At the start of August I went on a last minute family holiday to Ibiza. We stayed on the south of the island in a lovely bay called Cala Llonga, in the El Pinar Apartments on a self-catering basis.
The hotel itself was lovely, it had its own pool with plenty of sun loungers, a bar, pool table and restaurant. The hotel do offer half board and all inclusive options however I much preferred having the option to eat out in the local area. I also think the hotel restaurant served a greater variety and of a higher quality than the all inclusive buffet. For our first meal we went to a little restaurant called Regina’s. We’d landed early in the morning so wanted somewhere nearby for lunch. I went for an avocado and smoked salmon salad. It wasn’t anything special for any of us so we didn’t return here for dinner. I therefore haven’t reviewed it fully.
The photos below show the gluten free brunch served at El Pinar as well as sunset views from the hotel.
On our first at second-to-last evening we ate at L’Altre Balagar, a beachfront bar and restaurant. On both occasions here I went for fish. On our first visit, our waiter was very clued up on allergies and advised against the chips due to cross contamination and understood about my avoidance of onion and garlic. On this visit I enjoyed the Sardines with salad (and I did share a few chips as I’m not coeliac). On our second visit I went for the grilled sea bass with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. This was a delicious plate of food, the fish was cooked to perfection and I loved the padron pepper accompaniment.
Overall I’d definitely recommend a meal or two here, clued up on allergies and very fresh, tasty meals.
Siroco was another restaurant we visited twice during our week-long stay in Cala Llonga. On our first visit I shared a freshly made seafood paella with cousin which was made without onion and garlic. I LOVED this. It was delicious and tasted very different from the non low FODMAP version. It was spiced with paprika and very delicious. My uncle actually think he preferred our FODMAP friendly paella in comparison to the traditional paella as he thought it had more of a kick! So there you go – definitely a top place to go. As we had all thoroughly enjoyed the paellas we went back for a second visit to try out the fish! I went for the grilled salmon and it came with a stack of roasted vegetables. This was lovely, another delicious meal. The only minor issue with this restaurant was the service. They were quite slow and did ignore us when we first sat down. This problem was not exclusive to Siroco. Restaurants in Cala Llonga have a very relaxed vibe and customer service is definitely not their number one priority. I do enjoy a relaxed vibe don’t get me wrong, but we had a 18 month old and felt that unnecessary waiting to order a drink, or 30 minutes for drinks to arrive a little bit much!
La Vela Ristorante Pizzeria
We found this restaurant on the fourth or fifth night of our trip and it looked so clean, modern and inviting, with a quiet terrace area. With a vast menu of creative pizza flavours it’s a shame that they don’t offer a gluten free option in either pizza or pasta. The only option was therefore salads. Despite my disappointment, the salads were incredible. On our first visit, I went through my allergies/intolerances and funny story… The waitress misheard me informing her of my allergies and instead asked if I’d like some aubergine. I thought actually, I’d love some aubergine. Add that on there too. However she actually misunderstood allergies, so I finally got my onion and garlic free salad with some extra aubergine too! Bonus! On our second visit I went for the same salad, but instead asked for Serrano ham to mix it up. I’m not sure what happened, but it ended up being quite a different salad. Fortunately it was just as nice as my first one. I’d definitely recommend a visit here. The food is delicious and if there’s any communication issues, you may end up with bonus items with your meal too!
Early on in the trip I looked into the ferry to Formentera as I’d heard great things about the island. The ferry took 1 hour 20 minutes and it was so worth it! A dolphin was even spotted en route but sadly I missed it. On arrival, we had a quick ice cream (it seemed much hotter on the island) then headed straight to the beach. It was quite a walk with no shelter (see below) but the sea looked so inviting I couldn’t wait to get there. On arrival we sunbathed, had a little dip in the sea (I saw another jellyfish) and admired all the superyachts parking up and catching their boat taxis to the beach. We were there in the middle of the day, but despite my uncle searching for food, everywhere was pre-booked by the beach, or charging 500 Euros for caviar, so we hung on and walked back to the harbour late afternoon. Hot and hungry, we came across a waterfront cafe, Cafe del Lago which we saw had a surprise waiting for me…
Cafe del Lago
…Gluten Free Pizza!! I was so happy we had to eat here. I went for a margherita with added serrano ham and it was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had and that wasn’t just the hunger talking. It was a freshly made base cooked in a pizza oven. I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you’re visiting. It was reasonably priced too.
From Cala Llonga it’s just a short 20-30 minute bus ride into Ibiza Old Town. We took a trip here for lunch, had a little wander in the air conditioned shops to cool down, and that’s when I came across something I’ve been waiting YEARS for.
In many European countries it is now possible to have a gluten free McDonald’s. I just went for a cheeseburger (without the onion). It is cooked fresh and took four minutes, but it was worth the wait. I could review it and say the bun was a little dry, or I could have had a bit more sauce, but it’s a GLUTEN FREE MCDONALD’S and I don’t think I need to add anything else! It was also very very cheap. So a good option if you’re looking at saving a few Euros.
At the airport there were limited options for breakfast, and the busiest outlet by far was Burger King. As soon as I saw the ‘SIN GLUTEN’ sign I was sold and joined the queue. Again, I went for a simple cheeseburger here (I ordered without onion but it turns out it literally just comes with the burger and the cheese so I needn’t have worried). I loved the bun, it was great to have a proper seeded burger bun, however I was very disappointed by the fact it only comes with a salad as their chips aren’t gluten free. So on that basis, McDonald’s wins. But it’s a great option for something FODMAP friendly at the airport!
And that brings my holiday to a close. I hope you find this review helpful, and it provides another destination to consider for those of with food intolerances. I really enjoyed Cala Llonga, it was my first trip to Ibiza and I thought it was really quiet, relaxing and friendly place to be.
What are your holiday plans? I’m now looking for inspiration for next year’s trip! Let me know in the comments below.