The warm Pittsburgh weather had me recently searching for al fresco dining options. Having dined on the patio at Ibiza before (well into colder weather – its fairly enclosed and they have those glorious heaters), The Boy and I decided to head there yet again.
Ibiza is located at 2224 E Carson, next to Mallorca in Southside (owned by the same family/group) . It is right in front of you when you cross the Birmingham Bridge. They take reservations. This came in handy as most of Pittsburgh was clamoring to enjoy the summer-like weather this past weekend. A reservation scored us an 8PM table on the patio. ( To note, Mallorca also has outdoor seating).
Ibiza offers tapas style dining. The menu is lengthy – salads, cold tapas, hot tapas, some entrees, desserts. The wine list is fairly extensive and wine flights are offered. To start the meal, The Boy and I sampled an Italian wine flight. It included a Pinot Grigio, a Chianti, a Pinot Noir, and an Amarone. The samples were generous – enough for us to share the flight. We also ordered the Spanish meat and cheese plate, steamed clams, and wasabi crusted lamb chops. While we waited for the tapas, we threw in an order for a carafe of red sangria.
The meat and cheese arrived first. While everything was tasty, the plate was laden with olives. Lots and lots of olives. I like olives but was not aware this was going to a large component of the dish. I don’t believe the olives were mentioned on the menu. There was still plenty of sharp cheese and salty meat to devour – it just made me feel wasteful to leave all those olives there. Oh well.
The clams and lamb chops arrived next. The amount of clams was generous and the salty, briny, buttery broth they were steamed/bathed in was tasty. The waiter gladly brought additional crusty bread to sop it up (bread and a garlicky hummus are brought out at the start of the meal). The lamb chops were good, if a bit fatty. Three (maybe four) lamb chops had been grilled, slathered in a mildly sweet glaze, and then rolled in wasabi crusted peas. The combo was sweet, crunchy, and spicy.
The sangria was cool and refreshing – however, it seemed to lack any pieces of fruit. The Boy and I have had this happen multiple times (most recently at Tusca, in Southside Works). I don’t really know what ‘authentic’ sangria is like, but I was under the impression it had real fruit in it (oranges, apples, pears?). I like to munch that wine heavy fruit! Where is it?
Tapas don’t come cheap and our bill at Ibiza was a bit of a splurge for a casual dinner. The carafe of sangria and the lamb chop dish came in at about $20 each. Not an every night type of meal but not too bad either, considering we were drinking, etc.
Ibiza is trendy, sleek, serves pretty good food, and is located in the hot spot that is Southside. Tapas style dining is a little different, but nothing to be too afraid of. You will have to share and make some group decisions. In my experience, 1-2 tapas per person (balancing lighter and heavier options) is usually a good way to approach ordering. And you can always order more!