zitya restaurant breathes new life into iconic ibiza party spot
During the 90s, Ibiza buzzed with life and energy, much like it does today. Among the numerous party destinations on the popular island, Naif stood out as an iconic hotspot, attracting the likes of Mick Jagger, Elle Macpherson, and Kate Moss. While Naif no longer thrives as a club, Omar Abdel Khalek, a hospitality entrepreneur from London, saw the opportunity to breathe new life into the emblematic venue, by transforming it into the Zitya restaurant.
Situated just a short drive away from Ibiza Town, on the route to Saint Josep, Zitya is a patio-bar-finca concept designed by the Paris-based studio PINTO, that skillfully blends Mediterranean and Aegean cuisine. Yet Zitya aspires to transcend its role as just a popular restaurant destination; it seeks to make a meaningful contribution to the local cultural scene by rekindling the nostalgic atmosphere and essence that defined the remarkable 90s era on the island.
Zitya aspires to make a meaningful contribution to Ibiza’s cultural and culinary scene | all images courtesy of Zitya
delving into the spirit of Ibiza
To celebrate the opening of ZITYA, Omar Abdel Khalek has joined forces with Vicente Ganesha, an esteemed figurehead in Ibiza’s cultural tapestry and a renowned fashion designer known as Mister Ibiza. Together, they have crafted a captivating series of videos titled The Spirit of Ibiza, which encapsulate the island’s allure. Through these videos, Vicente invites viewers to embark on a journey, delving into the qualities that make Ibiza ‘a true sanctuary.’
To learn more about the new ZITYA restaurant, its architectural and design aspects, its contribution to Ibiza’s overall hospitality and culinary scene, as well as the Spirit of Ibiza video series, designboom had the opportunity to speak with Omar Abdel Khalek. ‘The transformation of Naif into ZITYA was driven by a desire to revive the nostalgic atmosphere and capture the essence of Ibiza in the 90s,’ the hospitality entrepreneur shares. ‘I hope visitors leave with a unique experience which aims to provide them with an immersive dining experience that combines the charm of the old Ibiza with a contemporary touch,’ he adds. Read designboom’s interview with Omar Abdel Khalek in full, below.
the exterior of the iconic Naif hotspot
interview with omar abdel khalek
designboom (DB): What inspired the transformation of Naif into ZITYA? How does the transformation pay homage to Naif’s iconic past while introducing new elements?
Omar Abdel Khalek (OAK): Ibiza has been my summer home for nearly 15 years, and I share it with friends who have been coming here for a decade before me. We’ve witnessed a lot of new ideas come about and many try to impose their way to accommodate the trendy visitors of the island. With Zitya we’re trying to do exactly the opposite, by staying true to the spirit of Ibiza that attracted us here in the first place.
The transformation of Naif into ZITYA was driven by a desire to revive the nostalgic atmosphere and capture the essence of Ibiza in the 90s. A laid-back and cozy patio that feels like an escape from all that’s around. By carefully making minimal adjustments to the space, with the help of Pinto, we tried to bring our own brand and vision to life while respecting the existing character and history of the location.
By preserving the natural elements and incorporating them into the design we were able to create a unique and authentic ambiance that resonates with visitors. By infusing the space with the spirit of the old Ibiza while adding our own touch, our aim is to offer a memorable experience that blends the past with the present. It’s rare to see revitalization projects that pay homage to the history and cultural significance of a place, especially in a place as trendy as Ibiza.
the exterior of the new Zitya restaurant
DB: How would you describe the spatial layout and overall ambiance of Zitya?
OAK: PINTO (find more here) wanted to first fully respect the authenticity of this special location: a traditional Ibizan finca overlooking a vast courtyard planted with trees. The project had to give a second life to this once popular space in Ibiza, which had many lives prior, without distorting it. The building has been fully restored, the trees preserved, and the traditional materials of the island put forward: Lime paint, exposed stones, tiles… All the added architectural elements have been designed to merge with the existing ones and very thin cast iron pergolas have been added to the courtyard where there was no natural shade produced by the existing grown trees in the manner of the original beautiful Spanish grilles which were already on site.
The look was then created around this place with the loose decoration elements inspired by the spirit of the island and echoing with the menu served: Mediterranean, bohemian, multi-cultural, sharing, relaxed. We designed a joyful and easy-going simple atmosphere with natural and plain materials: rattan chairs, mosaic tabletops, cotton, and linen fabrics.
Zitya seeks to make a meaningful contribution to Ibiza’s cultural scene
(OAK continued): The color palette and the idea of strong black patterns on the fabrics and the walls pay homage to the name of the restaurant itself, Zitya, which refers to a special tree found in the Valley of Butterflies on Rhodes Island, and especially to one of the butterflies, the Jersey Tiger which has red ochre, off-white and Charcoal on its wings.
Special attention has been given to the table sets: Pinto has revisited one of its chinaware collections for this occasion in a brand-new orange color and with more contemporary shapes to create the Zitya chinaware collection of plates and service platters. No tablecloth is used to respect the saving of water that is so essential for the life of the island.
The result evokes the mix of the influences of the Mediterranean islands like a voyage from Rhodes, through the Mediterranean Sea to Ibiza.
the traditional materials of the island are put forward: lime paint, exposed stones, tiles
DB: Could you provide more information about the Spirit of Ibiza video series? What specific aspects of the island does it explore, and how is this essence reflected in the atmosphere of Zitya?
OAK: The Spirit of Ibiza video series is an exploration of Ibiza’s essence, touching upon themes of freedom, nostalgia, night, light, and food. Through a collection of videos, we delve into these aspects, showcasing their indirect connection to the atmosphere of Zitya. The series features beautiful scenes from the island, seamlessly merging them with the restaurant’s ambiance. With heartfelt narratives from Vicente Hernandez Zaragoza, a cherished figure in Ibiza, embodying the essence of our story, we invite everyone to experience the vibrant spirit of Ibiza as it intertwines with the soul of Zitya.
DB: Can you elaborate on your collaboration with Vicente Ganesha? What was the outcome of your cooperation?
OAK: Vicente truly embodies the essence of our story—a free-spirited individual deeply connected to Ibiza’s glorious past. Beloved by both past and present generations, Vicente’s presence adds authenticity to the themes explored in our series. During his visit to Zitya, he felt a powerful sense of nostalgia upon seeing the unchanged Naif main gate, further enhancing our collaboration.
Beyond the video series, our collaboration with Vicente extends to a curated clothing selection linked to the visual language of Zitya. These unique pieces will be featured on our patio.
the project gives a second life to the once-popular space in Ibiza, without distorting it
DB: What do you hope visitors take away after experiencing Zitya and how do you see it contributing to Ibiza’s overall hospitality and culinary scene?
OAK: I hope visitors leave with a unique experience which aims to provide them with an immersive dining experience that combines the charm of the old Ibiza with a contemporary touch. By preserving the essence of what once existed and incorporating our own vision, we hope to create a distinctive atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on guests.
Overall we know we have authentic offerings that allow for an authentic Ibiza experience and some more. Our Finca offers guests a chance to hang around and enjoy our after-dinner bar experience with fun music that touches on all the classics that take us back in time. This blend of history and modernity, along with a focus on preserving the energy of what Ibiza truly offers, contributes to the authenticity of the overall dining experience.
Zitya is characterized as a blend of Mediterranean, bohemian, multi-cultural, sharing, and relaxed
(OAK continued): At Zitya, our culinary experience is a delightful fusion of Aegean-inspired cuisine from the enchanting island of Rhodes, which shares a rich historical connection with its neighbouring country Turkey. Our talented chef skilfully combines the vibrant flavours of Greek, Turkish, and Mediterranean traditions to create a truly exceptional dining experience. Drawing inspiration from the diverse culinary heritage of the region, our menu showcases a harmonious blend of Greek and Turkish elements, resulting in an array of dishes that transport guests in the captivating world of Aegean gastronomy.
Zitya aspires to contribute to Ibiza’s culinary scene by offering exceptional cuisine. By creating a menu that showcases local ingredients, flavours, and culinary traditions, the restaurant can become a destination for food enthusiasts seeking an elevated dining experience in Ibiza.
all added architectural elements have been designed to merge with the existing ones
Zitya blends Mediterranean and Aegean cuisine
the new restaurant presents a patio-bar-finca concept designed by Paris-based studio PINTO
‘our aim is to offer a memorable experience that blends the past with the present,’ shares Omar Abdel Khalek
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