Cala d'Or restaurants

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expert-rated restaurants in Cala d'Or
Expert overall rating:4.3 (out of 5)

An island institution dating back to 1945, famed for its fresh fish and varied tapas.

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Food in Majorca is of a high standard and getting better all the time thanks to a new sense of pride in what’s available on the island itself. Like the mainland, it has abundant fruit and vegetables, quality wines and olive oils, a thriving native pork (porc negre) industry, plus the bounty of the sea that surrounds it.

To showcase this, high-flying chefs like Marc Fosh and Koldo Royo have gone back to their roots recently eschewing their Michelin stars in favour of restaurant experiences that are more accessible (and affordable) without compromising on creativity. Up-and-coming chefs are following suit and it is well worth seeking these out for a taste of new Majorcan cuisine. If you're on a budget, the lunch menu can get you all the experience for a fraction of the price (€18 for three courses at Simply Fosh for example).

Add to the mix atmospheric tapas bars, traditional country inns, beach shacks and, yes, a generous dollop of top-notch international influences (Thai, Japanese, Indian, French, Italian all have good references here) and Majorca scores highly as a foodie destination.

Like mainland Spain eating habits are late here, although you’ll see more touristy destinations filling up from as early as 6pm. As a rule lunch starts at 2pm, dinner at 9pm and both are occasions for lingering. In higher-end places you could easily be finishing lunch at 5pm, and dinner after midnight. That means that you may not head out for drinks much before 1am, and if you’re in bed by 3am you’re doing quite well. Prepare for the vida nocturna.

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I’ve eaten more meals on Majorca than is really decent for someone who doesn't actually live there, sometimes covering two or three restaurants a day, five or six in a weekend. It seems that each time I visit, somebody somewhere is raving about someone or something and I can never resist checking it out. What I've learned is that many of the top restaurants are scattered across the centre of the island while, in Palma at least, the old part of it is fairly down-to-earth.

One thing is certain: your biggest problem will be in choosing, especially if food is one of the most important aspects of your holiday. With this in mind then, I've gone for as broad a range of places as possible to ensure varied, good-value experiences covering everything from new-wave gastronomy to more workaday places with jaw-dropping views. I’ve also given some thought to the seasons, not just in terms of what you’ll be eating but where you’ll be eating it. There’s nothing nicer than a plate of fresh grilled sardines and a cold bottle of white on the beach in the height of summer, or a rib-sticking stew and a lusty red around a roaring log fire in the winter.

A chef on the island recently told me that even the cooks of San Sebastian (widely considered to be the best place in Spain for food) are envious of the high standard and wide variety of the products in Majorca, and because of this I’ve tried to stick to what is more or less a local cuisine. I have squeezed in the odd international reference though - such as exceptional sushi or pizza - where I think it counts. Happy eating!