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.