The other day I made the rather bold claim (I see in hindsight) that the overall atmosphere of the island at the moment was like the calm before the storm; the silence before the thunderbolt; the misplaced sense of happiness before the crushing blow of reality. Because in actual fact, I got it totally wrong, and even though it’s only mid-May, it already feels like the height of summer here. The traffic is insane, the beaches are busy and the sun is so hot that yesterday I got burnt just from thinking about going outside. You start to wonder what on earth everyone is playing at starting their summer holiday so early, and then you go to places like Yemanja, which is open all year round, and it all starts to make a bit more sense. When you’ve got places like this already up and running, we’d be making a beeline for them too. In your face London, we’d say, we’re gibbing off to Ibiza.
With prime position on Cala Jondal, Yemanja is a beachside restaurant that’s fiercely loved by locals and lovingly adopted by visitors. There are few places in Ibiza that command such a loyal and committed following, and that alone is testament to the quality plates of food this restaurant has been turning out for many a dedicated year. We arrive on a scorching day, hot and bothered and in desperate need of some respite, and thankfully that’s what you get as soon as you step on Yemanja’s revered ground. You’re met with the sight of towering bamboo parasols, tables dotted amidst the sand and glasses filled with bubbly that sparkle as much as the Mediterranean in the background. It’s like finding an oasis in the heart of a desert, and all you want to do is run to it to start lapping up the nectar.
It’s worth noting that Yemanja is most famous for its food as well as its chilled-out setting, so we wasted no time in getting to grips with the menu. Complementary anchovies drizzled in garlic oil were devoured within moments, and when our starters of crispy calamari, succulent salmon carpaccio and prawns in garlic oil arrived they didn’t hang around for long either. The prawns were plump and meaty, and hands down, this is one of the best places on the island to taste them. We went for mains of mixed paella, which was faultlessly cooked and full of flavour; tender sirloin steak served with creamy potato puree and grilled grouper, which while it may not be the most attractive fish when it’s alive, certainly looks and tastes good when it’s on the plate. It came accompanied with a sweet, tangy tomato and orange salad and ticked all my boxes. Despite it being a relatively light meal we were pretty full once it swung round to dessert time, but we made room for an ice-cream laden cheesecake and a platter of fresh fruit. We moved to the nearby sunbeds to polish off this course, undoubtedly making them taste just that little bit sweeter.
Staring out to sea we marvelled at what a great afternoon it had been and how it would be difficult to top it. And then seconds later I spotted the gin and juice menu and effectively, my life was complete. Yemanja boasts a specialist gin menu and as a bonafide fan, I had to sample one. I stayed true to my English roots and went for a Bulldog, flavoured with subtle hints of strawberry and star anise, while my companion didn’t board the gin train and went for a healthy orange and strawberry juice instead. I savoured every sip while considering how much I love this place. Put a fork in me, Yemanja, I’m done.
t: +34 971 18 74 81
Open: 365 days a year from 13:00 – 18:00