As you may have seen by my previous articles, I love the Mediterranean out of season, and with most of us already searching flights and holidays, why not embark on a food filled adventure that’s just a two hour flight away sooner rather than later. Here is a little round up of my absolute favourites from Mallorca that are open all year round.
Market Kitchen is a casual dining restaurant in the Santa Catalina area of Palma serving the best of British food with some little mallorcan twists and is owned by husband and wife team Rob & Amber Kirby. Rob has been a chef for over 40 years, a regular contributor on BBC Television, is an award winning author of 3 cookbooks, cooked for the British Royal Family and is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.
Amber and Rob kindly invited us to lunch, and where do I start? Firstly, the amazing welcome; as you walk in, the open kitchen is part of the restaurant and that of course means you are part of the action from the minute you step in and the lovely Amber makes sure of that. Greeted with a glass of cava and a massive smile, she’s the perfect host; they balance each other perfectly.
I mainly eat plant-based food and my partner Chris loves his steak and proteins, and they cater for both with the most delicious food; I had the most incredible burrata to start and Chris had Parma ham; followed by Lamb for him and I had the cauliflower steak. Describing the food goes nowhere near what it tastes like; the fresh ingredients are combined to create the most incredible dishes; seasonal and never stuffy.
As for puddings, the aroma of the freshly baked brownies, nestling in a tray on a table in front of us; sat alongside the most aesthetically pleasing fig tart tempted meant it would be beyond rude not to have the three courses. As per the name of their restaurant they are opposite the Santa Catalina market, and the food of course is fresh from the market.
You can eat here all year round and can book here.
Santa Catalina Market
The Santa Catalina neighbourhood is outside the old city walls, but still in the city centre. It is close to other places such as the historic quarter or the cathedral, but it embodies a less touristy feel and a more old meets new in a contemporary way.
This isn’t strictly a restaurant, however you could quite easily while away hours exploring over fifty vendors selling everything from fresh fish and meat to vegetables, flowers, spices and cheeses. A fun place to browse, as well as to buy, Saturday is particularly busy, as locals linger after shopping to enjoy drinks and tapas in the market. You can even take your freshly purchased fish or meat to Bar Es Mercat, where they will grill it for a minimal fee, to enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine.
We loved visiting Bar Joan Frau, this has become a landmark for enjoying typical Mallorcan food, be it tapas or snacks. It’s a meeting place for locals from the neighbourhood, who have now been joined by foreigners living and visiting the Island (like ourselves), it offers an interesting cross-section of people at midday and on Saturdays. We were there on a Thursday and you could see everyone from construction workers to ultra smart older ladies in their finery.
Fresh home cooking prepared on a daily basis, with different staples depending on the day of the week, as well as traditional Mallorcan dishes including vegetable coca (a Mallorcan version of pizza), panades (savoury pastries), frito mallorquín made with cuttlefish or lamb, stuffed aubergines, mallorquin soups and paella.
It is run by Pedro, Biel and Mario, and as you can imagine from this description; there’s no online booking system!
A long-time lover of the Mediterranean, with family ties and childhood summers in Estellencs, Eddie decided to swap London life for a slower pace, adhering to the philosophy of poc a poc. El Camino celebrates simplicity in food, with the best seasonal fare that is fresh and local, they offer creative tapas and dishes to share in addition to spectacular homemade desserts.
You cannot book a table, as ‘El Camino’ welcomes visitors to dine on high-stools at the long bar having a close look at how everything is prepared. The interiors are a beautiful take on tapas tradition meets contemporary bistro, with hand drawn images of birds and flowers.
The owner Eddie was part of the Barrafina group with his brothers. Seeking a quieter life, or at least an equally noisy life in a slightly quieter town, he has moved to Palma and an aesthetic masterpiece with equally delicious food.
For more info and of course a peek at the most beautiful images visit El Camino.
El Sótano by Folies
In an area overlooking the crystal clear and turquoise waters of Cala Llamp Beach Club Gran Folies, one of the most exclusive and oldest beach clubs in Mallorca, embedded in the rocky outcrop. With the Mediterranean sea at its feet, it has different areas of restaurant and hammocks to enjoy the best of summer with food as lovely as its views.
Having visited Grand folies for the past 15 years, I was looking forward to El Sótano, their sister restaurant that is open all year round. El Sótano is a gastronomic restaurant that offers an elegant and cozy ambiance that perfectly complements the exceptional quality of their cuisine.
This is based on the ground floor of the new Belle Marivent Hotel, here you will find the restaurant, which promises to delight the most discerning palates. This new restaurant is based on a modern, updated Mediterranean cuisine, with techniques and influences from cuisines around the world. You can find touches of Asian or South American cuisine, but always with Mediterranean cuisine as a reference.
They can be contacted via El Sótano.
La Parada del Mar
This is just steps away from El Sótano and it provides a very different dining experience, but nonetheless equally as delicious. We only found out about this restaurant via word of mouth, it is simply the best worst kept secret.
Firstly, arrive early or book; we visited out of season in October and there were queues outside the door and down the street. Parada del Mar is a restaurant specialized in fish and seafood located in Palma and it has something of a following to say the least.
When you enter the restaurant the first thing you see is the fishmonger, where you can choose the fish and shellfish you like the most, they weigh it for you and wrap it in brown paper before it gets cooked.
Their motto is ‘from the sea to the plate’ and this is most definitely the case, I’m not a massive seafood lover, but Chris was in his element! His king prawns were excellent by all accounts as was the fish that had been grilled with garlic for him, my salad was super fresh and of course I had to have the padron peppers. This was accompanied by white wine from a local vineyard, which was the perfect match for the seafood and the salad.
You can book here La Parada.
To conclude, out of season for me is the perfect opportunity to explore Mallorca and these restaurants and the many more hidden gems are the perfect excuse to visit the Balearics for the perfect long weekend.