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Food review: Morena Ibiza - a haven of seafood and tranquillity

Spanish produce at its finest in Ibiza's bustling marina

It might be easy to pass by Morena Ibiza without even knowing that she is there. Morena is a secretive and elusive beauty. More than just a restaurant, Morena is a peaceful secret haven, in the heart of the busy marina area. Sheltered under the shade of young trees, it is an ideal location to relax before starting a big night out or when coming home from a long day at sea.

Morena Ibiza is part of the latest Marina Village Consortium project at the entrance to Marina Botafoc in Ibiza. When finished, it will also comprise three shops, a brand-new Passion Café, and a freshly renovated Keepers Bar, forming a courtyard that surrounds the restaurant.

Morena’s no-music policy and intimate table arrangements produce a tranquil, relaxed environment which encourages chatter and connectivity making it one of the coolest spots to dine under the stars on this side of Ibiza Town.

Chef Sergio Giraldo Luna heads Morena's kitchen. Originating from Extremadura, one of Spain’s great gastronomic heartlands, he told us he had developed his passion for Mediterranean cuisine while working at top restaurants in and around Valencia. The menu he has created at Morena promised to reflect his commitment to sourcing all produce, whether fish and seafood or fresh vegetables from the orchard, from either Ibiza or Galicia.

Naturally, we were eager to find out what he would conjure up.

First, though, it was time to settle in and get in the mood with a little mixology. Morena’s cocktail waiter pours a lot of love into the preparation of the liquors for his concoctions. And the results are justified. We chose Las Coloradas with Don Julio Blanco tequila cooked in a vacuum pack with jalapeños then mixed with agave syrup Mezcal and hibiscus. The spiciness was masked by its pretty pink blush.

Likewise, with the El Padron Carioca, the coctelero has created a deluxe spicy margarita where the heat of the drink is integral to the liquid rather than just smeared around the rim. Cachaca, cooked with Padron peppers and mixed with homemade lemon sherbet, lime juice, agave and half a Padron pepper as a garnish, was deliciously smooth and warming inside, rather than just burning the lips.

After a brief interlude to savour our cocktails, it was time to tuck in...

Out came a steaming crusty bread with generous helpings of bearnaise and romesco sauces to be mopped up.

To begin the meal proper, we were treated to a selection of Morena’s seafood tapas dishes. Starting with some very plump, sweet, and juicy grilled clams topped with mashed potato.

A platter of spicy red shrimp croquettes with a kimchi foam made from juice from the heads.

A carpaccio of raw picaña, with a pinch of rocket, and a cube of red tuna topped with caramelised brown sugar. Once rolled up, each morsel becomes Morena’s version of the Italian classic vitello tonnato which simply melted in the mouth.

Potato salad with mayonnaise foam and a red shrimp carpaccio. The very light and fluffy deluxe take on the classic Russian salad was packed with pickles and tuna making it a savoury delight.

Next, we nervously peered at the plates of very intimidating-looking sea urchins placed before us. We needn’t have been so timid, though, as the spiky black exoskeletons had been scooped out and their flesh mixed with king crab and brown crab before being refilled and gratinated with kimchi to produce a deliciously spicy seafood surprise. We were all genuinely taken aback at how good they were. A resounding, ‘best dish of the night’ ™

Centrepiece for the whole seafood extravaganza was an exquisite John Dory. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder when it comes to this little brute, but there is no debating the quality of his delicious flesh. After being blanched in seawater, then charcoal grilled and served with oil, garlic, piparras (thin green chillies) and vinegar sauce, the fish was expertly deboned at the table by Chef Sergio into huge fillets and succulent cheeks.

As is tradition in Valencia, the discarded bones were not to be wasted. They are whisked back to the kitchen to be deep-fried and re-served with a tartela sauce. A surprising extra treat that none of us saw coming.

Garnished with tender baby courgettes, baby carrots and long-stem broccoli, it is hard to conceive a healthier or more satisfying meal for seafood lovers than John Dory. Especially when paired with an almost-ice-cold glass of Spanish Chardonnay. Heavenly…

A pair of desserts arrived to sweeten our palates after the spectacular fruits de mer. Crème Brulee with cotton candy, amaretto ice cream and a biscuit tuile in the shape of a fern and a gooey chocolate cake with croissant and a salty dulce de leche ice cream. 

Morena Ibiza is a brand-new venue to add to the ever-growing list of places to visit on your Ibiza holiday. So, if you’re planning a night out at Pacha or Club Chinois and want a gentle start to proceedings or just fancy a chilled evening of relaxation with a group of friends under the stars, then give Morena Ibiza a chance to show you what she can do. There is plenty of refinement on display in the preparation and love and respect for the products of this country’s abundant land and sea to please most discerning palates. 

Although we opted for predominantly seafood dishes, there are also fine cuts of aged meat available for the discerning carnivore. 

Follow this link to reserve your table direct. 

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