The tapeo is a typically Spanish social pastime of hopping between different tapas bars. Read on to find the very best pintxos bars in Mallorca, and enjoy tapas like a local.
The practice of tapeo is as strong on the Balearic island of Mallorca as it is on the mainland, which has given rise to a proliferation of smaller, bitesize tapas called pintxos (pronounced “pin-choss”), common to Northern Spain. In Palma, it is so popular that there’s even an unofficial tapeo route on Tuesdays, called La Ruta Martina, although you’ll find plenty of top pintxos bars all over Mallorca.
A great place to start is Can Terra Palma, where you’ll be confronted with an extensive choice of pintxos commandeering the entire bar. You’ll find conventional options, such as ham croquettes and goat’s cheese with jam, next to more unusual picks: prawns with tequila or jamón with asparagus and caramelised onion. The crystal stalactite light fixture in the heart of the restaurant is a nod towards the remarkable underground cave networks that can be found around Mallorca.
Part of the classic tapas and pintxos bar experience in Spain is seeing the huge hams hanging from the ceiling. At Tramuntana, you can see hams and huge chorizos behind a glass display, which is also packed to the brim with pintxos of all shapes and colours. You cannot underestimate the importance of good olives, and the thick, juicy ones served here – whole, stuffed or on skewers with other ingredients – are tough to beat. We also recommend the jamón serrano baguettes for lunch.
Puerto Pollensa, on the north coast of Mallorca, is home to many decent restaurants aimed at visitors from elsewhere. Norai is one of the liveliest and least showy spots, offering great pintxos throughout the day and into the early hours. The cold pintxos sit atop the bar, beckoning hungry customers. The selection is often seasonal but ranges from classic Spanish dishes of gooey tortilla or goat’s cheese with fried red onions to the more unusual seafood items, such as atún tataki, a type of tuna sashimi with roasted red peppers.
Offering a more established pintxos experience, Tast Unión has been one of the premier places to go in Palma since opening in 1989. The wine list here includes several bottles of Mallorquín wine if you’re curious to try a local tipple. Meanwhile, the pintxos include creative concoctions such as manitas de cerdo (pig trotter with fried egg) and a typically local brie with sobrasada.
Quina Creu is another of the fancier pintxos establishments in Mallorca, in the heart of the historic district in Palma and a few blocks from Plaza Mayor. In a nod to the classic style of pintxos bar found in the Basque Country, you can see the different tasty morsels lined up along the bar: the Iberian pork tenderloin with goat’s cheese is a good option. The interior is particularly classy: a pastiche of beautiful old floor tiles, bare-brick walls and eclectic furnishings.
On the road between the resort towns of Magaluf and Santa Ponsa, you’ll find a decent, overlooked pintxos place called Bar Merlin. There’s a shaded patio out front, which is generally quite calm, apart from the market day on Fridays. With a jarra of beer or a glass of wine (the verdejo is good), you’ll also get some free classic pintxos, such as manchego cheese and red pepper or chorizo and goat’s cheese.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Leon Beckenham.
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