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The legend lives on

Legends do not start with fireworks and parades. Real legends grow from an organic confluence of cool – which is exactly where the story of the legendary San Rafael restaurant Las Dos Lunas started. Back in the early 70s, owner Massimo Lucarini was tooling around Milan with his friend Pepe Rosello (founder of Ibiza’s unforgettable Space nightclub). Pepe insisted Massimo come with him to Ibiza and the minute he hit the ground, he knew this was the place for him. One day Massimo was hitchhiking when a beautiful woman stopped for him only to be scolded by her mother from the passenger seat who was appalled that her daughter would pick up “those hairy hippies”. Her name was Almudena Robles and her face was etched into Massimo’s memory. Then, he saw her again, and again, and from there grew a long-lasting love that would spawn five children and Las Dos Lunas. That is how legends are made.

Las Dos Lunas is one of those old-school places that contain so much history it pulsates. The residual imprints of rock stars, royalty and Hollywood are threaded through its eclectic garden setting. The restaurant’s position between two other Ibiza legends – Amnesia and Ku (now Privilege) – always made it a dining destination for the eccentric social circles of Ibiza’s bohemian elite, who would traipse between party, beach, dinner and back again. Today Massimo and Alumdena potter amongst the gardens, stick their heads into bubbling pots and do as much or as little as they please while their son, Lupo, helms the ship, steering the legend into a new era.

Between his commitments as a music producer and international DJ, Lupo always manages to come home to Las Dos Lunas to prepare for the summer season and the future. “It was an old farmhouse that was operating as an antique store when my parents found it,” he says. “My bedroom was the stable. My four siblings and I grew up here and I still live here during the summers.” Carlos, Massimo’s best friend (who the kids called uncle), came on board in the early days. Lupo remembers being awed at their ability to charm the clientele. “My father treated everyone the same way and Carlos was always so elegant,” he recalls. “I learned so much from him. He always remembered people’s favourite drinks, he’d kiss the hands of the ladies and bow. He was like magic.”

The legacy lives on in what Lupo calls invisible service. The adept waiters at Las Dos Lunas intuit a guest’s needs before the guest is even aware of what they are. It didn’t matter (and it still doesn’t) if you were a king, a supermodel or a gardener – everyone who walks through the doors of Las Dos Lunas is treated like royalty. Except for actual royalty – they are treated just like everyone else. Lupo recalls the King of Spain coming for dinner in the mid-90s. When he met Massimo, as was the custom, King Juan Carlos looked around and said: “Where’s the photographer?” Massimo shrugged and replied: “Your Highness, there isn’t one.” Although the family did keep the King’s bill as a memento, he received the same service as everyone else.

Anecdotes of famous people are scattered right through Las Dos Lunas’ history, but Massimo and Carlos were always discreet and protective of their clientele – something that has made the restaurant a place of gentle reprieve for many a well-known face. “This is my house,” says Lupo. “I want people enjoying their dinner in my home to always be comfortable.” It’s this easy-going ambience that brings back repeat visitors time and time again. It’s not unusual to find a family or group of friends with a standing reservation returning to order their favourite dishes – the same ones they have been ordering for 20 years. The menu is a blend of Italian and Spanish traditions, with an emphasis on Mediterranean flavours. Well before the concept of farm-to-table became commoditised by corporate behemoths, Massimo and Almudena were growing their own vegetables in the garden behind the house.

Tomato plants peek over the parapets of the roof alongside the instantly recognisable, enormous cow mascot, which replaced the Cadillac that used to be there. The providence of the produce used in the kitchen is something Lupo learned from his parents. “We like to use as much local produce as possible,” he says. “We keep the food pure that way and can have more control over the quality.” Sharing plates are a good way to enjoy a starter, giving guests a selection of tastes to discover. All of the pasta is homemade and accompanied by classic Italian sauces such as pappardelle al telefono, fettuccini asparagi e tartufo and linguini al pesto con gamberetti. Mains consist of favourites such as roast country chicken, cotoletta Milanese, scaloppini marsala and a classic filet mignon. Of course, gelato features heavily on the Las Dos Lunas dessert menu along with a traditional Tiramisu, pannacotta, chocolate soufflé and seasonal fruits.

Over the years Massimo and Almudena made a habit of collecting artworks made by their friends, some of who went on to become globally famous and others who are just passionate creators. Just like their clientele, the Lucarinis only make judgements based on beauty and kindness. Julian Schnabel is a long-time family friend who took a paintbrush to the bricks of the outside bread oven. Grillo Demo painted the iconic images used on postcards and the menu, and inspired by his creativity, one of his protégées painted the multi-coloured harlequin patterned floor. Lupo’s godfather created a gallery of ethereal figures and an abstract portrait of the restaurant with the Las Dos Lunas moons of the logo floating in the ether.

The garden is mysterious and romantic, luxuriant with grape vines, ferns and palms. Low lighting glows over the tables and the art hanging in unusual places. Unlike the characterless eateries frequented by the fly-in-fly-out crew, Las Dos Lunas retains the true essence of the old Ibiza where dining with kings, movie stars and ordinary people was commonplace and there was no such thing as VIP. “It’s familiar,” concludes Lupo. “This place is all about family. It’s very close and warm. It’s got soul.” There are many different ingredients required to create a legend and at Las Dos Lunas , it’s a mix of humility, excellent food, ambience and art, but the final ingredient that takes the restaurant to legendary status is undoubtedly heart.

Visit the White Ibiza restaurants guide to read more and reserve a table at Las Dos Lunas
Food for the soul

One place that manages this seemingly effortlessly, however, is Las Dos Lunas, a restaurant now in its fourth decade with no signs of stopping. Consistently delivering dishes rooted in its hearty Italian heritage, while simultaneously infusing an international twist, it’s no wonder this restaurant has become a favourite among the A-list, and is now ranked among the island’s true culinary gems. Located just outside San Rafael, within walking distance of both Amnesia and Privilege, Las Dos Lunas has been casting an ineffable spell over diners for years. Tucked away behind towering rustic walls, shaded by bountiful bougainvillea and drenched in a shameless cloak of romanticism, there’s just something about the setting here that sets it apart from other restaurants. That’s all part of its unique appeal, because while trends come and go, Las Dos Lunas remains true to its identity, and that’s what draws people back like magnets each and every summer.

Someone who’s played a pivotal role in the restaurant’s continuing allure is head chef Luciano, who has been at the helm of the creative kitchen since 2000. Hailing from Italy but with long periods spent in Germany, Scotland, and of course, Ibiza, he is proud to have created a menu that has stood the test of time, while also being able to showcase his natural flair for the craft. “The plates at Las Dos Lunas look very simple,” he explains. “But actually, they’re not simple at all. Our plates have taken inspiration from some of the world’s best restaurants.” The deliciousness of each dish can in part be attributed to first class, organic ingredients, some of which are sourced from a local, ecological farm, but primarily what makes them sing is the chef’s passion for authenticity – all the dishes you eat at Las Dos Lunas are the real deal – there’s no need for fancy trickery when the recipe speaks for itself. “Everyone thinks that a Milanese is just breaded meat, but it’s not,” he smiles. “This is the only place on the island where you can eat a truly authentic Milanese. Or a risotto, or fresh pasta, or tomato sauce.”

For Chef Luciano, creating magic is all about the products used and the original spirit of a recipe. “We try to work without transforming too much, without changing the essence” he explains. “A fish needs to taste like a fish. Money has never been an issue when it comes to buying products, and this is reflected at Las Dos Lunas.” But he’s modest of course, because a menu’s success also lies with the aptitude of the chef. “I’ve been here for so many years that what’s on the menu now has been chosen out of 500 dishes,” he says. Nevertheless, two or three specials are still added to the list every day. “It comes from inside of me,” he adds. “I suppose it’s like an art.” This all feeds back into the Las Dos Lunas ethos of purity. Here, they’re not chasing fame and fortune. It’s just all about the experience; the craftmanship. With this in mind, this year Las Dos Lunas has launched a menu in memory of the famous 19th century composer Gioachino Rossini, who was a well-known gourmet enthusiast. This one-off menu features an exquisite selection of carefully curated dishes: Meat Cannelloni, Tournedó Rossini, Chocolate Cake with lemon sorbet and mint, to be paired by Las Dos Lunas’s iconic Cocktail Rossini, a bubbling combination of champagne and strawberries.

Even this uniquely designed menu is rooted in Italian gastronomy. “The thing is, these are all things that my family at home would make,” explains Luciano. “My grandmother and mother would be in the kitchen making these dishes. I’ve grown up with these flavours.” He continues: “What’s important for us is to stay classic and traditional. We have no plans to modernise what we’re doing.” What you get at Las dos Lunas is food for the mind, body and the soul, and there’s nothing more iconic than that.

Visit the White Ibiza restaurants guide to read more and reserve a table at Las Dos Lunas
Magic within the walls

Consider the stunning location for a start – clear, deep blue skies, pretty much permanent sunshine, quaint little towns and beaches to die for – you’d be hard pressed to think of somewhere more perfect in terms of setting. Then there are places like Las Dos Lunas, a luxurious restaurant dripping in romance that’s long been a locals’ favourite. A little known secret is that the fine dining destination has now opened its doors to would-be newlyweds, offering its ancient walls as the backdrop for their big day.

Set back just off the road between San Rafael and Ibiza town, this much-loved institution has been open since 1981 – the heady days prior to Ibiza’s renowned ‘Summer of Love’. Back then it was a meeting point for the bohemian up-all-nighters who made the island famous throughout the world. These days, Las Dos Lunas is a more sedate, and extremely sophisticated affair, used primarily for cosy, candlelight dinners and rambunctious rendezvous with family and friends. An air of mischief still hangs in the air however, making it a must visit among the clued up celebrity A-List and a dream destination for those looking to plan an Ibiza wedding with a difference.

The iconic appeal of Las dos Lunas coupled with the fact that its eclectic and gorgeous decor is simply primed to host a celebration makes it an intriguing wedding location. Tall, rustic walls encircle the restaurant, lush palm trees sway in the garden breeze and brightly-coloured bougainvillea tumbles from balconies like petals falling from heaven – a bona fide feast for all the senses. The interior embodies classy but quirky chic, with mosaic harlequin floors, grapevine-sheltered rustic tables and softly-lit corners for whispering sweet nothings to your other half. It’s a fairytale fantasy come true.

All of this existing beauty is simply a canvas for your own wedding vision –at Las Dos Lunas, the expert team are amenable to absolutely any request. Keep the venue exactly as it is – as no doubt many will choose to do, thanks to its natural glamour and famous reputation – or transform the space to match your own specification, perhaps with hanging lanterns dangled here, or additional beautiful florals hung there. If you can dream it, they can bring it to life. The restaurant should be viewed as a private sanctuary for the day, a place where you and your family and friends can feel completely at home, and ultimately, inspired by the beauty of the surroundings.

One of the most important elements of any wedding is the menu and at Las Dos Lunas, this can be built according to tastes. Famous for Mediterranean-inspired dishes that exudes all the charm of a traditional Italian kitchen, you can work alongside the chefs to design a feast fit for a king. Think home-cooked pastas, delicious desserts and freshly-made bread and focaccia baked each and every day in a wood-fired oven, served alongside a wine offering that’s been hand-picked by the restaurant’s knowledgeable owners. Meat is always locally sourced and claims a reputation as some of the best cooked on the island, and all vegetables come direct from the restaurant’s organic garden.

It’s a certified bet that all guests will leave satisfied, with beaming smiles on their faces that could rival the bride and groom. In addition, a host of party sizes can be catered for at Las Dos Lunas. The main terrace comfortably seats up to 150 guests, or 300 for a cocktail reception. The private dining room can host 40 seated guests or 80 for a reception, while the stunning lounge room seat 60 guests for dinner or 100 people for cocktails. Essentially, there’s a space fit for every requirement, and each comes with its own sound system, DJ set up and video projector to ensure the party runs long into the night. Couples should feel free to introduce wedding planners, too – their input and expertise is more than welcome at the restaurant.

Las Dos Lunas is so much more than just a wedding venue – it’s a setting that represents the unique, old school magic of the island, a restaurant perfect for hosting romantic events, and a space in which the happy couple and all of their guests can forge memories to last a lifetime. Who could ask for more on their big day?

Visit the White Ibiza restaurants guide to read more and reserve a table at Las Dos Lunas
Inside Ibiza’s most exclusive party

But unless you were included amongst the very tight guest list of 300 people personally selected by Las Dos Lunas owners Massimo Lucarini and Almudena Robles, you probably wouldn’t have even heard about it, so secretive was the planning and execution of this amazing event!

The event in question was a joint celebration, the 30-year wedding anniversary of the couple and the 31st birthday of the legendary restaurant Las Dos Lunas. Dubbed ‘Aniversario 30 + 1’, the beautiful, crisp invites were sent out personally (expect no pesky Facebook events from this classic venue) to the chosen ones, myself included, with an air of mystery surrounding the evening’s events and the promise of an Italian family feast ensuring all attendees arrived on time (10pm sharp!) and in style…

What I can tell you is that there was a very large Italian contingence on the exclusive list of invitees, plus many other guests hailing from different cities and countries around the world. I met so many amazing and interesting people! My ears were working in overdrive to catch the languages being bantered around – Italian, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and some I couldn’t even identify!

The feast was fit for a king and his entire kingdom, such was its abundance. A buffet style station was set up in one area of the restaurant while finger food was circulated on trays (alongside champagne and vino), meaning there was no chance of ever going hungry or thirsty at this party. Think Las Dos Lunas classics – gazpacho, prawns, ham, dips, focaccia and so much more… my mouth is watering at the memory of it all (though my tummy remembers almost bursting the seam of my skirt at the time!).

Oh the fashion! Oh the glamour! The splendour of it all. My designer radar was also on overdrive – with all that worldly style in one space, it was a feast for the eyes as much as the food was for the taste buds – and I’m talking haute couture creations! You name it, I saw it – Armani, Versace, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Chanel, Givenchy, Roberto Cavalli, YSL, Gaultier, McQueen and the list goes on. And the shoes… oh the shoes! Well, it goes without saying we spied Loubiton, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik among others… at this particular party, looking down at the stars of footwear was as beautiful as looking up at the real stars!

Spectacular performances by an amazing Latino dance couple – all sassy yellow tassles and incredible flexibility, taut muscles and precision moves – on the hand painted terrace and from an emotive opera singer from the flower-clad balcony were the only things on the night that stopped the crowd – so many beautiful people of all ages who really all seemed more like one big family at the end – from socialising… cue jaws agape and tears in the eyes!

While I want to wax lyrical about the total epic-ness of this party, alas, I cannot, having been sworn to secrecy before attending the party… my ongoing discretion means I may be invited to the next event you see, so we wouldn’t want to step on any Gucci-clad toes! But here are just a few things I can let slip…

And that’s all folks! I’m afraid I cannot spill any more beans in this case… especially NOT about what time the party wound up in the very early hours. Perhaps that’s because I’d drunk enough champagne that it’s all just a bit of a blur… Luckily for YOU, you can enjoy the family-style Las Dos Lunas experience every night of the week throughout summer – designer footwear optional of course!

Las Dos Lunas