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Food fit for a King, if the King could get a table.
Hidden in the rocks of Cala Mastella is one of the Islands true gems, El Bigote.
You will often hear us at Ibizagastro, using the term dining experiences. This is because not all places are best described as restaurants and El Bigote is truly a dining experience to savour.
First impressions of El Bigote are, well, where is it? On arriving at the beach there is little sign of any restaurant, it’s somewhat hidden and to be honest I’ll say no more here – half of the fun will be when you have to find it. Once in sight however the restaurant itself has more traditional Ibicencan charm than any other I have seen. The dining area is situated right alongside the water’s edge and the groups of shared tables are packed full of people waiting for the experience. Its different here from many other places in that you will be sharing a table with others (a great way to meet new people) and there is no menu, your food will be Bullit de Paix (seafood/fish with saffron and potatoes) followed by the traditional Spanish broth of the stock from the main course and rice, all cooked on a wood fired stove, just yards from your table. Plus it will be based around the morning’s catch – with the boat that caught your food also to be found bobbing up and down beside you in the water! There is a wine list, which although short, offers enough to suit most tastes and the experience of sitting there sipping a glass of wine whilst watching the family cook your food was one that we will always have fond memories of. Particularly the Chef with ‘the moustache’ – which translates as “el bigote”! Fish, potatoes, rice, stock and handfuls of saffron and spices were crafted into a dish to feed all, a really great example of simplistic cooking.
Legend has it that the King of Spain once came to eat here – yet on arrival it was apparent that he had no table reservation and was turned away. We will never know if this is true but it brings us neatly onto our next and very important point. To dine here you must have a reservation. To book you need to visit the restaurant in advance and in person to arrange your reservation. We were perhaps luckier than the King on our visit – arriving between sittings (12pm and 2pm) we patiently waited to ask about booking for a future date and as luck would have it there were two remaining spots there and then. You may get lucky like us but do go there expecting to have to have booked in advance!
If you’re serious about food or serious about experiencing the real Ibiza this absolutely has to be on your list of destinations. The traditional charm of the place really takes you back to how things once were and the food was a perfect example of Spanish home cooking – with a real depth of flavour. From the elation of finding the hiding place of the restaurant, through the anticipation of waiting and watching your food being made, to the flavours and smells of the meal itself. When all is combined with a location as stunning as this, it makes for a real dining experience to feed your senses.
So, get your map out, head down to book and don’t forget to let us at Ibizagastro know if you loved it as much as we did!