A visit to this charming dining concept is much more than going for dinner, it’s an experience you will never forget. Spread across five locations in close proximity to one another along Santa Creu, La Dispensa offers a variety of menus that can be consumed no matter which venue you choose – from delicious Italian cuisine to a newly launched sushi option.
The concept is the brain child of Jose Luis, the restaurant PR and Cristian Jesus Executive Manager, and evolved after the duo found the first unit to rent in Dalt Vila. When they visited the potential site, they instantly fell in love with it, something they share with most of the clientele that has found them in the relatively short time it has been open. From that start, the idea of La Dispensa grew organically and as more space became available around them, the concept kept expanding. Without any restaurant experience but with a keen eye for detail and a passion to deliver something different to the Ibiza restaurant scene, inspiration was drawn from experiences travelling the world. Finalising the menu in New York, picking up cocktail inspiration in Mexico and being totally won over by the cuisine in Italy, the idea for La Dispensa took shape.
Fast forward to the present and they have just opened the fifth space, a shop, where you can pick up a range of unique items as you browse before or after dinner. La Dispensa has become popular with locals-in-the-know as well as anyone that discovers it, with people choosing to return time and again. The genuinely warm welcome that awaits is an important part of its charm, making La Dispensa a home away from home for all who find her. We dropped in early evening, while the Dalt Vila was stirring but before the night burst into action, to get an insight into what it takes to turn an ordinary space in the heart of the Dalt Vila into one of the finest dining experiences on the island…
La Dispensa offers a variety of dining experiences across numerous areas on the same street, was this a plan for the restaurant or has it evolved over time as the spaces became available?
We achieved growth as the time went by, but the truth is that it all happened very fast. Today La Dispensa is made up of 5 venues, 5 open terraces and without a doubt the most significant restaurant in Dalt Vila. Our objective has always been to create a unique and stylish atmosphere, and present an alternative to what’s already on offer as far as dining experiences are concerned.
There is an emphasis on design throughout, even the toilets have had unique makeovers, how important was it to you both to offer your customers something different?
Creating something different has always been our goal. I think that a venue will always reflect/ resemble its owner. In this case we can undoubtedly consider La Dispensa our home, because one feels welcomed right from the first second. We always had a keen eye for details. La Dispensa is the sum of all the details we pay attention to, and of course the rest rooms are an extension of the restaurant. I’ve always believed that bathrooms are the final touch of the interior design of a venue and what ultimately defines the concept and its personality.
You spoke of being influenced by your travels, which destination make the most impact on you that is evident in La Dispensa?
We have created the menu in the winter 2014-2015 through a wonderful trip around the world. The menu was defined globally after a wonderful lunch at Balthazar in New York and the cocktails after visiting Tulum, Mexico. It has been very interesting. There’s nothing like the mixtures. The most interesting for us was born from classic and originality. Finally we have an original but actually we are very classical, baroque style. Obviously we have travelled to Italy, surely one of the best cuisines in the world; there is nothing better that the Roman Trattoria. But we cannot hide that nowadays the best restaurants are in Northern Europe.
You have different menus for each space but diners can order from any menu, no matter where they are sitting, what is the thinking behind this?
Exactly, we have an offer that starts with the classic Spanish tapas, but we also offer sushi. We are very proud to offer a sushi option as an appetiser. We are certainly the only Italian food restaurant which proposes a sushi for an aperitif. This is one example of our originality. I think that you can eat the entire menu in each of the venue and their respective terraces.
Santa Creu boasts an authentic and bustling vibe, how important was finding the right location to bring your idea to fruition?
In this case was different, the concept of La Dispensa was born after we got into Dalt Vila’s heart renting our first place. It happened instantly, we saw it, we looked each other and decided to get it. At that precise moment we didn’t know what to do with the space, but we just fell in love and decided to get it. Then the concept was born and we decided to give it life step by step as time passed.
Neither of you are trained chef’s or previous restaurateurs, yet La Dispensa has been a huge success, what do you attribute that too?
I think sincerely that it was the decoration and its original details. Many tourists stop to take pictures of our locations, but in the same time the success goes bigger with the menu and especially the presentation of our dishes and the quality of our principal products.
I think honestly we have the best linguini frutti di mare and the best rack of lamb on the island.
With no head chef to steer the menu, how do you decide what dishes to serve throughout the different spaces?
We have decided to propose the menu in all of our places; but our regular clients already have their favorite one.
You’ve constantly evolved the concept, recently upgrading the sushi option, what can we expect next from La Dispensa?
To improve, always to improve, the important thing for us is always be moving – evolve to improve. For the coming years our object is for La Dispensa to become one of those Ibiza restaurants that people specifically travel to the island to enjoy. We want to expand and build on the places and food that we offer. We have always been inspired by movement and by making a contribution, we will try and expand the offering of our project.4