After almost 12 weeks of lockdown here in Ibiza – including home cooking and all the washing up that goes along with it – it’s no surprise island residents are excited to get out of their houses and return to their favourite dining destinations in June. As the lockdown restrictions are slowly easing on the island, selected Ibiza restaurants have been given the green light to re-open, albeit with limited capacities and opening hours, plus strict safety and hygiene measures (but hey, that’s the new normal for now, so we’ll happily accept it!). Right now islanders currently have the enormous privilege of being able re-discover and experience the island’s gourmet scene as they reunite with their nearest and dearest, before the first wave of tourism arrives next month (which we’re also looking forward to!) and many go back to work. Below is part one of our two-part series focusing on dining out in Ibiza in June, from the old town and the island’s charming villages to the countryside and more – and don’t worry beach lovers, a guide to chiringuitos and seaside eateries is already in the works!
Set on a stunning hilltop in San José, Can Domingo and Mimí Pizza Bistrot are housed on separate terraces of a stunning traditional finca, offering two different spectrums of Italian dining. Can Domingo – which originally opened in the space in 2012 – serves up exquisite Italian fine dining on the front terrace and in the garden, created using the very best products either grown onsite in the permaculture garden, or flown in directly from the motherland, and has a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu to appease all dietary requirements. Mimì Pizza Bistrot is set on the finca’s spacious back terrace, opened in 2018 as a more laid-back offshoot to the original brand, offering amazing pizza – both gourmet and traditional – plus tasty and accessibly priced Italian street food, all ideal for sharing and very family friendly. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 7pm until late, reservations are advised, especially for Saturday nights when the restaurant hosts live music nights in the garden.
In its short two-season history in Ibiza, Bottega Il Buco has become a hotspot for island foodies, families and celebrities alike (you’d be surprised to know who’s been hibernating in Ibiza during lockdown!). In the heart of Santa Gertrdudis, the foccaceria style eatery – the first international outpost of NYC’s legendary Il Buco – is now open again from Monday to Saturday from 4pm until midnight, serving up its classic focaccia by the slice, plus a special à la carte Italian menu and a selection of amazing wine. You can also stock up on gourmet deli products to create your own picnic, if you’re heading the nearby beaches. Due to the limited seating capacity (combined with Bottega Il Buco’s popularity with residents, especially the Santa Gertrudis cognoscenti) at the moment, reservations are highly recommended.
The Passion Café empire created by Lana Love – with its original outpost opening in Playa d’en Bossa in 2002 – has got to be one of Ibiza’s most well-known and recognised brands. Right now, the Marina Ibiza and Santa Eulalia outposts remain open for islanders seeking healthy and happy cuisine, with food also available to takeaway, or for home delivery. Just prior to lockdown, Lana had been putting the finishing touches on her latest Passion location, a stylish, boho-inspired space that runs between Ibiza towns busiest two plazas, Vara de Rey and Plaza del Parque, with terrace seating on both sides. Good news for ‘townies’ and those popping in for essential post-lockdown shopping is that the new Passion opens its doors to residents on Friday June 5, 2020 – yes, tomorrow! Open for breakfast, lunch AND dinner, this looks set to be the flagship Passion destination for both islanders and holidaymakers alike (once the borders are open of course!).
With one of the most spacious alfresco dining terraces in Ibiza, surrounded by rich, fertile farmland and tall trees, Aubergine Ibiza is now open on Fridays and Saturdays for lunch from 12.30pm to 5pm, and dinner from 7.30pm to 11pm, then again for lunch on Sundays from 12.30 to 6pm. With a healthy, wholesome and seasonal menu made predominantly from produce plucked directly from the huerta onsite, or sourced from local farms and producers, the restaurant (part of the Atzaró Group) was one of the island’s farm-to-table pioneers and is the ideal place to connect with friends while nourishing yourself and falling in love with the campo landscape once more. With an ultra-relaxed vibe, a huge interior (perfect should the evenings get chilly), a gallery space showcasing the work of local artists (this month showcasing Simona Marziani’s ‘Up There In The Sky’ exhibition), it’s the ideal place for a large group gathering (up to 10 per table) or a romantic date alike.
The world may evolve, the island may change but one thing always remains the same – the sun always sets in the west! Ibiza is known around the world for its iconic sunsets, and right now, island locals have an exclusive front row view from the terrace and rocky coastline of La Torre Ibiza. The spacious restaurant re-opened its doors last month and immediately became a hotspot thanks to its exceptionally curated roster of Balearic resident DJs spinning the nightly soundtrack daily from 7pm, plus its affordable ‘winter’ pricing on food and drink. Reunite with your friends at a larger table on the terrace, or pull up a romantic pew for two on the tables dotted down the rocks towards the sea. Dishes include a selection of traditional tapas ideal for sharing, and hearty mains such as grilled octopus, a Black Angus burger, chunky lamb shanks and healthy salads. Reservations are essential as islanders vie for the prime sunset viewing spots before they have to share them with holidaymakers.
Never has a restaurant name sounded more apt, although when restaurateur Tito Piazza named his Ibiza restaurant Locals Only, his intention was originally to make citizens of the world feel at home. In June however, the restaurant is open to island locals only – until the lockdown restrictions ease and allow visitors onto our shores – and its central Plaza del Parque location in the heart of Ibiza town makes it the ideal place for a sunny terrace lunch from 12.30pm until 4.30pm, or an alfresco dinner beneath the stars between 8pm and midnight. Due to current health regulations, seating is limited so reservations are recommended so you don’t miss out on enjoying the carefully curated farm-to-table menu. Everything is sourced locally and sustainably where possible, with an Italian-influenced, Mediterranean flair, and is accessibly priced – perfect for locals in Ibiza!
There are famous restaurants in Ibiza, there are restaurants with iconic status and then, there’s La Paloma. Anyone who has ever stepped over its magical countryside threshold in San Lorenzo can attest to the love-at-first-sight affect it has on first-timers, and that’s before they’ve even gotten to the love-at-first-bite food. Set within a beautiful old finca and with tables spaced out on the gardens and farmland it lies on, La Paloma is the very epitome of rustic Ibiza chic. Dishes run from healthy to hearty, inspired by the family’s Italian and Middle Eastern heritages, with most of the produce grown onsite. As Ibiza slowly eases out of lockdown, La Paloma Café is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12.30pm to 4.30pm for lunch only, and takeaway food is also available. Reservations necessary, as this is without a doubt one of the island locals’ most loved dining destinations. Paloma Restaurant, its fairy-lit night-time incarnation, will open very soon.
We often call it a hidden gem, but in reality, Tapas Ibiza is an Ibiza institution. Whether you’re a born and bred local, an expat, a regular visitor to the island or a seasonal worker, chances are someone in your circle has invited you to their favourite San Antonio hotspot to share tapas, sangria and cocktails on its charming terrace. As the de-escalation process continues in Ibiza this month, Tapas Ibiza is open from 1pm to 11pm from Wednesday through to Sunday, and are offering island residents a 25% discount throughout the entire month of June. The garden bar is also open just for drinks, while the restaurant serves up its newly tweaked 2020 menu made up of classic tapas, traditions with a twist and internationally-themed plates, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available.
One of the first restaurants to re-open its doors every year, Bambuddha was no different in Phase One of the de-escalation process. The incredibly spacious temple made it easy to accommodate tables with three metres space in between, and loyal customers from all over the island have been flocking to the iconic MediterrAsian restaurant since the moment it re-opened. Open seven nights a week, the special ‘MiSo Hungry’ all-you-can-eat menu on Tuesdays for 35€ (28€ if you hold a Bambuddha resident card) is a highlight – inspired by the famous Bambuddha buffet, but tailored to suit health regulations by being served to order rather than buffet style. On Sundays, it’s ‘Let the Good Times Roll’, with 40 pieces of Bambuddha’s famous sushi served Bento box style for 48€ (40€ with resident card), and on every day in between, it’s à la carte service. Open from 7.30pm until midnight, with the bar also open for drinks, reservations are recommended.
Your favourite beach restaurant has been packed away, and those famous dining destinations you visit every summer have shut up shop for six months, so where on earth does a hungry island visitor – or resident for that matter – go to eat in the off-season? The truth is, the winter is really the time that many of Ibiza’s best restaurants really come into their own. It’s the perfect time to explore the island’s inland villages and sample the many menu del días (traditional set lunch menus) on offer.
You’ll discover secret little spots in the hills for a romantic evening, snuggled up with your loved one next to a cosy fire, or the best fun and festive places to plan a big reunion dinner out with friends you haven’t seen since May. There are some wonderful places to eat in winter, whatever the occasion, and some great offers too if you know where to look. Our team of year-round island experts have done all the hard work for you – trying, testing and most importantly tasting their way around Ibiza to bring you this list of winter restaurants.
For a leisurely weekend lunch or indulgent romantic dinner, the charming and intimate A Mi Manera – found on the famous San Juan restaurant road in the island’s north – is an ideal spot. The quaint and cosy interior works equally well for a group of friends celebrating, as for a couple looking for a secluded supper, thanks to the traditional farmhouse layout of the restaurant. The Mediterranean menu has a strong Italian family influence, with authentic homemade pasta and fresh garden produce from the restaurant’s own backyard farm featured in many dishes. The charcoal grill uses prime cuts of Wagyu, Kobe, and Black Angus beef, alongside mouth-watering local pluma Iberica. Open for lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, and for long lunches on Sundays complete with live music in the sun-drenched garden. Keep your eye on their social media for other special events including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve feasts.
The undisputed king of the San Juan restaurant road, Bambuddha has been known as an iconic summer dining destination for the past 20 years, but this winter, to the island resident’s immense pleasure, the legendary MediterrAsian temple continues serving up its signature cuisine until the end of the year. Open weekly from Wednesdays till Sundays from 7pm, island residents receive a 20% discount once you’ve sign up for their Resident Members card. On Wednesdays, it’s all about the six-course Chef’s Special for just 45€ per person, whilst Sundays play host to The Infamous Bambuddha Buffet, an all-you-can-eat feast featuring all the restaurant’s classic dishes plus some new favourites for only 35€ per person. On other nights of the week, the à la carte menu covers all your dining desires, drawing on only the finest ingredients and a healthy amount of local produce. Bambuddha is also open on Christmas and New Year’s Eve – reservations highly recommended so you can celebrate in style.
For fad-free raw, plant-based and vegan cuisine, botanical eatery Wild Beets, in the centre of Santa Gertrudis village, covers all the bases. A popular destination for healthy eaters in the north of the island, it’s often said that you can tell when winter has arrived in Ibiza because the stylish floating fireplace is re-installed to replace the fans in the light-filled restaurant interior. The extensive menu features carefully calibrated dishes combining fresh, local and seasonal produce with nature’s healthiest ingredients, so whether popping in for a quick juice and a tofu scramble, a coffee and raw Beetroot ravioli, or settling in for a long leisurely lunch over a quinoa and hempseed Protein bowl, there is something tasty for every occasion. The regularly returning local crowd makes for a friendly vibe whatever the time of day, and children are catered for too, making this a handy pit stop after the school run or a run-around in the village playground.
For mouth-watering Italian influenced cuisine served in a cosy deli-style restaurant, head for hip rustic eatery, Bottega Il Buco in the chic village of Santa Gertrudis. The first international outpost of the acclaimed NYC restaurant brand by Donna Lennard, the Bottega Il Buco team host buzzing aperitivo sessions from Monday to Saturday throughout the winter from 5pm until 7pm, giving guests the chance to sample some of their signature ancient grain focaccia with its endless variety of toppings, along with delicious wines and bespoke cocktails. On sunny winter days, the terrace is a gorgeous spot to linger, whilst in the evenings the snug interior makes a great place to meet friends, or settle in for an early supper. The menu is inspired by local produce and ingredients, along with some hard-to-find Italian delights, which can also be bought from the store itself should you wish to recreate the Bottega Il Buco magic at home. The restaurant is also hosting a special Christmas lunch, with limited seating so reservations are essential.
For a winter lunchtime destination with wow factor, famed island restaurant La Escollera on the rugged and deserted Es Cavallet beach is hard to beat. Often crowded with tourists in summer, as soon as October hits, this stunning unspoiled beach in the heart of the Las Salinas nature reserve is transformed into a natural paradise, enticing island residents out of their winter hibernation. The sunny and expansive La Escollera terraces boast views across the waves to Formentera and the iconic Dalt Vila, making it a stunning spot for lunch. Don’t be surprised to find the alfresco spaces full if you turn up on a sunny day without a reservation, but there’s also a huge interior, boasting those same views – also ideal for days where it’s a little chilly outside. The traditional Mediterranean menu has been passed down through generations of the owners’ family, but in recent year’s it’s also been tweaked to include some creative vegan options. Must-tries are the classic paella recipe, Black Angus sirloin and salt-baked dorada, while sushi lovers will also be impressed with the extensive options on offer. Open 365 days a year, with a friendly and fun atmosphere, La Escollera is a treat to return to again and again – no matter what the weather.
If the thought of spit-roasted chicken or ribs makes your mouth water this winter, then look no further than La Chickeria in Santa Gertrudis – open all year round from 12.30pm until midnight. Recently opened this summer – you’ll find it next to the Spar supermarket on the main road through the village – this is the fifth eatery, from the Dutch Van’t Spit group, who have a chain of these family-friendly concept restaurants in Holland. Focusing on antibiotic-free chooks grown naturally and free-range, the 100% plant-fed chicken is then expertly roasted by ‘Spitmaster’ chefs on Spanish charcoal, using custom-made grills for that perfect smoky yet juicy barbecue flavour complete with crispy skin (everyone’s favourite part). Homemade sides of chips, corn, salads and sauces complement the package, and the whole shebang is also available for takeaway if you don’t mind the wait. With a buzzing front terrace, a cosy interior and a secret garden in the back, there’s always space for your get-togethers, catch-ups or date nights. Live music takes place in the garden on weekends, so be sure to check out La Chickeria’s social media for line-ups special events.
When looking for a winter dining spot to settle down for a while, to catch up on some remote work, to host a meeting or just to go over the dally gossip with a friend, make a beeline for the all-new Ve Café, adjacent to W Hotel on frontline of the southern end of the promenade in Santa Eulalia. The bright and colourful seafront terrace is ideal for basking in the winter sun or keeping an eye on the kids playing on the beach, and the stylish interior features free high speed WiFi and handy power sockets for your laptop or phone – ideal for travellers and corporate nomads alike. The 100% plant-based kitchen menu offers tasty winter warmers, like sweet potato soup or roasted vegetables with tahini and lemon, alongside the restaurant’s signature staples of Buddha bowls and hummus bowls, all made with locally sourced produce and organic ingredients. Of course with so much good healthy stuff in the main courses, it’d be a sin not to linger for dessert – these indulgent delights are definitely worth saving room for. Open daily from 9am for breakfast, and until 5pm for lunch.
Healthy eating isn’t just for summer, so if you find yourself craving some serious goodness and food that sustains, make Passion Café your year-round restaurant of choice. Two of the brand’s six locations, Passion Marina and Passion Santa Eulalia remain all winter, from 9am until 5pm daily, with a fresh and hearty winter menu perfect for filling breakfasts, brunches or warming lunches. From Buddha bowls, black bean burritos and Beyond Burgers, to avocado fries and delicious dahls, the vegan and vegetarian options are second to none, although there’s also something on the menu to satisfy the carnivores in your group too. Chicken, salmon, hearty curries, deluxe burgers, steaming hot soups, keto-friendly dishes – the options are almost endless. With the island’s most extensive and creative drinks menu (from ‘trendy’ lattes and health-boosting shots to smoothies, juices and more), plus desserts that are the icing on the cake (pardon the pun), it would be easy to spend the entire day here. Both restaurants are blessed with enormous sunny terraces, so even if you might be a wearing a scarf, it’s still possible to pretend it’s summer as you sip your super greens!
When it comes to the art of a really great burger, beef, chicken, vegan or otherwise, Project Social in Santa Eulalia has pretty much reached perfection. The extensive range of toppings and fillings may take a while to sample (all the more reason to visit!), but once you’ve found your favourite, you’ll be back, like so many others in this part of the island. In winter, the friendly vibe and regular faces makes this a vibey destination whatever the time of day, and the many special offers keep Project Social affordable for locals too. From Monday to Friday, the Breakfast Club includes a coffee and a juice for 10€, with a menu packed full of everyone’s favourite morning dishes (think pancakes, avo toasts, acai bowls, full English and veggie brekkies), while the 11€ Lunch Menu features burgers, ribs or hearty salads with a choice of drinks. Everyone’s favourite Fish & Chip Fridays, and traditional Sunday Roasts with all the trimmings on the weekend give you even more reasons to spend time here, and did we mention Backgammon Club, Tequila Thursday and the nightly Hours of Happiness?
A good lunch in Spain always involves a menu del día, and tucked away on an unassuming side street in the village of Santa Gertrudis, you’ll find one of the island’s best at Can Mimosa. The 200-year-old converted farmhouse has a lovely sunny courtyard perfect for whiling away the lunchtime hours, and the weekly changing menu makes the most of locally sourced seasonal produce, including ingredients plucked straight from the restaurant’s own vegetable allotment right outside the kitchen door. A choice of three courses costs just 17.50€ and includes plenty of vegetarian or vegan options. Time-honoured dishes like chickpea broth and endive salads are served with baked dorada or vegetable cous-cous, with classic such as apple crumble or crema Catalana for desserts. Sundays in the garden are all about traditional Sunday Roasts (reportedly the very best on the island), served with Bloody Marys and a side of live music for a truly sociable way to enjoy the weekend. A New Year’s Eve feast is also in the works – the perfect place to fuel up before heading out to party.
It’s a finely tuned balance that allows coexistence of ideas and reality, and it’s ever-changing – our island is all the better for it. Bambuddha, the much-loved gastronomic haven in San Lorenzo, is a fine example of this. Because despite its longstanding reputation among foodies, this summer, the popular restaurant is adopting some culinary, ecological and service-inspired changes that promise to make it an even more spectacular dining destination than ever before.
The man spearheading Bambuddha’s evolution is Jonjon Moon – now moving into his second year as general manager of the restaurant. Last year he began the process of seamlessly introducing subtle changes – the bar was completely refurbished and highly-trained staff were hired – but this year he’s in a position to really impose a cultural revolution at the restaurant, one that’s going to benefit everyone. “My first year as general manager went very well” says Jonjon, who basically grew up in the restaurant – which was founded by his father John Moon – and knows it like the back of his hand. “As a result, this year we opened without needing to recruit any new staff. I want my staff to be happy, and I want our guests to have a good experience at Bambuddha, I especially want them to leave with a smile and feeling happy.”
This upbeat ethos isn’t just being applied to people. The very same approach is being extended to every ingredient used in the creation of the mouth-watering MediterrAsian menu. “The biggest change at Bambuddha this year is that we’re becoming a lot more conscious of where our food comes from, and also aware of how it’s farmed or grown,” says Jonjon. “And now 90-percent of the vegetables we use are now grown on demand, on the island, for us.” Anything outside that remit is still carefully sourced, grown with attention and love, and used because it’s an essential element of flavour not practical to cultivate here. Wasabi root is sourced from Japan, for example, while hydra lettuce is grown and transported in water from Holland, so it’s still living when it arrives.
It’s clear that for Jonjon, using the best produce, creating delicious dishes, and being kind to the environment are all intrinsically connected, and that’s why every change implemented at Bambuddha is a move towards greater positivity. “A lot of my inspiration has come from the vegan movement,” he explains. “I want the animals we use to have a good life. I want the cows to be happy! Because you notice that in the quality of the food as well. I also want to buy locally as much as possible because that reduces our carbon footprint.” This doesn’t mean Bambuddha ever compromises on quality, just for the sake of saying they buy locally. Much of the ecological and outdoor-farmed meat comes from the lush terrains of mainland Spain (as close to Ibiza as possible), while fish is sustainably farmed and fed what it would normally eat in the wild, thus allowing for optimum nutrition.
The quality of food at Bambuddha has never been in question – the menu is outstanding – but the difference now is that you can eat knowing everything on your plate has come from a good place, and that adds an extra element of pleasure to the dining experience. The Nikkei beef carpaccio, for example, is made with Japanese and Peruvian flare, so the meat is super tender and served with passionfruit for a fruitier kick than what you might be expecting.
The brand new spicy beef salad is also a highlight, with meat marinated for 48 hours, then cooked American barrel style, giving it an oaky, caramelised flavour with a Korean kick. Elsewhere, you’ve got not-to-be-missed, sustainably farmed dishes like Oriental ceviche made with corvina, Yuzu Hamachi made with yellowtail, Japanese plum sauce, yuzu juice and fresh basil, the amazing soft shell crab bao bun served with a heady combination of Indian spices, shiso, pico de gallo, pineapple, coriander and paharganj sauce. The Fusion BBQ short rib is marinated in Korean sauces and smoked, and Jonjon’s personal favourite is the delectable Kowloon King Crab.
Other MediterrAsian components of the menu include dim sum, curry and sushi, which are all dizzyingly delicious, and of course, organic and sustainable. “The menu is a sharing concept,” explains Jonjon. “We recommend two or three dishes per person, but it depends what you order. Our waiters will never push you to have more than you want – our priority is to guide our guests and ensure they have the best possible experience. We want everyone to be comfortable with what they’re spending.”
The restaurant’s location in San Lorenzo is surprisingly central – just 15 minutes from almost anywhere on the island by car. At Bambuddha, there is a policy of equality, so those stopping by for a snack and a cocktail are treated the same as those diving into the full Bambuddha experience – Jonjon is aiming for everyone to have a good time, so customer satisfaction is paramount. Clients are encouraged to stay after dinner for drinks and Bambuddha offers a complimentary valet service, to allow a seamless door to door service. Happy clients, happy food and a happy environment – is there any better reason than that to book a table?
As I tottered into the grand estate that is Bambuddha last night – and when I say tottered, I mean literally, in a pair of wedge heels that made me tower over my friend and wonder if this is what life feels like for a supermodel – I couldn’t help but feel like I was visiting a friend from many years ago who was all grown up now – like the cool girl from school who just got cooler with age.
Having been to Bambuddha about oh, I don’t know, a zillion times over the past decade, I’ve seen a lot of subtle changes, and then last year, the final metamorphosis into the amazing restaurant that stands today. My naughty little playmate is now a sexy, sophisticated hostess with the mostess, one I look forward to spending even more time with in the future… I think I have a crush!
We arrived fairly early by Ibiza standards, because I’d left it so late to book we had to take the early bird (that’s 8pm here) special… but the restaurant was packed from the minute we arrived. And given that I got home from Bambuddha l-o-n-g after midnight… well, you know we had an amazing night. Before it all got blurry however, here are a few things that really stuck in my mind…
1. From the minute you arrive, to the minute you leave Bambuddha, there is a never-ending stream of things to stare at. Things, and people, if you’re partial to a spot of people watching (as I have been known to be), but aside from that, I always feel like there is something new to see. A new Buddha, a lusty new artefact, a sleek new painting, a sparkling new chandelier… each experience is different to the next, as things (and people!) catch your eye from different corners of the different temples. It’s like the Mona Lisa of Ibiza…
2. The staff and the service here are truly impeccable. Sure, Bambuddha has always been known as one of Ibiza’s best fine dining destinations (and indeed, deservedly voted the winner in the White Ibiza Readers’ Choice Awards in 2013) but the attention to detail and personal care from each staff member we encountered was warm, friendly, knowledgeable, intuitive and genuine. From the gorgeous girls in pretty little Asian embroidered robes who led us to our table with smiles and nothing-is-a-problem attitudes, even though we’d arrived 25 minutes late (blame August traffic), to the switched on waitress who noticed my companion had ordered a vegetarian meal and took the time to mention that the prawn crackers and bread were served with an olive tapenade that was made with anchovies in case she didn’t eat fish, all the way to the lovely valet who (literally) ran to fetch our car as we left so we didn’t have to wait more than 30 seconds, there is some serious professionalism going on here here. If Bambuddha could open some kind of Ibiza hospitality university in the winter, quite a few other wait staff on the island who could learn a thing or two before returning to Ibiza in 2015.
3. The trademarked MediterrAsian menu is out of this world. Honestly – I have eaten much Mediterranean food, more Thai food than you can find on the streets of Bangkok in one day, have overloaded on sushi in four corners of the world and indulged on Indonesian cuisine like there’s no tomorrow. But there’s nothing quite like fusing all of the above, as only Bambuddha can, and perusing the Bambuddha menu is like traversing the globe in just a few (glossy, gorgeous) pages. The biggest problem of course, is deciding what to order – I count myself as one of the fortunate ones, who has been blessed to visit Bambuddha on many, many occasions, so I have my favourites. On this particular evening, I had a hankering for a curry – the crispy red duck curry to be precise. To me, this has always been like one of the great mysteries of the world – how DO they get the duck so crispy on the outside, and so moist, tender and tasty on the inside? I’ll never know, so I’ll always return to Bambuddha to taste it again, and again. Except for the nights when I want sushi, or a pad Thai, or a spicy Thai soup, or the teriyaki salmon, or the lush Vietnamese chicken… so many more reasons to return!
4. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to with a double toilet cubicle. Just saying. Wacky. It’s always been there and I hope it always will be.
5. It’s always after dinner that the Bambuddha adventures really start to get interesting. As we migrated to the Tantra Cocktail Palace for a signature cocktail (or three), the desire to explore the cave-like Tantra Sex Shop at the very back of the restaurant started to kinkily kick in. Cue: girlish giggling and squeamish squeals of laughter as we perused the wares on display, from whips and feathers to pasties and masks, plus all shapes and sizes of sex toy (the mind certainly starts to wander when you’re looking at some of them – what the? How the? Who the? Is that a cat toy? Ohhhh now I get it!), and some seriously gorgeous lingerie… I couldn’t help but wonder, just how many après-dinner adventures have been kick started in Bambuddha?
Om, namaste and thank you very much indeed!The reincarnation of Bambuddha
Ah Bambuddha. The iconic Ibiza I restaurant I think of as an oldie but a goodie. You can trust the food, trust the service and know you’re always going to have a good night. But with a swag of new restaurants popping up in Ibiza like mushrooms after a rainstorm… it can be easy to forego an old favourite in favour of trying something new…
There’s a new Bambuddha in town folks… well, to be precise, a newly reincarnated Bambuddha, and let me tell you it is A.MAY.ZING. The all-new Bambuddha has officially scored the role of my number one go-to-restaurant whether with a group of visiting friends (so easy to impress them just by walking through the entrance), a bunch of on-island mates (guaranteed great night, whether you want a party vibe or a laidback catch-up) or for a romantic dinner (the new layout and design makes it work equally well for couples as it does groups).
So what exactly does the reincarnation of an already impressive restaurant involve? Very many months of hard work, a lot of love and plenty of passion, under the watchful eye of new restaurant manager Jonjon Moon, taking the reins from founder John Moon after his retirement (although we’re sure he still has his fingers in a spicy Bambuddha pie or two!) as was evident from the re-launch event that took place in the gorgeous temples last week. It’s Bambuddha (note it’s no longer known as a grove), but not as we knew it… now having been given a new lease of life in a multitude of ways, from the simply stunning entrance and new open-air dining area to the tri-temple layout and the mouth-wateringly delicious transformation of the menu.
From the minute you step foot onto the sprawling estate (in my case, the minute I stepped my feet out of the car and onto a red carpet for said coche to be whisked away by a very proficient and friendly valet), there is a feeling of grandness; an exotic air and almost all of your senses start to tingle. With thousands of bamboo plants towering beside you, and nothing but the stars twinkling above your head, the new and improved alfresco feeling almost transports to Asia instantly. Or should I say, MediterrAsia…
The main difference you feel, is that rather than walking INTO a temple, Bambuddha is now much more of an open-plan, free-flowing venue (so perfect for Ibiza in summer), with the open temple walls, and an easy welcoming journey to walk through, rather than each section being segregated as it was before.
To your right, is the enormous Tantra Cocktail Palace terrace, a lounge and cocktail area filled with sumptuous furnishings, ancient artifacts, giant fertility totems and many more eye-catching decorative pieces. Immediately in front is the Bali restaurant temple, to the left, Goa restaurant space and terrace, offering a multitude of places to eat, drink, see and be seen… all in the classic Bambuddha style, with stunning chandeliers sparkling overhead and exotic spiritual and sexual artworks hanging from the temple foundations. The saucy boutique is now find behind the dining temples, giving you many excuses to linger longer after dinner… or race home in anticipation, depending on what souvenir you’ve selected!
When it comes to dining, Bambuddha fans need not worry that the MediterrAsian menu has changed too much! Classics and old favourites like the Teriyaki Salmon, Pad Thai, Crispy Duck and Red Duck Curry remain, but with a revitalized method of cooking, bringing them into the healthy here and now, but there is also a plethora of lush new additions in which to partake. I took part in a tasting menu (alongside the who’s who of Ibiza society!) – which I always find very interesting, as it makes you discover new things you’d never normally order (being the staunchly loyal Pad Thai fan that I am).
Starting with a zingy fresh Papaya salad – perfect for the steamy August heat – and a super-fine, rich beef tataki topped with crispy yucca chips, I felt in heaven! You don’t get fine food like this every day (unless you’re lucky enough to eat at Bambuddha of course). The mini-portions mains included melt-in-your-mouth black cod (oh-so-trendy!), marinated in miso and served alongside seaweed noodles plus a 24-hour slow roasted lamb, drizzled in a sticky sweet Jack Daniels glaze and served on a bed of polenta.
Y.U.M. I couldn’t have ordered better if I’d chosen myself (well… there is the matter of the Pad Thai… but I can have that next time).
Dessert followed, in the form of lime sorbet served with a Midori Sour jelly cube (retro!) and a lush selection of hand-rolled truffles, starting with a hint of sea salt and ending with a packed punch of spicy chili. Wowzers. That certainly cleared the cobwebs and woke me up, just when I thought I was about to descend into a food coma!
At the end of the dinner, I was basically texting everyone I’d ever met to forward plan my next visit to Bambuddha… there’s just so many new things to try! So many new places to sit! So many new experiences to be had! And I’ve got to try them all until I find the one that is j-u-u-s-t right!