Raffaella Usai has explored Mallorca's capital Palma in search of the best wine bars. Whether classic, hidden insider tip or natural wine temple - here are her personal favourites.
Winding alleyways, wide squares, trendy neighbourhoods and magnificent buildings: Palma is not just a tourist hotspot, the city exudes atmosphere. As is usual in such strongholds, the picturesque old town is lined with bars and restaurants. Many turn out to be rip-offs, some overrated. But others are just what you want as a guest: original, with friendly service and reasonable value for money. Unfortunately, the selection of Mallorcan wines in Palma is limited, and the wine lists are always full of other sources. So if you are looking for wines from the island, you will often be disappointed. But away from the usual addresses, there are hidden bars and unusual restaurants that will delight wine lovers. There are always interesting wines from Mallorca on the menu. So it's doubly worth trying them out.
Bar Bosch in Plaza Joan Carles I is the opposite of an insider tip. For over 80 years, this has been the place to go in Palma to see and be seen. Whether for breakfast, a coffee in between or a good glass of wine, this classic is open daily from 7.00 am to 1.00 am and is almost always busy. At first glance, the bar has a peculiar timelessness about it. If you take a closer look, young and old actually meet here to gossip and chat. After a shopping spree on one of Palma's most beautiful promenades and shopping streets, the Passeig del Born, you can treat yourself to an aperitif, a glass of cava or a quick lunch in the form of a langosta. Insiders say that the typical Mallorcan bread rolls taste better here than anywhere else. They are available with raw or cooked ham, cheese or anchovies, sobrasada, calamari or tuna. It's best to try them all!
"Jesus was a winemaker" is written in neon letters on one wall of Bar La Sang: a clear message. The bar, which specialises in natural wine, is located far away from the crowded city centre - and that's what makes it so charming. Opened in 2019 by Swede Lukas Lundgren, "La Sang" was named one of the ten best natural wine bars in the country by Spain's leading daily newspaper El Pais just two years later. At "La Sang", natural wine fans can choose between 400 wines from cult winemakers on the scene, such as the Austrian Christian Tschida or the Italian Angiolino Maule, but Mallorcan greats such as "4 Kilos" or "Cati Ribot" are not missing from the menu either. Small dishes are offered to accompany the wine, the menu is strongly seasonal and changes daily. Unpretentious, relaxed, authentic: perfect for anyone who loves natural wines and wants to avoid the crowds.
If I hadn't been tipped off by a colleague, I would probably have walked past the "Viniloteca", it looks so inconspicuous from the outside. This small, tube-shaped bar is located in one of the countless alleyways of Palma's old town and, although it offers hardly any seating, there is all the more space for vinyl. The unusual combination of natural wine and vinyl records certainly has style. The idea was born in 2018 from the preferences of the two owners: Aldana loves wine, Javier loves music. The jukebox in the centre of the bar brings back memories of old times. It's just fun to be here, drinking a glass of wine and listening to your favourite songs from the past. Any time again!
The La Lonja neighbourhood is the heart of Palma's nightlife and the narrow Carrer dels Apuntadors is its main artery. Sooner or later, everyone passes through here. On the way to the bar "Wineing", where I want to stop off, I see a sign saying "Rooftop Bar". Well, a glass of cava before dinner can't hurt, so I change my plan and take the lift up to the terrace of the steak restaurant "The Merchants", from where you can even see the city's landmark, the Gothic cathedral La Seu. This is a wonderful place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the old town and pause for a moment! Open every evening from 18.30 to 22.00, unfortunately no snacks to accompany the good wine selection.
After my short trip to Merchants, I end up at Wineing as planned. There are only a few tables occupied, so I take the opportunity to have a longer chat with sommelier Vicky. The concept of the restaurant is simple: guests can use a chip card to pick up their favourite wine in different quantities from various wine cabinets. The "Wineing" operators attach great importance to a good mix of entry-level wines and top wineries. There are some Mallorcan winemakers here, but the range also includes wines from France, Italy and overseas. "It changes regularly and we try to increase the proportion of Mallorcan wines. This is not always easy, as the small, young winemakers are often already sold out," says Vicky. The menu is clear, but the starters I choose go wonderfully with my red wine cuvée made from the indigenous Callet and Fogoneu varieties from the "12 Volts" winery. The excellent Mallorcan olive oil with the homemade focaccia rounds off the experience perfectly.
At Restaurante Canela, a modern concept meets a historic ambience. Somewhat hidden in Carrer Sant Jaume, one of the countless alleyways in the old town, is a cosy room with exposed old stone walls. The dark, intimate atmosphere with candlelight creates a good mood, and not just for romantics. As the starters all sound tempting, it's worth ordering a small selection of the "tapas para compartir" so that you can try as much as possible. Each one is a revelation in itself! The wine cellar offers more than 60 local and international wines, I choose a glass of Cava from Penedes as an aperitif and a Mallorcan white wine cuvée of Prensal Blanc and Giro Ros for the fish main course. Booking recommended!
Emilio Innobar was recommended to me by a friend who regularly goes on holiday to Mallorca. I trust his fine palate and therefore go in with high expectations. I try my luck without a reservation and am rewarded: restaurant manager Sabine Mohn finds a seat for me. The cuisine at Emilio is a mix of Mexican, Asian and Mediterranean flavours, also called Fine Fusion by founder Emilio Castrejón. It's all about simple, pure flavours, preferably based on fish or seafood. Sashimi and tartare of sea bream or salmon are also on the menu. The extensive wine list focuses on Spain, with a few Mallorcan wineries also available. I choose the "Pescado Emilio" and a glass of fresh and fruity organic Verdejo from Bodega Menade. A wonderfully light combination - but not a bargain.