The food scene in Mallorca is well and truly thriving, with restaurants both in the capital and across the island serving quality cuisine from all over the world. If, however, you feel like trying something a little more local – whether it be traditional Spanish tapas or some Mallorquin homestyle cooking – it’s good to know which places are the real deal, so you can avoid the tourist traps. Here’s where to chow down on the best authentic regional dishes.
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Restaurant, Spanish, Mediterranean, $
Es Verger is a fantastically rustic restaurant serving traditional Mallorquin cuisine. Its location is fairly remote and reaching it involves driving up a steep, narrow, and very windy road, or a hike from the town of Alaro, but the journey is worth it. When British TV chef Rick Stein visited while filming a TV show in Mallorca, he said that the slow-roasted lamb (cooked in beer in a truly ancient wood-fired oven) was the best lamb he’d ever eaten. Visitors flock to this restaurant on the basis of this statement, and it makes a particularly good pit-stop after the long walk up to the ruins of Alaro Castle.
Celler Sa Premsa
A cellar tavern in the traditional style, Celler Sa Premsa is often said to be one of the most authentic places to eat Mallorquin cuisine in Palma. Running since 1958, the restaurant has huge wine barrels along the walls, underneath old bullfighting posters. It’s a popular haunt with locals and tourists alike, so there is often a queue at the door and the place is usually packed and buzzing. The menu has some standard Spanish tapas fare, but also features some traditional Mallorquin dishes such as snails, frito mallorquín (lamb offal with fried potatoes and onions), tumbet (a bit like ratatouille), suckling pig, and rabbit with onions.
Restaurant, Spanish, $
Tucked away up in the Tramuntana mountains in an old hunting lodge, Es Guix is in a truly magical setting. The menu’s main focus is traditional Mallorquin food, and the restaurant has a reputation for serving the best suckling pig on the island (Sundays and holidays only). While the food is excellent, the stunning spring-water swimming pool carved out of the rocks and surrounded by dense forest is another huge draw. Outside seating overlooks the pool and the surrounding terrace where visitors can soak up the sun and cool off in the crystal-clear waters. A little off the beaten track, this restaurant is a great place to stop after a trip to the Lluc Monastery, and in fact the restaurant is right on the path that pilgrims of old took to trek to the monastery.
La Taberna de la Bóveda
Restaurant, Bar, Tapas, Spanish, $$
Located in Palma’s buzzing La Lonja neighborhood, with views out to the yachts in the marina opposite, La Taberna de la Bóveda, is a popular haunt for both locals and tourists. From the outside it looks quite cool and contemporary, but the interior is more traditional and has a tiled bar with high stools and old wine barrels – perfect if you want to perch for a while, have a drink, and try a selection of tapas. If you fancy taking your time and enjoying a heavier meal, it is always best to reserve a table. Try some local wines and enjoy something from their selection of grilled meat or fish.
Cafe, Restaurant, Bar, Spanish, Tapas, $
QuitaPenas is a tiny hidden gem tucked away in the beautiful cobbled streets of Valldemossa. It’s not really a restaurant, more of a deli where you can also stay and sample traditional Mallorquin delicacies. It’s definitely somewhere that’s worth stopping by for a light lunch or an early evening snack. Sit inside on high stools or at small tables, or perch outside this beautifully rustic shop, and enjoy platters of local cheeses, olives, handmade sobrassada, tomatoes and other local produce, all washed down with island wines. Everything is local, they only use Moix (extra-virgin olive oil produced in Valdemossa), and everything you eat here is available to buy in the store.
Celler Can Amer
Restaurant, Spanish, $
Run by the same family since the 1960s and located in an authentic wine cellar dating back to the 1700s, Celler Can Amer, in the town of Inca, is a bit of an institution on the island. The restaurant serves traditional Mallorcan food, often recreated from very old recipes, but with modern presentation. People come back to the restaurant again and again for favourites such as suckling pig or lamb stuffed with sobrassada, as well as an ever-changing seasonal menu with innovative takes on local dishes. Not only is the food excellent, but the restaurant is renowned for its impressive selection of wines (many local), and there is a tasting menu with wine pairings.
Dins Santi Taura
Restaurant, Spanish, $$
If standard traditional fare is not your thing, but you still want to enjoy some local food and fancy trying something more innovative, then Dins Santi Taura, with its reinterpretations of Mallorcan cuisine, is an excellent place to start. Located in the small town of Lloseta and named after the chef, this is not a restaurant you can make a spontaneous decision about – reservations need to be made weeks, if not months, in advance. But if you are patient enough, then it is worth the wait, and fantastic value for money. There is no à la carte menu, only a set tasting menu that changes weekly and consists of three starters, a fish course, a meat course and a dessert (additional cheese course optional). The chef, Santi Taura, is passionate about the island’s food heritage and produces Mallorcan cuisine at its most creative.
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