Eat Out to Help Out in Mallorca: Hotel El Coto Offering Gastronomic Weekend this September

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Drink / Eat / Sleep

Your last chance to enjoy this fabulous hotel in 2020. Hotel El Coto closes on September 20th, reopening again next season.

Looking striking at night

The 5-star Hotel El Coto in Colònia de Sant Jordi was a fantastic discovery for me a few years ago, while I was editing a local guide to wines and wineries.

Run with great care and attention to guests by the charming Navarrete family, the 50-room property is just a couple of minutes’ walk from two beaches and is opposite the salt lakes known as Salines de s’Avall—which give it a unique outlook from the hotel’s roof terrace.

A Resort Hotel with a Difference

Hotel El Coto may be in a resort, with other holiday hotels and apartments nearby, but it’s no ordinary tourist hotel. Those in the know refer to it as ‘the wine hotel’—with good reason. The property has a superb cellar—both in terms of design and contents—with more than 400 Spanish wines on offer.

Being a wine enthusiast usually goes hand-in-hand with appreciating fine cuisine, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that Hotel El Coto has a good reputation for gastronomy. The owners brought in Gerhardt Schwaiger (of the former 2-Michelin-star Tristán restaurant, and now Schwaiger Xino’s in Palma de Mallorca) as culinary consultant a few years ago.

I recently treated The Boss to a stay there for his birthday and picked up the following details.

And, by the way, anti-Covid hygiene measures were excellent. Rooms have their own bottle of sanitizing gel and a pack of spare disposable face masks and there were bottles of gel all around the property.

How About a Gastronomic Weekend?

Although many hotels in Mallorca have already closed, this weekend Hotel El Coto is offering a Gastronomic Weekend (Friday 18th and Saturday 19th September). These events offer a reception aperitif, dinner and paired wines.

Each night offers an aperitif on the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop terrace (views over the salt lakes and towards the renowned Es Trenc beach), followed by a six-course tasting menu with six paired wines from the weekend’s featured wineries. Representatives from these wineries will go to tables to tell diners about the featured wines.

You can enjoy these gastronomic dinners with accommodation in a shared room and breakfast for 120 euros per person per night. No drink/driving problems and the prospect of an excellent à la carte breakfast the next morning by the beautiful swimming pool, if the weather permits.

What’s On for September 18th & 19th

Featured bodegas:-

Friday, 18th – Bodegas Grupo Perelada, Chivite, and Taittinger

Saturday, 19th – Raúl Pérez, Telmo Rodríguez and Pol Roger

Menus (wines in italics)

Friday 18th

Marinated salmon and salmon belly with rhubarb and cucumber

Perelada Cava Gran Claustro


Velouté of rock fish with cod

Perelada Finca la Garriga


Artichokes in creamy sauce with duck fois

Chivite Las Fincas Dos Garnachas


Sea bass with vegetable risotto and Pommery mustard sauce

Chivite Colección 125 ‘Chardonnay’


Oven-baked entrecôte of American Angus with pea purée and French potato salad

Perelade Finca Malaveina


Banana ice cream with cinnamon flower cream and pecan-nut caramel

Perelada Garnacha Dulce 12 Años

Saturday 19th

Red tuna tartare, mozzarella and marinated tomatoes

Tras Da Canda 2016 Caiño


White garlic soup with roasted mackerel and apple

Ultreia 2017 ‘Mencia’


Corvina and fine pasta with saffron and vegetables

Lanzaga 2015 ‘Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha’


Terrine of suckling pig with pea purée, potato vinaigrette and vegetables

El Jorco de la Familia 2017 ‘Garnacha’


Loin of lamb, couscous with herbs, mushrooms, and rosemary juice

Matallana 2014 ‘Tempranillo’


Passion fruit mousse, sweet corn sorbet, and caramelized popcorn

Telmo Rodríguez MR ‘Moscatel’

To book or for more details, email or telephone 971 65 50 25.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Eat Out in Mallorca to Help Out: Jacaranda Restaurant

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Two delicious bread varieties at Jacaranda Restaurant

The UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme offers discounted dining in restaurants and other eateries. It’s designed to encourage people to return to eating out after the lockdown. If you’re not familiar with it, the establishments give diners a discount and claim the money back from the government, and quite a few of my UK friends have been taking advantage of the scheme.

Sadly, there’s nothing similar in Mallorca—where the hospitality industry has been devastated as a result of the pandemic. We may not be able to enjoy discounted dining on the island, as customers can in the UK, but eating out to help out—for those who can afford to—may enable restaurants to stay open longer during this strangest of holiday seasons, with few tourists here.

Over the next few blog posts I’m going to feature some of the restaurants we love, in the hope that if you haven’t yet tried them, you may decide to support them—and enjoy the eating-out experience too.

It’s understandable that Covid-19 has made some people hesitant about eating out but, in our experience, eateries in Mallorca are taking the considerable hygiene measures seriously. Restaurants with terraces always have appeal during the summer, but even more so during the pandemic. Space around you and fresh air have never been more desirable accompaniments to lunch or dinner out.

Jacaranda Restaurant, Montuïri

Taking its name from the beautiful trees nearby, Jacaranda is the restaurant within the tranquil 5-star Finca Serena hotel. Living up to its name, the hotel is on an extensive country estate near the Mallorcan town of Montuïri. The restaurant is open to the public and serves lunch and dinner (although you should reserve your table in advance).

Meet the chef: Baltasar Rigo explains his cuisine to our gathering of gastronomy writers

The elegant restaurant is in the rear part of the main hotel building, with a spacious terrace for al fresco dining. From your table here, views extend through the trees towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tramuntana mountain range. Time your dinner right and you’ll see a gorgeous sunset too. I’ve yet to eat indoors at Jacaranda Restaurant, as the glorious al fresco option is difficult to resist.

Finca Serena has added a stylish conservatory, to one side of the terrace, which can be used for private dining or other small events, such as meetings. It was in this setting that I joined fellow gastronomy writers for a lunch to meet the talented young Mallorcan chef, Baltasar Rigo, who was promoted to take over the reins in the Jacaranda Restaurant kitchen this year. He has held previous positions in the kitchen of Fontsanta Hotel and Daica Restaurant—both in Mallorca. His off-island experience includes working in the Guggenheim Bistro.

Rigo must be the envy of many chefs, because he can choose from the freshest of seasonal produce: the rural hotel has two organic produce gardens and sources other prime ingredients from trusted local providers. Rigo’s farm-to-table cuisine is healthy Mediterranean and he proves his creativity by offering a new menu of dishes every day.

The Jacaranda Restaurant wine list has choices from Mallorca, Spain, and France, across a range of prices, from affordable to splash-the-cash. Wine connoisseurs will find bottles from the bodegas Contador, Dominio de Pingus, and Vega Sicilia, among others.

Jacaranda Restaurant is open daily from 13:00-15:30h for lunch and from 19:00-22:00h for dinner.

A three-course lunch costs 40€ and dinner (of five plates) costs 55€ (both prices include IVA). Because Covid-19 restrictions mean a limited number of diners in restaurants across Mallorca, I recommend that you book your table at least 24 hours in advance to avoid disappointment.

Here are images of the Jacaranda Conservatory and some of the dishes at the media lunch.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Where to Celebrate International Beer Day 2020 in Mallorca

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Pub landlord

A warm welcome from Pep at

Today, August 7th, is International Beer Day—which sounds like the perfect excuse for a long cold beer to quench the summer thirst. The idea of International Beer Day was founded in Santa Cruz, California, in 2007; it seems to have caught on.

For those who are still in lockdown, celebrating this day will mean pulling a tinny (or bottle) out of the fridge and enjoying it in the safety of your own home. Others will have the chance to go out and have a beer, albeit probably in a socially distanced situation.

A Beer ‘Out Out’ in Mallorca

If you’re in Mallorca, let me suggest a couple of places to go and raise a glass to International Beer Day.

In Palma de Mallorca , I’d suggest Lórien, which is open daily from 17:00h, except for Sundays and Mondays, when it’s closed. This popular and atmospheric Palma pub recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary and offers a world of beers—in bottles and on tap. Read more about it here.

Brewery sign

The Toutatis brewery at Cas Canar, Sencelles

Fans of craft beers should head to Toutatis, in the tiny hamlet of Cas Canar, near Sencelles. It’s open for a beer (or two) daily from 17:00h during the summer and, if you’re lucky, you may meet Michel Campioni there, the Belgian architect who founded the microbrewery and lives nearby. He’s an affable chap with lots of great stories to tell and a choice of his own Belgian beers, brewed in Mallorca. He’s recently added some new brews to his range.



If you’ve visited Toutatis in the past, you may have parked outside the brewery, but for now, the parking situation is under review. However, the resourceful Michel has come up with a temporary solution: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, from 6pm until 11pm, Toutatis is offering a free shuttle service between the brewery and the public car park in Sencelles (C/des Molins, behind Aprop supermarket). Departures are every 20 minutes from 6pm.

I’d always recommend that you phone ahead before you visit either place, in case of a change of hours.

Wherever you enjoy a tipple on this International Beer Day, cheers!


Jan Edwards ©2020

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Breakfast at Arrels by Marga Coll at Gran Melia Hotel de Mar

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Arrels by Marga Coll has now closed for the 2020 season. Don’t miss Marga’s food at her delightful Selva village restaurant Miceli!

Few of us go out for breakfast with the frequency that we eat lunch or dinner in a restaurant. Most of us simply don’t have the luxury of time to do it during the week; for many, the first meal of the day may be eaten on the hoof, somewhere between getting dressed for the day and leaving for work.

I can relate to the American journalist/author John Gunther, who said, ‘All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.’ Eating this most important meal in a relaxed fashion sounds to me like a happy start to any day. I say this as someone who once worked on a breakfast radio show and used to shovel down a hasty breakfast before leaving home for work at 4.15am.

Breakfast in Illetas

For a leisurely breakfast in Mallorca that’s not only satisfying and tasty, but also offers authentic flavours of the Balearic Islands, head to the adults-only 5-star Gran Meliá Hotel de Mar in the southwest resort of Illetas. Designed by the renowned architect Jose Antonio Coderch, the iconic hotel has oodles of space for social distancing, and overlooks an idyllic hideaway cove.

You don’t have to be staying in the hotel to enjoy this morning feast; in fact, a high percentage of those who come for this breakfast actually live on the island.

Hotel director Natalia Seoane (L) and chef Marga Coll (R) – their masks were removed for this photo.

Arrels by Marga Coll is one of the hotel’s restaurants. Marga Coll is well known as the chef/owner of the charming restaurant Miceli in the village of Selva and has created the menu and sourced the ingredients for this five-phase breakfast, which includes drinks.

Gran Meliá Hotel de Mar opened for this complicated 2020 season only on July 28th and the very next morning at 9am I joined Alicia Polo from LUX – The Golf Guide, a group of other gastronomy writers, the hotel director and the director of sales and marketing, for the first breakfast service of the season in Arrels by Marga Coll.

The sea views here are spectacular and make for a pleasurable start to the day—even before the serious business of eating breakfast begins.

The Food & Drink

We started with a selection of fresh seasonal juices, fruits, and yogurt served on a bed of Marga’s mum’s delicious home-made apricot jam.

The second phase was described as pa amb oli: two types of toast served with local Son Mesquidassa extra virgin olive oil, ramallet tomatoes (for rubbing on the bread), a generous selection of cold cuts, cheeses from Mallorca and Menorca, anchovies, and olives, accompanied by a glass of chilled Raor Brut Nature (from Mallorca’s DO Pla i Llevant). Ooh, the delightful decadence of fizz with breakfast!

Next was a selection of assorted traditional savoury pastries: empanadas, cocas, cocarrois; a glass of Mesquida Mora’s red wine Trispol (from Porreres) accompanied these.

I confess that I skipped the fourth phase, which was based on eggs (on which I’m not keen). There’s a choice of fried or poached eggs with potato from Sa Pobla and choice of garnish. Warm bread and the coffee-bean shaped bread roll known as a llonguet accompanied these hot dishes. A glass of Gallinas & Focas red wine accompanied the egg course—appropriate, as gallinas is Spanish for ‘chickens’. This wine is an admirable collaboration between Amadip Esment, an organization for people with mental disabilities, and the winery 4Kilos in Felanitx.

The fifth and final phase was an array of small sweet pastries, including ensaïmada, cremas, and coca de patata. These were served with a glass of Dolç de Gel, a sweet white from Vinyes Mortitx in Escorca, near Pollença. Breakfast ended with coffee or an infusion.

Linger Longer?

Allow yourself two hours to enjoy this breakfast. And if you stand up from the table, gazing longingly at the Balinese beds overlooking the Mediterranean, you may want to check out the special Arrels & Relax packages on offer.

Another favourite quote about the day’s first meal goes, ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.’ After Breakfast at Arrels by Marga Coll, you can forget lunch!

Need to Know

For those nervous about Covid-19, Meliá has the strictest of protocols across its global group. At their Illetas hotel, you’ll find smart hand-sanitizer dispensers (without having to touch anything with your hands) in prominent locations around the property, as just one of the measures in place.

Breakfast at Arrels by Marga Coll costs 54€ per person and includes drinks. The hotel also offers five different Arrels & Relax packages, including one for breakfast, all-day use of a Balinese bed (double), towels, two bottles of water, and a plate of cut fruit. The Balinese bed is available until 7pm. This particular offer costs 175€ for two people, including parking.

Arrels by Marga Coll restaurant also offers an excellent seven-course dinner menu, which changes every day and depends on what takes Marga’s eye when she goes shopping in the market. Read about my visit for dinner in 2017 here.

The hotel has its own private car park and this is free when having breakfast. Available Wednesdays to Sundays, for breakfast ordered between 09:00h and 11:00h.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Mallorca’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant Scene in 2020

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With tourism in Mallorca facing an uncertain summer, it’s perhaps not surprising that some of the island’s eight Michelin-starred restaurants won’t open this season. The seasonal nature of these particular high-end restaurants is a challenge, when Covid-19 has delayed the start of the 2020 season.


Mallorca’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Zaranda, has left its former home in the 5-star hotel Castell Son Claret in Es Capdellà. Chef/proprietor Fernando Perez Arellano told me, ‘We will be back.’

I imagine madrileño Fernando is looking for premises in Palma de Mallorca, where there’s more likelihood of staying open all (or most of) the year.

Es Fum

Another hotel Michelin-starred restaurant—the elegant Es Fum—won’t be firing up its stoves this season. Its home is the 5-star St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort in the southwest of the island. Guests at the hotel won’t go hungry though: the hotel’s Aqua Restaurant is open and light snacks are also available in the Sa Badia pool bar and smart Es Vent bar.

Marc Fosh

Chef Marc Fosh talking to Reg Ward from Selva Vins at the chef’s cookbook launch

Marc Fosh—the only British chef in Spain with a Michelin-starred restaurant—has not yet announced the reopening of his Palma restaurant bearing his name. Its home is the boutique hotel Convent de la Missió, which looks set to reopen at the end of July. In the meantime, Marc is applying his culinary genius to the cuisine at Plata de Mar hotel in Canyamel—which, like Convent de la Missió—is part of the Torre de Canyamel Group. Read about Marc’s first cookbook, Modern Mediterranean, here.

Adrián Quetglas

Meanwhile, Michelin-starred cuisine in Palma is on offer at Adrián Quetglas Restaurant, which is open again for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. According to booking site El Tenedor, this is one of the restaurants currently receiving the most bookings. Book early!


Maca de Castro

Maca de Castro’s eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant in Port d’Alcúdia is not opening either this season. Maca has taken her team to Palma de Mallorca to open Andana, a restaurant where she creates delicious—and affordable—mallorquín cuisine, using vegetables grown on her own land in Sa Pobla. You’ll be able to read more about Andana in a future post; Maca intends to open her restaurant in the north of the island again next season.

Andreu Genestra

In the northeast of Mallorca, Restaurante Andreu Genestra, near Capdepera, opens again today, July 10th; find it within the Predi Son Jaumell rural hotel.

Voro by Álvaro Salazar

And, in Canyamel (also in the northeast), Voro by Álvaro Salazar at the Park Hyatt Mallorca, opens again on July 16th.

Es Racó d’es Teix

Es Racó d’es Teix in the mountain village of Deià was the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Mallorca to reopen after Spain’s lockdown ended. For our first lunch after the long confinement, we chose this beautiful family-run restaurant. Highly recommended.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Eating Out in the ‘New Normality’ in Mallorca

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Restaurants in Mallorca are open and ready to welcome you but, like eateries everywhere that have reopened since the pandemic, additional hygiene measures are in place to protect both diners and staff.

Here are a few things to note if you haven’t eaten out post-lockdown in Mallorca.

Sanitizing gel should be available on arrival so you can clean your hands.

You may have to wait to be seated, rather than nipping in to grab that vacant table you’ve spotted. This is because tables and chairs must be cleaned down when diners leave and before the next people can occupy the table.

Service with a smile at Raft 19 Bistro in Cala Gamba

Seeing staff wearing masks is more reminiscent of a visit to the dentist than to a restaurant, but you soon get used to it. Yesterday, we ate at Ponderosa Beach in Playa de Muro, where the owners had chosen perspex lower-face masks, which felt less like a barrier between ‘them and us’. When staff wear masks that make the nose and mouth invisible, we have to hope their smiles reach their eyes or these signs of warm hospitality will be missed!

Forget those posh menu folders. Most menus are now accessed by a QR code. If your phone can’t read these, ask if there’s a paper version of the menu, which should be destroyed when you’ve finished with it. In the absence of a disposable menu, the waiter or waitress will tell you what’s on offer. When I went last week for a menú del día at Ritzi in Puerto Portals, the maître d’ told us what was on the menu that day. (It was tasty, but portions were small and the price of 25€ for three courses, with bread and drinks extra, wasn’t the best value in the marina).

Some restaurants are offering a reduced à la carte menu, with fewer dishes than usual. We found this yesterday at Ponderosa Beach, a place we visit several times every summer. We had no problem finding tempting dishes though!

There’s less clutter on the tables, so fewer things for people to touch. Condiments are not put out on tables so, if you want salt, pepper, olive oil, or vinegar, you have to ask for them.

Eateries may have expanded or added an outdoor eating area. One example is Andreu Genestra’s Palma de Mallorca restaurant, Aromata: in the evenings, diners can sit at tables in the building’s adjacent garden.

Open or Not? And When?

Your favourite restaurant may have changed its opening days/hours for all or part of this summer. I recommend that you reserve a table in advance, to be sure.

Sadly, some restaurants are not opening this season—for various reasons. Fans of Michelin-starred restaurants Es Fum, Maca de Castro, and Zaranda, should be aware that these businesses won’t open for 2020’s shorter-than-usual season.

Complimentary Glass of Cava, Anyone?

We all love a little something extra when eating out and, if you book one of the restaurants on the Mallorcan Tonic website—using the link provided—they will give you a complimentary glass of cava. ¡Salud!

Jan Edwards ©2020

Need-to-Know if You’re Coming to Mallorca (or anywhere else in Spain)

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The swimming pool at Finca Serena hotel, near Montuiri

Coming to Mallorca—or another destination in Spain—for your holiday this year? Then there’s something you must do before you leave home.

Forty-eight hours before you arrive in Spain, you should complete the Spanish Government’s online health declaration (known as the FCS form)—regardless of your nationality or age.

The forms are personal and non-transferable and for one visit only. If any traveller is a minor, dependent, or has a disability, their carer can complete the form and is responsible for the accuracy of the information provided.

Before you travel, be sure to have completed and signed the form on the website (see link below) or on the mobile app. In return you will get a Health QR Code that you’ll have to show (paper version or on your mobile device) at the airport health control.

For information about the health measures in Spain relating to the pandemic, see the following:

In English and other languages

Spain had one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns. Many people have lost their jobs, businesses have failed, and tourism has been the worst affected sector in Mallorca.

If you’re coming to our beautiful island—which is ready to welcome you—please adhere to the hygiene measures in place to ensure you have a safe holiday here. And please comply with the requirement to wear a mask in places where you can’t maintain social distancing. You could face a heavy fine for not doing so.

You’ll find the necessary travel form for completion on this website, which has an English-language option.

IMPORTANT ADDITION: From Monday, July 13th, 2020, it will be compulsory for anyone over the age of six to wear a mask in public places in the Balearics – even if social distancing can be maintained. Exceptions to this are on the beach, at a swimming pool, or if you can prove (presumably with a doctor’s letter?) that your health would be compromised by wearing a mask. This applies to EVERYONE – visitors and residents. An official bulletin from the Balearic Government is due to be published either today (10th) or tomorrow (11th) July, with further details relating to mask usage when eating and drinking out.

Master of Japanese Cuisine at Mallorca’s Kairiku Restaurant

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Drink / Eat

Kairiku Restaurant is now closed for the 2020 season and will reopen in 2021.

The original version of this post about Kairiku was published in September 2019 and has now been republished, reflecting changes applicable from July 2020. 

Have you ever had an omakase experience? If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine—or have been fortunate enough to visit Japan (I know I’d love to)—you probably know that omakase translates as ‘entrust’; in this case, it means you don’t know what the restaurant’s chef will serve you, but trust that it will be good.

Japanese Restaurant in Campos? Yes!

See this and you’ve found Kairiku

The cuisine at Kairiku—Mallorca’s only omakase restaurant—was delicious when I visited this intimate cellar restaurant in Campos (within Sa Creu Nova Petit Palais Art & Spa) in May 2018. Since then, things have moved to another level, thanks to the arrival of Ryuichiro Katano, who’s a Master of Japanese Cuisine. I noted greater precision in the preparation and presentation of dishes and an almost-tangible passion emanating from the open kitchen.

About Ryuichiro Katano

Ryu is a venerable Japanese culinary master, with a long family tradition in the catering industry. He’s originally from Otaru, the northern coastal city and port that’s been called ‘the Venice of Japan’. He began working in Kaiseki, his grandfather’s restaurant, at a young age and trained further in different restaurants in Japan to develop his skills.

Ryu arrived in Spain at the age of 46 and has since been Master of Japanese Cuisine in various restaurants, including Shibui and Fishshop. He’s an earnest-looking chef, with excellent knife skills honed over the decades.

The Master’s cuisine is technical, simple, and traditional—but at the same time innovative and creative, based on high-quality raw ingredients.

About Kairiku

Kairiku is one of two restaurants within the 5-star Sa Creu Nova Petit Palais Art & Spa in the centre of Campos. A small flight of stairs leads down to Kairiku’s intimate cellar restaurant, which has stylish understated Japanese décor. (Guests with mobility issues may find access difficult.)

Only ten diners are accommodated at one long table, but you don’t have to go as a party of ten. Whether you go on your own or with one or more people, you all eat at the same time (starting at 20:30h) and no doubt share conversation about the food and sakes—as we did with the Mallorcans who were dining there on the same evening.

As an omakase restaurant, Kairiku has no printed menu, and the table setting is minimalist.

In the open kitchen, we watched Ryu assembling the dishes; each one was met by exclamations of surprise and approval—and phone cameras were pressed into action. Below are some of my own photos from our 2019 dinner.

Sakes on the Side?

In 2019, Ryu Katano’s exquisite cuisine was paired with a variety of sakes but, for 2020, Kairiku’s diners have a choice whether or not to have the sake pairing. I think this is a good decision; not everyone appreciates sake and, for motorists, paying for alcoholic beverages you can’t drink because you’re driving, is a bit of a turn-off.

The omakase dinner costs 80€ this year, including tax, but excluding drinks.

If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine and visiting (or living in) Mallorca, I can recommend restaurant Kairiku as a different, interesting, and informative eating-out experience. Who would have expected to find a Japanese restaurant of such sophistication in the agricultural town of Campos?

Price correct at time of writing.

Open: Wednesday to Sunday, with one sitting at 20:30h.

Jan Edwards ©2019/updated 2020

Raft 19 Bistro Opens Today in Mallorca’s Cala Gamba

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Welcome to Cala Gamba

Today, July 1st, is a big day for one couple in Mallorca—opening their bistro to customers for the first time. When several restaurants on the island have still not reopened after the end of Spain’s state of alarm, opening a new business may seem a brave move, but Raft 19 Bistro had been slated to open before Covid-19 scuppered plans.

Visit Cala Gamba

Raft 19 Bistro finally opens today in Cala Gamba, on the outskirts of Palma de Mallorca. I have to confess that, although I have an intimate knowledge of Mallorca (having lived here for 16 years), I had not been to Cala Gamba before. This small port is between Ciudad Jardín and Can Pastilla and is a lot quieter than both those places, appearing to be mainly residential in nature.

We managed to park (free of charge) on a side street when we visited last week. Owners Doro (manager) and chef Murray invited us and a few others to a media lunch to showcase the food and the wines they’re offering.

Raft 19 Bistro has plenty of space, filled with natural light from large windows, and offers views of the sea, just across the road. Doro is an accomplished artist and has used her skills to create a relaxed and attractive interior.

A Culinary Pedigree

Bistros may be all about casual eating, but New Zealander Murray has an impressive culinary pedigree, having owned a group of restaurants of different types in Australia and been a superyacht chef, cooking for a VIP owner.

His food is Mediterranean and all made on the premises. Murray takes inspiration for his dishes from his visits to market, where he chooses the freshest of seasonal local produce. His cuisine isn’t fussy, but is honest and usually based on no more than four ingredients. Those ingredients are allowed to shine in Murray’s kitchen.


Chef treated us to an array of his dishes (portions of some of the dishes pictured at this occasion were smaller than usual, to enable us to try more dishes). We also tried excellent fish and chips with tartar sauce, twice-baked Gruyere cheese souffle (another must-try), and Grana Padano cheese with Soller apricot-orange jam (Doro makes the latter).

Good Food Needs Good Wines

Doro and Murray work with two local purveyors of wines and have a choice of Spanish and Mallorcan wines to please wine enthusiasts. Manual Perez from Microvinos was at our media lunch to showcase some of the wines you’ll be able to enjoy over a relaxed lunch or dinner (or brunch at weekends) at Raft 19 Bistro.

Raft 19 Bistro is open from Wednesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner, but you can also come for coffee from 11am.


Reserve your table at Raft 19 Bistro by phoning (+34) 971 946 344 and see their website for more information.

Vacation Villas near Mallorca’s Banyalbufar

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Pool at Sa Terra Rotja villa, Son Bunyola

Mallorca opens to international tourists again from June 21st, when Spain’s state of alarm finally ends.

The island is desperate to see tourists back, but – after the lockdown – what part will travel anxiety play in making holiday decisions? My feeling is that rural hotels and private villas will have even greater appeal this summer.

In a discussion I had last week with a real estate expert, I heard that there’s been a surge in demand (particularly in the German market) for luxury villas to rent for holidays. And I mean luxury, as in large with plenty of open space around them; that’s one way to ensure physical distancing during your vacation.

Villas Near Banyalbufar

Mallorca has no shortage of fabulous villas to rent for holidays and, although I’ve never stayed in one, I did have a good look around the Son Bunyola estate, near Banyalbufar, in the spring of 2018. I was in the company of Insider Mallorca and their invited fam-trip guests – a small group of high-end travel consultants (lucky women) – who were staying there for a few days and had come from as far away as Australia.

Son Bunyola is a beautiful 700-acre private estate in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tramuntana mountains and, if it’s space around you that you want, the location of these villas would be hard to beat.

I first wrote about them here and, when I visited in 2018, I recorded some interviews for my radio show Table Talk on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. You can hear the interviews in Edition 4 of the show’s podcasts here.

Safety & Well-being

Son Bunyola is owned by Sir Richard Branson and will be the first property in the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio to reopen, from July 4th. There are now three secluded villas on the estate, from which to choose.

Speaking about the all-important safety and well-being aspects, Virgin Limited Edition’s managing director Jon Brown said: ‘Guests can expect to see some slight changes across all of our properties as we ask our staff to wear masks, take daily temperature checks and carry out rigorous cleaning measures, whilst ensuring that in our restaurants and guest areas we are adhering to social distancing guidelines.

‘But what’s more important, is that we make these new processes entirely simple and flexible for the guest, depending on their own level of comfort and preferences. Whether that is daily housekeeping with the same member of staff, or no housekeeping at all, we remain completely fluid to how our new processes will work.’

A Choice of Three Villas

The Son Bunyola villas can be rented individually or together, on a self-catering or all-inclusive basis, making them the perfect choice for groups and families to enjoy not only the secluded and beautiful setting, but also the security of a holiday with minimal risk of exposure – without compromising on the typical luxuries and experience guests would expect.

Rates for the four-bedroom Son Balaguaret villa, accommodating up to eight adults, start from 16,100€ for a seven-night self-catering stay during July and August 2020. Shorter stays of 3, 4 and 5 nights are also available on request (outside of July and August) subject to availability.

Time for a villa share with a few friends or family for a luxurious stay in Mallorca?

Jan Edwards ©2020