Experience The Incredible Cuisine of Ibiza, Spain
The Mediterranean diet is widely known as the healthiest way to eat. Eating it on the island of Ibiza is the perfect way to sample all the goodness of Spanish food cooked the best way possible.
One weekend this fall some friends and I had the opportunity to do just that.
Ibiza, variously under the hegemony of every dominant Mediterranean power throughout history, from the Phoenicians to the Moors, has melded the influences of each into its own unique style. The food reflects this ancestry combined with current tastes, because each nationality and culture finds its way to this beautiful island playground. Our dining options were seemingly endless.
The underwater Posidonia Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage site, surround the island and provide a magnificent breeding ground for all manner of seafood. These plants are also responsible for keeping the water so pure and crystal clean. That means great seafood was on every menu. There was a dry, local white wine to go with seafood, and the nearby Spanish mainland with its bounty of wines and meats to draw upon. We ate grandly and often!
Cuisine of Ibiza
I’ll highlight a few of our best meals, or just the best courses of each, in no particular order below so you can see the diversity and excellence of the island fare.
While Spanish breakfast buffets are always extravagant affairs, the best breakfast in Ibiza was over-the-top grand. Besides a full buffet of cereals, pastries, fruits, and the usual selection of self-serve hot dishes, the breakfast at the Ibiza Gran Hotel had an omelet/waffle station, a bread station, a crepe station and a meat station. At each, a smiling courteous chef prepared our selections to order. The quality and diversity of food was amazing!
I’d already eaten the typical Catalan breakfast of jamon & tomatoes on toasted garlic bread (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it) and still I found room for an omelet, a crepe, a slice of one of the 20 varieties of bread and a selection of Spanish hams and sausages. What a hearty way to begin the day. Especially when it is washed down with local Can Rich Blanc de Blanc Cava!
Nobu is a new 5 star hotel on the beach that demands mention. Nobu is also the world’s most recognized Japanese restaurant. It is eponymously named after the Japanese celebrity chef and restaurateur known for his fusion cuisine blending traditional Japanese dishes with Peruvian. And while there are dozens of them around the world, there are a few signature dishes Nobu is known for in each. The most remarkable one I had in Ibiza was the beef.
It was a rare medallion of beef in a spicy fruit sauce, the charred lime meant to be squeezed over it to diffuse the heat. Some of my companions thought it was too hot, but I only used the lime to see how the combination worked. It was delicious both ways. The course before it was little rice dishes with spicy salmon topped with cucumbers, wasabi pearls and in sushi. It was most remarkable in that this is where my limited chop stick skills failed me completely. The rice bowls were my downfall. I asked for and used a fork to eat them. Ever since dining at the 3 Michelin star restaurant “Eight” in Macau, famous for its dim sum, I’ve been shameless when asking for a fork.
My favorite lunch was at the Essence Mediterranean Restaurant on the beach at the Playa de Figueretas, just after kayaking and snorkeling offshore in the Posidonia Meadows.
To drink, they had an organic Blanco from the island’s Can Rich winery. The food paired with the wine was decorative and delicious. Because they offered a plate of lamb two ways, roasted and shredded with gravy, I decided to forego the usual fish to enjoy this mainland treat. Get a look at the vegetable presentation!
The lamb was preceded by an heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic dressing. Such a rich burst of flavors greeted me when I dug into it!
As usual, our meals all ended with the typical lingering conversation and digestives the Spanish call “sobremesa”, and I got to taste my new favorite liquor – the famous “Hierbas Ibicencas” from Ibiza, basically an herbed arujo – here served with a double espresso.
Well my friends, thanks for joining me on this culinary weekend in Ibiza, Spain. There isn’t enough room to show you more – so much more – of what we ate. Cold octopus salad with vegetables, endless cod croquettes, and plates of Jamon Iberico, all served with quantities of cava and wine and Orujo filled our days. There was a “balloon” of mozzarella and other innovative dishes at the wildly inventive Sa Brisa Gastro Bar, where we were seated one evening at an outside table on the newly renovated Vara de Rey. There were simply too many great meals to do them all justice. You’ll have to go and try them for yourself.
This abbreviated account is presented with the wish that all your journeys be safe and all your meals be as beautiful and as tasty as these, shared with such engaging companions and in such picturesque surroundings. Bon provecho!
To learn more about Ibiza check out http://tourism.eivissa.es.