An Off-Season Quickie to Ibiza

When we decided to explore Ibiza, shortly after we moved to Barcelona, it was in blatant defiance of all the famous clubs and parties that consecrated the island.
No, the real reason I celebrated my then 30-year-old self in Ibiza was Formentera. A piece of beach heaven a stone’s throw away from the infamous party island, which I especially recommend you experience in offseason.

The Off-season Ibiza Feel

Completely on purpose, and partly because of the crazy cheap flights, yes – but I am glad we went against the crowds for an extended weekend in Ibiza.
Because, once you crop out clubs, overly crowded beaches, constantly inebriated youth  (hey, I’m 30 now, I am allowed to complain about the youngsters, okay?) Ibiza does have a special charm of its own.

Stepping outside the hotel in Ibiza town, you’re getting an almost rural glimpse into what the island would have been, if the Guetta’s and the Pacha’s and Ushuaïa’s didn’t exist.

Most of the bar joints and terraces had local folk, and the waiters were shaking hands and kissing cheeks like customers were actually part of a family reunion…

The sight made me feel at home but also a little voyeur, craving for an alternate reality where I wasn’t the tourist in the picture.

Formentera, Exotic Paradise Hidden in Ibiza’s Shadow

I had no idea you could actually find these views in the Mediterranean! Apparently, they do exist, and the little corner of heaven is called Formentera.

A short 50-minute ferry trip away from Ibiza, we had this to deal with!

And this is only plain-ole Es Pujols, one of the less scenic beaches on the island! 

From the ferry to Es Pujols, we took the walking route of the Formentera Natural Park, for a spectacular 6 km long panoramic view of the gulf.

We didn’t manage to get to Illetes – the island’s darling beach – but that’s a good excuse for another weekend away, #amirite?

And here’s why Telegraph named it Best Beach in Europe last year:

The Food though..

With all the great food back in Barcelona, I can only say I was unexpectedly disappointed.

In my brief stay – and admittedly only judging by the offers in Ibiza Town & Formentera – I found food & dining to be (most of the time) well below mediocre.

Being such a popular and incredibly touristy destination, my guess is:
Ibiza finally gave up on quality on its food, much like the Paris restaurants gave up on service.

Dining at Essence

So when we found Essence, we were pretty blown away.

The restaurant at One Ibiza Suites was by far the culinary highlight of our trip.

We went in early at around 7 PM, so we were of course met with a deserted restaurant.
I was actually halfway out the door when I heard there was no drinks menu available ( nothing says ripoff better than no menu).

We did appreciate the clean fresh look of the place though, so we stayed, for what we didn’t know would be a deliciously satisfying dinner.

I had a good chuckle with the waiter when he mistakenly assumed my order was the octopus dish, instead of the (huge piece of) roast lamb.

Slow cooked lamb @ Essence restaurant, Ibiza

We were both equally surprised: me by the size of the rack (wink) and him – well, by the fact I was the one having it.

While I was gleefully eating away at the luscious.. mouth-watering.. slow roasted lamb (yes, I am in love with my food!) I couldn’t help appreciate the irony of the situation:

I had actually left the hotel in search of a plain Greek salad!

The octopus with violet potatoes and mahon cheese was also pretty appealing.

Octopus dish at Essence restaurant, Ibiza

And why not order a bottle of cava (or two…) to go with the muffled Sade music ?
Hey! In my defense, the waiter had brought out the heaters and I was really dreading the cold evening, so ..


It was all so good actually, that we went back again the next day, if only to try their desserts.
And try we did!

The Oriental cheese cake  with yuzu & spices probably qualifies as the best dessert I’ve had this year!

The pistachio volcano with ricotta ice cream was also flawless.

And I can’t recommend  their chocolate sunrise dessert enough, for what was easily a plate for sharing.

Next time- There will be a next time

Maybe next time we’ll consider also booking our stay at the Hotel One Ibiza Suitesowner of the Essence restaurant.
The place has only been opened since last summer, but they’re already ranked an impressive 9.2 on (sporting over 400  guest reviews).

It must mean the hotel and their rooftop pool is just as impressive as their restaurant.

I guess the trick is to always leave a little something out, on your first visit. That way, you have a reasonable excuse to come back, eh? 😉

After all’s been said and done, Ibiza is definitely well worth the off-season trip.

Do it, to believe it!
Happy wandering!
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