Whether you are in Ibiza on holiday or have the luck of living on the White Isle year-round, there are some occasions that require an extra special setting for a meal. From birthdays to family reunions, romantic dates or even a proposal, the majestic Sa Capella offers a dining experience with the wow factor. Described by many Ibiza veterans as ‘the best restaurant on the island’, we couldn’t wait to check it out ourselves over dinner.
Located just a few minutes’ drive outside of San Antonio, the beautiful historic venue that you find when you step into its flower-shrouded courtyard is a world away from what you might expect due to its proximity to the famously busy resort. Originally built to be a place of worship, the building is estimated to be between 300-350 years old and features the arched vaults and distinctive brickwork of a chapel, oozing elegance, romance and charm all at the same time. Tables are available on the patio to enjoy an al fresco meal, perfect for those balmy Balearic summer nights when there is nothing more pleasant than feasting under the starry night sky.
The inside dining space is equally show-stopping, with high ceilings, iron chandeliers holding real wax candles and the original stonework giving the restaurant a regal and sophisticated air. At the end of the room, an imposing statue overlooks the floor from an elevated platform where diners can enjoy a view across the whole restaurant, while a mix of photographs featuring authentic Ibicencan scenes, and modern paintings make for interesting touches. Each of the dramatic arches opens out into cosy little coves that offer a more private dining experience, each decorated with a sign that spells out the names of loyal customers who have been coming to Sa Capella for decades and made one these spaces their favourite table.
Sa Capella celebrates traditional Ibicencan and Mediterranean food and even the waiters’ pristine red and white uniforms pay homage to the traditional Balearic dress. The service is friendly, welcoming and efficient, with owner Carlos greeting guests and remaining amidst the team to ensure everything is running smoothly throughout the evening. The menu boasts mouth-watering options spanning both sea and land, and we enjoyed a glass of Kir Royal while perusing the options. For starters, we tucked into broccoli fried in batter with Iberian cured ham and wild mushrooms, a savoury sensation with a deliciously naughty creamy sauce that offers the ultimate in comfort food. On the other end of the spectrum, a fresh tomato soup wowed with its full-bodied and rich pizza, topped by a basil foam and – a welcome addition – a mini pizza slice cheekily perched on the side of the bowl. Perfectly al dente pumpkin and bacon cannelloni were topped with an indulgent cheese cream, while a sensational, so-thin-it-was-almost-transparent tuna carpaccio topped with crumbles of goats cheese and fresh strawberries rounded of the entrees.
Meat lovers will be in seventh foodie heaven at Sa Capella, with plenty of juicy cuts of beef, pork and lamb awaiting. But there is also a generous seafood offering, so we decided to sample a little bit of both. The home-preserved duck was a true delight, soft on the inside with a satisfyingly crispy skin. Served with spicy pumkin and hummus, it was an interesting combination of flavours and textures, but one that wowed. Generous chunks of fresh tuna were served on a bed of Asian style noodles and topped with a soya sauce and shitake mushrooms, the fish making us swoon with its softness and subtle hint of sea aromas.
The roast suckling pig, prepared in the oven Segovia style, was perfection on a plate. The crispy skin crackled away with a crunch as we cut into the tender, flavoursome meat, which was accompanied by delicious potatoes and a medley of sweet vegetables. However, the star of the show was the Ox steak, a Sa Capella signature dish which is served in slices of raw meat that are cooked at the table on a sizzling salt bed. A great sharing dish, each piece was soft and full of aroma, accompanied by the same delicious potatoes and vegetable combination as the pork.
As we let our main courses go down, we spend some time flicking through the photo album that depicts the history of the venue, preserving the memory of its development over the years and illustrious A-List guests including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Sting. Ed Sheeran loved Sa Capella so much, he even signed the picture book with a glowing dedication.
Before long, it was time to contemplate if we could find room for dessert. One look at the menu resulted in a resounding ‘YES!’ as we spotted the white chocolate soup accompanied by a helping of sweet jam and topped with dark chocolate crumbles. An intriguing and light option, the lemon sorbet was infused with vodka and not only zesty, but also surprisingly potent. A generous slice of cheesecake, different to others we have tried in its more creamy and crumbly texture, melted in the mouth, but table favourite was Sa Capella’s famous strawberry soup, bursting with the flavours of the fruit and topped with a creamy dollop of vanilla.
In no hurry to leave, we indulged in a few ‘chupito’ digestives of the restaurant’s homemade hierbas, one of the finest herbal liqueurs you will find on the island. Each table is treated to a hand-filled bottle at the end of their meal, to be poured into frozen shot glasses and shared with love and laughter. And the end of the night, we concluded that while Sa Capella is a standout dinner destination for special occasions, the great food, beautiful surroundings and warm hospitality also hold the power to turn any night into an extraordinary one.
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