BEST BEACH CLUBS FOR LUNCH LUNCHES (w/ good food)
Ideal spots to while away the day with sun loungers for hire, cool tunes and enough rose and good eats for a long boozy lunch.
Playa den Bossa. Iberican ham sliced to order: check; fresh oysters shucked on the spot: check. From the people behind longtime favourite El Chiringuito (below), comes this flawless lunch spot, featuring terrific Italian/Spanish cuisine in a chic, beachy setting complete with a live DJ spinning the crowd into a relaxing groove. Parents will love the kids activity area which will keep the little ones entertained throughout those long boozy lunches. A perfect place to fuel up before a stint in Ushuaia just 10 minutes walk down the beach.
Es Cavallet. This is the chichi-est of the beach clubs - a sprawling space of white and wood, with refined cuisine and some of the best people-watching on the island. While it's billed as a "beach house", the restaurant is set so far back from the sea that it's not got the same half-dressed informality as Blue Marlin or Jockey Club.
Ses Salines. An Ibiza institution since opening in 1993, this is my top pick for a long boozy lunch with great DJs, strong cocktails and yummy food overlooking clear turquoise waters with a fun-loving crowd. Early birds will be able to snag a sunlounger, otherwise reservations are recommended; the place empties out by 7pm.
Cala Jondal. Our original favorite for traditional Spanish beachside dining (jamon, paella, whole roasted fish), we loved that it was a more casual, rustic counterpoint to its flashy neighbor Blue Marlin. It's now part of the same operation, though retains its more laid back vibe.
Cala Jondal. One of the original, party beach clubs on the island, this is where the superyacht, jet-set crowd still hangs out (think St Tropez' 55, St Barth's Nikki Beach, Mykonos' Nammos). While I feel this place is somewhat past its prime (gone are the Sunday flamenco sessions with Paco Fernandez), anyone who comes to Ibiza should visit at least once. Great for people-watching, the upscale modern European fare is excellent, the service is tight and the place always attracts a party crowd with its big name DJs on deck.
Amante Beach Club
Santa Eularia. Set high above Sol den Serra beach, a number of friends have rated this as a top spot for lazy rose lunches, citing delicious food and gorgeous views. But don't expect to swim here, as the beach is somewhat rocky with strong currents.
Note: Sister restaurant Aiyanna opening in June 2017, located a bit further north along the coast on Cala Nova, is already boasting better beach frontage.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
**TOP PICK Lunch at Juan y Andrea at Playa de Illetas, Formentera
Welcome to the most chi-chi, toes-in-the-sand, 4 hour lunch around! You’ll know you’ve arrived as you weave your way through the megayachts to get to a mooring before the restaurant’s dinghy whisks your party to shore (though it’s an easy swim too). If not arriving by charter, the ferry from Ibiza to Formentera takes around 30 minutes and you can hire mopeds/bikes/cars or take a taxi once on the other side.
Can Vicent or Restaurant Balneari
Cala Carbo, San Jose.
There are two restaurants at this very local, low-key beach - both have excellent food and service, though Balneari has a better position looking out over the beach (compared to Can Vicent, which is basically in the parking lot).
They are both family-run offering excellent versions of the classic Iberian dishes: gazpacho, cipperones, padron peppers, boquerones, mixed paella etc. Respective standouts are Can Vicent's calamar frito (sauteed calamari, garlic, peppers and fried potatoes) and Balneari's whole oven-roasted fish (eg. John Dory).
Playa Es Torrent, San Jose. One of the island's (and tourists') most beloved beachside seafood restaurants with wonderful paella, fideua, Ibizan fish stew and salt-baked fish underneath the pines. The small bay is a lovely place to relax after lunch, though is subject to swell and wind on certain days.
Porroig. A well-kept secret, this small restaurant is perched on the rocks on the side of a lovely little cove on the south part of the island. All the usual favorites are here - gazpacho, boquerones - along with a wide range of fresh oven-roasted fish.
Other daytime options on Formentera
Chezz Gerdi at Es Pujols
Top villa rental and concierge service Dynamic Lives (www.dynamiclives.com) recommends this popular Italian late-night dining spot as a top choice for a leisurely lunch of fresh made pastas, pizzas, steak and seafood with stunning sea views.
Located at the far southern end of the same stunning beach as Juan y Andrea (Playa Iletes), the crowd and vibe is decidedly more low-key and casual, but the typical dishes (salt-crusted fish, paellas, jamon) and service are comparable. Tender service provided.
An even more low-key alternative to Juan y Andrea set back on a large swathe of beach just to the south, the food is excellent, the service is friendly and there's a live DJ who spins groovy EDM to set the perfect chillout vibe. They also provide tender service if you're arriving by boat. Only drawback is the beach out front can be rocky in places.
Best options for sundowners on Ibiza
Cap des Falco (en route to Salinas). After DC10 but before Jockey Club, hang a right and head through the salt flats where you'll find this rustic gem at the end of the road. They serve lunch and dinner, but what you're really here for are the mojitos and the sunset views interrupted only by distant planes on their final approach to touchdown. Reservations are recommended, as sunloungers and tables are hard to come by inside the final hour of sunshine, but there's plenty of hillside to sit and chill, and a small dock from which to take a dip.
Cala Conta. A welcome new addition to my usual itinerary since my first visit in 2016, the view is stunning here with the sun setting into the sea straight out in front of the restaurant. It's a casual, hippy kind of place perched on a rocky outcrop looking out over two unspoilt beaches, and the live "sunset sessions" music starts hitting into high gear once the sun has dipped below the horizon. The location is somewhat remote - 30 mins to the west of Playa den Bossa - but well worth the trip.
Cafe del Mar
San Antonio. One can't not mention the home of the world's most famous chillout music franchise and Cafe del Mar is arguably the only reason one should come to this part of the island. It's Ibiza's original sunset bar on the so-called "Sunset Strip" (open since 1980) and any fan of these beloved compilations should make effort to get here once.
Cala D'Hort - Restaurant El Carmen
+34 971 18 74 49
There are three restaurants on Cala d'Hort, all boasting awesome seaviews with Es Vedra in the distance and garnering similarly positive reviews for the food and service. My pick is Restaurant el Carmen, which has the best frontal position overlooking the beach. Reservations especially for the frontline tables are recommended (and honored); if already booked, try Es Boldado or Restaurant Cala D'Hort.
Dinner in/near town
At the Km5.6 mark on the highway from Eivissa to Sant Josep. This sprawling Bedouin-style open-air lounge and restaurant is a great spot every night of the week. Plenty of snug areas to pitch up to, there’s also a small indoor club that always has the potential to blow up, and an intimate gallery and clothing boutique for impulse buys. Excellent Mediterranean fare, especially the grilled steaks.
Ibiza Old Town. This family-run Mediterranean restaurant has been one of the few reliable places to eat within the Dalt Vila since opening in 1977. The pretty garden and city wall setting is an utterly charming spot to enjoy the house speciality grilled meats and lobster paella.
La Bodega Tapas
Ibiza Old Town. One of the better tapas bars on the island with a lovely location next to the city walls.
Sta. Gertrudis. A local and in-the-know expat favorite, this is Italian dining in an intimate, neighborly setting. Super kid-friendly with a playground out back.
San Antonio. Open for more than 30 years, this is one of the more atmospheric dining spots on the island. Tucked away in the hills in far from brash San Antonio, the charming late 16th century church design (it was never actually consecrated) built from rough-hewn stone features soaring vaulted ceilings, arches and iron-clad chandeliers. Signature dish is the beef sizzling on a hot stone.
Where to Eat: Ibiza and Formentera
Oven roasted fish, Yemanja, Cala Jondal
Fried anchovies, El Chiringuito, Es Cavallet
Seafood paella, Es Torrent, Porroig
THE dish: calamari, peppers and potatoes, Can Vicent, Cala Carbo
Es Xarcu, Porroig, Ibiza
Lovely place to eat. Es Torrent, Porroig
Seafood fideua and salt-baked fish, Juan y Andrea, Formentera
Nice spot for a pre-dinner drink, L'Elephant (down the street from El Ayoun)
Tapas bar alongside the Old City walls. Bar La Bodega