We had a pleasure speaking with Yossi Eliyahoo about IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar in Ibiza.

What is your focus when creating a new menu? How often do you change the menus at IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar?

A menu is quite excessive. It is not a typical menu with starters and mains, the dishes are designed to share. Time-honoured techniques blend with innovative signatures, with spectacular dishes as the result. A sophisticated menu is composed of a variety of small, unconventional dishes made for sharing and in line with Asian ‘grazing menus. We have a broad menu with around forty-five to forty-eight dishes with a daily or weekly menu of the chef which will add new dishes to the menu. The core and the structure of the menu remains unless we cannot get the best ingredients for it. But the way we have built and started it is what IZAKAYA is now after nine years.

What inspired you to open IZAKAYA in Ibiza?

Ibiza is such a cosmopolitan island, such an international and cosmopolitan place. Nearly anyone is landing there once a year in summer. Billionaires, celebrities, or backpackers everyone is stopping there. People come here for the love of music and the love of life. Even if it is a short season with five months it is a great place to put your flag in. It's very intense for a couple of months but it is really powerful. And it's a great place to showcase your brand.

Where does the name IZAKAYA come from and what does it mean? Is there any particular connection to it? 

IZAKAYA is best translated as ‘pub’ – a place deeply rooted in Japanese culture. It's socializing, an eating and drinking place. It’s a place where people go after work. There is a lot of food, it’s fun and it’s noisy. I took this concept of socializing, eating, drinking and of course the name and made it much more high end with modern design and food. IZAKAYA usually represents more traditional food. I took the idea of it but played with it and made it much more playful and much more contemporary.

What makes IZAKAYA Ibiza so unique and different than the ones here in the Netherlands and the one in Germany as well?

Because the vibes and consumers are completely different compared to cities like Munich and Amsterdam or other cities like Barcelona. In Ibiza it's all about the holidays, the resorts, everybody's on holiday and in a more relaxed mode. People come to eat in the later hours because they're going out, they don’t need to wake up in the morning. What you eat and what you drink deviates from your normal habits and when you are on holidays you are also in another kind of spending mode. But the biggest difference is the weather. Most of the restaurants in Ibiza are outdoor, around the pool. So you have all the greenery, the trees, the blue sky and the swimming pools, it’s completely different than sitting in a building in a cold city. 

Can you describe the atmosphere, the vibe at IZAKAYA Ibiza? What’s vibe, the atmosphere, the design of the restaurant in Ibiza.

We always connect a new location and brand to a city. We don’t have templates. So when we open a location in a new city, we try to match the location with the atmosphere of the culture. So the DNA of an existing concept always stays the same. We don’t change the menus completely, but we add a few dishes to the menu which we think that belong here. When we're talking about the interior of IZAKAYA Ibiza it’s much more summery, much more open spaces, much more outdoor. We have materials like wooden floors, floating above it all is a stainless-steel polished lamella ceiling that mimics water reflections and everything’s surrounded by a 360 swimming pool. So there’s a lot of water, wood, tiling and a lot of greenery as well outside. So it's really tropical. 

I have one question that's quite important to me and to the cuisine itself and our magazine, especially with sustainability in mind, and given that our next issue that's coming up is going to be called elements of nature. So we're trying to really look into all perspectives and including the cuisine section. What would be your perspective, on more sustainability in cooking and having all these restaurants. What's your point of view on sustainability nowadays with having a restaurant?

Sustainability and a sustainable focus are very important to us so we do as much as we can. Having less waste and using recycled materials, is something that we always do. All our suppliers become more and more aware of it and all our restaurants are built on sustainable systems.

How do you think we can better our way of living and eating when talking about the future that has to be more plant-based for everyone. 

I think it’s important to have a good balance which is the key to everything in life. It’s about a balance whereby we try to eat less meat mixed with good fish and vegetables. I think changing completely to eating plant-based or meat-based would be difficult for your body.

Do you have any additional plans to open or develop more of your concept this year or whether, it's hard to ask for plans when we're living in a pandemic.

We are trying to keep super positive and very creative. We took this time of pause to be more creative, to do a lot of things on a pipeline, to take this time and to take the opportunities that will come. So a lot of positivity will come out of that.

Explore the restaurant here: https://www.izakaya-restaurant.com/ibiza/about