Ibiza History Culture

Established 1982
Ibiza Artists Anthropology Bibliomania Ecology History Features


by Gary Hardy




Ibiza has many famous dishes and eating-places as most other towns, cities, islands and countries do and lots of these are typical of the island and not necessarily found elsewhere.

There are an excellent variety of local meats, fowl, fish, shell seafood, pasta, vegetables and sweets to be found and enjoyed in the numerous bars and restaurants scattered around this beautiful island. The meats are generally freshly killed and rarely hung before cooking.

Paella which originated from Valencia is probably the most famous of all the Spanish dishes and is always a tourists attraction. Many of the beach restaurants around the island specialize in a fresh fish paella or a roth marinero (a seaman's fish stew with rice), which are both luscious but much better to enjoy in the afternoon, because they're be too heavy for the stomach to digest properly if eaten at night.

Sopa de pescado (fish soup) is genuine food for the soul and sopa de verduras (vegetable soup) contains a large quantity of haricot beans and both these soups are as close to a full meal in themselves. Gazpacho (cold spicy red peppers and tomato soup) is refreshing especially eaten during the very hot summer months of July and August.

If you prefer a lighter dish the tortillas (omelettes) are always good value because they have a wide choice of fillings. Tortilla española is made with thin sliced potatoes and onions and tortilla de habas is a broad bean omelette and both are favourites amongst the locals.

Bacalao a la vizcaína (Bay of Biscay cod) is possibly as prominent as paella and in like manner memorable. Other fish dishes more readily available are denton o mero al horno (sea bass grilled with onions, tomato and parsley sauce), merluza a la romana o vinagreta (hake in a vinegar sauce), calamares a la plancha (squid rings fried in batter) and salmonetes (Mediterranean red mullet) which are on the small side and can be troublesome to bone.

People who like shell seafood will be able to eat gambas (large prawns) langoustines and langosta (lobster) but these are pricey in the better class of restaurant. Mejillones (mussels) are good and plentiful and not so expensive where they're often served in the tapas bars.

Lechoncillo (roast suckling pig) is a rich and delicious dish that's a must to be tried whilst bistek (beefsteak), sirloin steak (entrecot) fillet steak (solomillo), chuletas (chops) de cordero (lamb) or de cerdo (pork), higado (liver) are always good and fresh and generally excellent to eat with an ensalada (fresh green salad). The local pollo (chicken) is rich red meat similar to lamb because the bird has been reared on grain, maze and grass and not brought up on manufactured chemical products that are substitutes for animal feed.

Fruits and deserts are listed on the menu as postres and the fresh fruit, which varies with the season, is always good and abundant because most of it is grown here on the island. Try the locally grown higos (fresh figs) which are a rare delicacy for tourists to flavour.

Confections, which are very popular with the locals, include various tarts; cakes and ices are always available. Cheese is good but you will always have to ask for mantequilla (butter).

Wrapping-up: Ibiza's tasteful food can also be enjoyed and flavoured during a meal with either a good bottle of vino (wine) tinto (red), blanco (white) or cava (Spanish champagne).

Gary Hardy