facefoodmag ENibiza

Tomás Abellán - Casa Linda. Sharing draws up a chair

Tomás Abellán - Casa Linda. Sharing draws up a chair

Tomás Abellán © ffmag

Tomás Abellán (Barcelona, 1988) was born and raised around restaurants. After working with his father (chef Carles Abellán) for nine years, in 2019 he began his own journey as a solo restaurateur, opening the legendary Bar Alegría in Barcelona and later Casa Luz in 2021. Now his adventure as an entrepreneur continues as he comes to Ibiza to launch Casa Linda: a restaurant set in a charming Ibizan farmhouse hidden away in San Josep where diners will be able to savour Ibiza’s inland calm and feel at home as they enjoy food with all the colour and flavour of the island.


What’s it like growing up around restaurants?
I grew up in restaurant dining rooms, so I’m more about the dining room than the kitchen. But I also have experience in the kitchen and, at the end of the day, having spent so many years at my father’s side, even if you don’t know how to cook, you pick up a lot of ideas. And it’s also really helped me to see from the customer’s perspective.

How old were you when you started to go to good restaurants?
My father and I have always gone to restaurants. He was already working as a chef when I was born. He moved to El Bulli that year but didn’t earn much at first. Then we began to live better and go to restaurants when I was twelve or fourteen. Now I eat out every day and I think it is the best investment I make on a daily basis.. Because you watch, you meet people... You soak up a lot. 

I eat out every day and I think it's the best investment I make on a daily basis.

How did you start out in the restaurant industry?
I was a middling to bad student and did athletics at school. I spent seven years at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento [High Performance Centre] on the Spanish athletics team: I did World Championships, European Championships... I was an elite sportsman until I was twenty or twenty-one. Until I was injured badly, twice, and had to stop. Then I studied photography and got a grant to go to New York for a year, studying and doing an internship. When I came back to Barcelona, I worked on film sets and shoots for two years. I’d worked with my father before when I was fifteen or sixteen and, because I was freelance at the time, I had a couple of months without any projects on, so I went to work with my father at El Comerç 24. And I stayed. I began as an assistant waiter, then I was a waiter, maître d’...  My father was expanding fast and needed someone he could trust. He had my back, and I had his. I worked with him for eight or nine years as manager, operations manager, doing openings, events...

Dishes Casa Linda

Dishes © Casa Linda

What were the good and bad sides to working with your father?
You see the good side when you stop. At the time I was very young and perhaps didn’t see it. But now I’ve set up my own restaurants, I realise how much I learned from him, how much he invested in me: in restaurants, travel... It was a good time. The bad side was that I was under a lot of pressure because my father was rapidly expanding. I always had a good time, except for at the end, when it started to get on top of me. I’m really grateful to him for everything. For my work, for his work and for everything. We’ve always really supported each other. We won a Michelin star together, we’ve done really cool events... It was great. We enjoyed ourselves and that’s what you remember.

What was it like setting up your first restaurant (Alegría)?
In 2019, my father bought the lease to Bar Alegría, which opened in 1899 and is legendary in Barcelona. The bar was in a state and I was offered the chance to buy into the business with Max Colombo (Can Pizza). The day after opening, my father and Max told me they weren’t sure about it, but I decided to keep the bar. That was in October 2019. I swapped the team, the food, I painted it, fixed up the interior, changed the kitchen... When we started to take off, the pandemic hit. And it was great for us, because I took charge of its social media, its promotion, and concentrated hard on the food... I had time to clearly define the foundation of the business and, when we reopened, it was successful... And now that Bar Alegría has a great reputation, we’ve also got a catering business for events...

And Casa Luz?
Casa Luz opened in 2021. It’s a terrace in Plaça Universitat. We’re right in the city centre on the sixth floor with incredible views. The food is similar to Alegría but there’s a better infrastructure so I can do something more extensive. Casa Luz has worked really well from the very first day: it’s a more complex operation because we do breakfast, lunch, dinner, events... Also, Savia opened in September that year, which was a project that focused firmly on vegetarian food, but things didn’t work out and it only lasted a year.

What did you learn from the project that didn’t work out?
I learned that you have to give projects a lot of love and time. I like being there, deciding the wine list, the menu, being with the team... I think that’s my strength.  Now, in Ibiza, I’m part of everything: painting the chairs, doing the menus...

Why Ibiza?
Because of its atmosphere, vibe and energy. I love the island. My father lives in Formentera and I really love Ibiza and Formentera. Barna is a tricky place. Licences, buying leases... Business opportunities have far more runway in Ibiza than in Barcelona. I was really ready to leave Barcelona, to live somewhere else for a time and to start a new adventure in a place with a promising future.

Casa Linda team

Team © Casa Linda

What Ibizan products will we find at Casa Linda?
We’re going to try and work exclusively with Ibizan produce. I know it isn’t easy, but I want to use fish from the island: John Dory, red scorpionfish... Cooperatives supply our fruit and vegetables, we’ve got black pig sobrassada, bread by David Reartes, Ibizan olive oil and honey... We want to use the island and create synergies because we like the sustainability aspect of working with people close by and living off the local environment. It’s our way of working. We know who supplies our eggs in Barcelona too, where their hens are... This traceability defines us.

We want to use the island and create synergies because it is necessary for sustainability aspect working with people close by and living off our environment

What type of food is served at Casa Linda?
It’s very honest cooking. Home-made Mediterranean food, seasonal produce, simplicity and honesty. Our menu is divided into the different spaces you’d have found in an old Ibizan farmhouse: the pantry, the larder, the fireplaces, the kitchen garden and the hen house...  All the dishes are designed to share and we’ll have generous portions. And, of course, we’ll try to be environmentally friendly.

You May Also Like


Ecofeixes, the first organic cooperative of Ibiza


José Miguel Bonet, the chef in charge of Es Ventall


Juan Pedro Domínguez, The Winner of the XI Cocktail Competition of Ibiza and Formentera


Óscar Molina, a trip through peruvian cuisine