When Claudio Passiatore, the general manager of ChezzGerdi, saw that people were constantly taking photos of themselves by the hippie campervan belonging to some friends of his (who were camping in it close to his restaurant), he knew immediately that he had a symbol for his establishment. If Disney’s icon is Mickey Mouse, ChezzGerdi’s is that vintage campervan that brings a smile to your face because it takes you back to a fantasy world, one of freedom and carefree fun.
What Claudio couldn’t have imagined is that the old van would become an authentic icon of the island of Formentera itself, as it’s a rare traveller who arrives at the smaller of the Pitiusa Islands and doesn’t have their photo taken with it. The charms of the campervan, however, are undoubtedly outshone by the beauty of its surroundings (the small, wild cove of Es Pujols with its limpid, turquoise blue waters and little beach of fine, white sand) — a setting that many couples choose to celebrate their wedding.
What Claudio couldn’t have imagined is that the old van would become an authentic icon of the island of Formentera.
ChezzGerdi is one of Formentera’s most emblematic beach restaurants. Although to call ChezzGerdi a restaurant is something of an understatement. In fact, this place symbolises the very essence of hippie Formentera, laid back and fun Formentera — and is one of the reasons why this Pitiusa Island has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
Yet, when this establishment opened thirteen years ago, it was not intended to be a restaurant, but a party venue. On the first day they fed 80 guests, on the second day, two hundred... and the rest is history. Nowadays you can have lunch or dinner here, you can listen to music whilst enjoying a cocktail, and above all, you can immerse yourself in the island’s authentic ambience.
Mediterranean cuisine, fusion cooking, and the very finest ingredients
It would be difficult to tie the cooking at ChezzGerdi to any single culinary trend. However, it is clearly Mediterranean — and particularly Italian, with its huge variety of pasta dishes and signature pizzas in which ingredients imported from Italy are the undisputed stars of the show. In that, it resembles an Italian trattoria.
But ChezzGerdi’s menu is as eclectic and heterogenous as its clientele. Here, you can enjoy dishes prepared from the freshest local fish, exceptional rice dishes, a sirloin of wagyu beef, or a 30-day dry-aged meat. But there’s also lobster tail or blue lobster, king crab or Beluga caviar.
If by any chance there’s a customer who can’t find what they want among this plethora of gastronomic delights, the menu at ChezzGerdi also has a section with an Asian twist that includes sushis, uramakis, and nigiris.
In short, a very comprehensive menu in which the premium ingredients take centre stage, are prepared with the utmost care, and are then presented in an original way. Not forgetting the dessert menu, which is every bit as impressive as the rest. One more thing: if you’re visiting as a family, there is also a section of the menu devoted to meals for children.
A very comprehensive menu in which the premium ingredients take centre stage, are prepared with the utmost care, and are then presented in an original way.
Over fifty fine Champagnes, cavas and sparkling wines
It would be difficult to find a restaurant with a more comprehensive wine list. Particularly if one takes into account the impressive selection of champagnes, cavas and sparkling wines — over fifty of them in total. They are matched by the variety of Spanish white, red and rosé wines, along with wines from Italy and other parts of Europe.
The history of Formentera’s most famous hippie campervan
Visitors are welcomed by the restaurant’s iconic, red Volkswagen T1 decorated with hippie designs (like the one featured in the series Lost), and almost everyone stops to have their photo taken with it, to the point where the van has become one of the most emblematic images of the smaller Pitiusa Island.
An amusing story lies behind the campervan. In the beginning, when the restaurant first opened, a couple turned up who had been travelling in the van hippie style, and who wanted to spend some time on the island. The problem was that no-one would allow them to park up anywhere, and wherever they camped, they were thrown out.
Until one day, they arrived at ChezzGerdi and met Claudio Passiatore, who is now the general manager, but who at that time was the chef. Claudio took a shine to them, allowed them to stay, and fed them; in exchange, he suggested that they take photos of guests alongside their eye-catching van. No sooner said than done. People queued up to have their photos taken. The young couple, who were from Murcia, had a fantastic summer and became close friends of Claudio, while the campervan became a symbol of ChezzGerdi and of Formentera.
Claudio realised that ChezzGardi now had its own icon, so he talked to the brother of the young Murcian woman who, out of gratitude for all he had done for the couple, agreed to rent the campervan to him for the following summer.
Nowadays, the van has become an intrinsic aspect of the identity of ChezzGardi, to the point where it is used as a private dining room: for example when someone wants an intimate dinner during which they plan to propose. Undeniably, an experience with a difference.