Ibiza restaurants: IZAKAYA – Raising the bar

Think of Ibiza and some of the first things that spring to mind are laidback beach clubs, swarming super clubs and charming chiringuitos. Increasingly however, there’s another side to Ibiza, a more discernible one that’s all about swank and swagger and a certain cosmopolitanism that historically, has only been associated with European cities. These days, Ibiza draws a multicultural, creative crowd that’s young, carefree and keen to soak up the best of the white isle’s offerings in only the most stylish of surroundings. What a blessing then, that venues like IZAKAYA Asian Bar & Kitchen have flung open their doors this summer, ready to stop these trailblazers in their wake.

Overlooking Ibiza Marina and just a short five-minute walk from the persistent bustle of Ibiza town, IZAKAYA is located on the ground floor of the brand new Sir Joan Hotel, a venue that’s significantly ramped up the metropolitan ante on the island. With influences taken from its already successful Amsterdam outpost, it’s a hub of chic, sleek design where profound thinkers and partygoers looking for a good time convene, and where IZAKAYA enhances the already outstanding offering with heart-stoppingly good Japanese-South American fusion cuisine, not to mention an exceptional bar built for conversations lasting long into the night.

Revellers can soak up the IZAKAYA experience either by reserving a table at the restaurant and tucking into a feast of sumptuous sharing plates, or by opting for a more urban casual affair by popping by to prop up the island-style bar. Designed for socialising and open interaction with fellow bacchants, the bar is a meeting place open to anyone, where the ethos falls resolutely on the side of ‘the more the merrier’. Consequently, it’s a venue boasting persistent buzz, if not solely from the sounds of chatter, then in addition from the soundtrack provided by the DJ who takes things up a notch from 8pm each day.

With influences from Japan heavily in mind everywhere you turn at IZAKAYA, it comes as no surprise that the bar too, is peppered with references to this inspirational nation. Cool off on a hot day with an ice-cold Japanese beer; sample the endless selection of high quality sakes; then savour the full-bodied flavour of some of the rarest and most revered Japanese whiskeys in the world, which will no doubt leave connoisseurs weeping in eternal contentment, or weak at the knees, if nothing less.

Elsewhere, the cocktail menu is short, sweet and to the point – essentially the embodiment of the atmosphere created by patrons at the bar. Classics like mojitos and caipirinhas aren’t listed (because let’s be honest, do they really need to be?), and instead you’ve got mouth-watering options like Banana Ramos and Nashi Royal to choose from. There are also entire sections dedicated to refreshing Spritzes – perfect for balmy summer days; and Sangria with unique IZAKAYA twists – think lychee juice, Crème de Pêche, and almond and rose cordial and you get the gist. Of course, you can test the bar team’s expertise with your own requests as well.

“You can try whatever you want here,” explains bar manager, Ayesha Spoel. “We can easily make your favourite but if you’re feeling adventurous it’s fun for us to make you something you’ve never tried before.” Indeed, it seems a shame to visit the IZAKAYA bar and not to push existing boundaries – this place was built to challenge the status quo. “Usually in bars you get to work with things like vodka and passionfruit and strawberry flavours,” says Ayesha. “That’s great, but here we work with some really amazing flavours like sake and shōchū. If I’m going to make a Bloody Mary, I’ll put wasabi in it!”

This unrestricted approach really sums up IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar. Go to drink freely, dine on mouth-watering delights (the full restaurant menu is also available at the bar), and discuss openly, then dance into the early hours with an unrelenting sense of satisfaction ringing in your ears.

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