If you’re eating in Palma de Mallorca…the choices abound. You’ll find local Mallorcan and Spanish cuisine and just about every other choice of cuisine you can imagine.
Sobrassada is a fundamental element of tapas served everywhere in Palma!
My favorite foodie area is Santa Catalina, and in particular Carrer de Fabrica (Fabrica Street). This year two new spots opened in this area: Naan, which has tasty street food, and Amaya, with upstyle Mediterranean cuisine. Amaya has an unbeatable €10 lunch menu. The Santa Catalina area, with its dozens upon dozens of eateries to choose from, has very much of a neighborhood feel about it.
Don’t stop in the Santa Catalina area: just a few minutes walk will take you into the La Lonja area flush with dining and tapas options, although this area is much more touristy.
Wherever you choose to eat make sure you try the Mallorcan classic, pa amb oli: bread with olive oil and tomato. It’s served with the typical Mallorcan unsalted rustic bread made from rye flour. Mallorcan olive oil is tasty and lends itself perfectly to pa amb oli.
Santa Catalina and La Lonja just scrape the surface of restaurant options. I love to eat in the port area and enjoy Mallorca’s wonderful fresh seafood, along with delightful port views. Try the Pesquero restaurant for great seafood and waterfront views. Pesquero has a delicious, reasonably priced luncheon menu and is open every day including Mondays (most restaurant venues in Palma are closed on Monday).
Paella has its roots in Valencia, Spain but you can find it everywhere in Spain and throughout the Balearic Islands. Pesquero makes a delicious seafood paella. It’s gently flavored with saffron, pimentón dulce (sweet Mallorcan paprika) and squid ink, all of which also contribute to paella’s unique color. In Palma paella is traditionally served with a side of crunchy, spicy, red radishes.
If you’re willing to venture a bit further afield towards the Marivent presidential summer palace you’ll find fabulous seafood at La Parada del Mar. This is a low key seafood spot great for casual dining. As you enter the restaurant first stop is to take a look at the fabulous display of all the fresh seafood available. Then make your choice, and sit down with a drink while your fish is cooked to order, then brought to your table. This restaurant is seafood and nothing but so La Parada del Mar is an ideal spot if this is what you’re looking for.
Tapas is at the heart of Mallorcan cuisine: an assortment of delectable appetizers that are a delicious start to a meal, or as a standalone. Tapas can be cold…olives, cheese, salame, cold cuts, pa amb oli…or hot: luscious deep fried baby squid and other seafood, meatballs, homemade croquettes, dates with bacon, grilled veggies with Mahon cheese, Spanish omelette and an infinity of other options. Every tapas bar has its own creations so try as many as you can. It’s a wonderful way to experience Mallorcan cuisine and culture.
There are two fresh food markets right in the city center of Palma: the Santa Catalina market, the oldest market in Palma, and the Mercat Olivar. The Mercat Olivar is larger and has an amazing seafood selection.
Mallorcan sweet paprika (pimentón dulce) is used in many Mallorcan dishes. You can buy it at the Crespi spice shop in the Santa Catalina market.
If you’re shopping for everyday items you’ll find that price-wise the Eroski grocery store chain will be your best bet, and they’re speckled throughout Palma. You won’t find any supermarket openings before 9am on the island, and 90% of food shops are closed on Sundays.
You’ll find fresh milk at some Eroski and other supermarket shops but mostly it’s unavailable. Bread choices are great and baguettes are available everywhere. Mallorca’s best bread is the rustic round rye loaf that Mallorcans use to make pa amb oli. Chicken, pork and beef are the most common meats available; you’ll be hard pressed to find veal. Seafood abounds. Lots of great cheese, salame and cold cuts; make sure you try the local sobrassada sausage and the Maó cheese, a hard cheese similar to Parmesan or Grana.
Mallorcan beer is delicious and it really hits the spot on the island’s hot summer days and nights. Give them all a try!
Another way to keep cool throughout the day is gelato. There are many spots to choose from in Palma and one of my favorite places is Gelat Mallorqui, in the Santa Catalina neighborhood. Gelat Mallorqui is a fifty year old wholesale gelato producer and supplies many restaurants and gelato shops throughout Palma. Here you can purchase a narrow selection of mono portion gelato flavors in a cup, and if you’re interested in pints of gelato the flavor selection is extensive, including vegan and yogurt gelato choices.
If you’re looking for a delicious vegan gelato shop, Cream Crew in the Santa Catalina area is great.