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Where the Jet Set Eats

The greatest places to eat and stay on the most glamorous islands in the Mediterranean: Mykonos, Ibiza and Sardinia.

On the Mediterranean islands of Mykonos, Ibiza and Sardinia, summer is the season of big flashy yachts, designer bikinis and jewel-encrusted flip-flops. It's also the season when restaurants, hotels and villas fill up with bronzed jet-setters—from Jackie O. and Sophia Loren in years past to Jade Jagger, Elle Macpherson, Hugh Grant and Jean-Paul Gaultier today. To get the scoop on where the chic crowd will be eating, staying and hanging out this summer, F&W asked insiders on each island for their favorite destinations.

Mykonos

This island in Greece's Cyclades gained fame in the late 1960s, when Aristotle and Jackie Onassis made frequent stops on their yacht. Since then, the island's distinct bright-white buildings and mazelike alleyways have drawn fashion and entertainment celebs—Jean-Paul Gaultier, Gianfranco Ferre, Sean "Diddy" Combs. To get a list of places to go, friends often call Orsalia Parthenis, the 34-year-old designer of the Greek fashion label Parthenis (orsalia-parthenis.gr), who has a shop and a home on the island. Here, her current favorites, and other great finds.

Restaurants

Aqua Taverna A lively Italian restaurant in the seaside neighborhood Little Venice, serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes like risotto with fennel and black truffle cream. Most locals don't start dinner until after 10 p.m., but tables start filling up earlier here, in time for the slow-motion sunset. DETAILS Little Venice, Mykonos Town; 011-30-22890-26083.

Kazarma At this restaurant overlooking the harbor, the terrace tables are ideal for lounging over meze like hummus or, for breakfast, perfect omelets. DETAILS On the harbor, Mykonos Town; 011-30-22890-28256.

Kiki's A taverna without a sign or phone number, Kiki's is perched above the beach and hidden behind the trees that surround it. The simple menu includes Greek salads and the fish of the day. During peak lunch hours (from 3 to 5 p.m. in Mykonos), the outdoor tables fill up quickly. DETAILS Agios Sostis Beach, north side of Mykonos, just past Panormos Bay.

Nammos Orsalia Parthenis often designs the uniforms for the staff at this restaurant on fashionable Psarou Beach. Wealthy Athenians come for dishes like lobster-pumpkin risotto. For women, the most popular outfit is a designer bathing suit accessorized with big pieces of jewelry. DETAILS Psarou Beach; 011-30-22890-22440.

Panormos A tarp-covered spot on the beach, known for its seafood, including seviches made with fish caught just off the coast. DETAILS Panormos Beach; 011-30-69471-96000.

Lounge

Astra A legendary bar and lounge created by the respected Greek jewelry designer Minas, with groovy modernist rooms. Rock stars like Keith Richards have been spotted hanging out here. DETAILS Enoplon Dynameon St., Mykonos Town; 011-30-22890-24767.

Hotels and Villas

Belvedere The best pool scene in town, and site of Matsuhisa Mykonos, a branch of Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa's empire. Rooms are somewhat small, but each of them has a terrace or balcony. Party planner Colin Cowie and fashion designer Julien Macdonald were recent guests. DETAILS Doubles from $130; School of Fine Arts District, Mykonos Town; 011-30-22890-25122 or belvederehotel.com.

Ostraco Suites A 24-room hotel made up of five white villas. Two of the suites have just been renovated by Greek interior designer Angelos Angelopoulos. Ostraco's affordable rates tend to attract a young crowd, which congregates at the trendy bar. DETAILS Doubles from $160; Drafaki, above Mykonos Town; 011-30-22890-23396 or ostraco.gr.

LaCure An international villa-rental company offering luxury properties around Mykonos, like a stone house with skylights made of stained glass. DETAILS Villas from $4,850 a week; 800-387-2726 or lacurevillas.com.

Ibiza

The pine-covered Spanish island of Ibiza has attracted artists and party-loving backpackers to its beaches and rocky coves for years. The island has retained its hippie vibe, but these days everyone from Hugh Grant to Elle Macpherson and Jade Jagger—daughter of Mick and creative director of the luxury-goods company Garrard—can be found here and on the tiny neighboring island of Formentera in the high season, from June to September. Jagger lured London-born chef Serena Cook, a friend, to Ibiza, and in 2001, Cook launched Deliciously Sorted Ibiza (deliciouslysortedibiza.com), now the island's top concierge service. Here, Cook's favorite spots.

Restaurants

Balàfia This outdoor grill on Ibiza's north side attracts regulars like Jade Jagger with its outstanding steaks and no-frills setting. DETAILS Carretera Ibiza–San Juan, KM 15.4; 011-34-971-325-019.

Café Benirràs This popular Italian café on Benirràs beach is one of the island's most spectacular spots for watching the sunset. DETAILS Northern tip of Ibiza, near the port of San Miguel.

El Chiringuito A South American café on Agua Blanca Beach, serving excellent caipirinhas and steak sandwiches with chimichurri sauce. DETAILS Northeast side of Ibiza, on the way to Cala St. Vincent.

El Clos Denis A Spanish and Provençal restaurant serving dishes like roast suckling pig. French owner Denis Gentes moves from table to table, greeting guests and exchanging gossip. DETAILS Plaza de Iglesia, Sant Rafael; 011-34-971-198-545.

El Faraon One of the island's hottest newcomers. The open kitchen produces delicious Asian and Mediterranean dishes, like red curry made with squid, prawns and eggplant. DJs spin from a stage near the kitchen. DETAILS Carretera Ibiza–San Jose, KM 2.1; 011-34-971-308-253.

Es Torrent The island's top fish restaurant takes its food so seriously that when guests—who have included fashion designer Valentino and the king of Spain—make a reservation, they're asked what type of seafood they prefer. To get a table during high season—and to have a shot at the most sought-after fish—book at least a week in advance. DETAILS Playa d'Es Torrent; 011-34-971-802-160.

Hotels

Cas Gasi This 12-room hotel feels like a stylish friend's hacienda. Camera-shy celebrities like Richard Gere return for the discreet, attentive service from owner Margaret von Korff and her staff. DETAILS Doubles from $250; Cami Vell a Sant Mateu s/n, Apdo. de Correos 117, Sta. Gertrudis; 011-34 971-197-700 or casgasi.com.

Hotel Can Talaias A seven-room hilltop property, formerly the home of the late British expat actor Terry Thomas. Now overseen by his son, Cushan Thomas, the hotel has a terrace with incredible sea views. DETAILS Doubles from $150; Apdo 244, San Carlos; 011-34-971-335-742 or hotelcantalaias.com.

Sardinia

When Karim Aga Khan IV and his friends began buying land on Sardinia's Costa Smeralda ("Emerald Coast") in the early '60s, they planned to turn the area into the world's most exclusive resort. They succeeded. The Costa Smeralda's swanky restaurants, hotels and boutiques attract the likes of fashion heiress Margherita Missoni during the high season, which starts with the Sardinia Rolex Cup sailing regatta in June and ends in September. Adventurous travelers venture beyond the Costa Smeralda to explore Sardinia's beautiful, barren landscape and excellent wineries. Visitors to the island depend on 30-year-old Sardinia veterans Dario Cruciani, the concierge at the Hotel Cala di Volpe, and Pierfranco Lavra, the hotel's sommelier, to show them to the island's best spots. Here, the pair's favorite hangouts, and a few other hot spots.

Restaurants

Ristorante Gianni Pedrinelli This 14-year-old restaurant is a Costa Smeralda icon. Some visitors may complain that the quality of the seafood-focused cuisine has gone down as the prices have gone up. But that hasn't deterred the well-heeled regulars, who come to schmooze and to sample dishes like pasta with lobster. DETAILS Località Piccolo Pevero, Porto Cervo; 011-39-078-992-436.

Rosemary A hillside café near Porto Cervo. The progeny of wealthy locals escape their villas to enjoy the sunset views and international comfort food: crispy duck on risotto cakes, chicken satay. DETAILS Via Spargi; 011-39-078-991-185.

Safina This high-end Lebanese restaurant, decorated with Persian carpets and pillows, hosted several exclusive late-night parties last summer. DETAILS At the Pevero Golf Club near the Hotel Cala di Volpe; 011-39-078-995-8049.

Hotels

Hotel Cala di Volpe Formerly the Aga Khan's villa, this 125-room Costa Smeralda hotel was designed to resemble a picturesque fishing village. Regulars like Princess Caroline of Monaco arrive on their yachts for the elaborate buffet lunch at the hotel's waterside restaurant. DETAILS Doubles from $900. Porto Cervo; 800-325-3589 or starwoodhotels.com/luxury.

Hotel Pitrizza If Cala di Volpe is for the see-and-be-seen crowd, the Costa Smeralda's equally glamorous Pitrizza is for more discreet visitors—though Donatella Versace is a fan, too. The 55 secluded hillside villas have all-white interiors brightened by touches of color, and some have private gardens. DETAILS Doubles from $900; Porto Cervo; 800-325-3589 or starwoodhotels.com/luxury.

Hotel La Coluccia An affordable 45-room hotel with an undulating red façade and a curvy turquoise pool. Named after the natural park that borders it, Hotel La Coluccia is located on the northern tip of Sardinia, less than 30 miles from the Costa Smeralda. DETAILS Doubles from $135 per person; Località Conca Verde; 800-337-4685 or designhotels.com.

Vineyards

Argiolas This winery is one of the best-known in Sardinia, producing terrific wines like the Argiolas Turriga. DETAILS Via Roma 56; 011-39-070-740-606 or cantine-argiolas.it.

Contini One of the island's oldest wineries, Contini is famous for its Contini Vermentino di Sardegna and Vernaccia. DETAILS Via Genova, Cabras; 011-39-078-329-0806 or web.tiscali.it/contini.

Published June 2006
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