If there is one thing that characterises Mallorca, apart from its beautiful beaches and coves and its impressive natural heritage, it is its good gastronomy. What to eat in Mallorca is one of the questions we get asked the most and we understand it, as gastronomy is a very important part for many people when they travel. That’s why today we’ve got down to work to tell you what to eat in Mallorca and where.
The variety and richness of the island’s gastronomy is normal if we take into account that it has been populated by many cultures throughout its history, and their influence is evident, among many other aspects, in its cuisine.
In this selection we have prepared we will tell you about some of the best typical dishes of Mallorca, but you should know that not all of them are eaten all over the island nor are they prepared in the same way. In Mallorca there are six regions: Palma, Serra de Tramuntana, Es Raiguer, Pla de Mallorca, Migjorn and Llevant; and in each one of them the gastronomy is different, and you can even eat the same dish prepared in different ways and with different flavours.
Would you like to try the typical food of Mallorca during your trip to the island? We tell you about our favourite Mallorcan dishes and recommend several restaurants where you can try them.
Arroz brut or arròs brut, which literally means “dirty rice” in Mallorcan, is one of the most traditional and tasty dishes in Mallorca. It is prepared with “round” rice and its flavour is very characteristic and incredible. If you visit Mallorca you can’t leave without trying this delicious dish.
The name “dirty” is derived from the colour of the dark, hazy broth that is produced by the spices and the melting of the minced chicken liver that is added when it is simmered. It can be a very good choice if you still don’t know what to eat in Mallorca, you are looking for a restaurant and lunch time is approaching.
The ingredients of the arroz brut recipe are mainly rice, meat, vegetables and spices. As for the meat, depending on the house, it can be prepared with pork ribs, free-range chicken, rabbit, chicken or rabbit liver and sobrassada. As for the vegetables, usually peas, green beans, garlic, onion, artichoke hearts, mushrooms (mushrooms in Mallorcan language), tomato and extra virgin olive oil. And last but not least, are the spices which give it its characteristic taste and smell: cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, saffron and nutmeg.
The rice dish is a humble dish cooked by the peasants in which the final ingredients fluctuated depending on what they had hunted and gathered during the day, which is why you could even find several variants with pigeon, quail or snails in the dish.
As one of the most typical Mallorcan dishes, it is possible to eat it in many places around the island, but our recommendation is to try it at the Celler de Sa Premsa in Palma, an old wine cellar with a great atmosphere, good service and spectacular food.
Mallorcan-style snails with garlic mayonnaise (allioli in Mallorcan)
If there is one dish in Mallorcan gastronomy that we love, without a doubt, it is caracoles a la mallorquina (Mallorcan-style snails), usually called escargots with allioli (aioli). There are many places in Mallorca where you can eat good Mallorcan-style snails, but we are sorry to say that they will never be better than those cooked by my mother, Malena (laughs).
As you can imagine, snails are a dish that has many fans but also many detractors, which means that you either hate them or you love them, and we who are good eaters hold them in high esteem and they are at the top of our list of gastronomic tastes.
In Mallorca, the snails are the cabrillas (a larger type of snail) of Andalucia (south of Spain), they are not the typical small white snails, but some larger snails with dark stripes (called viudes and bovers, depending on their size), which are a delicacy here and are accompanied by an allioli in which we dip each snail (and a little bit of brown bread!). The most authentic ones, moreover, will be accompanied by a potato allioli, which is prepared with the same potato used to make the stew.
As you can see in the photo above, the snails are part of a stew that includes meat, vegetables and spices, another potpourri similar to the arroz brut we have seen before.
The types of meat that are (or can be) used in the recipe for Mallorcan-style snails are as follows:
- Ham cubes
- Costilleja or lean meat of pork
- Mallorcan sobrasada
- Butifarrones (this sausage deserves an article of its own), simply, marvellous
The vegetables and spices are what give it its characteristic flavour: potato, onion, fennel, mint, oregano, bay leaf and chilli.
The place we recommend to eat good snails in Mallorca is the restaurant Ca’n Pedro, in Génova. It is a very pleasant place with beautiful views of Palma, as Genova is a neighbourhood located on the slopes of the mountainous elevation that dominates the west of the city.
Tenderloin with cabbage or Llom amb col in Mallorcan
Llom amb col, o tenderloin with cabbage, is a dish with a history behind it, too, and it is served like practically all Mallorcan dishes: in an earthenware dish called greixonera.
This is one of the most laborious and hearty dishes of Mallorcan gastronomy and is well worth trying if you visit any of the villages of Mallorca.
As you can see in the photo, the piece of tenderloin (pork) loin is wrapped in cabbage and stewed with different vegetables and nuts, so that it retains its juices and all its flavour. It is a dish with a very special flavour that will not leave you indifferent.
The ingredients for the recipe of tenderloin with cabbage are as follows:
- Mallorcan-style sausages
- Mallorcan sobrasada
Our choice of where to eat a good tenderloin with cabbage in Mallorca is at Celler de Sa Travessa, in Inca. In this restaurant you can enjoy quality Mallorcan food and surely nothing you order will disappoint you.
Mallorcan soups or Sopas mallorquinas in Mallorcan
Continuing with our article on “what to eat in Mallorca“, we would like to talk about Mallorcan sopas. Although in mostly Mallorcan homes, meat and sobrassada are added to this recipe, it is possible to eat it without meat and make it a vegetarian Mallorcan dish.
Mallorcan soups, although their name indicates “soup”, it’s are a dry dish as the broth is absorbed by the bread. This is another of the island’s simple and humble dishes, prepared with thin slices of brown bread, vegetable broth, vegetables and meat (pork tenderloin), Mallorcan sobrasada and/or butifarrón (mallorcan sausage).
The vegetables used in Mallorcan soups are:
- Tomate de ramellet (typical tomato of the island used to rub it onto bread, this is is called “pamboli (pa amb oli)”
- Salt, sweet paprika and parsley
The restaurant where to eat the best Mallorcan soups in Mallorca is undoubtedly Cal Dimoni, which is located on the side of the motorway halfway between Palma and Manacor.
Many of you who ask us what to eat in Mallorca are vegetarians. Well, you are in luck because we are going to tell you about a dish that is worthy of gods: tumbet.
This marvel is often served as an accompaniment to meat and fish, with a fried egg or even on its own.
The tumbet is a vegetarian dish in its entirely although it delights all the diners present, with that cooked potato that almost becomes a mousse and that natural tomato cooked with vegetables such as aubergine, courgette and pepper… as I said before, divine.
The ingredients of the tumbet recipe are:
- Red pepper
- Green pepper
- Oil, salt, garlic and bay leaf
This is mostly a home-made dish because it is so easy to prepare, almost all Mallorcan families have prepared it at some time or another in their homes, but if we have to recommend it to you a place to eat a good tumbet in Mallorca it would be in Es Muntant and in Celler Sa Premsa.
Continuing with vegetarian dishes from Mallorca, we would like to talk about trempó.
Trempó is a very simple salad that is no less good for that. It is prepared with white peppers (a breed of light green peppers), tomato, new onion, EVOO and salt. In some places they use vinegar or lemon, although this is not usual as it masks the flavour of the vegetables which, if they are good, do not need anything else.
Other foods can be added to this base to make it even tastier, such as octopus, chickpeas, tuna or beans; so with these ingredients we will make the trempó salad, the salad par excellence that a good Mallorcan takes to the beach. For this salad, in particular, the onion needs to be prepared beforehand: let it stand for 5 minutes in vinegar, then drain it and add it to the rest of the salad, it’s very good!
Do you want to know where to eat trempó in Mallorca? Well, the truth is that as it is something so simple and easy, you will be right it in any restaurant in Mallorca if you order it in season, which is usually in summer when there are good tomatoes, as these are the base of this dish.
Coca de trempó
The Coca de trempó is one of Mallorca’s main dishes. It is a pizza-type base that should be thin and a little crunchy, those are the ones that are delicious! and to which the trempó salad is added on top. The only difficulty is the preparation of the dough, which is an art in itself: knowing the quantities of flour, water and salt, kneading, baking it in the oven… it seems easy, but it is not.
Pastelería La Real in Palma is the place we recommend where to eat one of the best trempó cakes in Mallorca.
Frito mallorquín is one of the oldest Mallorcan dishes on record, dating back to the 14th century, and one of those recipes that can change your previous gastronomic concept.
I will tell you about my personal case. I never liked liver, at least not before I tried fried Mallorcan liver. The day I tried it I didn’t know what I was tasting and I loved it, then later on I found out about its ingredients. Well-prepared Frito mallorquín is one of the best dishes to eat in Mallorca, without a doubt. I would eat frito mallorquín every day, if I could.
Here we will tell you about its ingredients, different types and where to eat the best Mallorcan fried food.
- Frito de matanzas: this is a fried pork from the pork laughter that take place in winter in Mallorca. Potatoes and red pepper are the main ingredients.
- Frito de cordero: The “Frito” cooked with lamb meat is the best for us, we love it! The meat is cut into very small pieces and accompanied with potatoes and seasonal vegetables cut equally small. At Easter, cauliflower is often added, so this dish is in a different category. It’s clear that we love it, isn’t it?
- Frito de sangre: This fried dish is more about organs and visceras. The secret of Frito mallorquín, in general, lies in cutting the pieces of meat very small, so that the texture of all the elements that make up the dish is more graceful, conveying a pleasant sensation of harmony. The blood fryer has lung, heart, liver and lamb’s blood. At first glance it doesn’t sound very good, but we assure you that if they didn’t tell you what it is, you’d love it all the same.
- Frito de variado: This is a Frito made with a mixture of meats.
- Other: Frito de marisco (seafood), chicken or vegetables.
After this explanation, we know that you are eager to know where to eat frito mallorquín in Mallorca, so we will tell you not one but two restaurants to eat frito mallorquín:
- Bar Joan Frau – Ca’n Frau is a small bar inside the Santa Catalina Market where, in addition to fried Mallorcan food, you can try other top Mallorcan dishes.
- Es Triquet bar in Sineu. In Sineu there are several cellers which are the old Mallorcan cellars, here you can see the utensils that used to be used to work the fields hanging on the walls, some of them are a spectacle of beauty. Generally you will be able to eat quality fried Mallorcan food in any of them, but Es Triquet is the one that takes the lead in the elaboration of fried Mallorcan food.
Pa amb oli
Pa amb oli (bread with oil, in Spanish) is the simplest dish you can eat in Mallorca. It consists of a slice of bread with tomate de ramallet (is a type of tomato that is rubbed into the bread), a drizzle of oil on top with salt to taste and cold meats. It is a dish open to many changes in its final presentation, as it can be prepared with white bread or with brown bread, usually using brown bread and accepting a wide variety of different sausages.
The cold meat used are:
- Mallorcan sobrasada
- Queso mahonés(cheese from Mahón. Mahón is a village from Menorca) Yes, although we are in Mallorca, Menorcan cheese is widely consumed here.
- Butifarrón (mallorcan sausage) This sausage, together with camaiot and sobrassada, are Mallorca’s gastronomic treasures, and we simply love it.
- Serrano ham
- Foie-gras pate from Felanitx
Any cold meat you use in the preparation of a pa amb oli will help you to boast of having eaten an authentic Mallorcan pa amb oli. It is very common (not everywhere) to serve it with sea fonoll (samphire), which is also eaten, with a very characteristic vinegary flavour.
Given that you’re going to want to eat pa amb oli, we’ll tell you where to eat the best pa amb oli in Mallorca: S’Hostal, in Montuïri. This is an old celler that is practically intact as it was originally and this is reflected in the way the pa amb oli is prepared: thin brown bread with simple, quality sausages, you won’t go hungry.
“Everything changes, nothing remains”. A saying that fits “pambolis” like a glove, as they have also evolved and changed with the passing of time. In addition to the traditional recipes we have explained above, nowadays you can find pambolis of many different types, such as cuttlefish and even smoked pambolis, the latter being a marvel.
One restaurant in Mallorca where you can eat spectacular smoked pa amb olis (and everything else) is at Bar Cabrera in Palma, one of the best “pambolis” on the island.
Variat mallorquí o Variado mallorquín
The Variat mallorquí, to explain it to you if you were not born in Mallorca so that you understand it, are the individual tapas that are usually eaten in a bar, unlike here they are eaten all together on the same plate but each tapa is eaten separately. Together but not mixed.
It may seem a mess and a mixture of flavours, but the truth is that it is not, as the tapas that are prepared “marry” very well with each other, enhancing each other’s flavours.
The birth of the variat mallorquí coincides 70 years ago with the arrival of the tourist boom of the 50s and 60s and between that time slot between early breakfast and lunch, the time of the Mallorcan berenar (afternoon snack). At that time the drinks that were usually drunk were “palo con sifón”, “agua con cazalla” and aniseed-flavoured drinks. So to compensate for the alcoholic load of these drinks, you had to have some hearty food as well, so there was nothing better than a good assortment of tapas such as the Variat mallorquín.
This dish has worked very well and as a tourist attraction some places have decided to extend the opening hours of the Variat mallorquí until lunch time… and dinner time too! and dinner too!
The menu of tapas that usually make up the Mallorcan “Variat mallorquí” changes depending on the area where the bar is located: the bar that has a coastal location will have more seafood on its menu, while the one located inland or in the mountains will have more meat.
The most common tapas used to make the Variat mallorquí are:
- Ensaladilla rusa
- Meatballs with tomato
- Pica-pica of octopus or cuttlefish
- Frito mallorquín
- Calamari a la romana
- Chicken / spinach croquettes
- Hake in batter
- Octopus fritters
- Tenderloin pork with sauce
- Pork tongue with capers
Normally, five or six tapas are eaten per variat, but the basic dish, the ensaladilla rusa, is fundamental. Of course there are many more tapas, but these are the main ones and for our taste the tastiest. To suit all tastes!
We have a couple of restaurants to recommend for you to eat an authentic Mallorcan variat:
- Bodega La Rambla. Here you can eat the typical Mallorcan variat mallorquí. A ‘fine’ variat, more seafood, with style and class in a winery that has been preparing these dishes with the same recipe for decades. You are guaranteed to eat one of the best variats in Mallorca.
- Club Pollença. The Variat mallorquí that you will eat here will be unique, you won’t eat one like it in the whole island as it consists of a large bread roll that is filled with the different types of tapas that you choose. We have tried it ourselves, and eating the Variat as if it were a sandwich is an out-of-this-world experience.
As you can see, there is a difference in presentation between one and the other, and that is where the difference between a Mallorcan variat from an inland village and one from the coast begins.
The roast suckling pig, o porcella rostida
And to finish with our top 10 list of typical dishes to eat in Mallorca, we could not miss the roast suckling pig.
The roast suckling pig, or porcella rostida in Mallorcan, is a dish that, although you can eat it at any time of the year, it is usually eaten on special occasions such as Christmas. It is usually served with patató or small or chopped potatoes marinated with local herbs such as rosemary.
The roast suckling pig cannot be prepared just any old way. To prepare a roast suckling pig like a good Mallorcan, a series of steps and order must be followed:
- Marinade or maceration: the day before cooking, the ‘porcella rostida‘ must be kept in a marinade or seasoning, the recipe for which is kept secret by each family and handed down from generation to generation. We can tell you that the base of this marinade usually contains butter, salt, pepper, wine and lemon. The rest… is kept “under lock and key”.
- Wood-fired oven: not everyone has the opportunity to cook a roast suckling pig in a wood–fired oven, which is why some pastry shops offer this service. We all know that everything tastes better when cooked with firewood.
- Crispy skin: the guarantee that a roast suckling pig is good will be visible in its skin…. if the skin is crispy, the roast suckling pig is likely to be very good.
If you want to eat a good roast suckling pig you could go to:
- Es Recó de Génova, which is located at the foot of the mountain to the west of Palma and from where there are excellent views of Palma and its bay.
- Casa Jacinto: a guarantee of quality, also in Genoa.
And that’s all for our list of the best dishes to eat in Mallorca and where to eat them. Are you more of a meat or vegetable person? Which dish would you choose if lunchtime was close by? Let us know if you have had any previous experience with any of these dishes and if you would change any of these typical Mallorcan dishes for other ones. Bon profit!