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Food review: A Son de Mar, Ibiza Town

Amazing dishes, excellent service and gorgeous views.

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Why go? For the superb view, fine seafood and attentive service. Look out for the amazing value set menu del día in winter.

What kind of food is it? Predominantly traditional Spanish rice dishes, fish and seafood but with plenty of vegetarian options and some grilled meat to please the devout carnivore.

Who is it for? For lovers of high quality seafood, who will appreciate the true flavours of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, eaten in the perfect nautical surroundings.

Best table? Outside on the waterfront, beside the bobbing boats, or in front of the big windows from where you can drink in the super view of the walled citadel of Dalt Vila.


The Venue

Maritime views in the lovely modern interior of A Son de Mar

Although at the quiet end of Marina Botafoch, A Son de Mar is in a great position to enjoy unbeatable views of Dalt Vila across the harbour and the beautiful boats tied up outside.

Living up to its name, which translates into English as “shipshape”, the venue is neat, tidy and very orderly. Decor is clean and white, with touches of aquamarine and driftwood, giving it a genuine maritime feel.

The ambience

Our expert mixologist making the eponymous house cocktail

The atmosphere at A Son de Mar is sedate, yet casual, and, as the venue is not very large, the feeling is cosy and intimate. The waiting staff is informal, yet attentive and never far away. They are always willing to explain the menu in various languages and no request ever seems too much effort.

The Port Lounge cocktail bar entices passers by to drop in for refreshment, before sitting down to an unforgettable meal. As an introduction to the restaurant we were offered an aperitif from the Port Lounge cocktail bar - the titular A Son de Mar Cocktail, a clean blend of Grey Goose vodka and Blue Curacao cold, crisp and refreshing. Also on offer was the Citrus Spicy Orange, which was rich, smooth and fizzing with ginger.

The food

Gorgeous, tasty Ibizan tomatoes

Considering the surroundings it is hard to imagine eating anything but the seafood options at A Son de Mar. Everything about the venue is tempting you to indulge in the fruits of the sea, particularly the rice and pasta dishes, which are central to the clearly laid out menu.

Chef Ivan Ronchera from Valencia is a proud defender of his city's gastronomic heritage. He believes in producing his traditional dishes with balance and finesse, to let the natural flavours of the products speak for themselves. Ivan prepares his sofrito, the basis for all classic paellas, so that it doesn't overpower the intrinsic goodness of the meat or seafood to be added later on.

Ostras! What a seafood sight: our Amélie oysters

To whet our appetites we were offered a vegetarian Salmorejo, a refreshingly fruity type of gazpacho, with mango. Our vegan companion was delighted, as the chef had prepared it especially for us.

This was quickly followed by a glossy tomato salad with four varieties of homegrown Ibizan tomatoes and seasoned with olive oil and salt - all produced on the island - and a deliciously fruity goats cheese salad including papaya, melon, strawberries and matchsticks of crunchy apple.

Calamari dish of many textures

Soon the seafood began to arrive and it was well worth the wait. Half a dozen icy-fresh Amélie oysters, from the oyster beds in Oléron in Southern France, were soon washed down with a splash of lime. They were just the right size to bite and swallow, releasing the enclosed essence of the sea.

Surprise of the night was the deep fried calamari on a net of fried rice, tinted with squid ink, and accompanied by a sweet chili sauce and a squid ink mayonnaise. The fantastic texture combination of the perfectly fried squid and the crispy rice added a whole new dimension to this popular dish.

Salt baked Sea Bass with the tenderest flesh imaginable

Our main course was a giant Sea Bass cooked in salt and served with a baptism of flaming liquor. What emerged from the salty shell were enormous fillets of the softest flesh imaginable. The exquisite fish easily satisfied three of us, accompanied by thinly sliced potato crisps.

Chef Ivan's showpiece was the nicest vegetable paella I have ever eaten – the subtly flavoured rice was cooked in the perfect thin layer, producing the trademark crispy caramelisation on the base. Accompanied by a plate of grilled vegetables, our vegan correspondent was having an absolute feast.

A vegetable paella replete with amazing flavours

For dessert, we shared a light and fluffy mango ice cream, with fresh mango and Crema Catalana foam, interspersed with tiny cubes of marshmallow, and a silky deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. Both dishes were typical, popular recipes but their execution was a perfect example of the dedication to quality at A Son de Mar.

A silky, deconstructed strawberry cheesecake

A Son de Mar is a true gem, well worth discovering at the quiet end of Marina Botafoch. Take the time to look for this pleasant restaurant and you will be rewarded with great food that has been prepared with a true love for local ingredients and for the produce of the sea. The waiting staff were excellent and the cocktails on point. Impossible to fault!

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