After a year of hard work at my job I’ve arrived in paradise and I’m supposed to cobble together lunch and dinner for 7 days from sides of chips and iceberg lettuce salad? No. No thank you. When I was picking a holiday this year, I wasn’t interested in going anywhere that wasn’t vegan friendly. Nothing worse than the experience of being somewhere totally stunning being dampened by lame vegan food options. I want flavour, I want variety and I want good nutrition. Okay I know I sound like a diva so now I’ll pack it in. Anyway, after a little online research, I settled on Ibiza and my brother, who was newly vegan, was happy to oblige.
We all know that if you are 18-30 years old and chasing the party life and big clubs, this is the place to be. But you may not know that this island has loads to offer people of any age. Cue palm trees, golden, white and grey sandy beaches, pine trees, orange cliffs and blue and green sea. So off to Santa Eulalia – the gastronomical centre of the island – we went, and here is what we found.
Sol Beach House
This hotel is the type of place you want to hang out at. Fresh, clean white walls punctuated with splashes of a minty turquoise made it very Ibizan, and it’s oh so instagramamble, with white marble tables everywhere, whitewashed picnic benches, and a divine pink marble staircase (can I have these in my house please?). This savvy hotel even has not one, but two irresistible camper vans branded up with the hotel theme and name. There is free yoga and a small gym and you can kick back and relax beside one of their two pools or head to the lawn, and facing the tonal backdrop of blue skies and sea, enjoy the cool breeze and the gentle sound of the eb and flow of the waves. There are other gorgeous communal areas to knock back a cocktail or read a book, including the pavilion, the sea front bar or the poolside bar and you can even get some work done at dedicated workstation complete with power outlets and lamps. Wouldn’t mind doing an Alan Partridge and moving in here permanently.
With all the amazingly instagramable tables in this hotel I really wanted to love the menu and order loads of gorgeous food there, but, as far as food goes, for vegans it’s not the best, which came as a surprise after seeing that they offered a drink call ‘The Vegan Vampire’. Also, I just wanted there to be nice food conveniently available for me to gobble up.
The bar staff were lovely but unfortunately were super confused when I was explaining what vegan meant, and even though I explicitly said no milk, cheese, eggs or meat, all that they heard was no meat, leading to their presentation of a cheese wrap rather than the vegetable wrap that we had asked for. After we explained once again, they did swap the wrap for an iceberg lettuce wrap containing a sprinkling of red pepper, for which I had the pleasure of paying around 13 Euros. Ibiza is expensive, so when the food is crap, you feel extra disappointed about it. To be fair, the potato wedges and hummus were reasonably good, but following this incident, we didn’t eat at the hotel bar again. It also got my goat that the menu had labelled the fish as plant based. Yes, you heard me, plant based fish. I know, mental!
Our package included breakfast at the hotel and I just loved the breakfast view overlooking the sea. I could, and did, sit there for hours grazing on all the offerings.
There was a lovely selection of vegan milks, plenty of different types of cereal and a really great variety of fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. There was also hummus, salad, couscous and a selection of bread, so I did have a few courses each day for breakie because I’m greedy and I was on holiday so if I wanted to eat enough to feed a family of four each morning, I could.
It would have been nice to be able to get some cooked tomato, beans and other vegan cooked food, but from what I could see, everything was cooked on the same surface as the meat, so I didn’t want to take the risk.
I always wanted to be the type of women who sipped champagne for breakfast and here my dream came true. The champagne (okay cava) on offer was vegan – I checked online – and I loved it, and this is the reason I can never have breakfast again without a mimosa to wash down my toast.
If I were to come back to this part of the island I would definitely stay at this hotel again on a breakfast only package.
Soul Good is the kind of chilled, laid back place that makes you feel as though you have stumbled upon a local secret. It’s a rustic tropical beach hut style bar. It has a stunning view of green and blue sea and golden sand of Playa Niu Blau. Food, cocktails, the smell of sea air and pine trees on the fresh Mediterranean breeze is set to the groove of funk, soul and reggae. A welcoming and friendly owner makes you feel right at home. Yet it’s not really busy, and I can’t understand why. I can only think that most of the guests at the hotels close by are happy around the pool and can’t be bothered to venture out. Their loss, my gain!
There’s only one vegan option on offer here (although one of the owners did tell me he’d happily whip us up some other vegan dishes) but it was so good that we kept going back. The vegan noodle salad is packed full of veg and nuts and so so satisfyingly tasty that we became a little obsessed. I’m told that it was originally only on the menu a couple of days a week but was added to the standard menu by popular demand even among non-vegans! The chef researched for months to get it just right, and all the planning paid off – it’s perfect, and if you are ever in Ibiza, you have got to try this place and this noodle salad! Don’t forget to order your ‘Train Wreck’ pineapple, rum and ginger cocktail too.
Rupert Holmes would love it at Caos – they do a fantastic Pina Colada! Actually, all their drinks are great. The tropical juice is like nothing I’ve had before. Almost like a smoothy, but more refreshing – really thick and tasty juice that you know has been freshly prepared with real fruit.
And the food! YUM! The presentation is as good as the flavour. The hummus here was excellent, and I particularly enjoyed the sweet potato version. The tomato and avocado carpaccio was divine and seasoned to perfection. I also had a hummus sandwich complete with olive oil balls – who knew about those little gems? My brother had the quinoa salad and loved it. We came here lots and twice for food and would ideally have liked to go back again to try the burger but sadly ran out of days!
The menu was straight forward and clearly labelled. Although this is an omni restaurant, the staff were knowledgable about vegan requirements which means it gets a big thumbs up from me. They even knocked up a vegan desert – coconut chia pudding – that wasn’t on the menu, especially to cater to us.
I always think that a good experience at a restaurant is about more than just the food. The service, the music, the decor and the vibe are equally important to me, and this place has it all! Sea front location – check. Uplifting colours – check. Palm trees and garden – check. Fab service from friendly, efficient and obliging staff – check. Gorgeous white marble and brightly painted tables – check. Festoon lights – check. Beautiful and delicious vegan food – check.
If this place could only form a chain and bring it’s colourful decor and tasty food to Manchester I would be extremely happy! But Caos prides itself on fresh local ingredients, and it’s real charm comes from it’s independent style with it’s own unique character, so there can only be one Caos, and next time I’m in Ibiza I’ll definitely be going back!
We stumbled upon Chirincana on our coastal walk up from Santa Eualia to the hippy market in Es Canar. It feels like more of a bar that serves food than a restaurant.
It’s nestled into the pine trees beside the peaceful turquoise water and golden sands. With it’s thatched roof, it’s orange bar walls, punctuated with colourful murals, and it’s yellow sign, adorned with bright floral motifs, this place creates a relaxed tropical hippy beach vibe. Thatched parasols shading rustic picnic benches kept the Ibizan heat off a full house of hungry diners. Although it was busy, the vibe was relaxed, and there was even a Kahl Drogo lookalike performing tricks with metallic balls to keep us all entertained. If you like the rustic, simple, cosy type of place to hang out for a relaxed meal, then this isn’t bad. The lovely owner of Soul Good told us it’s great in the evening too with live music and entertainment, which I imagine, combined with it’s pretty festoon lights, creates a nice atmosphere for Sangria or a cocktail.
The day we went was really busy with tourists because of the hippy market, but we still managed to get a seat and were quickly served by an attentive member of staff who understood our vegan requirements. We were really pleased with the offering and speed of service. They did a pizza vegano which they kindly added extra variety of veg to. We also shared a serving of wedges and some hummus. The wedges were, I think, of the frozen variety, but the hummus and the pizza were really nice. The portions were extremely generous – just the energy boost and distraction we needed after our long exhausting walk, during which my feet had ballooned to the size of melons.
This restaurant is part of a chain with branches across Ibiza, meaning wherever you are on the island, you are never far from delicious vegan food. On the sea front at Santa Eulalia, flanked by a large fountain and tall palm trees, but further south than Caos and further away from the buzz, the location was quiet and relaxing and a great spot for people watching. Inside, the decor is the antidote to Chirancana’s sand and rustic intensity – it’s clean, fresh and airy and keeps the Ibizan white and blue theme, with a bit of homely shabby chic charm.
We came here a few times and had mixed experiences which we felt very much depended on the staff that were in – our worst experience was ordering a vegan curry and getting chicken in it which we were less than pleased about, but lets instead focus on the positive, because overall it really was a lovely place.
My favourite dish here was the falafel salad and I would go as far as to say these are the best falafels I’ve had. The generous portion was served in a large bowl with beautiful presentation. We had burger and chips for lunch one day and found the burgers a bit bland, although the chips were great. I also tried the sunshine curry which was really lovely, and the juices which were fresh and generously portioned in large jars. We were impressed that they had a vegan cake and my rule is that, because it’s quite rare to find vegan cake desserts in restaurants, if I’m lucky enough to have found somewhere that serves it, you can bet your life I’m ordering it. The chocolate brownie here is a winner and true to my rule I had a piece each time we ate here.