Off to Mallorca!
Oh boy, it’s been so long! Thanks to more vaccinations, travel starts getting easier. I finally made my short escape from Germany to Mallorca. Honestly, I was never keen on going to the German’s favorite island. Ballermann party culture and restaurants serving mainly pasta and pizza is not really my thing. Anyhow, Mallorca is the closest destination, if you crave blue water and snorkeling. So, I packed my goggles and boyfriend and off we went.
The destination was Cala D’Or. This is a cute spot with picturesque bays and white cubic houses instead of the usual multi story hotels. The swimming conditions were exceptional. The appetite also. The big question is: Where to find fresh local food instead of pizza, pasta, and generic tapas. Omg, I really don’t like those places with ten page menus.
Well, guess what? These two superfoodies got lucky each day. Let me share a quick guide to tapas, fish and drinks in Cala d’Or. This way you don’t have to linger on trip advisor for too long. If you don’t expect super interesting seafood, but decent quality, this will help you to cover some fun evenings in Cala D’or. Here are my suggestions for the best restaurants serving fresh local tapas, fish, seafood and drinks in Cala D’Or.
Find the Fish!
Let’s start with the foodie’s most common addiction when vacationing by the sea: Fresh fish, ideally catch of the day from local waters. This has become a rare luxury in the Mediterranean thanks to overfishing. Given the sheer amount of sea bream while snorkeling, I was surprised to find no restaurant offering wild sea bream. Caught in the wild they are far more delicious than farmed fish.
In Cala D’Or we didn’t even see restaurants offering whole fish, let alone locally caught. Tourist seem to like filets, which are usually less tasty than a complete grilled fish. Even if you are afraid of fishbone, let me assure you: They are much easier to detect in a complete fish than in a filet. There they are cut and become much smaller and sharper.
The place to find great local fish and seafood is the next village. Portopetro is a small village with 500 inhabitants and about three hotels. Like Cala D’Or it has a marina, but much smaller and less posh. Half of the harbor is still filled with little fishing boats. The restaurants along the seafront are all equally cute. From first sight, I think also the quality should not differ too much. All were crowded by people who seemed to enjoy food more than showing off cruise fashion.
Fresh Grilled Fish in Portopetro: Norai Restaurant
We chose Norai Restaurant. The reason to choose this place was a British waiter named Gabriel. He came outside with a choice of fresh fish the second we walked by. We were hooked just seeing how he presented his offer with a huge smile and excitement. If someone is that proud of the product, it can’t be all bad. We promised to be back, before we went snorkeling in two bays close by. Then we had a nice aperitivo on the cute terrace of the café/restaurant Goli Port Vell with view on the fishing harbor. After enjoying a Cava cocktail we had built up appetite for the fish and headed back.
The experience at Norai left nothing to ask for. Being served again by Gabriel – maybe best waiter in town – we got all we were looking for: Great atmosphere, sundown by the sea and delicious fresh fish. As a starter there was grilled scallops, than a St.Peter’s Fish (aka John Dory) from the grill, finished of by lovely desserts.
Everything was prepared to perfection and the wine recommendation well fitted with the food. The chef opted for a wine from Mallorca called Quibia from 2019. This white wine is one of the few less fruity ones from the island: dry, refreshing, with a hint of white flowers. To cut a long story short: This is your place for a romantic dinner by the sea with a great choice of local fish. Now let’s look at the tapas and drinks in Cala d’Or!
Seriously Local Tapas: Plaza del Pinar
Just like fresh fish, local tapas are kind of hard to come by. Surely every restaurant in town offers tapas. But those will be your regular choice of Pimientos de Padrón, Pan amb Tomate, Tortilla or Meatballs. If you’re looking for more local varieties such as roast snail, Frito Mallorquín or rabbit stew, there is not much to find. After one night of too much Gin at Cala Gran Cocktail Bar, we interviewed the owner and found our place.
Plaza del Pinar is a small restaurant hidden in a park behind a bigger supermarket (Suma Cala D’or Fruit). It’s frequented by locals and run by a super friendly owner. Pretty hungry and curious we ordered the whole range of tapas available and ended up in sould food heaven. Everything, including the local wine (Aviador, 2019) was amazing.
Just to give you an idea: We had spicy roasted snails and chorizo. Then meatballs in a super umami sauce and Frito Mallorquín prepared with lung meat. Not to forgert pork stew, homemade aioli, and an absolute highlight: Boquerones en Vinagreta (anchovy in vinegar). They are to be found everywhere, but homemade they are no less than spectacular. The Frito Mallorquín is also a harder to come by thing: It’s fried veggies (such as eggplant, peppers, onions and so on) with small pieces of lung or liver. Sounds weird, tastes great! Give it a try if you like the nose-to-tail cuisine!
Gin and More: Cala Gran Cocktail Bar
Such a meal definitely requires a digestive. Back to Cala Gran Cocktail Bar! This place is run by three siblings. All are professionals in gastronomy and enthusiastic about their business. It’s located just around the corner from the crowded food streets of Cala D’or. The bar is much less noisy with a far better choice of drinks. It is a wonderful place to chill, chat, relax or get drunk the non-noisy way. Definitely one of the best places in town! They even created their own Gin. It’s served as a show and tastes amazing. Check that out!
Last but not least, let me give you a recommendation located in the heart of the foodstreets. I was really sceptic about these places, but you can find nice things everywhere. Searching for a quick aperitivo we stumbled upon a beautifully designed place that open just a few days ago: The Noir. It is a Dutch run Café/Restaurant with a nice choice of sandwiches, croques and tapas. The restaurant is part of a group of six Dutch run businesses. They all try to promote local food with a modern twist.
Up and Coming: The Noir
The place is probably the most chill and elegant in the whole area. It has a patio with old trees, comfy chairs and a beautiful interior. They offer a great selection of local wines and refined tapas. It was so pleasant to sit and chat with the super friendly owner that we canceled our original dinner plans. We indulged in their choice of modern style tapas and had a wonderful evening. That could only be topped by a final bite of crunchy churros. So, we asked were those could be found….and guess what? They were delivered to our table by one of the other Dutch places. That was crunchy heaven! And don’t forget to check out their chill playlist on Spotify. We’ll be back for this one and all those other lovely places. See you for fresh fish, tapas, drinks and generally great food in Cala D’Or!