We’ve eaten a few times at this restaurant in the centre of Petra but, until last week, hadn’t done so since 2019 (pre-Covid). This small town in Mallorca is best known as the birthplace of Fra Juniper Serra, who left Mallorca to set up missions on the west coast of America. He also took some Mallorcan vines with him, thereby planting the seed – so to speak – of California’s famed wine industry.
Petra is well worth a visit for its authentic, agricultural-town vibes. It’s a popular refuelling point for groups of cyclists in the cooler months, when you’ll be dodging bikes and dazzled by brightly coloured Lycra stretched across some bodies that should know better.
On our 2019 visit for dinner at Can Salom, we ate downstairs in the cellar restaurant. This isn’t like some of the cellar restaurants you’ll find in towns such as Inca; this one is light, modern, and decorated with contemporary art rather than the wooden ends of vast wine barrels.
The piano was a hint of something to come. We were there on a quiet night and, after we’d eaten, restaurant director Joan Riera Salom surprised us by sitting down to play the piano and sing.
Be assured that Can Salom isn’t one of those restaurants with cheesy, singing waiters. Tenor Joan Riera Salom – at the head of the restaurant that’s been in the same family since 1969 – studied music from 2008 until 2012 at the Conservatori Superior del Liceu de Barcelona. His fine voice has pleased audiences at concerts in Mallorca.
Dinner at Can Salom in 2022
Unlike some restaurants in Mallorca, Can Salom is fortunate in having local people in its team, which means none of the staff accommodation problems that some Palma restaurants have. Two of the young men who served us were brothers who live in their family home in Petra.
For our latest visit we ate in the square itself. Joan makes a lot of effort to create an appealing ambience at night. Tablecloths, lights on the tables, potted plants, and a variety of standard lamps dotted around create an indoor feel outdoors – enhanced if your table is under one of the attractive trees which create a natural, green ‘ceiling’.
If you want to eat in a village atmosphere on a balmy Mediterranean summer’s night amid the buzz and chatter of local diners as well as visitors, Can Salom in Petra ticks all the boxes.
We shared two tapas/starters. Portions are generous and next time we’ll share only one, to leave space for dessert. We had chipirones (12,50€) and mushroom croquettes (7,50€). The Boss opted for a tasty main of squid-ink tagliatelle with salmon (15,90€) and I had large, grilled prawns with a salad (18,50€). I’d definitely have those again. Delicious.
For price guidance: an Aperol spritz costs 6,50€; a glass of rosado cava, 3,50€; a large bottle of sparkling water (their own), 3,50€, and an Americano coffee, 2€.
Although we hadn’t been for a long time – and it was unlikely that Joan recognised us – we arrived to the warm welcome of an old friend. If we felt royally looked after that night, we soon realised we were in great company: Joan was treating everyone like royalty.
Good to Know
Park in the area around the parish church – Església de Sant Pere – and it’ll take you only three or four minutes to walk to the Plaça del Pare Serra, where you’ll find Can Salom. In summer, most diners eat al fresco on the square, under the stone gaze of the statue of Petra’s most famous son.
Can Salom in Petra is open until November 1st, then closes for a winter break.
©Jan Edwards 2022