Palma, the capital city of the Spanish island of Mallorca has changed over recent years and eating out now has become an amazing culinary experience which really took us by surprise. There’s a tidal wave of Peruvian ceviche, Japanese fusion and slow-poached truffle eggs.
When we stayed here about 7 years ago we froze in the Hostal Cuba, it was a cheap and friendly but cold and old-style Spanish hostal in the traditional fishermen’s area. Now it’s a boutique hotel complete with a roof terrace, restaurant and bar in the trendy Santa Catalina district.
This gentrification has brought the arrival of hipster hangouts across Palma – it’s like Hackney, Dalston and Barcelona, all bearded guys who ride white racing bikes and drink aeropress coffees. We especially liked La Molienda serving designer coffees, cakes and gourmet teas which happened to be just across the road from our apartment.
The Room (Calle Cotoner, 47) is a Santa Catalina pasticerria and restaurant with informal cafe decor and friendly staff. Their lunchtime menu offers 3 courses for 14 €. We opted for a cream of cauliflower and cheese soup decorated with steamed greeen beans, drizzled with a rich olive oil, followed by a homemade pasta with a veal ragu, and desserts of banoffee tart and cheese cake accompanied by a glass of Mallorcan red wine.
Across the street is Bros, a Skandi decor restaurant / cafe with bearded hipster staff in designer aprons. Their seasonal foodie menu of the week is only 12.90 €. From the 4 starters and mains offered, we chose the goats cheese salad with piquillo peppers, and the gooey aubergine stuffed with cheese & tomato with a sticky red wine & onion reduction. For mains, the risotto of courgette & shrimp and the grilled pork loin & potatoes with mushroom salsa were well executed. We greedily polished off a rich chocolate fondant with chocolate ice cream.
When we arrived in Palma a local friend recommended the new Toque de Queda (Can Cavalleria, 15B) a deli / bar in an historical oven bakery ‘Forn Cremat’. It was so good we went twice. They specialise in local and Mediterranean platters of meats and cheeses and tapas served with cristal tomato bread. They are part of the wave of restaurants reinventing tapas aimed at the new young locals with money looking for the Barcelona lifestyle.
Another new bar on the scene is Can Trispol, (Travessa Den Ballester, 6) named after a local Mallorcan red wine. They specialise in llonguets – an artisan bread traditional to Palma. Here they are served filled with anything from quinoa veggie burgers to smoked salmon, cheese and jamon. They boast using local products from the market including the Mallorcan Pep lemonade.
Even the stalls in the old market halls in de l’Olivar and Santa Catalina have been given a makeover following in the fashion of the Mercado San Miguel in Madrid and now are a hive of drinking and eating. Street food, tapas and pintxos is served from small kiosks and stalls. So if you fancy a foodie weekend or longer, Palma is an exciting place to be.
Now get me back to London – I’m dying for a good curry!