GRILL ES CALIU, CIUTADELLA. 971 38 01 65
One of Ciutadella’s most renowned restaurants, this grill restaurant is situated five minutes out of town, driving south, on the main road shortly after the bay of Santandría and just before the Cala Blanca roundabout.
Inside this rustic style real Spanish restaurant is a most attractive dining room, complete with comfortable bar with stools – great if you have to wait for a table – beams hung with hams, and an open fireplace. The long terrace is a wonderful place in summer to lunch or dine, fronted by attractive gardens.
We decided to eat local style, sharing starters. We ordered a mixed house salad, four slices of pa amb oli – lightly toasted country bread which is sprinkled with olive oil, salt, then rubbed with garlic and half a fresh tomato, and two plates of tiny pieces of Serrano ham, which was cut as we watched.
For the main course, try the legendary roast lamb, served with a green asparagus stick, piece of pickled red pepper, a few chips and half a jacket potato topped with aioli. The escalope Milanese, a very generous piece of breaded veal served with a little bowl of green peppercorns, and the fillet steak are also delicious.
Although determined not to have puddings, two of us were persuaded to indulge. The crema catalana was served with three spoons, and a luscious sundae glass full of whipped cream with walnuts and honey (two spoons!). Three of the ladies were Cordon Bleu cooks and pronounced the crema catalana ‘perfect’.
Es Caliu is a must when visiting Ciutadella. Islanders regularly come for a family treat and it is perfect for parties, after-beach lunching or dining, and there is no dress code.
COME PRIMA LLUMESSANES, MAHON. 653 66 29 98
Situated in a lovely old Menorquian farmhouse close to the centre of this beautiful village near Mahon, Come Prima has only recently reopened under new management after being closed for nearly nine months.
Three of us went for a celebratory dinner a couple of days after it reopened and benefited from a lovely welcoming tour of all the new features of the restaurant. Outside there is a fantastic terrace area, with comfortable seats and tables under the trees; inside there is a range of small rooms, all beautifully decorated in a modern classic style, including a private dining area for up to 12 guests. A superb bar area opens onto the garden and below this there is another private area for parties, or simply chilling out.
Chef Gigi Poschin was previously at Come Prima, before leaving to open the restaurant at the Hotel Jardi de ses Bruixes in Mahon, and has now returned with his partner, Jackie Blake, who runs the front of house. The menu is predominately Italian, and they pride themselves in sourcing the highest quality ingredients to create the traditional dishes and concentrating on a high level of customer service. Currently they are only offering the restaurant menu; however, you can simply enjoy a drink in the bar or garden and they plan to offer a bar snack menu at a later date. As an appetiser we were served a gorgeous crostini spread with guanciale, a traditional Italian cured meat and topped with a slice of sun dried tomato. The quality continued with the starters: Vitello Tonnato, thin slices of cold veal served with a tuna and caper dressing was ‘the best’ our guest had ever had. Our Burratas, fresh mozzarella stuffed with stracciatella cream cheese, simply melted in our mouths.
For main courses, you have a choice of pastas, risottos, meat or fish, and I’m afraid we all chose Spaghetti Carbonara. Beautifully presented, the pasta was cooked to perfection, served with guanciale and a proper carbonara sauce. Jackie recommended a Mar de Hons Albarino to complement the meal.
A range of traditional Italian puddings, tiramisu and ice creams followed by coffee and the obligatory glass of Herbes, rounded off a perfect celebratory evening. The total bill for the three of us was 140.00 euros.
NELSONS, SON VITAMINA. 971 37 17 85
Two of us dropped in for lunch recently and found the sunny terrace well occupied, and more people inside. There are a couple of new chill-out areas and new dishes on the menus, which are extremely varied and well priced, including the Sunday Roast lunch, which must be booked.
Our hosts, Matt and Angie, are absolute marvels: Matt as cheerful and welcoming as ever and Angie incredible in the kitchen, managing on her own at lunchtime but with help in the evening, producing beautiful food which is fresh, ample and attractively served.
The menu has a selection of traditional English country pub favourites, such as steak pie, cottage pie and Ploughman’s. But we were also presented with a board displaying specials, which included starters such as garlic mushrooms with cheddar, prawn and pineapple bites, and puddings – hot chocolate fondant, walnut whip waffles with honey and chewy chocolate brownies.
There is a good selection of salads, such as the Nelson’s Tropica special – fresh apples, bananas, pears and pineapple on a salad topped with chicken breast, cocktail sauce, plus honey and crunchy nuts.
The atmosphere was casual and friendly, excellent service and most comfortable.
CASA ANDRES, SON BOU. 971 37 19 18
This ever-popular restaurant is situated up a short flight of steps in the commercial centre ‘behind’ the hotels. It is known for its excellent food, good value and friendly atmosphere.
This season there is a new chef, one who worked for Andrés at a restaurant he used to own and whom he considers to be one the Island’s best. There are therefore a few additions to the menu a la carte and the menu del dia costs 18.95 euros, all-inclusive.
The long list of appetisers and warm and cold starters includes local prawns sauteed in brandy, local mussels, clams sauteed in sherry, garlic mushrooms, marinated salmon sashimi with soy caviar and sprouts, vegetarian salad with dried fruits and nuts, gazpacho with ham shavings, courgette vichyssoise with king prawns and a host of other interesting dishes.
There is a good selection of local dishes, such as stuffed courgettes (with vegetables), aubergines (with fish and prawns) and onions (with meat), as well as cuttlefish with sobrasada, mushrooms au gratin stuffed with caramelised onion and Iberian ham, suckling pig with figs and honey, rabbit with langoustines, stuffed squid a la Menorquina and fish casserole a la marinera, to mention but a few.
There are no fewer than seven rice dishes, including paella and two types of lobster caldereta. Lots of fish and meat dishes, including a speciality fish and shellfish platter to share, and Châteaubriand of beef tenderloin with pepper and cheese sauce, potato, mushrooms, peppers and tomato for a minimum two persons. And a wide selection of fish and meat dishes are available. There is also a good choice of children’s dishes.
In short, a very comprehensive and interesting menu, carefully devised to appeal to every taste. There is also a good wine list and homemade puddings and ice creams.