A “chiringuito” is not just a Spanish name for a beach bar. “Los chiringuitos” are a way of life in Mallorca! They are places all over the island that offer food and drinks in a casual setting at the edge of a beach; it is somewhere you can come and chill out any time of the day – from waking up with your first morning coffee, to enjoying a meal or a colourful sundowner cocktail. Sadly, because of environmental issues and local politics, these little gems of social life, enjoyed by the locals and the tourists alike, are slowly disappearing. Places like the well-known El Ultimo Paraiso and many more in Es Trenc have long gone, while as recently as this summer many of us were signing petitions to save three chiriguitos in Can Picafort, on the north side of the island.

For all the above reasons, I have decided that my first review for the Mallorca Bulletin would be of a chiringuito I have known and loved ever since I moved to the island, back in 2015.

Il Chiringo, facing the middle one of the three Palmanova beaches, also known as Playa Na Nadala, attracted me by its shabby chic décor, contrasted by the bushes of brightly coloured flowers. I have had some great coffees here (the place is Italian, after all, so a good coffee is a given!), as well as some popular brunch staples and some excellent fish and seafood over the years.

I came today with two friends and we shared some squid and squid ink “croquettas”. I have not tried them anywhere else before and I was pleasantly surprised. The black colour, although logical when talking about ink-based dishes, was still a novelty considering that the base of the dish was mashed potatoes. I liked the presentation on a bed of a green salad, but the price was a bit steep at 13.50 euros for five pieces.

For my main meal I opted for an Italian classic: spaghetti with clams. I have ordered it here before and it was always perfect! It did not disappoint today either. The portion was huge and it was only finished thanks to my friends´ big appetites. The spaghetti were not home-made (does anyone even do that these days?), but were perfectly “al dente” and covered in just the right amount of garlic and white wine sauce. There were plenty of clams - unlike at some other places I have had this dish at - and they were absolutely fresh; which is one thing that I have always loved about Il Chiringo. You can almost smell the sea and the salt every time you eat here.

One of my friends had a grilled squid on a bed of sautéed potatoes, topped with steamed broccoli, while the other chose strozzapreti pasta with fresh tuna “puttanesca”. Their empty plates at the end of the meals spoke for themselves; although one did say that the squid was “slightly too chewy today”. In case you were wondering, strozzapreti are an elongated form of cavatelli, or hand-rolled pasta typically eaten in Tuscany and surrounding regions of Italy as well as in San Marino.

When it came to dessert, as we were in an Italian restaurant, I just “had to” choose one of my favourites – a tiramisu. Interestingly, it came served in a jar and again the portion was very generous, enough for the three of us to share. I was glad we went for this as I enjoyed each mouthful. The lady fingers were moist, but not soggy as they can sometimes be. The filling made of eggs and mascarpone was just perfect! It was sweet enough, without being too much. As we scrambled for the last few spoonfuls, we discovered a nice, albeit unusual surprise at the bottom: a chunk of milk chocolate!

I have been coming to this place on and off for years and the service has always been superb. Today was no exception. We ordered; I then changed my mind about the dish, while my friends wanted to change tables, so that their baby son could play nearby. All this was met with smiles and no fuss. In a touristy area, at the end of the long season, when everybody “tiene ganas de acabar” (wants to finish ASAP), this kind of service is highly appreciated.

All in all, this was an expectedly pleasant experience in a lovely setting, with fresh food and friendly staff. I really hope that these kinds of establishments survive a few more seasons before all common sense is lost and the relaxed beachside lifestyle is extinguished by senseless rules and regulations.

THE PLACE

Il Chiringo
Paseo Mar /p. Nova 19, Palmanova
Tel: 971 68 07 33
Opening hours:
Daily from 10am-12am

THE BILL

Spaghetti with clams
18 euros

Tiramisu
6.50 euros

Total 24.50 euros