There are many, many average restaurants in Palma. There are even many good ones; but only a small proportion make the journey to greatness. In a city with a flourishing food scene which attracts a certain breed of well-travelled gourmet, a number of restaurants have made the grade. Food, ambience, décor and service combine to create that certain magic.
Over the years I’ve dined at more Mallorca restaurants than I can remember, but some I go back to time and time again. Here are my personal favourites of ‘must-do’ restaurants in the city of Palma.
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30. Mercat 1930The Mercat 1930 is the most exclusive gastronomic market in Palma. It’s located on the famous Paseo Marítimo which means its normally full with international yacht-owners who dock their boats in the neighbouring harbour. It offers several great places to eat thanks to its ‘mini stalls’ which allow you you to jump from one cuisine to the next. I’d recommend trying the oysters from Daniel Sorlu with a glass of champagne.
29. Sumaq RestaurantFor the best Peruvian fusion food in Palma, make a beeline for Sumaq. A culinary adventure awaits at this Santa Catalina treasure, courtesy of passionate, talented chef Irene Gutiérrez.
Irene’s love for the food of her home country shows through in such yummy dishes as exotic ceviche, crunchy chicken and flambéed beef steak. The emphasis is on fresh, wholesome and delicious, using best ingredients.
28. Tast ClubTast Club is one of those places you walk into and think you’ll never want to leave. It’s a super atmospheric haven on Calle Sant Jaume, with a stylish bar and several rooms for dining, reminiscent of an English members-only club. The Spanish menu is good and worth trying, but Tast really earns its spot for ambience and décor, rather than food. A slightly hard-to-find location and discreet signage only add to the air of exclusivity.
27. Casa MarukaYou’re advised to book well in advance at Casa Maruka. Very popular with locals, this homely restaurant close to Plaça d’Espanya offers a winning formula of real Mallorcan cooking at an excellent price. A small, modest but attractive interior sets the stage for pleasing service and an opportunity to try wonderful traditional dishes, and seasonal market fayre. Your insider tip for authentic island cuisine in the city.
26. The MerchantsAt the iconic 5-star Palacio Can Marques is The Merchants, a re-invented classic steak house by Edgar Lagassi and Irish chef Stephen Sullivan. This new restaurant hit La Lonja in early 2020 with its menu of delicious shareable dishes, fresh seafood and premium steaks. Get the full experience by eating in the tropical garden of the hotel surrounded by 18 century architecture and canopy of palm trees. It’s perfect for families and larger groups.
25. OmbuFabulous Ombu lifts the spirits with its fresh take on Mediterranean tapas. Located right at the end of El Borne by the water fountain, this road-side restaurant hits the spot when it comes to a delicious lunch with friends. The menu is designed to encourage sharing and there is a fantastic wine list. If I’m in the centre and fancy somewhere with a creative spin, Ombu is where I’ll head to. Although, brace yourself for a busy (and quite noisy) street atmosphere.
24. Forn de Sant JoanDining at this old favourite always gives a sense of being in the heart of the action in La Lonja. A former bakery, the restaurant has three dining areas to choose from: the romantic ‘Red Room’; chandelier adorned ‘Cristal Room’ and a welcoming main room. Here you’ll find an interesting mix of multinational and local clientele, enjoying creative Mediterranean food and some of the city’s best tapas.
23. QuadratThe hotel to which it belongs is sublime so expectations are high, but Quadrat never fails to deliver on exquisite Mediterranean food and top service. Dinner in the garden courtyard is a romantic affair and lunch a welcome retreat from the heat of the Palma streets. Up on the roof, Sant Francesc’s Bar/lounge delights guests with a combination of exciting flavours and terrific sunset views over the city. Read more
22. Restaurant Marc FoshFor Michelin-star cuisine, renowned British chef Marc Fosh really knows how to impress. His premium restaurant is situated on quiet street behind La Rambla – ideal for those looking for a little peace in the city. As expected from a chef of such prestige, the food is consistently on point. The ingredients are sourced locally from their own farm (at Finca Son Mir) and cooked to simple perfection. Read more
21. Portixol Hotel & RestaurantWithin Portixol Hotel, there is a fantastic sea-facing restaurant to enjoy. The restaurant has its very own terrace and provides a perfect spot to enjoy a freshly-made Mediterranean lunch menu or sunset dinner. The location of this restaurant makes it of our favourite places to eat in Palma, thanks to the local foodie buzz you’ll find around Portixol harbour. I love spending the evening walking along the promenade.
20. Ritzi PalmaRitzi is my go-to for sophisticated Italian. Situated within boutique Hotel BO in atmospheric La Lonja, it’s a smart address to be pampered with excellent food and service. The interior is light and spacious, and the menu is enriched with the use of a special charcoal oven used for grilling steaks to perfection, and fresh fish straight from the nearby harbour. The three-course lunch menu is exceptionally good value.
19. SadrassanaOne of my personal favourites, Sadrassana wins on every count for food, décor and ambience. With such sensuous surroundings – luxurious wallpaper, vintage mirrors and sparkling chandeliers – there’s a real sense of escapism when dining at the restaurant.This is the place to come at night for tapas and wonderful Mallorcan food (dinner only). Art takes centre stage beside the menu – one of Palma’s best-renowned galleries, Galeria Horrach Moya, is upstairs.
18. El CaminoYou rock up to El Camino without a booking, a laissez-faire start to eating at this gem of a restaurant, which doesn’t take reservations. A relatively new concept in Palma, El Camino is much like a traditional tapas bar save for the bar itself, which is the longest bar you’ve ever seen. The team, led by Eddie Hart, is great, as is the ambience; the food wonderfully fresh and flavoursome. Tapas for taste and style aficionados.
17. ManatacoMexican cuisine doesn’t get more authentic than at Manataco, situated on a cobbled street behind Paseo del Born. They are the only taco restaurant in Mallorca to use the traditional taco-making machine ‘màquina para trampo’ and to use recipes straight from the streets of Mexico City. Their interior is super funky with references to Mexican wrestling and Day of the Dead painted on bright yellow walls. The seating plan is open and relaxed which I love when casual dining with friends.
16. DukeAsk five people what their favourite restaurant is in Santa Catalina, and the chances are three of them will say Duke. This is the place for a fun meet up with friends in a totally relaxed yet buzzy environment. Chef Ronny concocts Asian-inspired dishes packed with flavour, eschewing heavier ingredients like butter and cream in favour of healthier substitutes. Tacos, teriyaki, burgers, kebabs, falafel; they’re all great. I’ve loved Duke for years.
15. Clandestí Taller GastronòmicAnd now for something completely different. Clandestí Taller, hidden away in a unit not far from the San Juan gastronomic market, offers a unique concept. Up to 12 diners sit around a long bar watching two young chefs prepare their food, before eating together. Five courses of affordable deliciousness for lunch, and eight courses of loveliness for dinner, on selected nights; Mallorcan market cuisine experienced in a most enjoyable way.
14. StagierOn the outskirts of Santa Catalina is Stagier Bar, opened in 2018 by chef Joel Baeza and partner Andrea Sertzan. This intimate, laid-back restaurant consists of just seven tables – a real privilege when you realise how great the food is! Joel has worked in several Michelin restaurants, meaning that all his tapas dishes are served with a twist of flavour and a touch of magic. Don’t expect just ordinary Mediterranean cooking here, Joel knows how to incorporate his Chilean heritage into his cooking.
12. Mar de NudosOk, it is undeniably expensive, but the stunning location and quality of food justify the price tag at Mar de Nudos. Eating here, right on the waterfront overlooking the yachts and the cathedral, is a special experience. As you’d expect, décor is chic and the Mediterranean seafood dishes, especially, are consistently excellent. You can also get great tapas and sushi. The sort of place that sparkles by night. Read more
11. Arume Restaurant & Sushi BarThe best Japanese in Palma, Arume has been working its magic for more than 10 years. Its success lies in the expertise of chef Tomeu Martí and team at fusing Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Mediterranean cuisine to mouth-watering effect. A fresh, modern dining space and open show kitchen make this spot just off Calle de Sant Miguel a lively, very pleasant place for lunch or dinner.
10. AndanaSituated right in the heart of Plaza de España (next to the train station), Andana is the ideal place for a hearty lunch or dinner. Maca de Castro is the chef behind this smart restaurant and holds a Michelin-star winner for her restaurant in Port de Alcúdia. All the produce comes from her sustainable farm and her menu changes depending on the season. I wouldn’t say this is a restaurant to just drop-by hastily before catching a train, Andana is really a place to take your time.
9. La Vieja by Jonay HernándezLa Vieja is quite comfortably Palma’s trendiest place for tapas. There is no restaurant in the capital more hip and colourful than here. Expect to find delicious food served in innovative ways – forget the traditional white plate! Here head chef and owner Jonay Hernández is imaginative with food, bringing plenty of character and vibrancy to this quirky restaurant in Plaza Raimundo Clar.
8. Issan Thai CuisineSometimes only great Thai will do, and Issan delivers perfectly. A team of Thai cooks take great care in preparing real Asian dishes, served in simple, chic surroundings. You can opt to eat at a bar looking into the open kitchen if you wish, watching the chefs do their authentic Thai thing. An exciting new addition to the burgeoning Santa Catalina food scene.
7. AromataOpened in 2014 by Mallorcan born, Michelin-starred chef, Andreu Genestra, Aromata is located in the historic Sa Nostra Cultura Centre in Palma. I especially love Aromata for its beautiful 17th century courtyard and big stone archways – it just oozes that feeling of being in the Med. Andreu Genestra is one of Mallorca’s beloved chefs, owed to his back to the land approach to cuisine. A real local favourite.
6. BotànicEat in the gorgeous garden, library room full of character or exquisite bar of Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, home of Botànic. Proof that organic, super healthy cuisine need not be boring, this restaurant is pitch perfect. The leafy garden setting is just beautiful, which when combined with a well-priced menu and good wine pairing makes it one of my top favourites.
5. De Tokio a LimaThis Borne beauty is proof that restaurant food needn’t leave you feeling like you’ve overindulged. Dining on the gracious terrace above the leafy avenue is one of Palma’s nicest pleasures. Located within Can Alomar Luxury Boutique Hotel, the De Tokio a Lima menu fuses Japanese, Peruvian and Mediterranean influences to fresh, healthy and delicious effect. Desserts are a little naughtier, but irresistible. Not cheap but quality of food and specialness of surroundings is high.
4. VandalVandal is the wild card on my list. Imagine an edgy, busy, noisy restaurant in somewhere like New York’s Tribeca and you get the idea. The cocktails here are some of the best, inventive and absolutely delicious. The ambience here is dark and quite noisy which will not suit everyone but its highly creative cuisine and outstanding wine pairings definitely earn Vandal a top spot.
3. DinsDins is the new restaurant at the stylish El Lorenç Hotel which sees chef Santi Taura do exactly what he does best – deliver exceptional Mallorcan cuisine. Whenever Santi cooks there is always this lovely personal tone that makes you feel like he’s cooking just for you. Here it’s no different, Dins promises fabulous food from Mallorca’s most beloved chef.
2. Adrian QuetglasThis Argentinian-born chef is a big talent. He made his name on the tough Moscow restaurant scene and has not stopped since! His restaurant has shot to the top of our list for a superbly creative and well-priced lunch menu that should not go amiss in Palma. His food is reflective of his travels, bold in presentation and beautiful in flavour. If you have an important lunch date in Palma, Adrian Quetglas would be my top choice.
1. FeraThere are no shortage of eateries doing Mediterranean-Asian fusion cuisine, but Chef Simon Petutschnig is a master. Fera’s location is within a renovated palace just off El Borne. It has an exclusive air and lunch in particular is surprisingly good value. We’d certainly recommend dining in their beautiful garden, complete with tropical plants and palms. This is the restaurant for 2021 and is so worth a Michelin-star – we have our fingers crossed for them! Read more
As you can see from this list, variety is what makes the modern Mallorca food scene in Palma so exciting. Eating terrifically well in the capital city can be done at all price points – it just takes a little insider knowledge. I hope you’ll relish the challenge of seeking out those places that deliver unforgettable dining experiences. Your next A-grade lunch is just a step away in this beguiling Balearic city…