For centuries the island locals have capitalised on the fertile landscape and the rich seas that surround their home. Recipes have changed little, because there has been no need to fix something that has never been broken. Instead, dishes have been nurtured and protected by generation after generation and thankfully remain a steadfast part of the culture here today.
Eat Out like the Locals on a Holiday to Menorca
To those of us who appreciate good food without the frills and fanciful flourishes that come and go with changing culinary fashions, Menorcan cuisine is a pleasant surprise. It has no airs and graces and is just food that showcases rusticity and relies on the quality of its ingredients for its flavours.
Eating Out Etiquette
Before you head off to the beautiful Balearics, it’s a good idea to gen up on a little etiquette when it comes to eating out, island style. You want to fit in, after all, and the more effort you make to do as the locals do, the more chance you’ll have of enjoying those truly authentic experiences.
When to Eat
Lunch is the main meal of the day (something we are not necessarily familiar with in the UK) and is usually served between 1-4pm. We can highly recommend going for the ‘Menu del dia’ for a local experience and great value too. If you’re going out for an evening meal, 8pm is the earliest you can really expect to find a restaurant serving dinner, which is why a big lunch is always a good idea.
This should not be too much of an issue on a Menorca holiday, because the pace is pretty relaxed. That said, service can be a bit slow; but although you may feel like you have been forgotten, the likelihood is that you haven’t. Don’t get stressed, but if you really are gasping for another round of drinks it is perfectly acceptable to beckon for the waiter.
Tipping and Billing
A word of advice here: menu prices don’t always include VAT, so double check this if you are watching your budget. Waiters are very much used to Menorca holidaymakers leaving a tip, but it is not a part of local culture so you don’t need to leave a huge one. We would recommend leaving 10% if you are happy with the meal.
Now that you know what to do in a local restaurant, you’re probably keen to know about a few specialities that you can look forward to.
Top Culinary Delights
Caldereta de Langosta
You can’t go on a Menorca holiday without trying this sumptuous creamy soup, which rather indulgently features lobster as its prime ingredient. Along with tomatoes, green peppers, onion, garlic, toasted almonds and parsley, the lobster is prepared in an earthenware pot and finished with a touch of Cognac. Pure decadence!
Beautifully sweet and moist, this cured meat is a staple on the island. It’s made with quality pork, which is minced and enriched with paprika and seasoning before being stuffed into a pork intestine, hung and cured. The best way to enjoy it is with honey on toast, and this is one you can buy at a local deli and enjoy back at your villa.
Squid inside squid, this is definitely one for seafood lovers! The stuffing is made of the tentacles, which are fried with egg, milk, garlic and breadcrumbs.
An absolute local favourite, this cheese has its own Denominacion de Origen. If you get the chance to visit a cheesemaker on the island, you really should, but, if not, just make sure you taste the delicious local speciality. As with any artisan product, the taste and texture can vary, but the citric notes and salty finish rings through in every mouthful.
For any discerning foodie on a Menorca holiday, knowing what to eat when you’re travelling is key, but knowing where to eat is equally important. Thankfully, there are many excellent eateries, and they range from bars and cafes to Michelin rated restaurants.
Bar and Cafe Vibe
The key to finding the best bars and cafes is to check out where the locals hang out! Keep an eye out for where they are lingering and watch where they choose to take their morning coffee and ensaimada pastry. You’ll find cafes and bars on every street and square, all offering an ambience that makes you feel relaxed and welcomed. Most have a terrace too, which makes whiling away the hours even more pleasant.
The Restaurant Scene
We could wax lyrical about the number of restaurants you really should try when you are on a Menorca holiday, but that would require another blog post entirely. Instead we want to give you a feel for what the overall restaurant scene offers. While some restaurants have put feelers out when it comes to the latest eating trends, most prefer to stay true to their heritage and showcase the traditional recipes that have given this island its stellar culinary reputation. Don’t expect huge tasting menus of several courses, though, instead look forward to quality dishes that sing with the flavours of this magnificent isle.
Food and travel go hand in hand in our book and a Menorca holiday offers you an experience of both that won’t disappoint. The island is the perfect example that, while fashion and trends will always attract attention, living and eating sustainably, making best use of what you have on the doorstep to create great food, is what matters most.
For any Menorca holidaymaker, there is lots to look forward to when it comes to enjoying local food.
Get in touch with our team and let us advise you on which of our villas in Menorca might suit you best. We have a real affinity with this island and our expert team takes great pride in helping to create memorable holidays for each and every one of our guests.
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