MINIMUM spend lunches at €250-a-head, €700-a-week hire cars, Michael Gove on the dancefloor. Yikes! Is it any wonder Ibiza’s been a little quieter this summer.
Ask any regular visitors or business owners and they’ll tell you the same thing; the White Island is anything but empty, but there are definitely fewer visitors than last year.
Meanwhile, getting a restaurant booking is still advisable weeks before you arrive, while the service has noticeably gone south, thanks to anyone on a waiter’s salary struggling to afford a rental.
Could it be that the hippest island in the Med has finally boiled over? Priced itself out of the market?
Well, maybe in some cases, but there is still excellent quality at a decent price to be had if you hunt around a little.
Take my advice and carefully look at the photos on Google or TripAdvisor, which I normally hate, and you’ll hopefully see a photo of the menu, or some recent bills, and you’ll be able to cut your cloth.
In the meantime, here is a cutout and keep list of five of the best good value places to eat on the island.
It doesn’t have a sign, hardly has a website and there is almost nothing to read about it online.
And while it has the feel of a pop up and lacks any fanfare the young team at Nudo will be here to stay (if they fancy it).
Don’t be put off by the location beside the outsized Invisa holiday club at Playa Figueral, this is easily one of the current dining secrets in Ibiza.
The creativity at play is impressive, while the freshness is second to none.
Real market-style cooking the team, including Edo, Jessy, Jose and Francesca all did their time at Copenhagen’s famous Noma restaurant (once voted the World’s Best), while Jose helped open sister restaurant Inua in Japan and worked for the group in Tulum, in Mexico.
“We are two Italians, a Catalán and a Guatamalan and we love to cook,” he told the Olive Press. “I was all set to wow Kyoto with the new Noma but Covid ended that. Now we are giving Ibiza a good go.”
That was clear when out came his Scallop carpaccio, with lemon zest, wild rose oil and local horseradish – eaten by hand!
While his amberjack ‘tiradito’, with tomatillo, a Mexican spicy tomato grown for the team on the island, was an education, as was his superfresh ‘rocket koshu’.
The smoked eggplant ‘bikini’ with scamorza and miso was a dreamy sandwich worthy of the Ritz, while a fried fish taco in iceberg lettuce with a Tarragon mayonnaise made my wife admit that ‘sometimes’ she does like fish!
Simple wooden tables and a mix and match of chairs in all shapes and sizes make up the scene, while 95% of the lemmings below have not the slightest clue what they’re missing.
So good was the barbecue peaches with rosemary pudding served with yoghourt ice cream, we quickly ordered the only other pudding left, a stunning chocolate torte with figs and fig jelly.
You look across to the amazing Tagamago island where the likes of Ronaldo and Messi stay for their holidays. I bet they’ve never heard of it either.
This is one super hot Italian worth tracking down in Santa Gertrudis in the heart of the island.
The sister of a celebrated New York joint, the originality of the food is only matched by the quality of its ingredients, much of it gluten-free.
A favourite with families with its numerous fresh focaccias, the sharing platter is a real winner with four or five choices, including bacon, ricotta and figs or sweet pumpkin and Gorgonzola.
The menu changes daily but often includes the burrata, which came with toasted crushed hazelnuts with fresh green pesto and diced strawberries… It was creamy and light in equal measures.
The artisan-dried Paccheri pasta came with toasted vegetables and thick lamb ragu, while the vegetable side dishes, including crispy Italian broccoli with pepperoncini and beans with shaved almonds and garlic, never tasted so good.
My advice; do not pass on the vanilla panna cotta with wild strawberries, honey and pollen to finish. This is one of the best I’ve eaten.
CASA KICA – restaurant and store
Another new spot with a great shady garden between San Carlos and Santa Eulalia – Casa Kika should do well.
While it initially feels like you are sitting in a furniture shop (because you actually are with everything for sale), the menu focuses on good quality local produce.
The tables are all laid out with African cushions and fans hanging from the giant willow tree.
The lunch menu is simple, focusing on light, cooling bites, so expect plenty of salads, such as the green papaya salad, which comes with prawns.
Then there is the ‘rainbow’ of tomatoes with tuna belly, ‘padron’ green peppers, a free range beef carpaccio with black truffle and a smoked wild salmon poke, with avocado, cucumber, soy beans and spring onions.
Lamb tacos were great for the kids, with onion confit, red cabbage and Japanese spring onions.
There are always specials of the day, including a good value ‘frita de Calamar’ which looked like a dog’s dinner but tasted great and was gentle on the pocket at 8 euros.
CALA XARRACA and CALA XUCLAR
These two local beach spots in the north of the island, near Sant Joan, are among the best for good value, no nonsense dining.
The former has been very unfairly slammed on Google, but has really turned things around and you get to sit right on one of the nicest beaches, perfect for rock jumping and snorkling.
The menu is simple, but the fish is fresh and the hamburgers will keep the kids happy. You can’t book, but our waiter Nacho ensured we didn’t wait long and came and found us when a table came up.
For better quality food and somewhere you will definitely need to book, chiringuito Cala Xuclar is a surefire winner.
It doesn’t have a website and you can only pay by cash, so be aware, but the creativity and quality of the food makes up for it.