Ibiza restaurants: Finca La Plaza – An icon in the making
Santa Gertrudis is a lively little village in Ibiza’s literal heartland, and island-wide, it’s renowned for many things. Thanks to a busy central square, cosmopolitan vibe and chicly-dressed crowd, visitors tend to characterise it as Ibiza’s very own version of Notting Hill. Locals on the other hand, refer to it as ‘the village’, largely because everyone knows everyone, and it’s impossible to walk from one place to the next without bumping into a friendly face. But, what everyone agrees is that Santa Gertrudis is an unequivocal culinary hub, and this fact has recently been cemented by the opening of brand new restaurant, Finca La Plaza.
Set back off the buzzing, main square, Finca La Plaza is signposted by a rustic, wooden gate that’s shrouded by the glow of twinkling fireflies. Step through it and you’re met with a world of hopeless romanticism – an alfresco terrace shaded by palm trees, globe lights strung loosely between them, and the sweet sounds of jazz floating over the airwaves. Inside the main restaurant, you’re entranced by cosy corners and patchwork terraces, chill-out areas and lush, green plants – a stylish space that’s been restored to its beautiful former glory by chic Parisian interior designers.
In keeping with this cosmopolitan vibe, the menu has been designed to offer something to suit all appetites and dietary requirements. Falling under the guidance of head chef Antonio Laruso, every dish is imbued with the flavours and senses of the Mediterranean. From Italian and Spanish to French, each plate sings with the sunshine synonymous with the region. Take the ‘para picar’ menu, for example, which features small bites designed for those with less time to spare. Snack on a selection of homemade croquettes, grilled artichoke with lemon, spinach, mint and rosemary, or sautéed baby squid. Naturally, these should all be accompanied by a cocktail whipped up by the resident mixologist.
Starters too, are equally as delectable. Choose from green herbs and crunchy salad – all organic and grown locally, of course – and succulent, organic chicken salad served with potato, red onion confit, avocado and rosemary, soft boiled organic egg served alongside grilled chorizo, endive, and balsamic vinegar, or the intriguing Ibizan red prawn tartare with lemon and scent of lavender. This is first-class food but without the stuffy atmosphere – here, the primary concern is enjoying the plate of food you’re presented with. Substance is rated as highly as style.
This ethos is visible across the entire menu, and quality can be assured thanks to the inclusion of a world-class Josper oven in the kitchen. A must-have piece of equipment for all world-class chefs, the Josper oven infuses any ingredient placed within its charcoal-heated walls with a smoky flavour. Try ingenious-sounding dishes like octopus with kumquat confit, or opt for barbecue favourites like corn-fed baby chicken, lamb ribs, the Angus burger – a La Plaza special – or the matured Galician T-bone steak. Seasonal vegetables are also available for vegetarians, and every dish is served with warm, buttered potatoes to complete the taste sensation.
Elsewhere, the mains menu demonstrates Finca La Plaza’s determination to immediately be ranked among the culinary highlights of Santa Gertrudis. Think richly-flavoursome dishes like lobster risotto (for two to share), the melt-in-your-mouth macaroni and Mahón cheese with seasonal black truffle (the owners’ favourite dish), and Burrata ravioli with creamy courgette and lemon sauce. If that hasn’t whet your appetite, try wild seabass fillet, classic beef tartare with French fries, or tender shoulder of lamb with potatoes, green peppers and fragrant rosemary. It’s a menu that’s been designed to please, and will draw praise as a result.
Wine has been left in the very capable hands of the ibizamylove group sommelier. So, once responsible for the selection at BEACHOUSE Ibiza and new hotel, Mikasa, she now adds Finca La Plaza to her cap, and to mark the occasion, a range of unbeatable wines has been carefully curated. From sustainable and organic wine, to drops from all over the world, each bottle perfectly complements every dish on the standout menu – with food and drink working beautifully in harmony, as they always should. Any doubts about wine pairings and take the time to speak to the manager, Ivania, who, after more than 16 years in the business, is more than willing to share her unparalleled expertise.
Try not to get too carried away with the good life though, because dessert is still to come and you’ll want to save space for this. There are nods to traditional Ibicenco heritage with the inclusion of flaó – a pastry crust filled with a cheese-based filling and hints of peppermint and aniseed, but also favourites including Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream, seasonal fruit, a selection of ice creams, and a silky smooth, chocolatey Gianduja, served alongside hazelnut ice cream. For those looking to expend the experience at Finca La Plaza, the aforementioned dedicated cocktail bar in the garden – a rarity in the village – provides all the liquid reason you need to stay late, and those not looking to dine are also encouraged to stop by to satiate their alcoholic kicks.
While all this sounds like a foodie’s delight – and it is – families should note that Finca La Plaza has an early opening time and that means absolutely everyone is welcome. Bring the kids (if you’re quick enough to catch them on their adventures in the square), have an early dinner like our northern European neighbours, or go Mediterranean and dine long into the night. Anything goes here, as long as it’s based in the simple pleasures of quality food and drink and great company in a laid-back setting. Try it once and you’ll be hooked – Finca La Plaza has all the marks of becoming an iconic Santa Gertrudis favourite.