Spain and Portugal’s culinary Oscars – the Michelin stars – were announced this evening (Tuesday, 14th December) in Valencia, at a gala held at El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía.
Here are the new stars for Mallorca:
Estrella Verde for Sustainable Gastronomy: Maca de Castro, Alcúdia.
Voro Restaurant in Canyamel (chef Álvaro Salazar) has been awarded two Michelin stars for 2022. Congratulations to Álvaro and all the team.
Fernando P Arellano’s Zaranda – which had two Michelin stars at its previous location at Castell Son Claret hotel – moved this year to Es Princep hotel in Palma. Zaranda has been awarded one Michelin star for 2022.
Stars Retained for 2022
The following retained their one Michelin star for the coming year:
Dins by Santi Taura
Maca De Castro
Es Racó des Teix
In July this year, chef Josef Sauerschell – who owns this beautiful restaurant in Deià, with his wife Leonor Payeras – wrote to Michelin to return the star that had been awarded to Es Racó des Teix every year since the year 2000. He’s not closing the restaurant – thank goodness! – but, now aged 66, has chosen to relinquish the pressure associated with having a Michelin Star.
I’ve eaten a few times at Es Racó des Teix, but my most memorable experience of the place was having lunch there with The Boss after the lockdown ended and restaurants were able to open their terraces to diners again. We’re looking forward to returning in 2022 when this seasonal restaurant reopens.
We’ve been fans of Mallorcan chef Tomeu Caldentey’s cuisine since before I began this blog. He was the first Mallorcan chef on the island to have his cuisine awarded a Michelin star, which he maintained for 14 years. In 2018 Tomeu gave up the star to change his restaurant concept to something different, more affordable and, I’m sure, less stressful.
He created his new concept, Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner, in the same premises in Sa Coma, on the east coast of Mallorca. The chef was no longer running a brigade but taking the lead role in his gleaming contemporary kitchen. He’s the modest star of his own cooking ‘show’, with an enthusiastic audience seated around the counter watching him work before they enjoy the fruits of his culinary labours.
Then Along Came Covid
Mallorca’s tough Covid restrictions in the hospitality sector began to ease when eateries and bars were allowed to serve customers again – but only on terraces. Tomeu couldn’t operate his particular concept while restaurant interiors remained closed.
His premises are at one end of the Protur Sa Coma hotel and have ample terrace space. So, in order to keep working, Tomeu came up with a new concept of lunchtime eating: Bartomeu. Once the Covid restrictions were removed, he was able to continue with the Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner concept at night as well. So there are now two ways to enjoy his food.
What is Bartomeu?
Bartomeu offers a set lunch menu (with some choices) on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The menu changes every week and is published in advance. Lunch begins with a round loaf of Tomeu’s delicious olive oil bread and a moretum to spread on it.
The Migdia menu includes a sharing dish, followed by a soup, then a choice of main course, and choice of dessert. The price of 17,50 euros includes water and coffee (but there’s an additional charge for the bread). On Saturdays and Sundays, Bartomeu offers a lunchtime rice menu for 26 euros.
Tomeu serves the dishes himself (he has an assistant in the kitchen). Drinks are on a self-service basis and modestly priced. Our glasses of red wine cost 3,50 each, which we thought was reasonable. The selection of wines by the bottle looked keenly priced.
The room where we ate was filled with natural light, which felt uplifting on a sunny day. The capacity looked to be around 20 people, so it feels quite intimate and relaxed. The latter is helped by the fact that Tomeu – looking noticeably slimmer and younger these days – wears an apron over T-shirt and jeans, rather than chef whites.
You do need to book at least a day in advance for this lunch, which is popular with locals (we were the only foreigners there). We usually make spontaneous decisions about lunches out, which meant a few unsuccessful attempts to get a table in the past.
Good to Know
Bartomeu and Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner will be open until the end of December, then will close for a few weeks for a holiday. Check out the Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner website for more information – including details of gift vouchers, which could make welcome Christmas presents.
A large free car park is just across the road.
To find out what’s on the Migdia menu at Bartomeu, follow xeftomeucaldentey on Instagram.
Forget Black Friday. Today, November 26th, is World Olive Tree Day and it’s being celebrated in Mallorca with a number of events organised by Oli de Mallorca. This annual global homage to the olive tree – grown across five continents of the world – began back in 2019. Today we acknowledge the positive role olive trees play against global warming.
Olive trees are an icon of the Mallorcan landscape (particularly in the Serra de Tramuntana), and many luscious extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) are produced on the island. One of my favourites is Aubocassa, from a beautiful finca near Manacor.
In 2002 Oli de Mallorca became the Denomination of Origin for high-quality extra virgin olive oils produced to certain specifications in Mallorca. Today there are almost one hundred brands with this recognition.
Click here to discover 10 things to know about Mallorca olive oil.
Olive Leaf Teas
The olive tree produces more than olives, oil, and wood that’s turned into attractive items for the home. Anyone for an olive leaf tea? Two women in Mallorca – Katja and Kate – founded Dos Alquemistas (2A), to produce organic olive leaf tea blends, using leaves from the spectacular Son Moragues estate groves in Valldemossa. They harvest the leaves by hand during the tree-pruning season and upcycle them, converting them into infusions and powders. These two dynamic women are passionate about nature, the Mallorcan landscape, and the health benefits of olive leaves.
Their range includes four infusions, olive dust, and olive latte.
If coming to Mallorca in November, time your visit so you can go to the village of Caimari for the Fira de s’Oliva – the annual celebration of all things olive. This year’s weekend fair (the 24th) took place last weekend. And Oli de Mallorca offers a programme of interesting related events on and around November 26th, Olive Tree Day.
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.
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 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).
Four years have passed since Fera Restaurant and Bar opened its doors in Palma de Mallorca. Although we used to eat there quite often, we hadn’t been since before Covid. My last review of Fera on this blog has been replaced by this up-to-date version.
When a French gastronomic-journalist friend wanted me to update my contribution to the Geo Guide Baléares, naming some of my favourite places in Mallorca, it was Fera Restaurant and Bar where we met for lunch. I’d mentioned it as a favourite in the last edition of the guide and it will be in the new one too.
Style & Substance
Fera’s a little tucked away in the heart of Palma de Mallorca but only a few steps away from the street known as Jaime III. The upper floor of the building – with a separate external entrance – is home to the Círculo Mallorquín, the social/cultural organisation founded in the mid-19th century. The 21st-century Fera occupies the ground floor with considerable style, good taste, and fascinating artworks.
Entry is through an attractive, traditional courtyard, and then automatic glass doors, into a foyer. First impressions of the place are of understated luxury and effortless style. Contemporary art is everywhere, against a décor of neutral and warm earthy colours, created by Sheela Levy, one of the owners. It’s not surprising to learn that Sheela is an interior designer and feng shui expert.
Three dining areas are available. As well as the main dining room, you can now eat in the rear garden. When we visited, thunder was rumbling and fat raindrops had started to fall, so we accepted the offer of a table in the Library – an intimate room also available for private dining for up to 16 people.
Simon Petutschnig’s in the Kitchen
I enjoyed executive chef Simon Petutschnig‘s cuisine even before he came to work at Fera – where he is now a partner in the business with Sheela and Ivan Levy. The charming, hardworking Austrian creates cuisine that’s essentially Mediterranean with Asian – particularly Japanese – influences. He’s an amiable, modest chef, who has worked in Michelin-star restaurants, as well as a couple of other restaurants in Palma.
What’s to Eat?
Like a few other restaurants now, Fera no longer offers its great-value lunch menu. A restaurant of this high quality doesn’t need to appeal to people looking for gourmet cuisine at a bargain price. Fera is a fine-dining establishment where discerning diners can choose one of Simon’s exquisite tasting menus or à la carte dishes (which include ingredients such as Wagyu beef, Simmental beef, and Gillardeau oysters).
We opted for the Fera Tasting Menu (69 euros), which was preceded by a flavourful tomato-water ‘tea’ appetiser. I’d like to point out that there is also a vegetarian tasting menu for the same price.
Premium ingredients are one of the reasons for the high standard of cuisine here. For instance, Simon uses sustainable Kvitsøy salmon from Western Norway – considered the finest salmon in the world. Our Kvitsøy salmon tataki dish was accompanied by avocado, ponzu, and mango and was bursting with flavour and freshness. Another example of quality is in the award-winning extra virgin olive oil, made from Arbequina olives grown on the Levy family estate Son Naava, near Montuïri. The luscious Son Naava EVOO is the only Demeter-rated biodynamic oil produced in Mallorca.
Don’t miss the opportunity to choose from Fera’s Coffee Menu, which details aroma-and-tasting notes for each choice. Cuisine as fine as Fera’s deserves a suitable finale – accompanied by irresistible petits fours.
An optional wine pairing (supplement of between 45 and 80 euros) is available for each of the four tasting menus (which include a dinner-only White Truffle menu).
We had wine by the glass, choosing one of the five wines produced with grapes from the Levy family’s Son Naava estate. The award-winning Son Naava Viognier was a deliciously fruity and silky white wine. I hope to drink it again.
As you’d expect in a restaurant of this quality, the service was professional but friendly too, with explanations given at the point of each dish’s delivery. Serving staff are well presented, wear uniforms, and speak English.
Fera Restaurant & Bar in Palma seems to have been elevated to another level since I last visited, making it the perfect choice for gourmet diners seeking a gastronomic experience in Mallorca’s capital. For some people, Fera’s prices may make it a special-occasion-only choice, but what a memorable eating-out occasion it will be!
Can you imagine what life must be like now for those who live on the island of La Palma in the Canaries? The devastating eruptions from the Cumbre Vieja volcano over the past month have changed many people’s lives forever. How will they and the island ever recover?
Some financial help is to come from Mallorca, where eight of the island’s chefs have united to create a gastronomic fundraiser for those affected by the natural disaster in La Palma.
A Sunday Lunch in Solidarity
On Sunday, October 31st, eight chefs based in Mallorca – two of them of Canarian origin – will create the fundraising Chefs Unidos por La Palma gastronomic lunch.
The event starts at 13:30h and takes place in the beautiful setting of the 5-star Castell Son Claret in Es Capdellà. The Julian Vaughn Jazz Trio will provide the music.
The chefs giving their time to create this fundraising lunch are pictured above. Miquel Navarro of the Michelin-star restaurant Es Fum (St Regis Mardavall hotel) and Jonay Hernández from the popular Canarian restaurant La Vieja in Palma are from the Canaries.
Andrés Benitez creates plant-forward cuisine at the restaurant Botànic in Palma (Boutique Hotel Can Bordoy), and Joel Baeza is from the acclaimed Stagier Bar in Santa Catalina. Nacho Amores is from Ses Oliveres in Port de Sóller, and Toni de Pascual is the owner of Mel (Mallorca Eats Local) – which organises catering and gastro tours. If you watched the ninth edition of Masterchef in Spain, you’ll have seen him on your TV screens.
Jordi Cantó (Sa Clastra) and Pep Forteza (Olivera) are the two chefs who’ve been the driving force behind the event, which was the idea of the two culinary teams at Castell Son Claret.
More than a dozen local suppliers are contributing to the event with donations of their best products.
How to Support Those Affected in La Palma
Here’s a delicious way to do it: attend the gastronomic lunch on October 31st. It’ll be a one-off foodie experience to remember – and a way to show solidarity and support for La Palma in the Canaries.
The cost per head is 200 euros and places are limited. Reserve yours now by calling 971 138 629 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For me, the best things about autumn are all related to gastronomy. Wild mushrooms, pomegranates, chestnuts and, in Mallorca, llampuga (the various English names of which include golden mackerel) are among the ingredients that give this season’s dishes particular appeal. And a glass of fine red wine, enjoyed by the fireside or at the dining table, is a reminder that even though the warmth of summer has gone, autumn in Mallorca has much to offer visiting and local gourmets.
Ode to Autumn
Keats’s poem ‘Ode to Autumn’ refers to ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’. When I drove to La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, in Deià last evening, no mist obscured the glorious sunset views along the northwest coast road through the Tramuntana mountains.
Fruitfulness is in abundance though at the iconic hotel’s El Olivo restaurant, where executive chef Guillermo Méndez has created a new seasonal menu inspired by prime autumn produce. Chief among these are the varieties of wild mushrooms that emerge in the Tramuntana woodlands after the late summer rains.
El Olivo’s Autumn Menu
Buckle up for a pictorial joyride through the full menu we ate last night! In my opinion, this year’s autumn menu at El Olivo is the best I’ve tasted there. It was creative, well balanced in flavours and textures, and visually appealing – in terms of both presentation of the food itself and the beautiful tableware, designed exclusively for El Olivo by artist Mirenchu in conjunction with Guillermo Méndez. Read more about Mirenchu in this article written by a friend of mine. Click on each picture to read the caption.
Paired with Tianna Negre Wines
We often buy Tianna Negre wines for home consumption, but the autumn menu pairing at El Olivo was a chance to try some different wines from this Binissalem-based winery. Tianna Negre has some 55 hectares of organic vineyards across several fincas in the Binissalem and Consell areas.
Tianna Negre is a relatively young bodega, owned by the Morey Garau family (who also own drinks distribution company Distribucions Túnel). Its first harvest was in 2007. One of the winery’s aims is to recover some of the native grape varieties that vanished after phylloxera struck Mallorca in the 19th century. As well as familiar grape varieties, they are experimenting with recovering some I’d never heard of, including Escursac, Galmater, Quigat, and Manses de Tibbus.
The wine pairing included the Tianna Boutique Wine 5.2 Orange (made from the recovered grape variety Giró Ros), and the winery’s new Giulioncello Original – a coconut-creamy version of limoncello.
Details of possibilities to visit Tianna Negre’s impressive modern bodega are on their website.
Good to Know
You don’t have to stay overnight at La Residencia to dine in El Olivo restaurant. Autumn’s cooler evenings mean eating inside in the old olive press – one of the most romantic settings for dinner you’ll find in Mallorca.
The set autumn menu is in addition to El Olivo’s à la carte menu. Diners can choose the autumn menu’s full seven plates (140 euros inc IVA) or five plates (110 euros including IVA). The optional Celler Tianna Negrewine pairing is recommended (supplement of 55/70 euros).
Great news! La Residencia, A Belmond Hotel, is staying open a little later in the year than usual. The last night to eat and/or stay in the hotel will be Sunday, November 14th.
La Residencia features a few times in my novel Daughter of Deià, now available in eBook and paperback formats. Here’s a link to it on your local Amazon website.
On holiday long ago in the Florida Keys, I was offered dolphinfish in a restaurant. The waiter laughed when he saw how the ‘d’ word had alarmed me – I’d be a hopeless poker player. He then explained the dish didn’t contain a marine mammal, but a fish that’s also known as mahi-mahi, which we ate in the Caribbean. You may also see it on menus as golden mackerel.
This fish – known as dorado in Spanish and locally as llampuga – comes into Mallorcan waters in the late summer and early autumn. Its arrival coincides with the end-of-summer storms that start to cool the island after the high heat of August. The name llampuga means lightning, which seems appropriate.
Mallorca’s season for fishing llampuga is officially from late August until the end of the year, although it’s often hard to find on fish counters once the end of November comes. The boats that fish for llampuga are limited to a daily maximum catch of 150kg.
Cala Ratjada in the northeast of Mallorca is the port most associated with this seasonal fish, and it traditionally hosts an autumn fair over a weekend – Fira de la Llampuga – dedicated to it. This year the usual fair was cancelled because of concerns about coronavirus among visitors who congregate in the port. But the town held a tapas route – La Ruta de Tapes de Llampuga – on October 10th instead, in which bars and restaurants showcased the versatility of the fish by offering tapas featuring llampuga.
Cooking With Llampuga
Mallorcans have a favourite way of using lightning fish in the kitchen, in a dish called llampuga amb pebrots vermells. Thick slices of the fish are fried and served with a rich tomato sauce topped with fried red peppers. You’ll see it often at this time of year on traditional mallorquín restaurants’ menus. Do give it a try if you like fish.
British chef Marc Fosh, whose eponymous Palma restaurant has a Michelin star, offered some recipes and advice on cooking this seasonal fish in one of his Majorca Daily Bulletin columns last year; check out the link for some ideas.
If you’re a fan of farm-to-table-eating events, I can recommend spending a Friday evening at S’Hort de sa Vall, just outside Manacor. This fertile valley is home to this well-kept farm, which recently opened its farm shop on Saturday mornings under the Venda Directa scheme. On Friday evenings – at least for the next two weeks – they offer a guided tour of the farm, followed by a tasting menu dinner with wine. They plan to introduce lunches rather than dinners soon as the evenings become cooler.
On September 3rd, we went along with some friends for the Friday-evening experience … and had a really enjoyable time in an authentically rural Mallorcan ambience.
We arrived at 7pm for the welcome and were then split into two groups for the tour; an English speaking guide is available. Our tour of the extensive farm lasted around an hour-and-a-quarter, accompanied by explanations about their processes and farming methods.
Along the way we stopped at a table outside some greenhouses to sample their tomatoes and a couple of their preserves. We passed rows of strawberry plants out in the open air and were told to help ourselves to any of the remaining strawberries (it was quite late in the season). Our search among the leaves yielded a few sweet, succulent strawberries that tasted nothing like the watery ones you find in plastic punnets year-round on supermarket shelves.
The tour concluded in an enormous barn, where we watched a video about the farm on a wall-mounted screen. I’d never seen such a thing in an agricultural barn before!
Time to Eat & Drink
We returned to the recently renovated building housing the shop and the large open kitchen for a glass of wine and samples of S’Hort de sa Vall’s own sobrasada (for me, the best I’ve tasted), and the cheese they sell. Then we went to our allocated table outdoors for our tasting menu, which was accompanied by wines from Macia Batle and followed by coffee and a rather delicious hierbas liqueur.
Our tasting dinner was a different style of cuisine to that served at Terragust events, where the chef has Michelin-starred restaurant experience on his CV. The cuisine at S’Hort de Sa Vall is more like good Mallorcan home cooking – very tasty and made from fresh seasonal produce.
Live music enhanced the evening: the trio Femení Plural comprises two good singers (sisters) and a guitarist. They are performing again on Friday 17th and Friday 24th September.
The cost per head for these evenings is 45 euros, including the tour, tasting menu, wines, coffee, liqueur, and the music. Oh, and did I mention we all went home with a complimentary bag of fresh produce from S’Hort de sa Vall?
An informative and thoroughly enjoyable evening. If you’re interested in finding out more about agriculture in the fertile Sa Vall area, this should appeal to you. Sitting under the stars beneath strings of lights added to the cosy ambience.
Good to Know
Wear comfortable shoes for the tour around the fields and surrounding tracks. And even though the daytime may still be warm, the valley cools quickly so be sure to take a jacket or sweater.
To book – or for more details – phone 627 753 038.
Our first stay at the 5-star Hotel El Coto in Colònia de Sant Jordi was in 2015, shortly after I read about it while editing a local guide to wines and wineries. Why was a hotel included in this guide? Because those in the know refer to El Coto as ‘the wine hotel’. With good reason.
No Ordinary Seaside Hotel
Hotel El Coto may be in a seaside resort with other holiday hotels and apartments nearby, but it’s a cut above many tourist hotels. The 50-room hotel has a superb cellar – both in terms of design and contents – with more than 200 Spanish (including a good choice of Mallorcan) wines on offer. Prices range from the affordable to the aspirational. Pingus, Vega Sicilia, or La Hermita, anyone?
Wine enthusiasts usually appreciate fine cuisine too and those who dine at Hotel El Coto’s poolside La Pergola restaurant are in for a treat. Several years ago, the Navarrete family – who own and run the hotel – brought in chef Gerhardt Schwaiger as their culinary consultant. Gourmets who’ve known Mallorca for years will probably remember that Schwaiger was at the former 2-Michelin-star Tristán restaurant in Puerto Portals.
Dinner at La Pergola
You don’t have to be staying overnight in Hotel El Coto to dine here – but you do need to book a table because this restaurant has become popular among locals. And if you want to do full justice to the wine possibilities here, booking a room for the night is a good idea.
A five-course dinner (with choices) costs 45 euros (including IVA). Individual dishes are priced so you can choose fewer courses if you wish. Drinks are not included.
A Birthday Treat
The Boss had his birthday at the weekend and I treated him to dinner and a night away at Hotel El Coto again. The hotel has the benefit of being around 100 metres from a beach and the fact that it faces one of the oldest salt flats adds to the interest of its location.
Our Saturday night dinner was accompanied by live music from a pianist, playing the hotel’s white baby grand beside the pool. At night, the sun loungers are moved out of sight and atmospheric lighting around the swimming pool creates a magical ambience.
For our 5-course dinner we chose: Waldorf salad; creamy soup of velvet swimming crabs with king crab (absolutely delicious); fresh red tuna with olive oil, sesame, and chive; hake with vegetable risotto and lemon butter, and fresh figs with cassis granita, vanilla ice cream and cheesecake cream. A memorable birthday dinner, for sure, but my camera photos didn’t do the food justice.
We Love …
… pretty much everything here. Hotel El Coto is spotlessly clean and well maintained. Each of the 50 stylish rooms and suites is individually decorated; types range from a single room to a two-bedroom suite with separate living area and views over the salt lakes. We stayed in the gorgeous Suite 211, overlooking the pool and gardens.
Most impressive of all is the high level of hospitality offered by owners Myriam and Pepe Navarrete, their son Cristian, and their hard-working team. Little wonder that Hotel El Coto in Colònia de Sant Jordi has a high number of repeat guests … including us.