It did not happen overnight. Even before the first Michelin star was awarded to the island (to the Es Tragón restaurant in 2019), there was already in Sant Antoni de Portmany talk of the place becoming a “foodie destination”. The town is proud that it can offer one of the most varied ranges of cuisine on Ibiza. It has something to please every taste — from the most committed foodie searching out the latest gastronomic trends to the more traditional diner. Sant Antoni de Portmany’s tourism model is undergoing a transformation, according to the chef Miguel Tur — now also the town’s councillor for Tourism, Festivals and Citizen Participation at Sant Antoni Town Hall.
Changing this model (the town’s mainstay for some years) is, without question, one of the most complex tasks currently facing the municipality. “To achieve this transformation, it has been necessary to make all kinds of changes: from infrastructure and services to attitudes,” explains Señor Tur. “The aim is to make Sant Antoni into a flagship destination, where every visitor can enjoy the finest food and drink in the island’s best restaurants, compete in top sports events, have a drink while watching the sun set over one of the most spectacular bays in the world — and the longest stretch of unspoilt coastline on Ibiza”. At the Town Hall, his team is working to make this town stand out from other, similar destinations, and to place it on the map as the best possible option.
And if there’s one thing that makes this Ibizan town unique — not to mention irresistible — it is its amazing range of restaurants. So much so, that Señor Tur does not baulk at referring to Sant Antoni as the “foodie capital of Ibiza”. “What makes us most proud is that we’ve achieved this without big brands or stars. The restaurants in this town have worked tirelessly from the outset to get us where we are today: at the very forefront of Ibiza’s gastronomical field,” he says.
“The restaurants in this town have worked tirelessly since the outset to get us where we are today: at the very forefront of Ibiza’s gastronomical field.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, since 2019 Sant Antoni has also boasted a Michelin star: the first and — for now, at least — the only one on the island. We find it at the Es Tragón restaurant which, under its chef Álvaro Sanz Clavijo, has always been committed to the haute cuisine combination of Mediterranean tradition and total respect for the quality of the raw ingredients used. “Álvaro has been in the town for over 10 years, and deserves his Michelin star for all his hard work over that time. As a professional he is unrivalled, and we are proud that he, as a Portmany resident, realised that Sant Antoni had that special something that he needed to fulfil his dream,” says Miguel Tur. “Álvaro’s Michelin star, together with the Repsol Sun awarded to José Miguel Bonet, chef at the Es Ventall restaurant, are testament to the strength and health of gourmet cuisine in Sant Antoni.” Because both accolades are merely the icing on the cake, given the long and arduous path that the town’s restaurants have been treading for years. It is no accident that Sant Antoni now finds itself on the world foodie map.
“Álvaro’s Michelin star (at Es Tragón), together with the José Miguel Bonet’s Repsol Sun, (Es Ventall) are testament to the strength and health of gourmet cuisine in Sant Antoni.”
One of the keys to the town’s success in gastronomical terms is its extremely important supply network. “We’re one of the few towns with a community of fishermen, an agricultural cooperative, an olive oil press, and wineries renowned throughout the world. There’s more to Sant Antoni than just its bay and its beaches: we have a hugely important network of growers and livestock farmers inland (Sant Mateu, Santa Agnès and Sant Rafel). It’s also thanks to them that we are one of the top foodie destinations in the Balearic Islands. They are a fundamental pillar of the tourism model transformation that we are seeking”, explains Señor Tur.
In addition to its vast production capability, the municipality is remarkable for the enormous range of food-and-drink-related events organised throughout the year. These include the Fira de la Llagosta [Lobster Fair], the arroz de matanzas [pork stew with rice] championship held in Sant Antoni, the sofrit pagès [traditional meat stew] contest at Corona, the Pintxa [mini skewered appetiser] and Restaurat competitions, as well as the gastronomic workshops for young chefs. This calendar of events gets people involved, and raises the gastronomic profile of the area, both on the island and internationally. The arroz de matanzas championship alone attracted 2,000 people last year, and involved both residents and people from outside the island. “Events such as these promote and add value to our zero-miles products,” Miguel Tur points out.
“Our growers and livestock farmers are a fundamental pillar of the tourism model transformation that we are seeking.”
Beyond its festivals, idyllic beaches and sunsets, Sant Antoni de Portmany is striving to bring its endless attractions to the attention of the whole world. On a personal level, Sant Antoni’s Councillor for Tourism, Festivals and Citizen Participation highlights the massive endeavour undertaken over decades by his professional colleagues in the town.
“When I talk about quality, I’m referring to the finest burgers on the island, to the family-run restaurants that have always assured Sant Antoni’s place as a flagship of Ibiza’s cuisine, and to those young people who have gone away to train — and who have now returned to make our reputation stronger than ever. We’ve got where we are today through our hard work over many years.”