It’s always most satisfying when I come cross a 10-rated dish — and all the more so when it’s part of a €15 menú del día. That’s when we’re getting really great value for money. And that’s what happened at Restaurante Naisa in Calle Simó Ballester 6 (Tel:971:211746).
A 10-rated dish of pork cheeks worked on all levels. It was the first time I had pork cheeks on the bone — which means it’s going to be tastier than usual. But that in itself is not enough: the kitchen still has to get the cooking time spot on.
The slow cooking was perfect and the pork cheek’s collagen was very much in place, so it cut beautifully. The pork cheek got a 10-rating for sheer succulence and there’s a gold medal for the person who decided to cook them on the bone. The desserts at Naisa are among the best you’ll ever be served on a €15 menú del día.
There are some good Indian restaurants in Palma and my favourite for genuine Bangladeshi and Indian dishes is Basmati in Calle Caro 7 (Tel:971-710387). Cook-owner Shahin Awal makes some of his dishes with sub-continent vegetables local farmers cultivate for him.
He also grows fruit, veggies and Indian herbs and spices in his own garden. Shahin cooks a couple of tasting menus that change daily and also does a €16.50 menú del día on which we had batter-fried pumpkin and delicious lentil pakoras.
A most satisfying Mogul chicken dish was done in a cashew sauce. A Kashmiri venison stew came in a lovely sweet and sour sauce that was unusual and quite splendid. His basmati rice was worth a 10-rating as was his peshwari bread (which isn’t on the menú del día).
17 El Viejo y el Mar
I wouldn’t like the difficult task of naming Palma’s 10 best restaurants —there are so many excellent places it would be impossible to select 10. But if I had to, Taberna Gallega El Viejo y el Mar in Calle Aragón 86 (Tel:971-966009) would most definitely have to be there.
The tavern ambience is delightful, the Galician dishes are authentic (with fish, shellfish and other products coming from Galicia), cooking standards are high and it is one of only two places where I have never had a disappointing dish — the other one being La Bottega di Michele in Calle Fábrica.
Add to that generous portions, amazingly low prices and a surprising number of 10-rated dishes, and it’s easy to see why the place is so popular. A dish of small grilled calamares called chipirones were impeccable in every way and were worth an immediate 10.
18 Sa Goleta
Palma has several places where you can get an interesting menú del día for under €12.50 but none of them has such a huge selection of dishes as Sa Goleta in Avda Argentina 34, next to the San Sebastian church. Tel:971-5450155. You can choose from eight starters and as many mains and for a supplement of €4 the mains can be the best roast suckling pig I’ve had in the past seven years or so.
The skin was crunchy from the first bite to the last and the silky succulence of the flesh was the work of cook who knows her oven. It all added up to a 10-rating. The hot-plate grilling of a cuttlefish was spot on and it had that slight touch of terseness combined with tenderness that is the hallmark of the best cuttlefish a plancha. Sa Goleta has five tables on their small terrace space.