Tentazione (“Temptation”) Italian restaurant is an experience from start to finish.
The newest restaurant within the grand old walls of Dalt Vila (“Upper Town”), Ibiza, the venue was built in the 8th century, not as a restaurant but as a house. Going back over time the water
used to be caught on the roof of the house and flowed down to a now considerably sized cavern beneath the main dining area. So Francesco the proprietor tells me as I arrive and admire the
understated modern adaptation that honours the buildings past – the cavern visible through a small section of glass floor and the water, now driven by modern technology, gives you a sense of what
Francesco is many things all at once. Charming, passionate and the best of all things Italian. His dream was always to have a beach bar – an ambition for good simple food, relaxed venue and gorgeous people. The dream came true when many years later he found himself running a Chiringuito (‘beach hut’) on Playa d’en Bossa, Ibiza.
Times change and the beach hut succumbed to sweeping government regulations, forcing its closure. He speaks of it eloquently, sadness mingled with joy at what was. A dream lived and then lost.
When he found the current venue in Dalt Vila the building had been abandoned for 13 years. They had to physically cut their way through the vines to reach the front door.
Despite running the Chiriguito, one would be mistaken to think Francesco knew the restaurant business. No one in his family did. Nonetheless food was a consuming passion in the household and at the age of 55 his mother returned to school to learn to cook formally – she is now a key player in the kitchens of Tentazione.
Walking in, the sight is immediately welcoming and entertaining. At the bar, the barman works shoulder to shoulder alongside the pizza maker, the oven situated for all to see.
The ceilings are high and the atmosphere spacious and airy, blissfully cool in the summer heat.
At the rear of the restaurant, discreetly curtained from prying eyes, is a cosy recess. Within it sits a table for two. It is a beautiful setting for a marriage proposal.
The menu was comprehensive – fish dishes are a speciality and trying the fresh swordfish, it tasted as good as it looked. Beware the portion size however – if you opt for all three courses, you certainly won’t leave hungry. The starter, a delicious Burrata cheese with tomato concasse and chickpea cream was so huge I asked if it was meant for one. It was (and frankly tasted so good, I was secretly pleased).
Regular customers with a sweet tooth have learnt to call ahead and check what homemade ice-creams or Tiramisus feature for the day – Francescos kitchen offer a range of both, including a Limoncello tiramisu!
Suggested budget for a three course meal is in the region of 40-50 euros.
Opening hours are currently 5.30pm – 1am (closed Mondays) and from
15th June, 5pm – 2am.
Francesco with a very proud Mama & Papa
Francesco told me that a good pizza should leave you full but not feeling heavy. Although I didn’t have pizza I found that they had got something very right. I was contentedly full for hours but never once had the sense of lethargy I associated with so many hearty Italian meals.
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