Review of Cantina Panzà in Palma

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Mallorca is going through a period of bad weather, thanks to Storm ‘Blas’. Although it’s still officially autumn, there’s a feeling of winter on the island. Frankly, it’s the perfect weather for comfort food, dishes that warm and satisfy, and remind you what is good about Mallorca’s cooler months.

If you’re craving such food, give Cantina Panzà a try. Opened this year in the middle of September, this restaurant is within the 5-star Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume in Palma de Mallorca and offers a cosy setting for lunch and dinner – served every day.

Cantina Panzà is the joint project of Fernando P Arellano of the 2-Michelin-star Zaranda restaurant (which recently relocated to the Hotel Es Princep in Palma) and his friend and business partner Javier Gardonio, who has worked for many years with Fernando. Javier is the gastronomic director of Cantina Panzà. These two chefs have street cred in abundance.

The Food

Fernando and Javier have brought a taste of nostalgia to the menu of their new project. Cantina Panzà offers traditional dishes that Spanish diners may remember from their childhood – albeit with a modern touch. Many of these are hearty, served-in-a-bowl dishes that are just perfect for autumn and winter in Mallorca. If you don’t know (and I didn’t), panza means ‘belly’. And dishes here will fill your belly nicely, so go with a good appetite.

The menu starters include traditional tapas such as croquetas, and superb patatas bravas. The next section is titled ‘From the market to the plate’, highlighting seasonal ingredients.

Those seeking comfort food will enjoy the slow-cooked dishes and those designed to be eaten with a spoon.

Six different accompaniments are offered (priced between 3 and 5 euros).

As the menu suggests, we recommend leaving some room for the home-made desserts. The Boss enjoyed his rum baba bathed in local ‘Jungla’ rum – a high-quality rum aged in the Caribbean and then given a second ageing at Mallorca’s Bodegas Suau in barrels previously used to age Suau brandy. I had the fondant of gianduja with Flor de Sal and raspberry sorbet. It looked so tempting I forgot to take a photo! An excellent end to our lunch.

The Wines & The Bar

Cantina Panzà has a good selection of wines from Mallorca and the Peninsula. The smart bar on the right-hand side as you enter the hotel is ideal for pre- or post-meal drinks.

The Verdict

The food at Cantina Panzà feels authentically Spanish, which sets it apart from many Palma restaurants that serve international or traditional Mallorcan fare. We visited in early October when the restaurant had been open only for around three weeks. Most of the other lunchers were men who looked like office workers. The décor is stylish with some interesting features commissioned by the two partners for this space (which was previously a different restaurant).

Cantina Panzà is at the far end of Carrer de Sant Jaume, 22, Palma.

©Jan Edwards 2021

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