It’s holiday post time! Yes, ok, I’ve been back for two weeks, but these things take time. So, we recently holidayed (is that a verb?) in the beautiful city of Ciutadella, in Menorca. Menorca is next to Majorca in the Balearic Islands, and we found it to be quite similar in terms of vibe and touristy-ness. We had originally booked Cala’n Bosch not realising that it’s VERY touristy and built up, not really the authentic experience we like on holiday. So we ended up rebooking to Ciutadella which looked much more Spanish.
We weren’t disappointed. Ciutadella is a beautiful place, with authentic tapas restaurants spilling out onto ambling paved streets, a lively harbour with marketplaces and music, and gelato shops on every corner. The only downside to our visit was that everyone else thinks it’s a beautiful place too! In peak season, the city gets very busy. We visited in the last week of August and found ourselves on the first few nights queueing for the popular restaurants, or having to settle for places we maybe wouldn’t have chosen. So some tips if you are thinking of visiting – try to go outside of the school holidays, get to the top rated TripAdvisor places early, or try to make reservations for the following night if you see somewhere nice.
Here’s a quick run down of some of the places we tried, most were rated well on TripAdvisor…
First up, the bars.
The best place we found for a drink in our time we were here. Frequented by locals, this little bar on the corner of Placa des Born was a delight. Wonderful pomada (a Menorcan drink of gin, crushed ice and lemon) and a range of Spanish and British beers including Brew Dog for the craft beer fans! They sold snacks and apparently do a great breakfast that we didn’t get to try.
Sa Clau Jazz Bar
Run by a friendly Frenchman and in the heart of the harbour, we enjoyed sipping a cheeky cocktail while watching the sun set over the super yachts at Sa Clau. The location is excellent and they have a wide range of drinks and a great atmosphere. If you like people watching, this is the place for you.
Dreams and Drinks
I’ll admit it, we were drunk every time we visited here. This was a great place for after dinner drinks though. You can find it just up the hill as you leave (or approach) the habour, a couple of metres up hill from Sa Clau. Pretty white tables and friendly waiters will sort you out with a range of yummy cocktails. Plus they don’t mind you visiting the Gelato opposite and grabbing yourself an ice cream to go with them.
And onto the eats!
This was the first Italian we tried on the island after seeing positive reviews on TA. Nestled down a side street, by 9pm people were queuing in their droves. And for good reason. It was really, really good pizza (but not as good as Santa Clara, we later concluded). Crispy, thin dough with fresh toppings. I chose the four seasons and Gary had bolognese, both fantastic. The albondigas starter was delicious though they were very similar to the albondigas we had at C’an Rafa – I think they might be the same thing from a tin. But really tasty anyway. 8/10
This popular tapas restaurant is right next to the market and smells beautifully of fresh seafood. Again we arrived early to secure a table and enjoyed a few tapas options, the winners of which were the salt cod and fresh calamari. Nice enough food, but service-wise we were rushed through in order to pander to the waiting families in the street. It didn’t feel particularly special and left us wondering what all the reviews were really raving about. 6/10
The best meal we had on the holiday. We arrived early on a day with bad weather and had to sit inside – for much of the meal we were the only people in the restaurant which didn’t feel strange – in fact it was so small, it was more like a private dining experience. The waitress was very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed Menorcan mozzarella and Serrano to begin with, and some curried mussels (as separate starters, not one dish, that would be weird). Then Gary had the calzone while I had the four seasons. BEST. PIZZA. DOUGH. EVER. It was insane how good that pizza and calzone were. I’m still thinking about them now. We finished with a tiramisu again which was spot on. 12/10
Restaurante Es Forat
This restaurant is on the harbour and we’d avoided it because of some negative TA reviews about it being a bit of a tourist trap. However after trying (and failing) to get into S’Amador and Cafe Balearas around the corner, we gave up and ate here. It was so good we came back on our last night. We ordered garlic mushrooms, Menorcan stuffed aubergine and then shared a mixed meat paella. The Menorcan stuffed aubergine was a bit weird, with a very soft breadcrumb coating and a ‘stuffing’ of what tasted like tomato purée. The paella was delicious and in very generous portions. We can’t speak for the rest of the menu but at least what we had here was nice, plus a lovely view over the harbour and cute little oil lamps. 9/10
Hopefully these reviews have been helpful if you are thinking of visiting and or eating in Ciutadella!