Ibiza’s 2nd summer without nightclubs and a continuing 1am closing time has brought about a shift in evening pursuits with gastronomy taking centre stage.
It’s a long time since chicken, chips and salad was a local delicacy and Ibiza’s worst keep secret is that it’s the home of many wonderful restaurants with some of the finest chefs in Europe and the COVID crisis has put them at the forefront of the changing times. So many great restaurants to choose from including the relatively new phenomenon for high quality food coupled with professional entertainment.
This is hardly a new concept, back in the 80’s and 90’s the Ibiza Casino was as good as it got for this type of evening. A glitzy show with semi naked dancers and a headline act such as the Drifters with questionable food and even more questionable drinks served at the table by hordes of waiters. It was all about quantity wrapped up in a fun evening and for about £35 per person was seen as expensive at the time.
When El Divino nightclub closed down and Pacha Group opened Lio almost 10 years ago, a brand new template was created which has now become an island staple. Lio changed the game for the segment with its incredible backdrop, immersive entertainment, glamorous crowd and eye watering prices. Any doubters were soon proved wrong as those trying to book a table found out.
Ibiza business is never slow to follow a winning formula and Heart soon opened mixing a world-renowned chef with a show to provide more competition to a new market that had started to grow as tastes became more discerning and an older target audience with more money to spend.
Meanwhile STK opened, a further addition catering mainly to an upmarket British crowd trading on a reputation of high quality food mixed with a touch of celebrity that only Ibiza can deliver. We’ve also seen Ushuaia enter the market this summer with their Palmarama evening with big names and an international crowd.
All the the Ibiza establishments naturally add their own unique twist or 2 that’s gold dust for the Instagram generation. Glitz, glamour, fine food, cocktails & a quality show all at a price that would be unthinkable only a few years previously.
The new addition to the scene is ‘528 Ibiza’ who have just extended their debut season. It’s an exciting collaboration between an Ibiza creative icon and an island native of the highest esteem. Andy McKay (of Manumission and Ibiza Rocks fame) has joined forces with Bartolo Escandell, one of Ibiza’s favourite sons who has converted the large outdoor terrace at his Benimussa Park into a spectacular venue mixing old and new with a state of the art stage.
The evening will attract the same target audience as the aforementioned but this one feels more authentically Ibiza from the tasting of traditional fine foods on arrival to a sit down menu of quality food, produced locally, all presented and explained with loving care.
The professional show mixes things up from dramatic dance to acrobats to comedy to crowd-pleasing anthemic song while also giving a nod to the islands history with good old Tanit, making an appearance or 2
The fact that this venue has been converted into something so special focussing on fine food, local culture and professional entertainment proves that Ibiza gastronomy is moving forward at a rapid pace of knots with entrepreneurs looking for new gaps in the market to exploit and there appears to be no lack of demand.
This summer season has been full of surprises as the island jostles to find new products to compensate for the short term loss of traditional ones. Ibiza has not been found wanting and in many ways has solidified it’s position as a high quality upmarket holiday destination and fine food under the stars with profesional entertainment is the new wow on the island.