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Photo: Ana Lui
Photo: Ana Lui

Places

The secret Ibiza

If you’re planning a 24/7 party trip, Ibiza is just the place. However, if it’s a quiet, relaxing, even healthy break you crave, the island also has a surprising amount to offer. Discover the other side of Ibiza.

Back in the 1960s, the green tide brought people with alternative ideas – hippies, writers and artists – to Ibiza. Maybe, that’s why the island still has a laid-back vibe, and why today it’s a melting pot of cultures, both nationally and spiritually. There’s literally a party going on all-day long – many clubs start off la fiesta with an early after-beach party and don’t close until 6.30 in the morning – but Ibiza is also a great place to visit if you want to focus on your body and mind. If it’s wellness you’re looking for, why not give the clubs a miss and instead check into a health retreat with top-class vegan food and spend the day taking part in yoga sessions?

It’s this rather more alternative vibe that’s drawn many creative professionals to the island, and, thanks to its energy and creative ambience, they’ve stayed and chosen to make it their home. Boris Buono, former chef at Michelin-star restaurant Noma in ­Copenhagen, is one. He came to the island with nothing and today runs two of Ibiza’s best eateries.

Chef Boris Buono loves to cook with wild herbs from the island. But he also grows his own in his garden. Photo: Ana Lui

“I came here by coincidence, at a pretty low point in my life. My girlfriend had dumped me and I had just lost the site for my then-restaurant in Copenhagen,” he says.

Buono, half-Italian and half-Danish, always dreamed about opening a hideaway restaurant in the countryside, where he could grow his own food. When he first visited Ibiza he realized that the island had much more to offer than just a party lifestyle, and an idea started to form in his head.

“It surprised me that it had such a beautiful and relaxing nature. I pictured my restaurant in an old, typical Ibiza stone house, a white finca.”

But then a totally different site provided him with an opportunity. Buono’s first restaurant, Ibiza Food Studio, opened in 2015 in Ibiza’s old fishermen’s quarter – a “pretty dodgy area,” as the chef describes it. ­Everyone told him it was the worst possible place to open a restaurant, but fortunately they were wrong and Ibiza Food Studio has been called the island’s coolest restaurant and a place for the perfect supper. Buono himself describes it as “a mix of fine-­dining and granny’s cooking.”

La Finca is Buono’s private home, but also a hide-away restaurant for those who wants a experience a fine-dining ­experience in an authentic ­countryside atmosphere. Photo: Ana Lui

A few years later, Buono finally found his dream country house, deep in Ibiza’s San Lorenzo hills about 30 minutes by car from Ibiza Town. Today, it doubles as his private home and a restaurant – La Finca.

Since Buono started living in Ibiza, he says his mind-set has completely changed.

“I don’t think about the Michelin stars and the latest food trends anymore, I’m much more creative and original than I was before.”

The chef and his team love to cook with ingredients from Ibiza. They go fishing themselves and are always looking out for things that grow on the ­island. 

“The wild asparagus is fantastic, and there’s also loads of herbs and flowers you can eat, like sorrels. I use them to create a taste of green apple and lemon,” says the chef.

The countryside is not only good for picking vegetables – it’s also where you’ll find the best restaurants, some of the coolest shops and the most unique hotels on the island. The Giri Hotel in the north is one of the gems. The hotel is run by Rosa ­Hilde­brandt, who describes herself as “one of the hippie kids who grew up on the island,” and her husband, Lars Holm Hansen. The hotel is surrounded by old olive trees, green fields and a garden with fruit and vegetables. At the in-house restaurant, the Living Room, you can pretty much order whatever you fancy, and, according to Hildebrandt, the chef will cook it for you. The guests are varied; from Hollywood superstars, footballers, DJs and investors to creatives from all over the world.

“People who stay here want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Ibiza scene, but not stray too far. That’s what’s so good about Ibiza, you can combine two totally different worlds.” 


Text: Jessica Johansson 

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Last edited: April 13, 2017

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