Advocate of the authentic ‘sofrit pagès’
Antonio Marí Marí from Sant Carles opened his restaurant Ca’s Pagès on 18 December 1943. The iconic restaurant has since become synonymous with traditional Ibizan cooking and has served sofrit pagès, among other typical fare, since it first opened.n Antonio Marí Marí from Sant Carles opened his restaurant Ca’s Pagès on 18 December 1943. The iconic restaurant has since become synonymous with traditional Ibizan cooking and has served sofrit pagès, among other typical fare, since it first opened. During his 47 years at the helm of Ca’s Pagés, he saw a succession of expert cooks pass through the kitchen, including his own wife, Maria Ferrer, who was at the stoves there for fifteen years, although it was Paco Marí Ferrer (Mesón de Paco) who originally started in the kitchen at Ca’s Pagès, followed by Juan Colomar ‘Torrent’ and the current chef, Toni Colomar, who started out as a kitchen hand and has been there for 40 years, preparing arroz de matances (slaughter rice), country salad, roast lamb and naturally, sofrit pagés, on a daily basis, just the way Toni designed his first menu. Toni estimates that he has served over one million plates of sofrit pagès in almost half a century and points out, «no one has ever complained about this dish, on the contrary, we have only ever received praise for it from our regulars, as well as from overseas visitors and celebrities.» Fernando Rey, Niki Lauda, Cristiano Ronaldo, Giorgio Armani, Paco de Lucía, Keke and his son Nico Rosberg and British chef James Martin, are just a few of the famous faces that have sat down to enjoy a plate of sofrito at Ca’s Pagès. His daughters Carmen and Lucía currently carry the baton and are also in favour of defending the stew’s authenticity and provide us with the closely guarded family recipe. Toni was in charge of the quarry and he also baked bread, the latter profession making him a very popular character on the island, especially in Vila: «When I got to Ibiza with the bread and did the rounds with my truck at 1 o’clock, the women waiting for the bread used to say, Thank God the ‘pagès’ is here,.. he’s always late.» His success as a businessman and entrepreneur resulted in him starting the restaurant: «I thought about opening a restaurant because everything else I had ever done always worked out well. So I called Paco and told him: «I’ll give you 50% of the business if you come and work with me.» From that moment until now Toni has continued to be successful and has managed to keep his iconic Ibizan and internationally acclaimed restaurant very much alive for over half a century.