Nestled in the tranquil countryside on the road from Ibiza town to San Juan sits a truly remarkable restaurant. One whose story is nothing short of an amazing adventure, and is now approaching its eighth season, winning the 2017 award for best Japanese restaurant in Southern Europe. Nagai is cementing its reputation as a must visit for anyone descending on the white isle!
The restaurant is made up of a team of four globe-trotting entrepreneurs who have been brought together by sheer fate and a love of international cuisine, to create this exciting stylish restaurant which will stimulate all your senses and have you yearning for a return visit.
Nagai’s story began with owner Eleanora, travelling with her Brother Luigi from her home country of Italy around India and Thailand at a young age, and being offered a restaurant on the island of Koh-Pangang. Coming from a family of restauranteurs, Eleanor jumped at the chance. On a fateful trip to Bangkok she embarked upon a chance meeting with Reina Nagai, who was backpacking at the time and staying with Eleanora’s friends. Eleanora, so impressed with Reina’s incredible talent for creating exquisite dishes out of the simplest ingredients, proposed a partnership that made a huge success out of the restaurant in Thailand, as well as two more in Italy, and most recently Nagai Ibiza! Nagai’s fourth member Melchior, an ex-international footballer who grew up in Ibiza, and has travelled the world, was working at the famous Blue Marlin when he met Eleanora. The couple fell in love and decided to open a restaurant together along with Luigi and Reina.
Adopting Reina’s surname, which means Longevity, as previous restaurants on this site have lasted no longer than two years, Nagai is here to stay! So much passion and imagination has been put into this venture. All completely family-run with Melchior designing the layout to be as harmonious as possible, Luigi, a plumber and builder by trade worked day and night to get the restaurant ready for the opening night, as well as being a sushi chef and accomplished musician and their resident DJ. Eleanora is as happy with a paintbrush as she is in the kitchen and front of house, and Head Chef is Reina, who I am sure had a hand in the Japanese look and feel to the place. Everything in Nagai’s is designed to stimulate the senses. Light, sound, and stunning contemporary Geisha artwork all work in harmony to excite and inspire conversation, with the majority of Nagai’s seating being outside on their boutique summer terrace surrounding a beautifully lit tree.
The passion and creativity so evident in the look and feel to Nagai Ibiza extends to the exceptionally well thought out, and ever evolving menu. Often described as “Japanese Fusion”, there are many classic Japanese dishes such as Sushi and Nigiri made from the finest Japanese rice and freshest fish, plus favourites such as Teriyake, Gyoza, and Karaage . The Chef’s creations also draw influences from Europe, Thailand, Korea, Europe, and all over the world, using only the best organic, most nutritious ingredients. Much care and attention to the finest detail is put into the presentation of each and every dish, and the combinations of flavours are designed to excite and rouse emotions. Everyone is catered for here, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu.
It’s not all about the food at Nagai’s. They do all they can to support local artists, sculptors, and jewellery makers, displaying and selling their work. Local DJ’s musicians and performance artists will entertain you while you eat or sample one of their imaginative cocktails. Melchior will even give you a Tarot card reading on request!
2018 is going to be an exciting season for Nagai Ibiza, with some thrilling things already planned for their opening and closing parties, and maybe a few in between. They have a great team ready to look after all who grace their terrace. They will continue to experiment and develop new and exhilarating concepts in the dishes they produce, utilising the wealth of international experience on offer from the team. They have some exciting performance artists and musicians ready to entertain. On top of all this they will continue to support local charities such as the Ibiza Preservation Society and take part in beach cleaning. This is set to be their best season yet, so ensure you book a table! Although capable of seating many more, Nagai will book in less than 100 guests a sitting to ensure everyone has a good time and is well looked after!