Sa Capella – Interview with Owner, Carlos
Set in the outskirts of San Antonio but giving the impression that you
are in the middle of nowhere, Sa Capella is one of the reasons that
Ibiza has caught the imagination of foodies from the four corners of the
globe. Originally meant to be a church, the 350 year old building
provides a dramatic backdrop for your meal and that’s only the beginning
of the drama. The menu, the staff, the setting and the delivery combine
to provide culinary theatre that will live in the memory long after the
food has been digested!
Essential Ibiza caught up with owner Carlos to get an insight into the
magic behind this legendary eatery…
What is the history of the building?
We don’t know the exact year of construction of the building, as the
authorities couldn’t give us any details, but some historians believe
that the building is between 300 and 350 years old. It is a known fact
that is was meant to be a church, but it never had the chance to be
We don’t know the exact reasons, although there is a legend which says
that while the building was in construction and almost finished, the
workers would keep the construction materials inside in order to
continue the following day. But when they opened the doors the following
day there was no sign of the construction materials – they would always
appear in the village, some distance away, in the location that later on
became the actual church of San Antonio.
People started thinking that the divinity didn’t want the church to be
in Sa Capella, but in the location that is now the church of San
Antonio. It was then that the Church decided to close down the building
and it lay abandoned for some time. After some years it was sold to a
person for 125 pesetas and became a family home until 1975, when Mrs
Pepita died, the last person to live in it.
There are rumours that the restaurant is haunted, is this true?
Before it became a restaurant, Sa Capella was the home of Mrs. Pepita, a
mysterious woman who used to spend a lot of time on her own, who dressed
in black most of the time and who took care of the animals. I remember
that as a child I would see her cooking and sharing space with goats and
chickens. She died in one of the side chapels at 90 years of age, and
since then, the glasses in this chapel break without any apparent
How would you describe the restaurant?
The restaurant was inaugurated in 1980 and it is set in the outskirts of
San Antonio, in an antique, rural place. It is eight to nine metres
tall, with small chapels, rock walls and a terrace with a small garden.
It offers Mediterranean cuisine with a special touch: salads, creams,
fish, meat and handmade desserts. The atmosphere is special due to the
surroundings, low lighting and candles as well as classic or chill out
music. The personnel of the restaurant are welcoming and friendly and
dressed up in traditional suits of the island. Sa Capella displays an
atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that often reflects itself on the
mood of our customers.
What are your specialities?
We have various Mediterranean cuisine specialties, and among them we may
offer for starters dishes like hot cream of tomato soup with mozzarella,
basil oil and crispy pizza, or the tomato and rocket salad with
macerated sardine toast and light strawberry sauce. We would also
recommend the ‘Micuit Foie’ with balsamic reduction and coloured
flavours, and the fresh prawns of Ibiza on a salty grill. You may also
find here specialties made of fresh fish, like red tuna cubes with soya
sauce, Chinese noodles and shitake. Likewise, we offer meat specialties
and our strongest recommendation would be the ox steaks baked on a stone
over a bed of salt. The best handmade dessert we can recommend is the
strawberry pepper soup with chocolate cake, balsamic and cream ice
cream, and the Crepes Suzette with vanilla ice cream.
Ibiza has a fiercely competitive restaurant market, how does Sa Capella
set itself apart from the rest?
Apart from the history of the building, which interests many people, Sa
Capella sets itself apart from the other restaurants by trying to
maintain the equilibrium between the quality of the product, service and
Your restaurant is a popular choice by many of the celebrities that
visit the island, who is the most famous person you have fed?
Famous people who have visited our restaurant include Mike Oldfield, Tom
Hanks, Sting, Bruce Sprinteen, Derek Jacobi, Naomi Campbel, Elle
McPherson. Although as important as the famous customers are the ones
that have been coming here for many years showing great fidelity. It is
an honour to make them feel as our friends.
What is the best thing about living in Ibiza?
Knowing it, feeling it, loving it
What do you do to relax when you are not in the restaurant?
Each of us has a different manner of enjoying spare time – some of us go
to the beach, some go to parties, and sometimes we just go have a drink
together at the end of the night.