A hidden cove, a simple, tastefully decorated country house, a team of chefs who are passionate about Mediterranean produce, flawless service and the purest essence of Ibiza. These are the ingredients Rafa Zafra put together in 2020, right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, to create beach chiringuito Casa Jondal. It’s now become an essential destination for lovers of good food on the ‘White Island’.
Located in Cala Jondal in San José, south-east Ibiza, the chiringuito is set on a stone beach with crystal clear waters and is surrounded by pine trees and Spanish juniper. Sevilla-born Rafa Zafra is a graduate of the Estimar restaurants in Madrid (1 Repsol Sun) and Barcelona (2 Repsol Suns), alongside his wife and Ricardo Acquista. He now takes loving care over his Ibizan chiringuito, his “dream come true”.
“I don’t want Jodal to become a gourmet restaurant, simply one of the beach chiringuitos with the best food in the world,” explains Zafra. Zafra wanted Casa Jondal “to turn luxury into something far more casual” and he’s certainly succeeded. Because if there’s one thing about this restaurant that truly amazes, it’s the fantastic atmosphere that Zafra and his team have created. “We’re really surprised by the crowd that comes to Jondal. It’s what makes this place so special. There’s a real variety, it’s where famous footballers and DJs mingle with families from the island to create an enjoyable, relaxed and unique atmosphere in Ibiza,” says head chef Alberto Castiñeiras.
Together with Ricardo Acquista and Castiñeiras, Zafra has put together an impressive team at Jondal. “We’re proud of having managed to get it all up and running despite what was going on. I think we built our own bubble in the middle of such a dark situation. But what we’re definitely most proud of is having formed a brilliant team in both the dining room and kitchen, and that has a big impact on Jondal’s success,” comments Ricardo Acquista.
Zafra, Acquista and Castiñeiras explain that, in Jondal’s second year, their main goal is to finish establishing themselves on the island. The biggest development in comparison to their first season is that they have completely updated what the Kiosko offers. It now has a different concept to the chiringuito and customers can enjoy a more casual snack menu based around finger food.
The sea is the star
Neither Rafa Zafra, Ricardo Acquista or Alberto Castiñeiras are the stars of Jondal. In fact, the Mediterranean and its produce are at the forefront and define this unique foodie experience in Ibiza. Because at Jondal, luxury is defined as a whole group of sensations: eating with your bare feet on the sand, listening to a soundtrack of only the waves, the wind and seagulls, enjoying a relaxed meal, sharing moments and unforgettable after-meal chats in a setting that you’ll never want to leave.
At Jondal, the diner is treated to the opportunity of being able to choose produce instead of dishes. Zafra uses his chiringuito to pay tribute to produce from the Mediterranean Sea, and his father-in-law’s fishmonger’s, Pescadores de Roses, provides Jondal with all its fish and seafood (it also supplies El Bulli, and Estimar Madrid and Barcelona). Having said that, the chiringuito also works with the best fish and seafood from Ibiza. Because, according to the Sevillian chef’s philosophy, chefs should leave high quality produce alone to respect its essence and purity. And what better luxury for the diner than being able to decide how they want to eat their favourite fish and seafood. Once the object of their desire has been chosen, Jondal suggests three ways to cook it: grilled, fried or boiled – and this is where each person can choose the option that tempts them the most. And yes, the same naturally goes for meat options.
The chiringuito also has sun beds, a select aperitif menu and a wide range of cocktails. Goran, wine sommelier at Jondal, has selected wines that suit the Mediterranean climate. Highlights include sparkling wines, fresh whites and rosés: big wines from small wineries that will surprise even the greatest wine experts. And special mention should be made of the desserts, which put the icing on the cake of a meal that will revolutionise your senses.
Carefully selected produce that is prepared with (apparent) simplicity, pure and intense flavours – everything cooked just so – professional yet relaxed service staff and an unbeatable setting. Jondal is the perfect – and idyllic – version of the classic chiringuito. A space that recreates the essence of those beach restaurants that defined the childhoods of so many, it’s creator Rafa Zafra in particular. Restaurants that offered customers quality products in wonderful settings. And Jondal isn’t just somewhere to come and eat, it’s a place where you can enjoy the full experience of beach, nature, a relaxed vibe and, of course, the best of the Mediterranean’s cuisine.