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Food Review: Aiyanna reigns eternal over Cala Nova

Culinary perfection, stunning surroundings, and impeccable service merge to create the ultimate dining experience.

The Ibiza-Spotlight review team recently had the good fortune to revisit one of the island’s top beach restaurants, Aiyanna, overlooking the beach of Cala Nova, close to the village of San Carlos. The award-winning establishment exceeded our expectations, once again, thanks to its privileged setting, fantastic cuisine and sheer professionalism.

The decor is colourful and fun on the terrace and tastefully subdued inside. Thanks to the discreet lighting, it's a joy to dine here in the evening. 

The service at Aiyanna is utterly professional, well-organised and slick. The serving staff were efficient, attentive, affable and deeply knowledgeable when describing the dishes in detail. Also impressive was the meticulous preparation and harmonious presentation of all the dishes; at Aiyanna, there’s no question that the appearance of the food has equal footing with the flavour.

Masterful mixology

Once seated on its expansive terrace overlooking the sea, we set out on our gastronomic journey in the capable hands of our waiter, JuanMa. He immediately suggested a round of aperitifs to whet our appetite for the delicacies to come. 

Each year, Aiyanna adopts a different theme for its high-class cocktail menu. This year, all its delectable cocktails and juices are related to the world of art, in particular, to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. Indeed, the restaurant has close relations with the art world, hosting exhibitions of local artists from time to time. 

Thus, from Da Vinci and Bosch to Klimt, Dali and Warhol, each of the cocktails and mocktails is named after a pioneering painter. It felt entirely appropriate given the genuinely artistic nature of the creations themselves. Confected by Aiyanna’s globe-trotting mixologist, the mouth-watering concoctions wowed our team who found them like nothing they’d ever tasted before. 

While we dined, we could hear the sound of musicians playing jazz music from the little stage below. Live musical accompaniment in the form of Jazz Fusion, Rumba and Cuban Fusion accompanies dinner at Aiyanna from Friday through Sunday nights.

Aiyanna is justifiably proud of its environmentally aware credentials. Its commitment embraces the use of locally sourced, organic and sustainable produce as well as a concerted effort to minimise waste wherever possible.

It was insightful to see the ways the restaurant upholds its pledge in all sorts of tiny details and came as no surprise when we heard that - in 2022 - it won the prestigious Biosphere Certificate, becoming the first such restaurant in the Balearic Islands to do so.

Bring on the banquet!

The starters were out of this world. Fortunately, we had asked to get them two by two so as not to succumb to flavour overload right at the start!

Making innovative use of a fruit usually reserved for dessert, the watermelon salad - served warm - was firm proof that we were in for an evening of eye-opening flavours and textures. Comprising watermelon that had been caramelised in an agave glaze in Aiyanna’s Josper oven with Ibizan goat’s cheese, dehydrated quinoa, almonds, and rocket, it certainly expanded our gustatory boundaries.

Aiyanna has a broad wine list that includes several light white wines. After some debate, we opted for a bottle of Albariño. It was the perfect accompaniment for a plate of grilled queen scallops in a rich chilli butter sauce with a sprinkling of Maldon salt and chilli flakes. Seafood satori!

The next tandem of starters arrived. A reinvention of the classic Greek salad with a super creamy vegan feta cheese, different varieties of organic tomato, compote of Kalamata olives, almonds and figs.

Its partner was a Carabinero or red king prawn tartare. This deep-sea shrimp is known for its vibrant scarlet colour and rich flavour. Served in a tureen of cold Tom Kha soup and adorned with kaffir lime, zesty sprigs of fresh samphire and flower petals picked on the coast of Ibiza, it was outstanding.

Designed to be well mixed and then eaten to enjoy all the flavours ensemble, the dish boasted a fantastic interplay of textures, in particular, the silky prawn. Delicious and visually appealing, it disappeared in a flash. 

A little later, as the evening turned to night and the restaurant filled with diners once more, it was time for the main course. Not content to play second fiddle to the entrées, it excelled in every respect.

First up was a plate of perfectly cooked risotto made with choice sun-dried tomatoes, courgette, rocket and creamy labneh yoghurt cheese: it’s the perfect marriage of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines that characterises Aiyanna’s fare. Dense, al dente and flavoursome, it was one of the night’s clear winners!

Ibizan sea bass is highly regarded owing to its delicate taste and firm white flesh. We were treated to a thick toothsome fillet in a ceviche of cucumber, Peruvian yellow pepper and sauteed seaweed known as alga codium or "green sea fingers" in English. Lovely and light, this dish is just perfect for summer.

After a brief pause, two more dishes arrived. Served in an attractive Moroccan clay pot with light couscous, flavoured with rose water and accompanied by a fresh mint yoghurt sauce, grilled courgette puree and citric tabbouleh, the lamb tagine was the pièce de résistance.

It was beautifully presented and the fact it had emerged after many hours in Aiyanna’s Josper oven meant the meat slipped easily off the bone. The result had us licking our fingers!

Its companion was lobster fettuccine with fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped sage and fresh chilli. The flying fish eggs added a mildly piquant taste to this wholesome dish.  

All good things come to an end

Replete and deeply satisfied, we nonetheless made a titanic effort to sample Aiyanna’s desserts. Our waiter duly obliged with a brace of sweets that rounded off the night nicely.

The richly spiced carrot cake with white chocolate mousse and caramelised walnuts was an intriguing reworking of this popular cake.

Its partner was a lemon pie with crumble, Italian meringue, lemon crème pâtissier and candied lemon. Light and tangy, it made the perfect finale to our sumptuous evening meal. 

Discerning foodies in search of an extraordinary dining experience need look no further. In terms of location, Aiyanna has to be one of the best-positioned beachside restaurants on the white island guaranteeing a truly unforgettable nighttime feast.

The fact you’re perched above the beach means that dining takes place against an alluring backdrop of incoming waves rolling rhythmically onto the shore of Cala Nova. It's a magical, elemental experience that involves all the senses. 

Book your table today to share this matchless moment, especially on one of those marvellous full-Moon nights.


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