La cuina mallorquina has its roots firmly in rustic traditions, with a sprinkling of Arab influences, and is based around the classic trinity of Mediterranean ingredients – olive oil, garlic tomatoes. Much of the islands’ cuisine derives from ‘peasant’ food – local, simple and fresh. Unlike in much of southern Spain, where frying over high heat is ubiquitous, dishes here tend to be slow-cooked at low temperatures in a shallow casserole dish known as a greixonera.
For many years this so-called peasant food was derided by visitors and better-off locals, who tended to opt for international cuisine. But since Spain’s autonomous regions began to rediscover their individual cultural heritages, island food has crept back on to the menu and you’ll find it – sometimes given a contemporary gloss – at even the most upmarket establishments.
Standards across the islands are generally high, whether you are eating at the back of a nondescript bar or in an expensive seafood restaurant, and prices vary tremendously. Mallorca’s top places rival the best in Europe (five have Michelin stars in 2013), and have earned chefs such as Marc Fosh international renown. You won’t find a better range of superb contemporary restaurants in Spain outside Madrid and Barcelona.