A beautiful, sun-dappled garden restaurant in the small village of San Lorenzo, bang in the middle of Ibiza, which hasn’t faded from vogue with the island’s boho types in 15-odd years. And for good reason: Tuscan owner Mouji’s simple but colourful, Mediterranean-Middle Eastern cooking is rarely less than stunning. For lunch, expect a choice of bright, tangy salads and two delicious pastas. Highly recommended so don’t chance it: book ahead.
Carrer Can Pou, 4, Sant Llorenç de Balàfia
You need to pay top whack at many of Ibiza’s cliff-edge, sea-view tables but not, happily, at Es Boldado – a nothing-fancy local restaurant with an outdoor terrace that has one of the most coveted vistas in Ibiza. It excels in classic, very well-done Spanish cooking, such as the absurdly tasty paella or the local speciality bullit de peix (a rich, white-fish stew served with rice). A local favourite. Book ahead or, at weekends at least, forget it.
Es Boldado, Playa Cala d'Hort
Cala Nova Bay, on Ibiza’s north-east coast, is just 25 minutes’ drive from the island’s capital but it’s a world away from the tourist bustle. It’s a perfect spot for Aiyanna, with its laid-back boho vibes: bright Guatemalan parasols flutter in the breeze as Cuban beats soundtrack a menu big on Eastern-Med-inflected plates such as grilled watermelon, piled high with goats’ cheese, and fish and meat charred on the grill. Nothing is overly complicated, but all is executed to perfection. They say their roasted cauliflower is the best around and it would be hard to disagree.
Playa de, Av. Cala Nova
Repeatedly described as the best vegan restaurant in Ibiza, and that feels right to us. It's based in the village of Santa Gertrudis, and the kitchen lovingly doles out vivid, wonderfully creative, plant-based plates that are artfully presented but not at all pricey. A cold fruit smoothie here on a hot Balearic morning feels like finding money. Or come to lunch on the buzzed-about Buddha bowl of quinoa, beluga lentils, broccoli, kimchi and much else.
Carrer Venda de Can Llàtzer 9, Santa Gertrudis,
Bottega Il Buco
Another table well worth the trip inland, this first outpost of Donna Lennard’s cult New York restaurant Il Buco is set in chic Santa Gertrudis and does immaculate, home-style Italian cooking that aspires to nothing more than to satisfy on the simplest of terms. Meaning? Straightforwardly prepared dishes made from well-sourced local ingredients where even the farm salad (greens, fennel, orange, pistachio) is worth a postcard home.
Carrer Vénda de Parada 12, Santa Gertrudis
Aubergine By Atzaró
This gorgeous, country-chic, farm-to-table restaurant between Santa Gertrudis and San Miguel pulls a steady stream of peak-season pretty people who leave the coast for Ibiza’s rural heartland for a menu of light, health-conscious salads and beautifully presented mains. Open with the raspberry-halloumi starter with apple, lettuce and asparagus and peak with something like the royal taboulé with red shrimp. But, really, everything is good here.
Carrer de San Miquel
Comidas Bar San Juan
A lovable Ibiza rarity: an old-school, seriously inexpensive, family-run-and-owned bar in Ibiza’s Old Town that appears gleefully unmoved and unchanged by its home’s incarnation as glam party isle. Repeat visits are not unheard of for the young, budget-conscious diners who stop by for the generous-sized plates of classic pan-Iberian cooking, which runs from fritto pulpo (fried octopus) with chips to steaming hot seafood paella and everything in between.
Carrer de Guillem de Montgrí 8, Ibiza Town
This fancy Ibiza old-timer on the Es Cavallet coast is more than two decades old, but still feels very much in the summer of its vogue as the island’s in-the-know return week after week for the soulful seaside views and stepped-up seafood dishes. There are two specialities here: the homey 'Yaya' ('granny' in Catalan) paella, and the ace salt-wrapped and baked sea bass. Book ahead and plan to linger.
Playa Es Cavallet, Sant Jordi
Restaurante Camí de Balafia
Worth the road trip every time: this no-fuss, country-rustic all-dayer close to the itty-bitty village of Sant Llorenç de Balafia does charcoal-grilled meat of such divine deliciousness you may mourn when you finish it. And, no, it’s not just steak (though, to be clear, that’s a huge, huge win here). Rabbit or chicken is usually on the menu but, either way, everything comes with chips and salad. See, no fuss. Even so, advance booking strongly recommended.
Lugar Venda de Balafia de Dalt 25, Sant Llorenç de Balafia
The Giri Café
Yup, the restaurant at this gloriously handsome boutique design hotel is a destination in its own right. And no wonder when the setting is stylish (book ahead for the garden tables), the crowd unpretentious and the food so, so good. Expect creative but still hefty plates of health-smart, holiday soul food that pay beautifully presented homage to ingredients from across the island. The vitello tonnato (thin-sliced veal) with crispy capers and pistachio: wow.
Calle Principal, 3-5, San Juan Bautista
The term 'hidden gem' is so common and yet so rarely merited – but not in this case. Yes, this is by no means a secret but, even so, for Ibiza first-timers there’s a wonderful sense of in-on-it discovery when you roll up to this tiny, unassuming restaurant in its own cove at the north end of Cala Mastella. Book ahead for one of two lunch-time services: noon or 2pm (no dinner). Order the delicious local bullit de peix (Ibizan-style fish stew).
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