The arrival of September in Ibiza is like a sweet sigh of relief. Temperatures drop back to the balmy mid-20s, there’s space on the beach, far less traffic and dining out becomes de rigueur again as islanders make the most of the island’s open-air restaurants before they close for the off-season months. Those in the know are making a beeline for the far end Ibiza’s bustling port, where an Argentinian collective have spent the past few months putting their own unique stamp on the island’s gastronomic map. Sister restaurants Casa Sudaca and Marea Ibiza Club are where South American culture is fused with an authentic Ibiza soul – once discovered, you’ll want to visit again and again.
Presiding over a prominent patch of prime port real estate, in one sense the two restaurant concepts are worlds apart – Casa Sudaca specialises in grilled meats, while Marea Ibiza Club is all about the delicacies of the sea – however the two share the vibrancy, warmth and conviviality that is typical of their Argentinian heritage. Led by a team of passionate entrepreneurs and world-renowned chefs alongside a hand-picked team of ever-smiling staff who make every dining experience a special occasion, the open-door ethos of both eateries means absolutely everyone is welcomed across the threshold as if they were old friends. Such is the way of the Sudaca…
In the local vernacular, the word Sudaca is used to refer to South Americans, and it’s a phrase that many identify with proudly – but it wasn’t always the way. In the 1980s, when many South American immigrants arrived in Madrid, the term was intended to as a slur, but Sudacas are nothing if not resilient by nature. Rather than take offense, over time they reclaimed (and indeed, upcycled) the word, declaring themselves Sudacas with pride, pleasure and a dash of irony. So, when Casa Sudaca opened its doors in Ibiza’s port in June 2021, the name was like a proud statement of intent – come on in, immerse yourself in our world. And what a world it is.
Subtly decked out in the colours of Argentina – dusky pinks reminiscent of the lagoons of Patagonia, earthy desert tones, soft yellows and golds like the sands of Mar de Plata, the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean and a touch of forest green like the mountainous Andes – there’s an intentional sense of familial style at Casa Sudaca. Comfortable yet cosmopolitan, relaxed and buzzing at the same time, it’s the kind of restaurant that’s been designed to lure guests in with no intention of rushing them out the door. Dinners here are not rushed – from the first sip of your aperitivo to the very last chupito, you’re encouraged to settle in and feel completely at home.
The menu showcases an extraordinary selection of meat, lovingly prepared in a typical Argentinian style by revered ‘Chef del Fuego’ Martin Vazquez. Born in Patagonia, his culinary journey led him to Ibiza in 2014 and he’s been presiding over some of the island’s most famous grills ever since. Today, manning the fiery coals of Casa Sudaca, he is in his element, infusing each dish with a unique smokey essence that only serves to enhance its pure flavour. It’s obvious the team from Casa Sudaca go to the ends of the earth and back again – quite literally – to source ethically farmed meat for their revered grill. Nebraska, Uruguay, mainland Spain and the local farms of Ibiza supply Vazquez and his team the finest cuts to work their magic on.
If you’re not feeling the carnivorous vibes, there’s also an abundance of fresh and hearty salads made with local, seasonal and organic produce, the island’s very best provoleta, plus a line-caught sea bass cooked to perfection with fresh herbs on the Casa Sudaca menu. Side dishes are plentiful and portions are generous – sharing is recommended so you can try them all. The soundtrack is as carefully curated as the menu – this is Ibiza, after all – and the super friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to recommend the perfect wine or bespoke cocktail to match your meal, or your mood. The overall experience is one of pure pleasure, and it’s easy to see why the restaurant boasts a staunchly loyal clientele after just three months of operations.
Right next door, the buzzing vibes at Marea Ibiza Club are equally as appealing and its tranquil turquoise décor puts you in an instant seaside state of mind. On this menu, the mighty fish is the protagonist and each and every sustainable catch is in the expert hands of one of the world’s most esteemed chefs when it comes to fish. Patricio Negro trained in the three Michelin-starred kitchen of Martín Berasategui at Lasarte and its three-star counterpart Da Vittorio in Italy before opening his own incredible restaurant, Sarasanegro in Mar de Plata, Argentina, in 2003. To this day, there are Argentinians who will happily cross the vast nation just to sample Negro’s signature cuisine – fortunately for Ibiza locals, you don’t need to travel any further than the port.
Negro’s new horizons may look a little different at Marea Ibiza Club, but his kitchen philosophy remains the same. Each dish must allow the simplicity and freshness of the seasonal fish to shine, with much attention to detail paid to texture and temperature when cooking – or not cooking, as the case may be with many of the raw dishes on offer. Plates are as beautiful as they are tasty, with multiple levels of flavour emerging through marination, garnishes and salsas, all made to Negro’s exacting standards. Tiraditos, fresh tartars, ceviche, carpaccio – the umami levels are off the scale here.
Creamy rice (arroz cremoso) is one of the restaurant’s specialties and it’s truly in a league of its own. With just enough broth to make it fluffy, the perfect amount of crispiness around the edges and taste-sensational combinations like grilled squid with truffle oil or octopus and paprika, the menu brings the treasures of the sea right to your plate. Just like its sister restaurant offers an alternative to meat, Marea Ibiza Club presents a tender rib-eye and a flavour-filled marinated pear and gorgonzola salad as an alternate option, and it shares the same home-style welcoming vibes that encourage guests to stay at their tables until closing time, making their way through the exceptional wine list or sampling the wide selection of classic and contemporary cocktails.
This little slice of Argentina has elevated the port’s gastronomy scene in 2021, returning it to its former glory as a destination tourists and locals alike flock to for fine food, fantastic company and exceptional service. With palm trees lining the streets, the Mediterranean Sea sparkling before your eyes and the iconic skyline of Dalt Vila creating an impressive backdrop, it’s one of the most beautiful settings in Ibiza. And now, with this charismatic cast of Sudacas putting their own unique stamp on the area, there are even more reasons to make an evening of it. Watch the kaleidoscopic colours of sunset swirl over the port before a twinkling blanket of stars settles over for the night while you dine – and then do it all again, next door, before the season comes to an end.