Away from the noise and clubbing hordes, Ibiza has some great restaurants, dishing up wonderful local food and drink to suit all budgets. Here are five of my favourites...
If you think Ibiza is all about clubbing, drunken yobs and sunburnt Brits, forget it! There are some fantastic restaurants scattered around the island, away from the noise, where you can spend big or spend little, depending on the size of your pocket and how glamorous you wish to feel.
For the cheaper pocket, head to Santa Gertrudis in the centre of the island. There are around 16 restaurants in this lovely village with a vibrant hippy feel. Go to Can Costa (Bar Costa), just off the main square by the village church, where you can sit outside in the shade and watch the world go by. There is only really one thing on the menu at this village bar and that is jamon, jamon and jamon, with maybe some cheese thrown in. Toasted flat bread rolls come with a dash of olive oil, a gentle rub of fresh tomato and filled with jamon serrano or all kinds of wonderful jamon iberico, topped with a slice of Manchego cheese. With a cool beer or a glass of red wine, you are then set for a couple of hours' people-watching. Looking small from the outside, it's quite cavernous inside - great for those colder winter evenings. You can get away with €10 per person.
+34 971 19 70 21; Plaza de la Iglesia, Santa Gertrudis.
CAMI DE BALAFIA
If you fancy something more substantial in the evening, head up Carretera San Joan de Labritja (known locally as restaurant road; there are some excellent eating spots springing up along here). One of those you will find is Cami de Balafia, which is set back just off the main road and is frequented by famous and not-so-famous faces. This is the place for meat and, in particular, steak. Great big succulent slabs of it are cooked on a large outdoor BBQ. The other meats served are lamb, rabbit or chicken, which come with a simple onion and tomato salad served with glorious home-made chips. Your hosts are a fantastic local family. In the event of a freak thunderstorm, ample seating can be found inside. Meal: €30-€35 per person with wine.
+34 971 32 50 19; Carretera San Joan de Labritja, km 15.4. Closed Sundays. No credit cards.
RESTAURANT SA CALETA
If it's seafood for lunch you want (in Ibiza this does not start before 2pm), stop just before Cala Jondal (Blue Marlin et al) at Restaurante Sa Caleta. It's situated just above an interesting beach with copper red sand and seaweed. Join the locals and take a bucket and spade, fill with the red sand and sea water and cover your body with this mixture,then roll in the seaweed, and let it all dry in the sun for your free mud pack. After 20-30 minutes, you then jump into the sea to remove it! Once cleansed, move to the restaurant, where you can enjoy typical Ibicenco seafood, all sorts of paellas, fideuás (pasta paella) speciality fish stews and fresh fish like dorada (bream), boquerones (fresh anchovies marinated with garlic, vinegar and olive oil) or Ibicencan pulpo (octopus stew). You can compliment this with a bottle of the local wine (not easy to find but very good, especially the deliciously quaffable rosés). After eating, try the house special, alcohol-infused coffee, café caleta (do not go swimming afterwards!). Next door there is the Chill Inn bar area where you can have a drink or a massage in the shaded garden. Open all year for lunch, and for lunch and dinner in summer. Meal €40-€50 pe person with wine.
+34 971 18 70 95; Platja El bol Nou, Sa Caleta, Sant Josep (just before Cala Jondal).
RESTAURANT ES XARCU
With more money to spend and maybe a boat to moor, head past Cala Jondal, down a precarious dusty path (make sure you are in someone else's car!) to Cala es Xarcu and Restaurant Es Xarcu. If you come by boat, you can anchor just in front of the restaurant and be bought aboard by the restaurant boat service (which may help to explain the cost). Sit in this wonderful tranquil spot overlooking the bay and start with wonderful jamon iberico and pimentons de Padrón (Russian roulette small green peppers; one in ten is very hot - beware!) then share a large fresh fish like San Pedro (John Dory), mero (grouper) or rotja (sea scorpion), all baked in the oven or baked in sea salt, served with peppers and potatoes. Wash down with a fantastic bottle of Albarino wine (from Galicia in the northwest of Spain; great with fish and shellfish) or cava. There is also a large selection of cigars for those that way inclined. Go to the small beach next to the restaurant, which has a few sunbeds, to relax after your blow-out! Meal: €70 per person with wine.
+34 971 18 78 67; Cala es Xarcu, Sant Josep (just past Cala Jondal).
For those who wish to dress up in a sophisticated atmosphere, a night out at Ama Lur (this means "Mother Earth" in Basque) is a must. It's a very classy Spanish affair, with fantastic refined Basque food, using great fresh produce like merluza (hake), rodaballo (turbot), navaja (razor shell clams) and excellent wines (top Riojas, some of which come from the Basque Country, Priorat, Ribero del Duero, etc). The location is a wonderful private country house and for those special moments you can sit outside in the romantic garden. It is expensive - a starter can cost €25, main course €40 and lobster is €135 a kilo.Bearing in mind a good-sized lobster is two kilos, you may need your credit card with you! Quite a few locals think this restaurant is as good as it gets on Ibiza; they could be right. Meal: €100 plus per person if drinking good wine.
+34 971 31 45 54; Carretera Eivissa, Santa Gertrudis km 2.3 (right-hand side from Eivissa); www.restauranteamalur.com
WHERE TO STAY
A great place to stay is Hostal La Torre. Set high up on a cliff above the luscious blue Mediterranean, about 4km outside Sant Antoni, it has a wonderful terrace where the sun sets directly in front of you to the sound of ambient chill-out music. Excellent Ibicencan cuisine, fresh prawns and octopus stew can be enjoyed while you chill. The sunset terrace can get a little busy at the height of summer, when they limit it to people eating and hotel guests. It's a nice place to eat even if you are not staying there. Rooms are overlooking the sea or set around a small garden behind the terrace/restaurant, and are reasonable at around €75 a double.