Gastronomic Tour of Mallorca – Part 1 – Palma
This is my idea for a gastronomic tour of Mallorca. The island has so much to offer in the way of gastronomy; it has such a rich culinary culture and tradition, many superb restaurants and a varied selection of local produce.
Where better to start our tour than in the island’s capital, Palma? Majorca’s international airport is located in Palma and we can jump right in to our gastronomic adventure here.
Palma has several popular areas when it comes to choosing somewhere to go for a meal. One of these areas is Santa Catalina
. Santa Catalina has a bohemian and alternative feel to it and its romantic streets are lined with restaurants and bars. My favourite restaurants in this area are Fabrica 23, Living, Txakoli, Via Appia, La Baranda, and Duke but a meander through the streets will produce many more culinary surprises. This area holds its own wine festival once a year (usually in May) called Santa Cata Vina. The festival is an informal and fun street affair which allows you to sample some of the island's great wines produced at various wineries across Mallorca.
Another popular area for wining and dining is La Lonja
. This is the area near Palma Port where fishermen used to bring in their catch of the day to sell. It has now become a hip and happening area with many restaurants, bars and clubs. Some of the restaurants I like in La Lonja are Forn de Sant Joan, La C Bayet and Wineing. If you cross over to the port you will also find Ca'n Eduardo restaurant situated directly above the current ‘lonja de pescado’ or fish market where the fishermen sell their fish. This is possibly the best restaurant on the island for fresh fish. The great thing about both La Lonja and Santa Catalina is that there are lots of bars and live music venues which you can enjoy after your meal. These areas are at the centre of Palma nightlife.
Another factor that makes Palma Restaurants
so attractive is that many of them are near the sea. There are three areas in Palma which offer the chance of enjoying the sea breeze on their terrace in the summer; El Molinar, Portixol, and Ciudad Jardin. These areas also have an extremely varied gastronomic offering, with something for everyone both in terms of taste and price. My personal favourites are bar.co, Tapelia, Shogun Portixol, El Tula, Safra 21, Portofino and Café Fusion.
There are some great restaurants to be found inside the city's many hotels
. Trebol Restaurant at Hotel Mision San Miguel in Palma's old city is well worth a visit as is Veritas at the 5 star hotel Melia Victoria or the Paraiso Restaurant at the stunning Valparaiso Hotel.
Other Palma restaurants
have become well known due to their gourmet menus
or their talented chefs. Chef Marc Fosh who was awarded a Michelin star at Reads Hotel in Santa Maria (also in Mallorca) has now opened a new restaurant called Simply Fosh. You may also enjoy taking part in a gourmet cookery class at Fosh Food Restaurant and Gourmet Centre also owned by the same chef. Koldo Royo, one of the most prominent chefs in Spain had a restaurant in Palma until very recently called Koldo Royo. Malvasia Restaurant which is renowned for its cuisine and superb wine marriages was founded by the deceased Joan Olives I Mercadal who was a gastronomy expert and pioneer well known on the island and internationally. Plat d’Or Restaurant run by Chef Rafael Sanchez with one Michelin star is located in Son Vida, just outside Palma.
You may be lucky enough to be in Palma during the Tapalma
festival. Tapalma is held once a year (usually in October) and aims to promote the Tapas culture as well as the city's many restaurants. Various routes are created which take people from restaurant to restaurant to try different tapas dishes at very reasonable prices. The festival has become something of a legend and restaurants compete for the best tapas prize which is voted for by the restaurant patrons. The atmosphere in Palma during Tapalma is quite overwhelming, all the streets and participating restaurants are packed.
Whilst in Palma you must visit Santa Catalina and Plaza Olivar markets. Mallorca has a privileged variety of local produce and nowhere is this more obvious than in these markets. Seeing all the fresh fish, meats, fruits and vegetables is a delight to the senses and a great experience.
A visit to Palma would not be complete without stopping at one of its many cafes for a café con leche and ensaimada. Ensaimada is the name given to the typical spiral-shaped Mallorcan pastry which is said to be a remnant of the city's Jewish and Moorish past.