Es Ventall (Ibiza)

While Es Ventall is set within the city limits of Sant Antoni, walk into the restaurant and you’re transported into an idyllic oasis especially while dining al fresco. Sitting in the courtyard is oddly calming, amongst nature and the enormous fig tree, giving the establishment a charm that’s difficult to replicate elsewhere.  

For diners who aren’t familiar with Ibizan cuisine, Es Ventall’s menu is descriptive listing out the individual ingredients and eliciting a sense of excitement to see how things tie together. The Ibizan tomatoes salad (19€) starts with a bed of ripe chopped tomatoes and tops it with a full burrata, which when broken creates a creaminess to the dish. Strawberries and basil add an interesting refreshing element, but I would have skipped the crunchy pistachios that detract from the silkiness of the salad.

I can’t turn down trying a roasted aubergine (17€), which when done well takes the spongy eggplant and turns it into a creamy concoction. Es Ventall whole roasts the vegetable until it’s soft but still holds its shape and smears a sugary praline and fruit mixture on top. The dish is too dessert-like for me, I wish the praline spread was replaced with something savoury that would go better with the basil cream.

Our waiter describes the tomato and grilled prawn salad (26€) as being smaller, which is an understatement as the dish is truly skimpy. To call the crustaceans on the plate as grilled “prawns” is misleading, the thumb sized items are spot prawn sized, which are generally served by the half cup than individually. These Ibiza prawns are equally sweet, but given their petite size, the chef really needs to give more of these on the plate or at least leave them in the shell.

At the very least, serve the “prawns” with more than a scant quartered tomato, crème fraiche, and an oil sorbet that while adds a lovely richness, melts into nothingness. For the price, this dish needs more tomatoes, other vegetables, and a helping of grilled crostini to swipe up the sauces.

We didn’t order the cuttlefish and Ibiza prawns’ paella with aioli (24€ per serving; a three serving portion pictured below), but the kitchen mistakenly mixed up our order with another table, so we ended up having it as our main. While the dish had a lovely aroma, the rice was awfully salty reminding me of the soy sauce tasting concoction I had in Barcelona a decade earlier. Perhaps this is the traditional way of preparing paella, but the saltiness is so pungent that it detracts from the seafood and the rice becomes saturated in sauce that there’s no crispy bottom. This paella was a bust.

It's a shame, as I had really wanted to try the fideua, a dish that’s made paella style but switches out the rice for pasta instead. For one, it’s rarely seen elsewhere, and I love trying new creations. Alas, the humid August heat was getting to us and despite the miniscule starters our hunger simply went away. Sitting al fresco may be idyllic and romantic but give me air conditioning instead. 

Overall mark - 5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Ibiza, Spain
 Address: Carrer de Cervantes, 22

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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