Ibiza restaurants: Passion Cafés – Ibiza home of health and happiness

The tagline for the Passion Café empire says it all. Ibiza home of health and happiness. The concept, the brainchild of island entrepreneur Lana Love, began life in Playa d’en Bossa in 2002 – Passion Café was the first of its kind in Ibiza, offering holidaymakers healthy alternatives to burgers and fry-ups in an otherwise touristic zone. The Passion ethos being love all, serve all meant meals were presented in a healthier manner – think burgers with gluten-free bread, vegan mayo and organic ingredients. At the time, the appearance of a veggie burger on the menu was something totally new to Ibiza. Passion Café filled a much-needed gap in the market and quickly earned a reputation as the place to get your health fix in Ibiza.

Fast forward to 2017 and there are now six Passion pit stops on the island’s gourmet map, spanning the entire island. It has evolved into a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner destination, and no longer serves red meat in any of its locations for ethical and environmental reasons. Over the years, Lana has continued to pioneer the introduction of superfoods and healthy ingredients to Ibiza – she was the first to add quinoa, açai, raw cacao, maca, matcha and turmeric lattes to her menus (not to mention many more – the list goes on), long before they were ‘buzzwords’ – and others were quick to follow. The most recent addition to the Passion stock room is CBD oil, served up in the lovely calming ‘Legalise Happiness’ drink, designed to help to ease stress and anxiety, in addition to easing and preventing a variety health issues.

With the 2017 season in full swing, Lana is now up to her elbows – quite literally, if you see her at work in Passion Pantry, surrounded by tubs of superfood powders – in health and happiness. Passion has already gone through 100 kilos of raw cacao, 100 kilos of chia seeds, 50 kilos of maca powder, 30 kilos of goji berries and 20 kilos of bee pollen this summer and still counting – a sure sign that islanders remain devoted to the brand for their daily or weekly dose of health and wellness. And the constant smiles on their faces as they walk out of their chosen Passion – Marina, Santa Eulalia, San Jose, Playa d’en Bossa, Bfit and Passion Pantry – are evidence of the happiness element, plain and simple.

Passion is renowned for its extensive menu selections, with the philosophy of offering something for everyone lasting to this day. It’s important to note, despite some beliefs, Passion does not only cater for vegans and vegetarians. Meat eaters and fish lovers will also find many options to sate their appetites. It’s all about finding the perfect choice to suit your mood and your dietary requirements. “The passion menus have been designed with people on their holidays in mind,” explains Lana of the epic A2 doubles sided menus that greet diners in vibrant colours. “The options tick so many boxes. We have plenty of amazing things for meat and fish eaters, but a lot of attention and love has gone into catering to those who have strict dietary requirements, health issues, are vegan or vegetarian – we’re never going to just offer a green salad of friend potatoes as options!”

Starting the day right has always been a priority for Passion clients – after all, it’s the most important meal of the day, right? “Breakfast at Passion is not something you quickly grab on the way to work,” explains Lana of the concept. “It’s more like the brunch style indulgence you’d have on the weekends.” After all, in summer, every day is like a weekend in Ibiza. “Passion breakfast is more like a ritual,” she continues. “The menu is so extensive and complex it’s like going out to lunch or dinner in a fancy restaurant – it’s a high-end breakfast. The preparation of some of our dishes is so complex, especially compared to say, a grilled steak with mashed potato!”

Whether you opt for a luxe avocado toast creation or a dish complete with Haloumi, salmon or indulgent pancakes, each dish is chock-full of goodness and made using the very highest quality ingredients on the market and designed to keep you going throughout the day. The Açai bowl is currently winning the award for ‘most Instagrammed dish in Ibiza’, with Lana seeing her beautiful creation tagged in more posts per day than anything else.

“We’re really known as the place to go for breakfast in Ibiza,” says Lana proudly. “From early in the morning, right through until lunch we’re serving breakfast and brunch. Of course, you can get the typical tostada, croissant or coffee if that’s what you want, but the beauty of the menu is it’s not like other places. It’s not necessarily something you’d eat every day – but then, we do have people who come for breakfast every day and they can never eat the same thing twice in a week.”

Lunch by the sea, lunch in the hills, lunch after your workout, lunch over your emails or lunch before you hit the beach – all of the Passion Cafes can cater to all these midday cravings and much more, with special attention paid to vegans, vegetarians and the health conscious. “There are so many beautiful restaurants in Ibiza,” says Lana. “But unless you eat meat, chicken or fish, sometimes it’s hard to survive on side dishes alone. At Passion, we offer really great things for meat eaters, like our famous burgers, chicken salads and shwarmas among other things, but I find those people who are following a certain lifestyle or diet – whether for health reasons or by choice – are always so grateful at the options they find at Passion.”

It’s important to note in addition to variety and quality, freshness is 100-percent guaranteed when you dine at Passion. The fast-paced nature of the venues means there’s no chance of eating a day-old sweet potato or grain – as fast as the fresh fruit and veggie deliveries come in to the restaurants, they are prepped, cooked and sent out on your plate. “You can really taste the freshness in our food,” says Lana. “Everything is prepped and made to order daily.”

For Lana, the most appealing thing on the Passion menu for lunch is being spoilt for choice. “I get told off by my chefs and management for the menu being so big,” Lana laughs. “But it works. The variety is at the core of what the Passion concept is. We understand vegetarians and vegans still want to be presented with options, and to leave feeling full, after eating nice big a plate full of flavours and textures. A lot of thought has gone into the menu. It’s like a matrix behind the scenes here, with such a huge amount of ingredients – fruit, vegetables, grains, tempehs and tofus, Haloumi, herbs – being prepped and stored. But there is something for everyone and on the rare chance you can’t find something you want, you could curate your own dish with everything we have available.”

Each and every Passion has a different ambience by night, but the one thing they have in common is food that feeds the soul. At Passion, you can grab an early dinner after you’ve been on the beach all day or tuck into something healthy and light that won’t make you tired before you hit the dance floor later. Sit beneath the stars in front of the sea and soak up the romance in Santa Eulalia or in the Marina, dine on clean and healthy cuisine after a luxurious afternoon in a spa or grab a takeaway meal – served in environmentally friendly vegware of course – if you just want to get home fast but don’t want to compromise on quality.

“One of the things people really appreciate at Passion for dinner is the abundance,” says Lana. “You get a great sized portion for the price – you very rarely need to order three courses as our mains are so big. It becomes very affordable for a night out. It’s also a lot lighter than a lot of other restaurant food – our meals won’t make you feel tired before you go out. You’ll feel satisfied.” Organic wines and beer are available however Lana says most of Passion’s after-dark clientele aren’t looking for a boozy dinner. “People come to us to get the things they can’t get anywhere else – they still drink green juices and protein shakes with their dinners!”

Over the years, Passion has become famous for its delicious desserts and if you are still peckish after your meal, the carrot cake or decadent chocolate brownie with ice cream are perfect to split between a few friends… or take home for later! “We’re starting to see a lot more people come to Passion for dinner this year,” says Lana. “Passion is no longer just considered a breakfast or lunch destination. A meal at Passion is like a special event, no matter what time of day.”

It would be remiss not to give a special nod to the Passion drinks menu – with two pages dedicated to amazing beverage concoctions (a whopping 150 drinks in total across the venues). Drinks at Passion can range from a lush, fresh juice to wash down your brekkie with or a meal replacement style protein shake. Superfood smoothies, cutting-edge hot drinks and health-boosting shots are all part of the Passion package.

“The menu would be even bigger if I could fit more on there,” Lana admits sheepishly. The scope for delicious liquid refreshment is endless in her eyes. “When I first opened Playa d’en Bossa, we had an A4 menu of drinks, but it was mostly juices and smoothies. Over time, it’s evolved to include elixirs, what I like to call ‘trendy lattes’, hot superfood drinks, healthy shots, parfait shakes and so much more. This year we’ve also introduced a new range of Passion cold-pressed juices that have 1.5 kilos of fresh organic fruits and vegetables in each serving, and due to the high-tech machine they are made with, they last for up to 30 days because all the bad bacteria has been eliminated in seconds during the making.” This means Passion lovers can now stocks up their villa or boat fridges, or curate their own detox without having to drive to the restaurant each day for their health fix. You can also enjoy them at Agroturismo Atzaró, whoe were so impressed with the new Passion cold-pressed juices that they are now serving them as refreshing, healthy drink alternatives for their guests. Impressive.

Last of all, Passion’s own coffee blend – a custom roast by the island’s own organic coffee masters Café Mekes that was presided over by self-confessed coffee addict Lana – has become somewhat of an institution around the island. “I almost can’t get my head around the insane amount of takeaway coffee we sell these days,” says Lana in disbelief – thankfully her takeout containers and cups are all eco-friendly so this increase is sustainable. “We only use organic milks – you’ll never have a GMO soy with a fake vanilla taste here – and we go through cartons so quickly (every couple of minutes), there’s no chance of the milk spoiling.” The Passion coffee machines are also state-of-the-art, and are cleaned and maintained with the precision of a Formula One car to ensure total coffee perfection.

The Passion promise goes beyond just offering healthy eating options. Lana is also passionate about creating awareness within the Passion community, which tends to also be made up of like-minded conscious souls. Takeout is served in the aforementioned sustainable veg-ware, vegan and vegetarian options are a plenty and fruit, veg and meat is all organic where possible. Quality, above all, is premium. Large portions, exceptional produce and creative taste sensations are accessibly priced – offering value for money is another of Passion’s practices.

On an island where healthy-based gimmick restaurants are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, it’s good to know there is one (or six, as the case may be!) you can always trust. With 16 years of experience to draw from, it’s not about trends or fads – it never has been. Everything on the Passion menu has been researched thoroughly, sourced ethically, and tried and tested passionately before being added to the menu. Open from 9am until midnight daily, that’s all the more reason to indulge your Passions, my dears…

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