While some media outlets are writing up Ibiza as a new foodie destination, the island in practice, is struggling to keep up with that theory. There are more new restaurants on the island this summer than there are manbuns, but sadly the majority are not delivering on quality and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a consistently good dining experience. One of the big problems facing restaurant owners is the lack of qualified service staff, many who do apply for jobs, are embellishing their CV’s with experience and skills they do not possess in the hope that they can land a dream job in Ibiza. When the restaurant hires them, it soon becomes apparent they are not qualified and the damage they leave behind to the venues reputation is costly. In Ibiza, word of poor service spreads fast and the quickest way to loose a good chef is by employing unqualified service staff.
The trendy village of Santa Gertrudis has over a dozen restaurants, less than half, Macao, I Ben Agust, Gitano, Musset and Bar Costa, are worth a second visit. The old reliables, the established restaurants with their seasoned local staff are holding up well but the waiting list to get in is growing longer, due to the lack of good service elsewhere. Talking to service staff on the island, many blame the high cost of living in Ibiza as to the reason why they are leaving the island in droves. Better paid jobs in cities like New York, Dubai and Miami are attracting the good staff and Ibiza is falling behind due primarily to the high cost of below standard accommodation and wages that do not allow them to save money in Ibiza.
In a bid to tackle the crisis, the clever employers who value service, are providing accommodation for its workers. In San Antonio the popular Ocean Beach, which also owns Linekers, Skinny Kitchen and Costa Mar Hotel, has leased out the old Apollo Hotel solely for staff accommodation. The new Hotel in Talamanca, NoBu is employing a similar tactic to retain good staff as is nearby Rehab Beachclub. The local Government seem oblivious to the looming crisis that is threatening the traditionally good service reputation of the island, as no action has been taken to address the problem. Whats happening in Ibiza right now is that its top heavy in high end product, which cant deliver the 4 and 5 star service to match.
Much of the blame rests with the owners of these new restaurants that are popping up everywhere with their overpriced tourist menus, low wages and incompetent kitchens. They are lending the island a bad name, as in reality many are tourist traps set up by traders not from Ibiza. This summer the trendy dish that is seen on every tourist trap menu is Beef Tartar, which is being woefully desecrated by amateurish versions. Thankfully, the traditional restaurants, the ones with local service and years of reputation behind them, continue to fly the culinary flag for Ibiza. Now more that ever the island needs to promote these restaurants and their good staff and do something about the rouge traders that are damaging its reputation.