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La Dispensa, romantic fine dining in an iconic Ibizan setting.

A tantalising mix of Italian, Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines.

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No summer pilgrimage to Ibiza is complete without a leisurely evening stroll through the narrow, winding streets of Dalt Vila, savouring the unique atmosphere and medieval charm. The pavement cafés and restaurants are thronged with visitors and their lively chatter fills the air.

As you enter the Old Town through the medieval portico, carry on straight ahead and you will arrive at the gastronomic marvel that is La Dispensa. Manager Jerome and his friendly, well-organised team will be happy to welcome you in.

Occupying both sides of the Calle Santa Creu, La Dispensa combines various small restaurants and kitchens into one unified whole, offering a tantalising mix of Italian, Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines.

In summer many diners opt for the al fresco pavement experience, but it is also fun to explore the many nooks and alcoves of the quirkily decorated interior spaces. The name Dispensa is Italian for larder and the cocktail bar and kitchen are housed in one of the bigger units, surrounded by numerous provisions stored in glass jars and cans or hanging dried from the ceiling.


Cocktails and dreams

La Dispensa's signature cocktail

Getting in the mood for an eagerly anticipated meal, we sampled a selection from the cocktail list; an Amaretto sour, a whiskey sour and the signature Dispensa cocktail, containing rum and passion fruit. All were made with the love and the attention to detail that defines a classy cocktail bar but, for me, the whiskey was the clear favourite.

House wines of all colours start at €24 a bottle and there is an extensive selection of mainly French and Spanish wines to suit every budget.


Warming up

To start we were served a plate of La Dipensa sushi rolls and a warm octopus and potato salad to share. The sushi - six slices of salmon wrapped around crunchy, breaded prawn and cream cheese, was very popular with my fellow diners. The salad, a refined version of the local classic, frito de pulpo (seared octopus with vegetables), was light, tender and very pleasing.

The sensually stimulating burrata with Bloody Mary sauce

Unanimously voted ‘Dish of the Day' was a modest sounding but sensually stimulating burrata with Bloody Mary sauce. The secret of the dish was not only the creamy ball of mozzarella but the base of spicy and smoky baba ghanoush on which it rested. This arousing combination of textures and flavours, with an added hint of vodka from the Bloody Mary, caused one enthusiastic diner to exclaim ‘F*%# that's the nicest thing I've eaten in ages!'

It would be wrong to visit any Italian restaurant without testing the chef's credentials with one of the traditional rice or pasta dishes. We decided to try the mushroom risotto with a trio of tomatoes. La Dispensa passed the test. The al dente rice was cooked on point, with a perfect creamy texture, and deeply flavoured by the pungent mushrooms.

Mushroom risotto with a trio of tomatoes


The main event

Once the diner has navigated their way through the substantial starters, sushis and antipasti, there are still six main courses to choose from. Our main courses were a pair of summer menu favourites: a rack of young lamb with a thick crust of Provençal herbs and sea bass with asparagus.

The rack of young lamb with a thick crust of Provençal herbs

The pink, tender chops, with a strong bouquet of rosemary and thyme, were neatly-frenched and served with a rich gravy and a mix of lightly-grilled summer vegetables –aubergine, broccoli, courgette and red pepper. The bass fillets, drizzled with a simple rosemary and lemon reduction, gave an enjoyable crunch from the crispy skin with every bite.


Delightful desserts

A glossy chocolate mousse with rock salt, strawberries, a drizzle of olive oil and mint made a spectacular finale. The mousse was rich, without being bitter, and the occasional heavy crunch of salt sent the tastebuds into a satisfying state of confusion. A very well-balanced dessert and the perfect way to round off a varied and satisfying meal.

Chocolate mousse with rock salt, strawberries, a drizzle of olive oil and mint

So, if you are looking for a diverse menu, which guarantees quality, in the iconic setting of Dalt Vila, then you should give La Dispensa serious consideration. Prices, although perhaps a bit strong for some pockets, are typical for the Old Town and the service is of the highest standard.


PHOTOS | Peter Young


Quick Facts

What? La Dispensa

Where? Dalt Vila, Calle Santa Creu, nº 10, Dalt Vila, Ibiza

When? Open daily from 13:00 - 16:00 and from 19:00 to 01:00

Why? Unbeatably romantic setting, highest quality food

Veggie Options? Of course, the menu is very varied

Disabled Facilities? Generally speaking it is quite difficult to navigate Dalt Vila in a wheelchair, due to the cobbled stones and steep hills.

Top tips? Book a table, and wander round the medieval citadel beforehand, soaking in the atmosphere, before sitting down to dine.

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