23 Jai Alai
Basque restaurants, or restaurants where a Basque is in charge of the kitchen, are always worth a visit because Basques are such excellent cooks. Taberna Vasca Jai Alai in Calle Fábrica 59 (Tel:871-956335) served flawless fried eggs that had soft yolks and crisp frilly edges, as well as mussels that were among the best I’ve ever had.
24 La Vieja
It’s always a splendid experience when a meal starts with a magnificent 10-rated dish. That’s what we got at Restaurante La Vieja in Plaza Raimundo Clar 11 (Tel:871-531731) and the dish was an incredible technical tour de force.
It was a poached egg that still had a totally liquid yolk after it was breadcrumbed, deep-fried and served on a potato purée with cream of wild mushrooms. You need loads of chutzpah to even attempt a dish like that. Making it work so beautifully gives Canary Islands cook-owner Jonay Hernández something to sing about. I awarded the dish a 10-rating and a gold medal so gigantic that a black hole in outer space would be unable to suck it in.
25 Restaurante Andana
I always like to come across a dish that takes over the crown for the ‘best ever’ version. Apart from introducing readers to a discovery that’s worth trying, it also means Palma’s gastronomic scene keeps moving upwards. This ‘best ever’ dish was a coca de cebolla served at Restaurante Andana in Plaza España 6, the site of the old railway station (Tel:971-100201) which is owned by Maca de Castro. She also runs the family’s Jardín restaurant in Alcudia, for which she was awarded a Michelin star.
The oval-shaped savoury pastry had topping that included caramelised onions, slices of fresh cheese and spring onions and the thin crisp pastry was so exquisite that one bite and three chews were enough to tell me this was undoubtedly the best coca I have eaten. Although the pastry is thin, it has an incredible crispness on the outside and a softish inside. It was awarded an immediate 10 and is the new ‘best ever’ coca.
26 Casa Maruka
There are only a few restaurants offering a menu that’s always a gastronomic adventure and one of the best is Casa Maruka in Calle Reina María Cristina 7 (Tel:971-200272) which is run by husband-wife team Alberto Serrano and María José Calabria. Every time I eat there I come across a surprise on the blackboard.
Last time it was tender tasty lamb kidneys served atop spoonfuls of potato purée. I never see lamb kidneys on other menus.We also had a steak tartar freshly chopped and with an impeccable dressing and splendid chips. Then there was María José’s fabulous apple tart which has been the ‘best ever’ since I tasted it more than 10 years ago. All three dishes got a 10-rating…which is par for the course at Casa Maruka.