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Review: Rio Ibiza rocks the harbour

A new local legend


Along the walkway in the harbour of San Antonio, you will find a new restaurant that is making waves and adding to the influx of new quality places to go and eat in this town. Rio Ibiza is more than just a restaurant: it is a bar, club and lounge all rolled into one impressive new venue. The owner Franky originally had a watering hole on the same site, the legendary Pussycat Bar. When the owners of the building decided to redevelop the site, it was decided to take space in the new development and create something a whole lot bigger and much more ambitious.

The scale of the new place is quite different to the Pussycat, which was just 40 metres squared – the loos in this new place are bigger than that, so you can see the scale. Plenty of love and thought has gone into this new place which has been inspired by the best of the best from around the world.

Stylish dining

The dining area is very lovely with its huge stylish white basket-style chairs; then there's a cool lounge area with soft chairs to chill out on and well, lounge. Walking up the stairs with its glass panels on each stair goes to the club upstairs fitted out with the latest sound system and sound proofing (no neighbour complaints here). Here, there is also the doorway to the soon to be opened roof terrace giving amazing views of the harbour and that famous San Antonio sunset.

The chef is Italian and has worked across the globe. Hiring him followed an exhaustive search of several chefs and lots of tastings by the owner until he found the perfect fit. There are lots of great sounding dishes on the menu that show his experience; dishes like duck with wine and red onion marmalade or lamb chops with orange marinated celery and seaweed tempt the senses and come out properly picture perfect. The excellent wine list was created by one of the island's best sommeliers; then, there's a great cocktail list with interesting sounding concoctions like "Harbour Bitch" and "Ecstasy" – clearly there is a touch of good humour here.

So what did we have? We went for two of the most popular items on the menu. These are traditional dishes made into modern and gorgeous tasting plates that screamed, “eat me” as soon as they arrived.

Soft, light flaky fish

The first of these was fish and chips, yet made anew. The fish (cod or sea bass depending on what's available from the local fisherman) was soft, flaky, had the lightest of batters and came with the most amazing chips I think I've ever had in a restaurant. The second dish, "Surf and turf" is a classic dish combining steak with seafood. We got tender and very tasty meat sourced from a local butcher, cooked to the perfect doneness of medium rare, topped with big meaty prawns. This was accompanied by those chips and a creative vegetable tian. It was something not far off from a revelation. These dishes use just as much creativity as all the others on the menu. It was the perfect re-imagination of two British classics that will have you going back for more and trying the rest of the menu.

Cherry good

We topped all this off with a couple of desserts. A must try is the to-die-for "Baked cherry surprise", a dessert to beat all others, with an unctuous thick chocolate mousse topped with lightly cooked sweet cherries. So good was this, that I almost asked for a take-away so I could have it again later. The pistachio Tiramisu added a nice touch to this well-known pud and was as light and airy as you would want it to be after a hearty meal.

Lots more is planned for the place, and as all the various elements come on-stream, this will be the kind of venue that you could spend all day in – everything from early morning breakfasts to sipping cocktails on the roof terrace into the early hours and all points in between.

Rio Ibiza is a new shining star in San Antonio, the only thing left for you to do is to get yourself down there, try the amazing food and check this great new destination out. Take it from us; you'll be glad you did.

Quick facts

What? Rio Ibiza

Where? San Antonio Harbour

When? 9am-3am every day of the week and open all year

Why? It's glam, it's cool and the food is great, plus it's got so much more going on

Average spend per head? €48 for a starter, main, dessert and glass of house wine

Veggie options? Not many, but some good salads and pasta dishes are available

Disabled facilities? Yes

Top tips? Try what we had and then go back for more

Room for improvement? The whole place has a lot more surprises to deliver, so watch out for them

WORDS | Julian Heathcote PHOTOGRAPHY | Peter Young

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