King of the Experience

Meet the man behind two of the most extraordinary restaurants in Ibiza. David Piccioni, a man with a vision
Photo: Alex Soto
24/05/2022

“I was a 16-year-old punk, living in a small Yorkshire town and full of rebellion,” laughs David Piccioni as we gaze out to sea from the top floor of his flagship restaurant. “My parents were both immigrants – mum from South Africa and dad an ice cream man from Italy – so I never really fitted in. While all my mates were down the pub drinking and fighting, I was down at the only gay club in town. It had a big metal door because it was always getting fire-bombed by small-minded locals, but I loved it because it introduced me to dance music.”

David Piccioni restaurants Ibiza

Today Piccioni is the proud owner of Amante and Aiyanna, two award-winning restaurants on the island´s east coast that deserve every plaudit they receive. His extraordinary journey began with a move to New York after college. “I didn’t care that I had no plan, I just knew I had to be in that city – it made me feel alive.” With some DJing experience at college in Liverpool, he was soon putting on his own parties in a downtown theatre. “It was the only real mixed party going on, full of cool black dudes, Latinos, and ex-pats. One night this big guy walked in and introduced himself as Frank Roccio. `This is fucking great kid, here’s my card, call me. I’m about to open the best goddamn nightclub in America.’” And so the journey began. Piccioni’s Saturday night residency at The World is now the stuff of legend, playing alongside Frankie Knuckles on Fridays, David Morales on Wednesdays and, later, Larry Levan on Thursdays. The World is still regarded as one of the best clubs of all time. “They were crazy times, the best times,” he remembers, as oblivious Amante first-timers walk past us and gawp at the seemingly endless fleet of yachts bobbing in the Mediterranean below. “One of the other owners was this guy called Arthur Weinstein, who was brilliant,” he recalls. “He had this theory that I played better if I was in a bad mood or fucked up, so for the first part of the night he would constantly wind me up, throw shots down my throat or try and stick god knows what up my nose. I would play all night and then go with all the staff to The Loft. Magical times.”

Opening restaurants was never part of the life plan!

After relocating to London and snapping up seminal Soho vinyl emporium Black Market Records, Piccioni spotted a gap in the market. He launched the Azuli imprint to bring hard-to-find American records to a UK and European market. The label grew and global parties followed, particularly in Ibiza, where he´s been a regular for two decades. “I have to be honest, opening restaurants was never part of my life plan and i´ve never really been a foodie. What I do have though is a love of giving people experiences – whether it´s been with my DJing, my parties or even tipping people off about an amazing record I know they´ll cherish forever. With my two restaurants I want people to come and experience something they won’t have anywhere else in Ibiza. I want them to go home and tell all their friends what an amazing time they have just had in this beautiful place overlooking the sea. And if I can do that, then I can go to sleep at night a happy man.”

Etikology is a true partnership, with Seguin focusing on design and print while Criscuolo concentrates on raising the plants used in the tinting process. There’s also Ouija the cat, who “is in charge of our moral and emotional wellness!”

amanteibiza.comaiyannaibiza.com

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