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Review: Maria Luisa Restaurant, Cala Vadella

The exceptionally picturesque resort of Cala Vadella on the West of the island is home to a traditional island restaurant, Maria Luisa, for that perfect relaxed evening with friends.

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Cala Vadella is a small resort, tucked away on the west of the island, with a lovely white, soft sand beach, with both traditional fishing boats and luxury yachts moored out within the bay, behind which the sun sets (Tip: check sunset times and book your table minutes afterwards)

The resort is both child friendly but not overrun with them (our dinner at the height of August) but perhaps because of its remote beauty, Cala Vadella also commands a perceptively higher price than some locations. However, taking in the environment; the beauty of the location that is far from a criticism, merely an observation.

There is an immediate sense of understated quality to the restaurant - the bread fresh, the olives the biggest and best, served to tables of simple decor - white clothes, linen napkins. This is about subtle excellence, not showing off. The word crass would shrivel up and die here.

Maria Luisa Restaurant Cala Vadella West side of Ibiza Traditional

A starter of Salmon salad with avocado & yoghurt struck me as an interesting combination but goodness, how well it worked, how refreshing on a warm summers evening. The garlic prawns, which my guest elected for, were also faultless. The salmon salad was well priced by island standards but the garlic prawns reflected Cala Vadellas location - in this instance double the price of what we had experienced elsewhere on the island - but it was the only dish that seemed to be so much more expensive.

Due to the heat of the evening I elected for a simple mains rather than the more extravagant range of lobster dishes and the like that was available. Grilled lamb chops, my guest selecting the grilled squid. Both were good - traditional island food, the flavour of the lamb sure to please anyone not accustomed to Mediterranean standards, the size of the squid also delighting. The vegetables - a side serving the Ibicencos are not famed for - was a pleasant surprise. Peppers, potatoes, courgettes, spinach.

Maria Luisa Restaurant Cala Vadella West side of Ibiza Traditional

Maria Luisa, the owner was present, serving tables alongside her staff. There's a gentleness to her and the staff efficient, pleasant and relaxed. Service was quick but personable, enhancing the evening. Beside us, other tables filled and the ambience seemed to touch all present. Quiet, comfortable conversations, everyone relaxed, simply enjoying. Down in the beach in the darkness, broken only by some well placed lights, children played.

I sipped the Sangria (red wine version - white wine & cava versions also available) and felt myself also slow down after a frenetic day.

Maria Luisa Restaurant Cala Vadella West side of Ibiza Traditional

A dessert of Creme Catalana was a final indulgence and had the mornings schedule not begged a good nights sleep, I recognised I would have sat back and indulged in the entire experience for hours, contentedly. There is no sense whatsoever of being rushed, of making way for others.

Hello Ibiza, how nice to find you in an island busy with tourists, manic in demands. Not here, in Cala Vadella, not at Maria Luisa's welcoming restaurant.

Average price per person for a three course meal - excluding the choice of lobster and drinks! - is around 35-40 euros.

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