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Review: Café Mambo - an original slice of Ibiza

The best DJs and an incredible sunset


It could be said that Café Mambo is the very essence of what Ibiza means to many people worldwide: it's got excellent dance music credentials, attracts the world's top DJ talent, is known as a place to get a party started and is set slap bang in one of the most stunning settings of this achingly beautiful island. It makes a great spot to stop at to eat, drink and dance and do all things Ibiza in the one place.

It started life 24 years ago after Mambo's owner transformed an old derelict Ibicenco building, which to this day retains typical island decor features like mosaics and marble to keep it close to its origins. The Mambo Group today comprises a fair few venues where Café Mambo is located. It's a kind of hub around the mother ship on San Antonio's Sunset Strip, a place that's considered to offer you one of the best sunsets in the world. And, staring out to that big orange-red globe as it settles down below the horizon for another day is one of the best pleasures around. Coming here for dinner is a great way to settle into your evening. As night progresses the musical tempo rises and you'll feel the pervading party spirit take hold in this most original of Ibiza locales.

Cocktail magic

We arrived early so we could take it all in and leisurely enjoy some pre-dinner cocktails. There is a great selection here and some that aren't actually on the menu - the point is that they can do just about most cocktail requests, including those without booze, so if you want a Cosmopolitan and can't see it, they'll do it. We had a passion fruit mojito, a new drink here and simply delicious. The raspberry daiquiri and Mai Tai were great examples of classics done really well. They look good, they taste good and they go down marvellously - just what you want in a cocktail.

As well as the cool inside, there's a big outside terrace with lots of white furniture, marble-topped tables and VIP seating on the side directly outside the venue, where you get to sit really close to the DJ booth. Being part of the action is what it's all about here, though there are quieter spots to enjoy.

Crisp and creole

The food has some great classic mains, salads, tacos and lots of starter plates that can be shared, which we did. The crispy prawns that arrived first lived up to the description and came with a spicy creole dip that had us begging for more. The large Mediterranean mezze platter was a tour de force of cured ham, bresaola, gruyère cheese, flatbread and some pickles. If you are sharing, then this is great to nibble from as you get prepared for your main courses, which are all well portioned by the way.

Fresh as a daisy

To those mains and more prawns, extra juicy Tiger ones that came with a Thai-style coconut sauce and a side of tasty aromatic rice. This dish had a lovely taste of prawns and was as fresh as a daisy. Then a seared salmon fillet rolled in with a coriander (cilantro) pesto, had a good solid texture and was beautifully presented. Finally, a fillet steak landed, served with a red wine butter sauce, some hand made chips and a rocket salad. For a bit extra, you can have it with either a peppercorn sauce or chimichurri salsa. If you like beef, then steak is always a great option though we have it on good authority that their Mambo Burger is one of the best around, so for a bit less, you still get your meat injection.

Explosive taste

When it came to pudding, our group was pretty full - we had been there a while - so we went for one dessert to share in the shape of a chocolate ‘banoffi' bomb. Textbook taste and texture from people who really know how to do desserts, if this was anything to go by. To finish, we had a shot of their own Café Mambo branded hierbas, the local Ibizan liqueur. Make sure you get one of these as it is simply delicious and few places make their own.

Café Mambo an icon for good reason. It has a special aura and amazing position that make the place a must visit, not just for its history, but as a place where you could spend the whole night before having a wee dance into the small hours. Having dinner at one of the most famous Ibiza venues in the world is an original experience and one that you should take advantage of on the White Isle at least once. It would as they say, be rude not to.

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Quick facts

What? Café Mambo

Where? Sunset Strip, San Antonio

When? Mid May to mid October from 10am-3am

Why? Do we need to say - it's a history-making place of course!

Average spend per head? €48 for a starter, main, dessert and glass of house wine. Note: There's a minimum spend of €70 per person at Café Mambo for sunset tables which includes your meal and any drinks.

Veggie Options? There are salads and pasta dishes and if you ask, the chef will prepare something for you

Disabled Facilities? Yes

Top tips? Go for the sunset and look out for their DJ line-up before going to see if you can spot some of your favourites

WORDS | Julian Heathcote

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