning venue is transformed as the moon rises. Sure, you still have the gentle sound of waves lapping on the nearby shoreline as you eat, and absolutely, it still embodies that same characteristic windswept charm, but at night-time an altogether different vibe descends – one of intimacy to be savoured among loved ones. Hundreds of candles are dotted here, there and everywhere, while warm lighting adds to the sense of unashamed romanticism. El Chiringuito becomes a place for meandering conversation, utter relaxation and the kind of protracted Mediterranean dinner you’ve spent many an hour dreaming of as you plough through the daily grind – and that’s before even contemplating the food.
As ever, the menu falls under the guidance of El Chiringuito’s much-revered head chef, Jèrome Palayer. Some of the restaurant’s most-loved lunch menu starters have made the transition, but the night menu undoubtedly has more of a French appeal as Jèrome has been granted the freedom required to honour his heritage. Elsewhere, a purpose-built grill and barbecue allow the aromas of slow-roasted, succulent cuts of meat and locally-caught, fresh fish to permeate the salt-laced air. Think Black Angus entrecote and line-caught fish of the day and it will effortlessly get your tastebuds sizzling.
The standout new additions to the first-class starters feature a Moroccan twist and include a selection of mouth-watering options like marinated seabass tartare served with beetroot purée; roasted smoked aubergine with homemade hummus and pesto; and Foit Mi Cuit with spiced bread – the first of many nods to Jèrome’s culinary ancestry. It’s a diverse collection unlike anything else available on Ibiza, and of course, that’s the aim here – to create an original venue on the island; one fuelled by love and pure intention.
The main menu is divided into four tantalising sections. First, specialities cooked on the bespoke wood fired grill. Options here include the extremely rare Tomahawk steak – one of the only places on the island you can taste this divine cut of beef; the fish kofta, where juicy chunks of fish are served on skewers; and Bavette à l’echalotte – the definition of haute cuisine for ardent meat fanatics. Alternatively, opt from a selection of roasted dishes, which include sea bass in salt – an Ibicencan favourite served with fennel jus and local potatoes and tenderly cooked roast suckling lamb shoulder served with rosemary potatoes and carrots.
Portions are extremely generous at El Chiringuito, but feasting doesn’t stop there as diners are encouraged to match each main course with a side dish and a sauce. Sides include broccolini with fresh chilli and shaved almonds, the restaurant’s signature summer truffle and porcini risotto (a great steak accompaniment) and a classic Gratin Dauphinois. Once again, the sauces showcase Jèrome’s French heritage, featuring classics like Bearnaise and Bordelaise alongside more international options like Chimichurri. The idea is you mix and match until you find your ideal combination of main course, side and sauce – a challenge to relish being set, if ever there was one.
To finish, dessert choices are presented handwritten on a rustic wooden chopping board and it’s all about the impossible decision between the dreamiest of Crème Brulées, the perfectly textured Financier de Pistachio and the deliciously caffeine rich Affogato. The restaurant’s expert sommelier, Esteban, is also always on hand throughout the evening to pair the perfect wine with each dish – he’s been a mainstay at El Chiringuito since it first opened and his suggestions are faultless – the final piece of the puzzle in this otherwordly dining experience. The El Chiringuito team sets the bar, once again.