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Ibiza winter restaurants - Villa Mercedes, San Antonio

Special! We tried out one of the restaurants taking part in the 'La Matanza' gourmet food competition - and loved it! If you get a chance, check out Villa Mercedes, San Antonio.

This week, our Ibiza Winter Restaurant is the highly-acclaimed Villa Mercedes situated in the port of San Antonio.

Parking is plentiful in the street right outside the restaurant, but do make sure to buy a ticket from the pay & display machine if arriving before 2 p.m. or after 5 p.m. Parking charges of roughly €1 per hour do still apply in the blue zones even in winter...and traffic wardens are out in force!

My three friends and I were greeted warmly by our charming and charismatic waiter, Josh, who, being aware that we would be taking photographs, had thoughtfully reserved us a table on the canopied terrace where the light was at its best on this unusually grey Ibiza day.

Slightly different to the menus del dia that we usually review in this series, today's set menu was part of a themed campaign running from 2nd November until 15th December (in which many other restaurants on Ibiza are also participating) highlighting traditional Ibicenco gastronomical products...matanza and olive oil. The three choices of first course, and three choices of second course remain the same each day throughout the campaign, but to give their many regular customers some variety, Villa Mercedes offer various additions to the menu every day. Also included in the price of €15 per head were two aperitifs and three choices of dessert.

First to arrive was a taster of Oliada extra virgin olive oil, served with soft, fresh bread. Tangy, extremely fruity and pleasantly bitter, we could easily see why Oliada, made in San Juan, has been recognised by the prestigious Great Taste Awards.

It was interesting to note that Villa Mercedes' only nod towards matanza came with the aperitif served next...matanza pork, potato and padron pepper. Matanza is a tradition that is unlikely to sit comfortably with most vegetarians, but Villa Mercedes have taken this into account and, three out of the four starters were suitable for non-meat-eaters, whilst the second course consisted of one meat, one fish and one vegetarian option. Kudos must be awarded here for putting in that extra thought and effort to keep everyone happy!

Between us, we sampled each of the four starters and if I were to go into descriptive detail here, or note the barrage of praise emanating from us as we tucked into our crunchy brie, tomato, onion and basil salad, "starry" eggs served with traditional sausage and home-made potato crisps, creamy vegetable soup with or without Iberico ham and (extra of the day) artichoke and mushroom risotto, respectively...well, dear readers, we would be here all day! Suffice to say, the flavours, textures and delightful presentation of each dish were nothing short of exquisite.

For the second course, one of my friends and I had chosen home-made cannelloni with spinach, ricotta and almonds, which was light, fresh with well-balanced flavours wrapped beautifully in a crisp filo pastry. Our other two companions opted for beef with aubergine in chimichurri sauce, truffle oil and balsamico, topped with rocket. They both happily announced it was cooked to tender perfection and, again, the presentation was a delight.

We were impressed to see that Villa Mercedes were still providing their exceptionally high quality of service during this set menu campaign, and it was with not just a little awe that we noticed only two waiters were serving the entire restaurant (we counted sixteen tables taken) and the bar between them, and their efficiency, enthusiasm and good humour created a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere for all the diners.

After a short break, we felt ready to tackle dessert! Lemon tart served with meringue and a delicate mint sauce, passion fruit with mango sorbet and "textura de chocolate" which was, by far, the most decadent of them all!

Good strong coffees, and a complimentary Hierbas Ibicencas Mambo, another award winner and lighter in colour and flavour than regular Hierbas Ibicencas, and we were all more than happy after a lunch time of food, service, style and presentation.

If you are here on Ibiza before 15th December, we have no hesitation in recommending Villa will not be disappointed!

Quick Facts

What Villa Mercedes

Where San Antonio.

Until 15th December:

Lunch Sunday - Wednesday 13.00 - 17.00,
Thursday - Saturday 13.00 - 16.00.

Dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday 19.00 - 24.00.

Why Reasonably priced set menu with 5 star service.

Average Spend Per Head €15 plus drinks.

Veggie Options Yes.

Disabled Access Sadly not.

Room for Improvement
More of a "Be aware of" as this is certainly no complaint. Whilst the set menu is extremely reasonable, you will find that a bottle of wine costs more than the food! That said, we enjoyed a particularly good Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, which was the perfect accompaniment and still, in our opinion, exceptional value for money.

Top Tips If you're going to be naughty when it comes to dessert, go the whole hog and order the textura de chocolate!

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