On the ball at Rafa Nadal’s Sport Cafe

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Drink / Eat

Taking my coeliac father out to eat during his visits to Mallorca used to feel as though we were playing Russian Roulette. Would he or wouldn’t he unintentionally ingest some gluten and end up in agony? Thankfully, following the changes made to the EU Food Allergen Laws in December 2014, I’m much more confident about him eating out in Mallorca.

Last week, during his late-summer visit, we went for lunch at Rafa Nadal’s Sport Café in Manacor, where a nutritionist is involved in devising the cuisine. The rain was bucketing down that day and our choice of eatery for lunch was determined by the availability of car parking right alongside the venue.

The café itself is within the complex housing the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre and his Museum Xperience – and you don’t have to be visiting either of those to eat (or have a drink) here. The café is spacious, furnished in minimalist style, and bright – with views onto a terraced area (for al fresco eating) and down over the tennis courts where the Academy’s international students play. It’s a friendly informal place for lunch or drinks and the bar end of the venue has several large wall-mounted TVs screening sporting events.

The lunch menu on the day of our visit:

Starters

Mediterranean salad (with tinned tuna and boiled egg)

Vegetable soup

Pasta with puttanesca sauce

Mains

Roasted chicken with oven potatoes

Grilled sea bream with vegetables

Timbal of quinoa and vegetables (vegetarian)

Desserts

Seasonal fruits

Almond cake with ice cream

Vanilla flan

Between us, we tried all of the starters, two of the main courses, and all the desserts. No complaints from anyone.

An à la carte menu (untried so far) is also available at lunchtime (13:00-16:00h) and in the evenings. As a price guide, main course dishes range between 15,90€ (vegetable timbale with smoked-cheese sauce) and 20,50€ (sirloin steak in truffle sauce with chips and baked apple).

Gluten-free bread

We ordered drinks (wine by the glass and water) and a basket of warm bread rolls was swiftly brought to the table. Several minutes later, having been told that my dad was a coeliac, our server brought him a mini-baguette of gluten-free bread (fresh from the oven and inside a special sealed bag). He hadn’t even asked about the availability of suitable bread, so top marks to them.

The Boss and I have eaten lunch at the Sport Café on quite a few occasions – including with vegetarian friends. In the week you pay 10€ for a daily changing three-course set lunch (with choices, but drinks not included at that price!). At weekends the price is a little higher at 15€.

Rafa Nadal’s Sport Café is one of my top recommendations for a great-value lunch in the Manacor area, with a free adjacent car park. The service is efficient and swift – thankfully not as fast as Rafa’s on a tennis court – and the food is well prepared and presented. And you never know who may be there: we’ve seen Carlos Moya in the bar area but, so far, no sighting of Rafa. We’ll just have to keep visiting…

©Jan Edwards 2017

Prices correct at time of writing.

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