Ibiza restaurants: Il Decanter – A feast for the senses
From an idea born in the Italian town of Prato to the muddled medieval streets of Ibiza town, Il Decanter is a restaurant fixedly resolved on bringing a personal touch to its dining experience. This all-new eatery has thrown preconceptions around menu, presentation and how food is eaten out the window, instead ushering in a new, more relaxed style of dining that caters for mixed tastes and those with a penchant for the theatrical, all done in a setting that boasts the majesty of Dalt Vila as its backdrop.
Surrounded by the ancient walls that once enclosed Ibiza town, Il Decanter is flanked by grand stone statues and a drawbridge leading to the timeworn city’s former main square. The restaurant has both inside and outside space, but the pièce de resistance is its spacious outdoor terrace at the base of the old city – a setting which by coincidence, mirrors that of its sister venue in Prato. Tables and chairs come in a red, white and green colour scheme in a nod to the team’s Italian roots – in summer it’s the ideal spot to cool off with an iced coffee or a cocktail, dependent on your personal inclination.
It’s not just the décor that’s been given love, care and attention either. The restaurant’s kitchen, headed up by Michelin-starred chef Andrea Alimenti, is jam-packed with gleaming, state of the art equipment, a necessity for a chef dedicated to serving things up a little differently. At each and every restaurant Andrea works at, he produces something entirely unique for it. “I always make something special you won’t find anywhere else,” he explains, although just one glance at Il Decanter’s menu tells you that.
Because while ‘homemade’ and ‘fresh’ resolutely describe the restaurant’s menu concepts, there’s little else that connects each of the various sections to the other – instead, there’s a focus on something for everyone with pizza, pasta, burgers, fish, meat, salads and sushi. “We make everything from scratch using our own hands” says Andrea. “We want people to have what they like – we offer a range of options because most of the time when you go out with other people, not everyone wants the same thing!”
This easy approach to serving extends to the food itself, too, which is presented in typically relaxed Il Decanter style. The Dek Tartar for instance – one of the restaurant’s signature starters – is deconstructed on the plate. So while you have all the elements you’d expect from a traditional steak tartar – sirloin beef, egg and parmesan – you can pick and choose what you eat with each mouthful. Likewise with Andrea’s famed ice cream – it’s served with a range of homemade sauces and accompaniments so you can mix it up and create the flavours you like best.
“The concept is what you find, you can’t change,” explains Andrea with a smile. “But you can choose what you want from what I give you.” His ultimate aim is for the diner to be involved in the food they’re eating – for the dining process to become an experience in itself. This is why on special occasions, Andrea unleashes his inner theatricality by serving food directly in front of guests. “If it’s someone’s birthday, occasionally we come out and make the cake on the table with candles and everything,” he says. “We try to make the experience unique.”
This relaxed approach to food and service makes Il Decanter an accessible place to sit and watch the world go by; somewhere to “leave your problems outside,” according to Andrea. He’s willing to extend an invitation on this front too. Once summer is over and Ibiza is in the throes of winter, he’s planning to host cooking classes for kids. “If parents want to go out for the day, they can bring the kids to me,” he says. “I’ll teach them how to cook pizza and pasta. They love it! And the parents do too, of course.”
There are also plans for food and wine courses for adults, catering services for private jets and a fish shop like the one already up and running at Il Decanter’s Prato venue, where freshly prepared seafood can be bought and cooked at home. “It will all be prepared,” says Andrea. “You simply put it in water for two minutes and it’s ready.” Keep your eyes peeled for some tantalising visual art too, with Andrea keen to make use of the restaurant’s unbeatable location by inviting artists to use the venue and its surroundings as a canvas. A feast for all the senses.