|Dining and Shopping|
There are many different types of food available in Mallorca, and because, over the past twenty to thirty years there has been an increase in the amount of British and German holidaymakers, their national foods are more popular than the traditional Spanish foods. Burgers, fish and chips and wiener schnitzel are everywhere. Italian restaurants and Chinese takeaways are also really popular in the larger resorts.
For the many visitors on package holidays where breakfast is included they will find that it is usually of the buffet, all-you-can-eat variety.
If you prefer to venture out a bit and taste the cuisine of the island you will not be disappointed. Spanish food has some of the best flavours in the world and is also very healthy with lots of fresh vegetables and olive oil. Mallorcan cuisine comes from Arabic (Moorish), Jewish and Catalan origins, and you won’t really don't have to go far to find this authentic cuisine. Even Magaluf has quality local restaurants if you go off the main streets and into the classier hotels.
Pa amb oli is a must try and a staple of the Balearics. It is a bread, or toast, with garlic, tomato and olive oil. The ratatouille dish served with potatoes, aubergine and other tasty vegetables in a tomato sauce, known as Tumbet is delicious, defintely worth trying, while for dessert, give ensaimada a try; its a light pastry with jam or custard. These can be bought in the spanish cafés and bakeries, again delicious. You will also find the usual Spanish fare such as gazpacho (cold tomato soup), paella (a Spanish rice dish), and pescado frito (fried fish) in cafés and restaurants that serve British and German food.
The starter dish known as tapas is also a Spanish staple and is best sampled in Palma, where there are many tapas bars. Having said that, if you are ever in the southwest between Magaluf and El Toro in Son Ferrer you will find some amazing places for tapas, one local spanish bar in particular gives free tapas with each drink - this is how it used to be - unfortunately most bars now charge for tapas. If you are over that way anytime pop into Los Argos and taste some wonderful tapas with your drinks.
Without doubt the best place on the island for restaurants is in the capital Palma de Mallorca. The sheer variety and style of places to eat is staggering, with Sa Llotja, one of the very popular areas of Palma, having many tapas and cocktail bars, then there are many seafood restaurants on the harbour and the trendy cafés of Paseo Marítimo.
Mallorcians tend to dine late (around 20:00 or 21:00) and therefore you will find many places which unfortunately don’t open until quite late. You will be fine in the tourist resorts, which stay open from very early to very late. One of the best things about dining in Mallorca used to be the price, which is pretty reasonable considering the popularity and quality of the destination, having said that because of the condition of the pound against the euro for many it is quite expensive so check out the prices before sitting down. The majority of restaurants have a menu, with prices, on show in front of the restaurant. Tipping of five to 10 per cent of the bill for good quality and service is about right.
Souvenirs catering to tourists are the biggest thing here and cultivated pearls from Manacor and Felantx are the most popular items that the island has to offer. Other common items are crafted embroidery, leather, and other natty handicrafts.
While shopping in the main resorts, like Magaluf, Arenal and Alcudia, which are geared to tourists, heading into Palma is a must for those who really like to shop. The city is compact and is very well endowed with quality shops. Make sure you find your way into the old town with its wonderful narrow winding streets full of wonderful little shops offering anything from sobrasada - a spanish delicacy (a very distinctive pate) - to crystal jewellery.
Head for San Miguel, Avinguda Jaume III, Carrer Platería, and Passeig des Born in Palma for fashionable boutiques and other high-end stores. Leather items like shoes and handbags are particularly in abundance along Avinguda Jaume III. Another popular shopping area in the town is Plaça Major, with its outdoor craft market stalls and specialist shops.
Stores to keep an eye out for in Palma include Carrer Colon, with its many ancient shops, while the Spanish chain Galerias Preciados is also here. If you are after pearls and don’t have the time to get to Manacor, Perlas Majorica on Peguera Avenue in Palma has many types of pearl although watch the prices.