New! Cala Bonita at S’Estanyol

As you drive through the small village of Jesus, just minutes outside of Ibiza town, keep your eyes peeled for a hand painted rock marker directing you to S’Estanyol. Follow the winding road up a hill until you reach yet another rocky landmark, this time announcing Cala Bonita. Take a right, and make your descent down a bumpy, dusty, rocky path to discover a destination well worth the mini-adventure of a journey.

A tiny, private paradisiacal cove surrounded by rocky cliffs, lush green foliage and incessant views of the Mediterranean Sea, S’Estanyol is a fiercely guarded local’s secret, and the home of hip new Ibiza beach restaurant, Cala Bonita. This little slice of paradise is of the last few remaining underdeveloped beaches where locals and visitors in the know seek refuge from overpopulated tourist areas during the busy summer season. Somehow, after all this time, it’s remained peaceful and quiet – a complete escape.

The intimate onshore restaurant (previously known as PK2) is under new ownership in 2016, has been given a sophisticated polish and some much-needed loving attention. The expert team behind the overhaul is a group of South African and Australian-born restaurateurs who had visited Ibiza over the years, and after falling in love with the island, collectively wanted to put some roots down, bringing their unique ‘Aussie-Saffa’ touch to share with the magnificent white isle.

It took various long-haul trips from Australia to find the dream location to execute their vision. “We were very interested in finding a small beach that was secluded, rustic and of natural beauty but also close to Ibiza,” says Craig Andrade (part owner). The team wanted a location that wasn’t overdeveloped, surrounded by loads of neighbours, people or buildings, and most importantly, a place close to the sea. “We travelled around every single beach area, and when we found S’Estanyol – off we went,” he continues.

The construction of Cala Bonita was carefully planned so it would not redevelop S’Estanyol and the previous restaurant at all – preserving its authenticity was important to the team. “This place as is, is beautiful,” Craig explains. “All we’ve really tried to do is play with some new design elements that retain the integrity of the rustic environment, with a sophisticated edge.”

Attention to detail is evident in the décor. Chairs and tables were handmade in Morocco, and cushion covers created by a tribe in Zaire, bringing the partners’ African heritage all the way to the white isle. From beautiful wicker chairs and geometric tribal cushions to earthy ceramic tableware plus the natural canvas of the pine tree forest and azure blue sea, the entire property feels comfortable, lived in and relaxing. “The constant theme throughout Cala Bonita is that we want the food to be respected, the wine and cocktails to shine and music to play the main part. We let nature provide the perfect setting and canvas for a great experience,” says Craig.

One of the main players of Cala Bonita, who also made her way from the land down under to the magical white isle is Karen Martini, an award-winning Australian chef, restaurateur, author, and television star. She was one of the founding masterminds behind critically acclaimed Melbourne Wine Room, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar in Bondi Beach and currently still owns and operates the popular Mr.Wolf Pizzeria in Melbourne. Holding two ‘Chef’s Hats’ (the Australian version of a Michelin star) Martini has authored seven cookbooks, is a resident chef on Australia’s longest running lifestyle television series and is a judge on the country’s most popular cooking program plus speaks at a variety of food events and festivals.

With her established career spanning across decades, Karen brings her passion and love for food to the kitchen at Cala Bonita, handpicking every single chef in the kitchen and professionally training them individually. “I inject the care factor into the food, food leaves the pass and goes to people to be enjoyed and savoured,” she says. ”The chefs must have the same respect for the food. I don’t want it leaving the kitchen without a little bit of love,” she says.

The ingredients on the menu are respected as much as possible, never manipulated – so the produce speaks for itself. The kitchen boasts an imported top-notch wood and charcoal grill because the technique of cooking on wood is a standard part of South African and Australian cuisine. Karen has designed a contemporary Mediterranean menu, loosely based on seafood, that is fun, creative and low-key with the view of creating an idealistic place that herself, friends and family would love to eat and hang out at.

With a focus on using the only best produce from local producers and farmers, succulent meats sourced from Spain, and freshly caught wild fish; it is Cala Bonita’s goal to bring the finest food and produce to the table. Sample Martini’s whole seabass, Aussie style; wood smoked and salt-crusted. Taste a dish representing when the mountain meets the sea; fresh mussels, sobrasada (artisanal Ibicenco sausage) and Sardinian fregola pasta with chilli, garlic, saffron, tomato and white wine. Martini’s signature Pasta Sardi (fruits of the sea) is also a must-try, with fresh calamari, prawns, mussels, clams and crab made with house made crustacean essence, roasted tomatoes perfumed with wild fennel foraged from the surrounding area. For a refreshing dessert grab a spoon and dig into one of the many flavours of homemade ice cream and sorbet.

The Cala Bonita cocktail list features an array of refreshing signature drinks created by the in-house mixologist using only top shelf ingredients and the wine list is a treasure of hand-selected wines you won’t find anywhere else on the island.

When it comes to the musical ambience of Cala Bonita, there is a strict ‘no commercial music’ policy. Only quality. Only good tunes. Only talented DJs. Beautiful melodies from the funk, soul and retro genres with smooth instrumentals and vocals from the 70s and 80s fill the air and on special days there are live DJ performances. With an ethos in wanting to discover the amazing underground talent that can be found all over this musical island, Cala Bonita stands behind recognising the craft of the work people execute here on the island; from food to wine to music!

Whether you are in the mood for some light snacks, a lazy lunch while worshipping the sun or an indulgent dinner under the stars, Cala Bonita has it all. The entire cocktail and food menu can be served directly to the luxe beach beds situated just in front of the restaurant, should you not wish to waste a moment of beach time.

The restaurant is also available exclusively for weddings and special events; with a seating capacity up to 120 and standing up to 180. Use the picturesque property as a canvas and execute your vision with your chosen event planner or leave it up to the in-house professionals at Cala Bonita, who are on hand to provide a bespoke food and wine menu to match your budget, and can assist with everything else you need from flowers, decorations and table arrangements to music made to order for the bride and groom.

The vibe is laidback, the quality is second to none, and absolutely anyone and everyone is welcome. This stunning beachfront restaurant is sure to make waves this 2016 summer season… and beyond.