I’m sure there are some great little tapas bars in Ibiza. After all, despite its party reputation Ibiza is still an island off the coast of Spain with everything that suggests about food and wine. Sadly, I can’t say I found them on my Ibizan holiday last weekend. A big group of my friends had hired a villa and so we mainly ate there but we did manage to fit in two long and lazy beach side lunches which are worth writing about.
Blue Marlin is practically the definition of hedonism. Lunch at one of the all white tables on the decking easily turns into some quality time soaking up the sun on the lounges and day beds before a swim and then back to the bar for more drinks. The most popular drink at the restaurant has to be the rosé sangria served in a fruit filled pitcher and sparkling in the sun. As for the food, Chef Christian Dintl’s menu is unusually broad skipping from sushi to tandoori chicken. There isn’t much that could be viewed as Spanish cuisine, but lets face it, this isn’t a locals restaurant. One of the only Spanish menu items is the jamon (€30) which is arranged in thin vibrant ribbons on a large plate and accompanied by crostini and tomato salsa. It is good, nutty jamon at a premium price.
The jamon is a better choice than the Caprese salad (€15). Caprese is entirely reliant on the quality of the ingredients used and when it is made with ripe tomatoes and creamy buffalo mozzarella there is almost nothing better to eat on a sunny day. Unfortunately Blue Marlin’s version is made with watery, tasteless tomatoes. Instead, the best dishes on the menu are those featuring seafood. Juicy king size prawns coated in a crisp tempura batter (€10) are satisfying. A crisp skinned fillet of sea bass with a miso sauce is light and teams well with the bed of soft, wilted spinach it sits on (€30). The prawn tagiatelle contains generous quantities of prawns coated in a creamy sauce (€19).
Miso sea bass
The dessert menu is fairly limited and I suspect most people don’t make it that far. Chocolate macademia tart (€10) is dense with a requisite touch of bitterness however it is sullied by the mascarpone icecream it is served with which is icy rather than smooth and creamy. Service is of the space cadet variety with our waitress constantly wandering off and taking an age to bring anything. It would have been incredibly irritating if we were in any sort of hurry but luckily our only other appointment for the day was with the beach beds.
If you stick to the seafood and ignore the bad service Blue Marlin is the perfect for an Ibizan long lunch.
Details: Calal Jondal, Ibiza, Spain (Ph +34 97 141 0117)
Damage: Pricey at around €80 a head including drinks
The Jockey Club
There are lots of beach side restaurants in Ibiza but the best of the bunch are those that have perfected a laid back casual dining atmosphere. The Jockey Club does cruisy and relaxed in spades. Rustic, wooden tables sit on the decking overlooking the beach. The racing theme is conveyed by the odd equestrian portrait on the ope
n air walls and the staffs themed tshirts.
Unfortunately the chef seems to take a rather casual approach to the food as well. The menu is seafood heavy and although the produce all seemed to be good quality it lacks in execution. The tuna salad (€17) almost contains too much seafood and not enough salad. The tuna is finely diced almost like a tartare and served on rolled slices of smoked salmon. It is a fish fest but could have done with the odd lettuce leaf rather than the random slices of strawberry that decorated the plate.
The highlight of the seafood platter for two (€58) is the squid which is slippery fresh from the sea. The scallops are absolute monsters, fat and juicy and the prawns are similarly giant sized but disappointingly there is only two of them. The platter also comes with a big bowl of mussels which seems an unusual addition and I can’t remember being featured on the menu. At this price I would have liked some of the big ticket seafood items like lobster, crab or oysters or at the very least more than two prawns.
The best option is probably the sushi which is available from a separate menu and works out at around €2 a piece. The fresh octopus was tender and just about perfect. To finish, huge platters of fresh fruit (€18) were the order of the day. However, given that prices were similar to the superior Blue Marlin I know where I would return to for a long beach side lunch.
Details: Playas Salinas, Ibiza, Spain (Ph +34 971 395 788)
If you liked reading this you might be interested in London’s best tapas at Barrafina or in Spain try Nou Manolin.