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Food review: Villa Mercedes remains a shining gem in San Antonio's culinary crown

Enjoy fantastic views, delicious cocktails and fine Mediterranean fare at one of San Antonio's most glamorous restaurants.

Villa Mercedes is one of those iconic Ibiza hotspots that has been enjoyed by many generations island visitors over the years. Yet the San Antonio stalwart effortlessly retains its lustre, preceeded by a reputation built on ambience, a fantastic culinary offering and warm welcome.

Glamorous and cool - but with a laid-back vibe and friendly service - when the Ibiza Spotlight team visited on a balmy August night, every single table on the restaurant’s atmospheric terrace was taken.

Located on the frontline of the vibrant San Antonio harbour area, the famous silhouette of the main building reaches up into the sky. Diners are seated in a modern Mediterranean garden, filled with lush plants and many quirky and colourful design details.

Elevated above the bustling harbour promenade, guests enjoy beautiful views over the sleek boats moored right in front of their eyes, as well as the afterglow of the unrivalled Ibiza sunset.

Welcomed by the young and enthusiastic team, we took our seats right in front of the outdoor bar, where Villa Mercedes fantastic bar tenders were mixing up potent cocktail creations. Perfect for a sizzling summer night, we were recommended a refreshing Coconut Daiquiri and classic Negroni, super-boosted with a shot of trendy Mezcal.

Spinning deep and soulful house music beats, DJ Maricha was serving up audible treats from the outdoor booth to accompany the fresh Mediterranean fare Villa Mercedes is known for.

The menu  at Villa Mercedes offers everything from delightful tapas bites with a modern twist to fresh seafood dishes and hearty grilled meats, as well as vibrant salads and indulgent desserts.

Next to us, an Italian couple was already swooning enthusiastically over their fresh mussels and ‘chipirones’ fried calamari, so we knew we couldn’t leave without trying this classic Spanish starter!

We chose to try a selection of tapas options, including an Asian bao bun filled with tender oxtail, patatas bravas topped with aioli and spicy tomato sauce, and the addictive ‘yuccaballs’: deep-fried mashed potato spheres of delight accompanied by avocado cream and a slice of jalapeño.

Last, but not least, a creamy straciatella cheese salad with fresh tomatoes, pumpkin and green pesto completed our first course.

From the first bite we could tell that everything was made with fresh, high quality ingredients, and expertly prepared. 

Our photographer, a seasoned 'chipirones' expert, declared the fried calamari as some of the best on the island – and rightly so!

As the golden glow of ‘magic hour’ faded into pale pastel colours before turning the sky inky blue, there was a vibrant buzz palpable on the terrace. Every last table in the house was booked and filled with families, groups of friends and couples. We very much enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere, with the soundtrack encouraging us to groove along in our chairs.

For our main course, we choose from both land and sea: a juicy, tender grilled chicken with crispy brown skin, and freshly caught octopus. The latter was served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and crunchy baked kale leaves, which we happily shared out amongst the table.

Not only was the quality of the fresh, local produce evident from first to the last bite, but also the expertise of Villa Mercedes’ kitchen team. Eventually, we had to admit defeat and declare ourselves full.

Sipping on a delightfully pale and creamy rosé wine, we questioned whether we had enough room left for dessert - but our friendly waitress Marjorie encouraged us to share a slice of cheesecake. Cheesecake is an international favourite that you will find on pretty much every restaurant menu on the island, so over the years we have built up an impressive archive of tasting notes on this particular sweet treat!

So we were suitably surprised when a plate appeared with an artfully crafted giant strawberry, filled with a light cream cheese mousse, and served on a base of deconstructed biscuit crumble. It certainly had the wow factor, and we think that kids especially would love this novel take on a classic dessert.

After a relaxed and thoroughly pleasant evening of  delicious cocktails and fine food, people-watching and chair-dancing, we finished our dinner in the classic Ibizan way: with a glass of 'Hierbas Ibicencas' liqueur on ice.

Fusing the simplicity of wonderful Mediterranean cuisine, the charm of this magical venue, the glitter and vibrant atmosphere of the San Antonio harbour and the warm welcome from the team, Villa Mercedes deserves a top spot on your Ibiza restaurant list.

It is, simply put, an island classic that will wow and enchant you, time and time again.

Make your reservation at Villa Mercedes here. For more foodie recommendations, why not download the Ibiza Spotlight restaurant app?

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