The road down to Cala Torta is long, winding and, in places, will give a vehicle’s suspension a good workout. That doesn’t deter the many people who visit this beautiful virgin beach in the northeast of Mallorca (municipality of Artà) during summer. Part of its charm is that the surrounding terrain is wild and rugged; you can also walk the coastal paths on either side of the beach if you fancy a bit of exercise other than swimming in the small bay.
But many people – as we did with friends this week – go there just to eat one of the fresh fish dishes served at Dolores and Manolo’s Cala Torta beach bar. At first sight you may wonder if you’re in the right place: it’s nothing more than a wooden hut, with a decked terrace and additional long tables and benches (shaded) on the sands. How big can the kitchen be?
We sat on benches at one of the long tables, with our feet buried in the sand. Although we’d arrived just after 1pm – early for lunch on Mallorca – the place was already busy and it wasn’t long before we were joined at our table by two other groups.
We shared a ‘parrillada’ – a mixed plate of grilled seafood that our friends had recommended. If there’s a menu, we didn’t see it (or ask for it), but there’s always a choice of fresh fish and shellfish to order. We also ordered a salad to share, bread and olives, and some drinks (beers, water, and a Coke). Salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar were on the table.
The arrival of our seafood platter (dressed with a tasty ‘picada’ sauce) made me realize we were in for the treat we’d been hoping for. A pile of shellfish sat on top of several grilled fish, and the whole lot kept us busy (and licking our fingers) for quite some time. It was one of those dishes that other people covet when they see it. “We’ll have what they’re having,” said the Germans who joined us on our table (and the couple that subsequently sat down at the far end of the table).
If there were desserts to be had, we weren’t offered any (and didn’t ask). We did, however, order coffees – which came in a can. Our server (Dolores?) shook the individual tins vigorously, snapped off the lids, and instructed us to wait a few moments for the self-heating mechanism to kick in. It’s a novel idea, but don’t bother … unless you want to drink 250ml of sweet black not-very-good instant coffee. Two sips were quite enough of that, thank you.
Our bill wasn’t itemized and showed a total of 193 euros for four people (we didn’t have wine – although they do have house red and white). We left a small tip, which was acknowledged with the apparently customary burst of song from inside the hut.
Cala Torta is not the cheapest place to have lunch on the beach on Mallorca, but the setting is beautiful and that seafood ‘parrillada’ could become one of those summer dishes you remember well into winter – when the sands of Cala Torta are devoid of footprints and it’s often blowing a hooley here …