What makes a restaurant good? It’s a subjective question for sure. I am often asked which is my favourite restaurant in Mallorca and that’s impossible to answer. I do have quite a few I love – and they include some (at the upper end of the price scale) where we’d eat more often if finances permitted.
What these diverse eateries have in common is that they all offer a great overall experience: the food’s really good, the setting is comfortable and attractive, and the service is professional but friendly. Consistency is the key here: when an accomplished chef leaves for a new job or there’s a regular turnover of front-of-house staff, it can be hard to maintain standards. That’s why quite a few of our favourite places are owned by the chef or have a chef who feels valued enough to want to stay.
Consistency can only be gauged after several visits and, having eaten there four times in the past couple of months, I’m happy to recommend Il Faro by Sascha in Mallorca’s northeastern town of Artà.
The chef/owner Sascha is German and his restaurant was previously located in Artà’s back streets under a different name (Na Creu). He moved his eatery to the town’s semi-pedestrianized main street and the premises of former Italian restaurant Il Faro (meaning ‘the lighthouse’), adding ‘by Sascha’ to the existing name.
During fine weather you can eat at a table on the terrace at the front, people-watching. Indoors has a cosy feel and there was definitely heating on when we visited on Saturday night (when the rain was hammering down outside during a thunderstorm). At the back of the restaurant, next to the bar area, steps lead down to what’s signed as the ‘bodega’, where there are more tables and, in one corner, the kitchen.
If you love a decent steak, Il Faro by Sascha is definitely worth a visit when in Mallorca. Sascha buys premium Australian beef and knows how to cook it to perfection. You can choose sautéed vegetables or salad, and steakhouse fries or rosemary potatoes to go with the meat and there’s a choice of pepper sauce or herb butter.
Other meat dishes include lamb, guinea fowl, liver, and duck. In addition there are wok-cooked dishes, served with rice or Asian pasta, and fish dishes (I’ve enjoyed the delicious grilled salmon with vegetables and mustard and honey sauce).
Veggie? No worries here. Despite this being a recommended option for steak fans, Il Faro by Sascha has wok and salad choices for vegetarians.
Having eaten here a few times, we’ve tried several dishes and have not been disappointed by any. During our last visit – Saturday – we shared a portion of fat Medjool dates wrapped in bacon, served around a tastily-dressed salad. We almost had a fork fight for the last one (one portion was plenty for two, but we were three!).
Most of the wines at Il Faro by Sascha are from Mallorca, with labels from the island’s two official DOs (Pla i Llevant and Binissalem), as well as Vi de la Terra wines. The other wines are from the Peninsula. We found the prices reasonable for the quality of this restaurant, for example: Ribas Blanc (21€ bottle), Mortitx Flaires (21€), and Son Fangos (organic, 21€). Some list wines are available by the glass and there are also house wines (white, rosé, and red) for 3,10€ a glass.
We’ve seen only female servers during our visits so far. Our experience of the service has been good, but one person – Carmen – stands out for her friendliness and sweet nature. She greets everyone like a respected old friend, with a hug or an affectionate rub of the arm where appropriate. When I took my father and uncle (both widowers) during their week’s holiday in September, they were so enchanted by her that we had to return another night for dinner. Carmen is a real gem and, if you’re eating alone for any reason, you won’t feel like Billy No-Mates at Il Faro by Sascha.
Being German-owned and in an area that’s popular with Germans, the website for Il Faro by Sascha is in German only. Don’t let that put you off going if you are not German-speaking.
UPDATE June 2018
Sascha now has a second restaurant in Artà called L’Atrio and, when we visited recently, is cooking in his newest restaurant, with another chef installed at Il Faro. The menu at Il Faro was slightly reduced but still offered plenty of choice and the lovely Carmen was still there. We have yet to try L’Atrio, although the menu looks similar to the original at Il Faro.
Prices correct at time of writing.
©Jan Edwards 2017