While known primarily for its numerous unspoilt beaches and relaxed, family-friendly vibe, it might come as a surprise to some that Menorca scores high on gastronomy. But with numerous excellent bars serving food, you don’t have to splash out in one of its fine-dining eateries to experience some fantastic cuisine. Here’s a rundown of our favourite places to enjoy tapas on the island.
Don’t let the name (Home of Chicken) put you off – this unassuming eatery offers a wide selection of dishes ranging from fresh seafood to local sausages. Tucked away among the picturesque narrow streets of Ciutadella old town, it’s popular with a mix of locals and tourists alike. The service might be brusque, but the vibe is fun and unpretentious, and can even get a little lively in the evenings. Plus their scallops and pulpo a la gallega (Galician octopus) are some of the finest on the island.
Located next to the main port in the island’s capital, tapas at Café Baixamar can be accompanied with some serious boat-watching. Originally a grain warehouse, the café opened in 1980 as the first of its kind in the area, and is also stuffed full of interesting architectural touches such as roof beams made from masts and pillars from street lamps. Enjoy their excellent menu of tapas, which includes plenty if local cheeses, meats and breads, but don’t forget to take a peep upstairs at their small theatre with pretty coloured-glass lamps and walls lined with hand-painted tiles depicting Greek mythology.
While there’s no shortage of tapas bars in the Menorcan capital, Taps Can Avelino stands out as one of the best. Stand-out dishes include sweet potato with green pesto and goat cheese salad with strawberries and walnuts, but there’s plenty of top-quality tapas and raciones for omnivores, too. Its location on the outskirts of Mahón‘s centre can feel a little out of the way, but there’s a pleasant courtyard, excellent wine list and portions that are both generous and reasonably priced.
Located in the lightly trafficked Es Castell neighbourhood just east of Mahón, this family-run business is known as much for the friendly owner as its excellent tapas. A no-nonsense, reasonably priced menu offers all the local bites you’d expect, together with some outstanding picks such as mini chorizos, freshly fried chipirones (baby squid) and padrón peppers. It’s a popular haunt for locals, and tourists who stumble across it are rarely disappointed – and often return!
With its exposed beams, patterned tile floors, and vaulted stone ceiling, Bar Imperi certainly provides a fine setting for relaxing with a bite. A firm favourite is the baguette with sobrassada (traditional spreadable spicy sausage), traditional Mahon cheese and honey. The menu may not be extensive, but the quality is outstanding, the produce local, and the bread all freshly baked daily. There’s also plenty of outside seating set in most pleasant Ciutadella old town surroundings.
With much of this tapas bar-cum-restaurant set in a natural cave and hewn from the rocks, you soon understand where Trogloditas got its name. It also has a lovely alfresco terrace that opens up to a glorious view of the Cala Morell beach on the less developed northwestern end of the island. Expect a menu brimming with traditional Menorcan cuisine, such as stuffed aubergines and lobster stew, together with plenty of freshly caught fish and both tapas- and full-size dishes available.
While undeniably a more tourist-oriented option, Bar Las Tapas provides a solid tapas menu that covers all the favourites. It’s located in the quiet resort of Cala’n Bosch overlooking the marina and just a few minutes’ stroll from the local beach. And with dozens of tapas dishes that range from chicken wings to fried frogs legs, there’s enough to appeal to all tastes. Also, for the Brit abroad, chips are served in buckets, and beer can be enjoyed from traditional tankard pint glasses.