Forget the package tours and all inclusive resorts, the real Majorca is just stunning. One of the group of the Spanish Balearaic islands Majorca boasts glinting azure sea and cliffs cascading down to the ocean. Despite the rampant development along the south coast, a lot of the island is untouched so there are plenty of opportunties to walk along winding trails between tiny hill top villages. Valdemossa, Deià and Soller are three not to be missed. Meanwhile the island’s capital, Palma, has plenty of great bars and restaurants hidden in its honeyed yellow walls.
View on the walk from Deia to Soller
My friend Joyce recommended Tast saying it was “the best tapas I have ever eaten in my life” which is heady praise for a part of Spain not particularly known for its tapas culture. As with most things in life (which company is most reliable for shipping boxes internationally, which is the best play to see at The Old Vic right now and where to buy retro furniture in Melbourne) Joyce was right in saying Tast offers top notch tapas. Seats at the bar allowed us a prime view of a waiter frantically carving slivers of silky smooth jamon which were devoured as quickly as they were produced.
Some of the cold tapas selection at Tast – with colour coded plates
We helped ourselves to cold tapas such as slices of tender beef and mashed artichoke served like mini burgers or wedges of tortilla atop a slice of crusty bread. The price is charged according to the colour of the plate with small yellow plates starting at €1.20 and larger black platers progressing to €4.40. Caliente tapas such as croquetas and patatas bravas were ordered from the waitresses and particular highlights were the croquetas jamon (€5.90) which oozed out a soft creamy, cheesy filling and the gambas al ajillo (€12.90) which featured garlicky, finger licking prawns doused in a slick of olive oil.
Details: Tast, 28 Calle Union, Palma, Majorca, Spain (Ph +34 971 72 98 7813)
Jamon ready to be carved up at Tast
Taverna La Boveda (Palma)
With walls lined with blue and white tiles, wine barrels which serve as tables to pull up a stool next to and a bar lined with trays of giant olives ready to be meted out, Taverna La Boveda is as Spanish as they come. It has been a stalwart of both tourists and locals for years and while the food was more plain and traditional than what was on offer at Tast it still impressed. A plate of slippery boquerones (€4) was deliciously salty and oily while Pimientros de Padron (€8) came with a great smoky char and crusted with sea salt. Lamb chops (€15) were served simply grilled with a serve of chips on the side. They erred on the side of being overcooked but by that time we had shared a jug of sangria (€10) so were not really too picky.
Details: Taverna La Boveda, 3 Paseo Sagrera, Palma, Majorca, Spain (Ph +34 971 72 00 26)
Damage: Reasonable. Our dinner came to €49 for two with sangria.
Boquerones and Sangria at Taverna La Boveda
Xelini (Deià )
Xelini is just off the main street in Deià and has a laid back, rustic charm to it with a large bar area to eat at along with an outdoor terrace. Croquetas could have been a little more crunchy on the outside but they were piping hot and hard not to keep eating. We enjoyed playing Russian Roulette with Pimientros de Padron waiting for the time (about one in five) where one of these wrinkled, char grilled beauties blows your socks off with the heat. Xelini is not a destination restaurant but it is a good reasonably priced option if you are in Deià.
Details: Xelini, 19 Arxiduc Lluís Salvador, Deià, Majorca, Spain (Ph +34 971 639 139)
Tapas at Xelini
Ristorante Can Quiros (Soller)
This restaurant has a prime position in the main square of Soller so of course the food was mediocre. My tortilla esalada (€8.95) was too firm and lacked that wonderful alchemy of warm, loose potato and oil that you find in a truly good tortilla. MTV boyfriend’s simple baguette of jamon and queso (€6.25) was inoffensive enough although the bread could have been fresher.
Details: Plaza Constitucio 16, 07100 Soller, Majorca, Spain
Tortilla at Ristorante Can Quiros
Gourmet Travel Tips
- We flew with Easyjet from London to Palma. Our flights were around £150 return although would be much cheaper at less busy times of year. We hired a car from Gold cars to get around the island. Be warned Gold charges you for a full tank of petrol which you really have no chance of using on an island of this size.
- In Palma we stayed at Hotel Born. Set in a beautiful old building which was originally a 16th century palace right in the centre of the old town the hotel exudes charm despite its budget pricing. I loved the sweeping staircase in the entrance hall and having breakfast outdoors in the courtyard each morning. The drawback is that the hotel is a tired looking and the rooms are small and no frills. Don’t expect nice toiletries or even for your bed to be made. Essentials: 3 Sant Jaume, Palma, Majorca, Spain (Ph 971 71 29 42) Rooms from €100 a night.
The courtyard for breakfast at Hotel Born
- In Palma we enjoyed wandering around the old town and visited the huge cathedral and the Es Baluard contemporary art gallery which has free entry every Friday.
- In Deià we stayed at the luxurious La Residencia. My full review of the hotel and its restaurant El Olivio is available here.
- Besides lazing by the pool we managed to do the two hour hike to Soller which headed over the hills and along the coast allowing us plenty of breathaking views of the sea and cliffs. The trail goes through olive groves and past an old convent (which now conveniently serves drinks and cakes to walkers) before finishing in Soller for lunch.