Here at Boats Ibiza, we spend a fair bit of time dashing between marinas, taking supplies to our fleet of boats and yachts around the Port of Ibiza, Marina Botafoc and the Port of San Antonio. Recently, on our regular dashes to and from glamorous Marina Botafoc, we’d noticed a new restaurant, smack on the corner of the Pacha roundabout: Izakaya Asian Kitchen and Bar. You could tell just by the cool, clean, minimal look of the place that there was going to be sushi, and it was going to be good! So we ran the name by Google and here’s what came up:
“Behind this inspiring idea are renowned hospitality entrepreneurs Yossi Eliyahoo and Liran Wizman, owners and founders of Amsterdam–based ‘THE ENTOURAGE GROUP’ and the Group’s managing director, Stephanie Pearson. The group has already celebrated multiple successes including Amsterdam restaurants MOMO, MR PORTER and THE DUCHESS, and international brand THE BUTCHER, with five locations in Amsterdam and Berlin following the recent opening in Munich. IZAKAYA Amsterdam opened in 2012 and has become a firm favourite of locals, celebrities and the international jet set crowd.”
Loving the cosmopolitan vibe of a Dutch company, with an English managing director & an Isreali owner serving Japanese and Peruvian fusion cuisine in Spain, our curiosity was well & truly aroused. So last week, on a particularly hungry Tuesday, the Boats Ibiza bloggers popped in for lunch.
Meeting up with journalist, author & ace local photographer, Cat Milton, we had a fair bit of business to discuss. We had moderate expectations, hoping simply for a quiet, calm environment with good wifi and some nice sushi. Oh. My. How we were to have our expectations well and truly surpassed.
Library of wines
Easily slipping into one of the abundant free parking spaces along the main road, we arrived a little early for our reservation. Stepping into a wonderfully calming, modern interior, where glimmering walls of beaten, polished metal and acres of bare walnut wood lent a clean, cool vibe to the surroundings, we were immediately and warmly attended to by staff.
I almost let out a little squeal of delight as I noticed the gleaming library of wines, stored properly at optimum temperature, in giant, state of the art steel fridges lining an entire wall. My humble wine-loving heart sang. Moreover, as one of the proud parents of Zack Charilaou, the UK’s top sommelier of 2015, I do recognize a venue that’s serious about its wines. 100% kudos right there & we’d still not even sat down.
Stylish and spacious
Invited to pick a table of our choice, there was momentary hesitation. Should we choose one of the more casual, supremely comfortable looking sofas, a more formal, carefully laid dining table by the window, or take the al-fresco option, by the sunny, stylish, nautical themed swimming pool? The simple sushi lunch we had imagined was becoming more exciting by the minute.
Cool Japanese artistry & hot Peruvian flavours
We opted for some sparkling water & a cool, crisp glass of wine on the terrace to begin with before the sun got the better of us and we retreated to the cool & spacious indoor tables. The menu revealed an extravagant array of Japanese and South American fusion dishes. At the suggestion of our knowledgeable waitress, Sarah, we decided to go for a salmon and avocado ceviche, a simple sounding baby spinach salad with grilled shrimps, Chimichurri beef skewers and crispy rice with spicy tuna tartare.
Sarah explained that all items on the menu would be served as shared dishes. In typical Japanese fashion, dishes are placed, one by one, in the centre of the table (similar to the Spanish tradition of tapas) and everyone helps themselves. The idea is that everyone gets the opportunity to try a new dish. We could, of course, continue to order more plates afterwards as our appetites dictated.
When the dishes arrived about 7 minutes later, the first thing to impress was the exquisite presentation. The salmon ceviche came served winsomely in an avocado shell. The plump salmon chunks (at perfect room temperature) tasted deliciously fresh and flavoursome & the whole affair was garnished lovingly with vibrant dots of red and yellow caviar. Top notch.
The chimichurri beef skewers came cooked medium rare and expertly marinated in a distinctly coriander infused chimichurri. They went down an absolute treat. The combination of crispy rice parcels with their jaunty ‘hats’ of spicy tuna tartare didn’t just taste fabulous but made for a delightful blend of textures too. The surprise knock-out though was the baby spinach salad. The most tender, succulent leaves, blended with subtle shavings of tangy parmesan and delicate wisps of lightly fried spring onion, all served with fat, juicy, expertly peeled and grilled shrimps. Deceptively simple and yet thoroughly outstanding. Skills.
Not a single morsel was left
We cleared those plates at a speed approaching warp, most unusually for yours truly, known for having the appetite of a sparrow & who usually struggles to finish a small bowl of soup. But it all tasted so good, not a single morsel was left on the plates. In fact, I still had space for the next dish, a succulent row of beef tataki with onion ponzu and garlic chips. My lunch companion stared in amazement, as I chatted with our host, Clarissa and polished off 3 or 4 slices with barely a breath taken. By the time this dish was finished, I was immensely satisfied, verging dangerously close to soporific and at first, declined a dessert in favour of a stimulating (ahem) espresso martini. The sunbeds by the pool were looking more attractive by the second.
The espresso martini challenge
I stole a glance over at Cat, a veteran reviewer of the espresso martini. It is rumored that her opinion as to the quality of said beverage has been known to make or break a venue. I shared this information quietly with bartender, Alex. He didn’t bat an eyelid. Confidence!
Our espresso martinis were delivered with a proud flourish and wide smile a couple of minutes later. All eyes rested expectantly upon Cat, as she bent her head to sip. Then the head was raised & the grin became wide as she pronounced:
Well. Most restaurants let themselves down at some point. But this one just hasn’t. Absolutely nailed it.
After making short work of the expresso martinis, we decided to blow caution to the wind and (selflessly, you understand) sample some dessert. My choice, Chocolate Snow – a rich chocolate crumble served with creamy vanilla ice-cream, generous chunks of crunchy caramel and hazelnuts – was an all-singing-dancing explosion of decadent tastes and contrasting textures.
Cat’s choice of Cappuccino Brûlée – a smooth chocolate coffee sensation smothered with a whiskey foam topping – disappeared so quickly I didn’t even get the chance to try it. I swear I only turned my back for 10 seconds! ‘An exquisite blend of flavours,’ Cat enthused, chuckling. ‘And, you can genuinely taste the whiskey!’
8 reasons we love Izakaya Ibiza
- The location is close to both Marina Botafoc and Ibiza Marina. If your yacht (Sunseeker Predator or Disco Volante, for example) is moored at either of these marinas, then Izakaya is most conveniently situated for a lush, pre-sailing breakfast/lunch or indeed, post-sailing dinner.
- The restaurant serves a delicious buffet breakfast from 7am-12pm. A leisurely affair by all accounts with guests invited to choose one item from the a la carte breakfast menu, plus help themselves to the buffet menu until midday. All for a set price. If you like to eat well at breakfast time, this is what you call a fabulous start to the day.
- There is a swimming pool with cabanas, sumptuous sun loungers and big, fluffy towels available to restaurant guests. This makes Izakaya less of a simple restaurant and more of an all-day experience.
- The quality of the cuisine is exceptional. We love exceptional here at Boats Ibiza, and we’re pretty sure our clients do too!
- Exemplary service. When you’re being looked after royally on a yacht all day, it’s nice to ease either from or into a dining experience that provides a similarly attentive & bespoke service.
- The evenings come alive with DJs, lavish performances and an intimate and sophisticated party vibe.
- Great selection of vegetarian options.
- The skilled chefs cater for those with allergies of all kinds, just speak to your server.
What? High-end Japanese and Peruvian fusion cuisine.
Where? Passeig Joan Carlos 1, 1. (off the Pacha roundabout). Take the exit for Pacha and the entrance is immediately on your right. There is ample free parking a few metres further up the road.
When? Breakfast 7am-12pm. Lunch 1-4pm. Dinner 7pm-2am. Pool & bar snacks 1-7pm. Bar only 10pm-4am. Every day until October 31st.
Why? Oh, there are so many reasons why. See our list above!
Who? Discerning types who are prepared to splash out a little on great quality dining. Because you deserve it.
Average spend? Our bill came to around €70-80 per head for 5 x sharing dishes, 2 x desserts, plus sparkling water, 2 glasses of wine and an espresso martini each.
Words | Jane Charilaou Images | Cat Milton & Jane Charilaou
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