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Review: Cova Santa restaurant, Ibiza

Fine produce and a great touch of glamour


From the roadside at most times of day, it's hard to miss the huge lettering that spells out Cova Santa. Slightly reminiscent, but not as large as the world-famous Hollywood sign, it is brightly illuminated at night, making you wonder what sort of place this could be. It is in fact both excellent restaurant and club and even has its own natural cave. Here you get the glamour of Beverly Hills, though thankfully without its pretentiousness.

We were greeted at the door and taken to our table perched just above the bar area with a great view out and around of the lit-up trees which with the gentle breeze provided a nicely seductive atmosphere. The restaurant opens quite late at 9pm and has evening entertainment too with live performers on certain days of the week, usually between Wednesdays and Sundays. Mimi, a resident performer was singing on our night providing us with some soft and sultry sounds . There is an adjoining club, which closes at 6am with top DJs giving you the chance for a longer night out should you want it.

The finest produce

From the off, it's worth pointing out that Cova Santa is a treat and one you should afford yourself from time to time. One of the most recent trends in restaurants today is that of sourcing, with many places making claims about the provenance of their produce. Here the claims are a promise. Every single ingredient you will get here is amongst the finest of its kind: the beef comes from the Pico National Park in León in Spain and totally eschews industrial farming methods; the fish come from very carefully selected suppliers, with a strict control over what's allowed into the kitchen; the seafood is raised in its own nurseries and is the freshest and highest quality possible - and everything is cooked to perfection.

The head chef, Luciano Orifino Poot has worked in some of the world's best restaurants, including El Bulli for Ferran Adria and at the Roca brothers' restaurant. And, with all this great produce one might expect to get a great chef to do it justice and indeed here that's what one gets. We were given a selection of the menu so we could try a bit of everything. One of Cova Santa's specialities is the angulas or baby eels, cooked in olive oil with just a hint of garlic and Spanish chilli, to add to rather than overpower this delicacy.

Mind-blowing tenderness

Some Galician octopus followed and how tender it was. Not at all chewy, which some octopus can be, but soft and very delicious. It was served with some jacket-style potato halves topped with pimentón infused oil, a perfect partner. A plate of bright crimson Cardinal Prawns followed were absolutely huge and very tasty. Then some baby lamb chops arrived which were just absolutely mind-blowing in their tenderness; they had a deep almost herbal flavour of most likely having spent time chewing on the wild herbs that you see on the roadside and around fields in Spain. They also benefit from being slow-roasted over an open fire for five hours, which you can see them doing as you enter the place. Good treatment for good quality meat. The famous Pico beef not disappoint at all in flavour. It was offered up in two different dishes: first as a delicious steak tartare and then as a huge piece of chuletón steak. Both showed off the taste of true grass-fed steak in the raw and in the cooked. The tartare was evenly flavoured with shallot and a touch of caper and the steak simply salted and presented with its natural juices. Both of them melted in the mouth. It would be a difficult choice to decide between the two, but what is obvious is that the quality of their beef really is first rate.

We finished off with a couple of desserts, a cheesecake and a coulant de chocolate, both of which were delicate with dashes of richness radiating in the mouth, a perfect end to a perfect meal. This place is the place to come to if you want a posh night out or are a foodie that likes well-cooked quality food. The staff here is very attentive, though you don't feel like you have to stand on ceremony. Everything here speaks for itself from the setting, the ambiance, the welcome and of course the food itself. You wont be left wanting if you come here.

Quick Facts

What? Cova Santa Restaurant

Where? Just off careterra San José, km 5.5

When? Every day from 9pm to 3am

Why? The finest of fine produce cooked by excellent chefs who allow these great ingredients to sing

Average spend per head? €100 for starter, main and dessert

Veggie Options? Yes, and it depends on the day, though typical dishes would include risottos or char-grilled vegetables as an example. They are very accommodating here, so speak to your waiter.

Disabled Facilities? The restaurant is approached up a slope and the car park is quite gravelly, so people in wheelchairs may have some difficulty

Top tips? Try the lamb and if you want to splash out, the baby eels

Room for Improvement? Based on our experience, a qualified no

WORDS | Julian Heathcote PHOTOS | Peter Young

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