Ibiza restaurants: La Escollera – Ceaseless seaside magic
Those lucky enough to return to Ibiza year upon year are fortunate, not only because they’re able to pass time in this beautiful Balearic paradise, but also because with frequency comes knowledge, and that means Ibiza regulars are in possession of some well-kept island secrets. Those in the know find themselves in the privileged position of having ‘island favourites’ – places they visit time and time again, until eventually these places begin to feel like extensions of their own homes. One such location is La Escollera, a blissful beachside restaurant on Es Cavallet renowned for welcoming back dedicated regulars each and every season throughout the year.
Set amid the windswept salt flats of Ses Salines in the south of the island, La Escollera has been a constant in the lives of locals and visitors for over two decades. Family run and plied full of love, goodwill is piled high on every forkful, and service is as natural as greeting old friends who’ve popped over for a casual dinner. Lunchtimes segue into afternoons that flow into nights – everything here is just easy, which is what has made it an unfailing destination for so many years, much to the pride of the Gonzalez family at the heart of it.
So what’s the secret to this easy-going success you may wonder? Well, according to events manager Andrea, stepdaughter of owner Dani Gonzalez, it’s a unique combination of factors. “For us, it’s important that our guests feel welcome and at ease here,” she explains. “We want to offer a haven, a place where the fast pace of life can be slowed down.” On an island that’s constantly evolving, creating such a haven is actually more difficult than it sounds. In recent years, change has hit Ibiza apace, and so to remain true to your original values is an admired rarity.
“We also strive to be consistent in delivering friendly service and delicious food,” she continues. “Some people say La Escollera is the first place they go to after they’ve arrived on Ibiza,” she smiles. “The biggest compliment we can receive is when our guests arrive and tell us it’s like they’ve arrived home.” The fact that Andrea and her siblings practically grew up in the restaurant undoubtedly contributes to its homely ambience, and even now they’re older, the entire family is still omnipresent. “We have lunch here every day,” she laughs. “And in summer, often lunch and dinner. We’re not complaining!”
Devotees of the restaurant would probably tell an almost identical story. What gives La Escollera a secured place in their hearts? The homely food, the heritage, the sea views and a laid-back vibe that embraces everyone. And of course, a setting that’s hard to beat. “You can see Formentera in the distance looking one way, and a forest of pine trees in the other,” explains Andrea. “Plus the fact that we’re right in the middle of the Ses Salines Nature Reserve means nothing has changed for 30 years.” Indeed, the area surrounding La Escollera is one of outstanding natural beauty with a protected status, meaning no new buildings are permitted for construction.
While the same can’t be said for the rest of Ibiza, we can all remain certain that La Escollera won’t differ too strongly from its path. Here, they’re proud of the family institution they’ve created, which is something they’ll continue to fiercely guard. “The jet-set have started pouring into Ibiza, but we will continue to serve local Ibicencos and families from the mainland alongside them,” says Andrea. “We’re a family restaurant and everyone is welcome – it’s been a deliberate choice to remain the way we have for so many years, and we have no plans to change.”
This will be music to the ears of anyone who’s ever dined on La Escollera’s famous paella (still made with the secret recipe of Andrea’s grandmother Yaya), salt-baked sea bass or delicious varieties of sushi, and while slight tweaks may be made to the menu to incorporate changing vegetarian and vegan tastes, you can rest assured that not much else will change. “We will always make small reforms,” finishes Andrea. “But as long as my family keep running La Escollera, the heart and soul of the place will never change.” Hear hear to that.