The day has arrived when foodies on Mallorca can find out what’s on offer at the new Mercado Gastronómico San Juan. Palma de Mallorca’s first market of its kind echoes similar projects in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, and others. It’s a place where you find stalls selling different types of cuisine, which you can take away, eat on the terraces outside, or within the beautifully designed market – perching on stools or standing at long bistro-style tables. It’s a very sociable way to enjoy a variety of food and drink.
Mercado Gastronómico San Juan is located within the complex known as S’Escorxador – the city’s former slaughterhouse. Now surrounded by apartment blocks – a short distance from the city’s inner ring road (the Avenidas) – it takes its name from the old vegetable gardens that used to be here before the city replaced them with the abbatoir.
A design icon in Palma
S’Escorxador is an emblematic Modernist building dating from 1905, and designed by architect Gaspar Bennazar. He won first prize for the design in Spain’s National Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1906. Well designed or not, I still wouldn’t have wanted to live anywhere near it when it was being used as a slaughterhouse! In 1990 S’Escorxador became a commercial and cultural centre.
Today, those who live in the vicinity have this lovely new gastronomic market on their doorsteps. It occupies a former artisan brewery within the complex, which has been stylishly renovated to retain original features, like the impressive ceiling. Private investment of some two million euros made it possible.
What’s on offer?
Central square (OK, more of a rectangle) with 17 stalls, serving different types of food (and drinks):
- Fried fish
- Traditional Mallorcan cuisine
- Fresh pasta and pizza
- Llonguets – a type of Mallorcan bread roll – served with traditional island products.
- Tortillas and Vermouth (the latter on tap!)
- Hams and cured meats
- Oysters and seafood
- Fideus (paella-style dishes made with noodles instead of rice)
- Basque pintxos
- Gourmet hamburgers
- Barbecued meat
Just off the central area, this spacious bar looks set to become a popular meeting place, and has direct access to a terrace. A stage is located here, where a range of events is expected to take place – anything from product demonstrations to private events.
Coffee and cake shop:
Nespresso coffees and delicious products from French baker and patisseries La Madeleine de Proust (they have a place in Palma’s Santa Catalina district), servcd in the coffee shop or on the adjoining terrace.
Climb the stairs and you can lean over the railings to view the scene below – and visit this large room, with an IKEA kitchen. This is a space for showcookings, private events, and more.
Inaugurated in style
Last night I attended the by-invitation inauguration of the San Juan Gastronomic Market. The ambience was superb, with everyone (around 500 of us!) enjoying the new facilities and enjoying lashings of free food and drink. A DJ was stationed on the upper floor of the central area while, out on the cocktail bar terrace, musicians played live.
I was very impressed with the event, and with the concept of the market. As to prices, I have no idea (none were visible last night, and those working the stalls had more important things to do – keeping the hungry hordes satisfied – than answer questions from me). I shall certainly return to see what the Mercado Gastronómico San Juan is like once the opening euphoria has died down.
The group of private business people behind this project – the Socieded Mercado Gastronómico San Juan – intended that the market should be a facility for local people and gastronomic tourists. In truth, the market is a little off the normal tourist route but, if you are coming to Mallorca, you enjoy the market food concept that’s currently hot in Europe – and like discovering new things to tell your friends about – come and check out the San Juan Gastronomic Market.
Guests at the inauguration.
Mercado Gastronómico San Juan is open seven days a week, from 10am until midnight (2am at weekends). The S’Escorxador complex (which also includes the independent Cine Ciutat cinema) has an underground car park, and street parking is also available in the area. If you’re not driving, and don’t know Palma de Mallorca, take a taxi, asking for S’Escorxador (pronounce it S’Escorshador). Bus no. 12 from Palma’s Plaza d’Espanya is one of several buses passing close to S’Escorxador.