Passion Cafe has a reputation in Ibiza as being one of the healthiest, trustiest, and most stylish spots to wile away the hours in. With a philosophy of serving good, natural, wholesome food using the best quality ingredients that they can find, it’s no surprise that it has done so well. With various locations opening up impressively over the past few years, super friendly service, warm, welcoming aesthetics and an inspirationally healthy menu, it’s not hard to see why. As new residents on the Island and suffering the worst wifi imaginable in our apartment, my guest and I heard that Passion Cafe would be our saving grace and refuge. Known as the spot where families, entrepreneurs, friends and dates come together, we sought out its chilled vibes for an eagerly anticipated brunch and working session one Saturday in March.
The story behind Passion is worth mentioning. Lana Love, its founder, has had an inspiring journey from inception to creation of this impressive chain. Croatian born, Lana Love moved to London as a teenager looking for new pastures. After living there for 13 years, working across various cafes and restaurants while studying design fashion styling at the London College of Fashion and then drama at amateur theatres, she successfully landed a place for herself at an esteemed London drama school. But, of course, like most prestigious schools in London, the fees were extortionate. Unable to afford them, Lana decided to create her own small summer business with a view to generate enough revenue to cover the tuition fees.
Of course, starting a brand new business in Ibiza, the summer destination of choice, was a challenge. Taking a while to become profitable, she found that her summer business began to take her further and further away from her actual goal – to study acting. Trusting the process, though, Lana believed ‘the universe saw a bigger use of , inspiring and feeding people better than being on the big screen.’ And so, like many side gigs, it became a full time gig and thus Passion came into fruition.
Importantly, though, was the emphasis on healthy food. Having survived the civil war in Croatia, Lana grew to learn that the trauma of the horrifying experience had left her with digestive problems. It is here that her interest for nutrition and different ways to cure herself grew. She started with Ayurveda medicine, then macrobiotics, and then moved onto raw foods and juicing. She notes that her ‘passion these days lies predominantly with plant based cuisine and juicing’. Given Passion’s popularity, it seems that the health benefits of the food it serves are real.
Lana opened Passion in 2002 with its first cafe in Playa den Bossa, and over the past two decades expanded to Vara de Rey, San Jose, Marina, and Santa Eulalia. Playa den Bossa is most famous for its breakfast, the Baby Passion of the crew. Typically where you have to queue for a table, the place is always bustling and busy with its teams of Passion staff wearing HEALTHY t-shirts. Passion Vara de Rey is now the flagship, centred in the heart of Ibiza town. Easily accessible and open all day every day from the Spring, it’s perfect for breakfast through to a late afternoon lunch. The Marina location is the meeting hub for the who’s who in Ibiza. Always with a vibe, its luscious palm trees and greenery make it the perfect place to catch up with friends. It seems everyone knows each other here at this location, so you’re likely to make new friends even if you’re new to the area. Lastly, the Passion in the village of San Jose is the biggest and most relaxed of all of them. Probably the only Passion you’re always guaranteed to get a table at, this spacious, light, fresh and open space is a real retreat. Soaked in shades of light blue and turquoise, earthy browns, terracotta and that glorious Ibiza white, it feels like an authentic Ibicenco home – and for so many Ibiza residents, it is.
My guest and I came at 11am for brunch to the semi-full Vara de Rey location. Having just opened its doors that weekend, it was a pleasant surprise to see so many clients already. We began with a flat white and hazelnut latte, which were perfectly whipped up by the friendly barista, Ariana, behind the bar. Our brunch started by sharing a deep purple Energy Booster smoothie, made with organic acai, banana, blueberry, and apple. My guest decided on the Winter Breakfast Bowl, an attempt to beat back the chilly February air with roasted potatoes, fresh tomato sauce, two sunny side eggs, tahini sauce, sumac, zataar, and coriander. The Middle Eastern influence on this dish really made it sing. I had the Marina myself, a simple dish executed to perfection with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, avocado, halloumi, rocket salad, zataar, and sourdough olive bread. The high quality and freshness of the food is what makes these dishes standout, by allowing each individual ingredient to stand on its own. We rounded out our early afternoon with a light, flakey croissant, and a heavenly slice of the vegan, gluten-free coconut loaf.
Passion Vara de Rey
Passeig de Vara de Rey, 15