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.
One of the island’s most loved dining destinations, it boasts legions of dedicated fans from around globe in addition to staunchly loyal troops of island locals who will all be pleased to hear the news that both Paloma Café and La Paloma Restaurante are remaining open throughout the winter months, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Rather than go into hibernation, the desire to stay open in winter comes from the Paloma family’s wish to reconnect with islanders after the hectic summer months. That, and chef Prasuna’s enthusiasm to share her delicious winter warming recipes – it’s all in the spirit of giving something back to the island. Since the restaurant’s inception in 2004, La Paloma has gradually evolved into the island institution it is today; beginning first with the night offering – an Italian-based menu based around family recipes using organic and local cuisine – and later on (in 2008) adding the sunny daytime garden café known for its healthy and hearty Israeli and Middle Eastern inspired cuisine. Everything that falls under the family-run Paloma umbrella seems to be sprinkled with magic – be it the setting, the décor, the ambience or of course, the food – and it all comes straight from the heart. There are no fads or gimmicks at La Paloma. Just good honest food, served with genuine smiles and warmth in a one of a kind location.
By day, it’s business as usual for Paloma Café throughout winter. The ever-popular menu is served up from 12.30 to 4.30 daily (excluding Mondays) – fusing the very best of the Mediterranean with exotic flavours and dishes from around the world. Known for the delicious homemade bread – baked daily using organic wheat and spelt flour – and focaccia served in a variety of ways, there is something for everyone, be it a salad made from ingredients plucked straight from the thriving organic garden beside you, homemade falafel, seasonal soups, fresh quiches and more. Freshly brewed coffee, herbal teas, fresh juices and smoothies are on offer to wash it down and when the days start to get chilly, the café’s interior warms up with a crackling fireplace. All the more reason to linger longer after your meal is over… After dark, the adjacent restaurant space – subtly hidden by day – comes to life, transformed into a magical candlelit paradise, with warmth emanating from blazing outdoor heaters and from the roaring log fire inside. Open from Tuesday to Saturday between 7pm and 11pm, the terrace is protected by clear plastic wind-breakers, meaning you can still sit amongst the colourful plants and flowers, below the bohemian hanging cane pendant lamps in classic Paloma style. It really is like something out of a fairytale, with whimsical wall murals and quirky framed illustrations complemented by the stunning high end photography of renowned photographer Jimmy Nelson (who shot the family in the gorgeously stylised images you’ll see on the walls), while wooden birds, hearts and cherubs dangle delicately from every available space. It’s all in the detail.
Stepping over the Paloma threshold can feel like stepping into the home of an old family friend. Owners Mouji, Amit and Prasuna (who is also the restaurant’s star chef) are always there to welcome their guests, extending genuine family vibes to all who dine here. Behind the bar, the fabulous Fiorella creates unique seasonal cocktails and herbal teas (served in vintage china teapots) using ingredients taken from the garden each day. As the temperatures cool down, the cocktails are heated up – think steaming hot potions infused with cinnamon, rosemary, lemon balm and mandarin – to help beat the winter chills, and there is also a selection of biodynamic organic wines on offer. As you take your seat at La Paloma’s signature aqua blue tables, set with mismatched crockery and napkins plus teensy bottles sprouting with wild flowers, it’s impossible not to feel right at home. The intimate, cosy setting is the perfect example of a cosmopolitan ambience mixed with an authentic air of bohemianism, however there is nothing contrived about it. La Paloma has simply always been this way – embracing vintage kitsch long before hipsters came along. Everything just falls into place here. Happy diners fill the rooms, their faces glowing from the warmth of the fire and their laughter as much of a soundtrack as the carefully curated music that floats over the airwaves – never too loud to inhibit conversation. At La Paloma, everything is j-u-u-s-t right.
If the restaurant space is full of soul, then it is the kitchen that houses La Paloma’s heart. Presided over with much love and passion by Prasuna, who was born in Tuscany and brings a lifetime’s worth of cooking experience to the table, ranging from time-honoured recipes handed down from her grandmother and mother (from Parma), to those she has put her own stamp on after spending almost 20 years travelling back and forth to India. It was here, where she experienced cooking alongside people from many different cultures – including Japanese, Korean, German and English in addition to Indian – and started a lifelong love affair with Eastern spices, from fresh chilli and coriander seeds to cinnamon and beyond. For the winter months, Prasuna presents diners with a slightly smaller menu than in summer, in order to focus purely on fresh, local and seasonal produce. In keeping with her ethos, the menu changes weekly but will always feature classic homemade pastas, risottos, grilled meats and fish to satisfy those winter cravings. Homemade aromatic soups – created from winter root vegetables – make the perfect starter while hearty risottos revolve around wintry ingredients such as porcini mushrooms, osso bucco or gorgonzola and pear. Lovers of pasta simply must try the homemade pastas, including the incredible homemade ravioli fusing grandma’s family recipe with the very best of Ibiza – think wild spinach and borage combined with fresh ricotta – or the thick, delicious paccheri in a tomato and anchovy sauce with smoked aubergine and capers.
Prasuna has long been an advocate of using organic produce and is passionate about sourcing the very best to put on your beautifully presented plate. All ingredients used at La Paloma are organic and local where possible, sourced from local farm Can Musson if they’re not plucked directly from the carefully cultivated onsite garden. Of course, being Italian, certain ingredients must be flown in from the motherland, such as traditionally made Parmesan, a variety of Tuscan cheese and the world’s finest capers from Sicily. The olive oil used is an award-winning blend from Cataluña and another star ingredient is Prasuna’s own homemade ghee, used as a health-giving substitute for butter. Plans for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve feasts are fast taking shape in the La Paloma kitchen and while full details are yet to be announced, reservations are definitely essential to ensure you don’t miss out. Embracing their customers as though they are part of the family comes naturally to the Paloma team and you can be sure their festive season celebrations will be filled with fun, laughter and – naturally – fabulous food and wine. The café and restaurant will then close for a short period on January 7, 2018 before returning in March for their 14th summer.
At La Paloma, one and all are always welcomed, and cared for, whether you’re a born and bred local, an expat based here on the island all year round or a holidaymaker looking to make the most of the direct off-season flights for a one-of-a-kind winter experience. Over the years, the restaurant and cafe have grown and the island too, has evolved, however the ethos and spirit of the restaurant remains true to its core. Two different restaurants in one beautiful location, sharing the same heart, soul and quality – a very special and integral part of Ibiza’s gastronomic scene.