Terrace restaurants in Mallorca - Baleària

 

Published in issue 34 of Baleària Magazine / Text by Jesús Torné - Photos by Tolo Balaguer

 

Chiringuitos were set up on the beaches of Majorca long before today’s tourist boom; these stands go back to the days when swimsuits had long sleeves and visiting foreigners were people such as Chopin and George Sand. Back then, the island was virgin and it is said that the fish has lost that original flavour of times past. But eighty years have come and gone, and there is nothing like watching the seafood being loaded off a boat to be cooked and eaten fresh while viewing the ocean; it continues to be a unique pleasure that is associated with the Mediterranean.

There is a 1917 photograph in which the pleasant monotony of the Palma Nova beach (Calvià)—at the time a virgin paradise—is interrupted by the since demolished Principe Alfonso Hotel and a beach stand. Well before Lawrence began living at that hotel, and before writing a letter to Huxley, someone had already discovered the virtues of fresh fish and eating it while enjoying the smell of the seaside. A century later, the beaches, the people and the bathing ritual have all changed but beach stands as a concept continue to be steadfast; there is nothing better than to interrupt a day at the beach by sitting comfortably at a table while someone serves you a cold beer or a glass of wine with a platter of rice or fresh fish. Wearing a tie is excessive. A chiringuito means eating without pressure, without uniforms. It is the essence of a fisherman’s spirit.

El Mago beach is one of the best. Peaceful like few (don’t tell anybody!)…it was more than 40 years ago that Rosa’s uncle decided to open a beach stand dedicated to Anthony Quinn and Michael Caine who shot a film on this very beach. Rosa, the current owner, offers her secret weapons, which is fresh fish, just out of the water and a view that has not been contaminated: only the sea, the sky and an army of pines.

Logically, there are many other examples on the island. Perhaps the best known is El Último Paraíso. It is just as popular as the Es Trenc beach. It isn’t cheap (no beach stand is a bargain), but they are a great option instead of eating out of tinfoil or a box lunch. Life is at its best at one of the island’s best beaches while sitting on a porch and enjoying music at sunset when the sky turns red.

TO THE SOUTH

Majorca is proud of the many contrasts its landscape has to offer. The beaches to the south are relatively flat while those to the north are much steeper: breezes and waves have sculptured the rough coast that forces you to view the sea from above. As in the case of Cala Torta, there are a number of chiringuitos; others are further away, but they provide all the joys of the sea and restaurants. This is the case of Son Marroig, with its splendid views of Na Foradada, or Ca’s Patró March, at Cala Deià, sheltered by the stones of a charming fisherman’s house.

In 1977, a Danish girl called Lise arrived at chiringuito Bugambilia on Cas Català. She fell in love with the waiter—Julio—and the location. Five years later, she made Majorca her home. Since then, they run a restaurant on the beach with their sons Miguel and Jose. There is nothing like a rice dish on an idyllic beach, surrounded by the very flowers from which the restaurant gets its name (Bougainvillea). With such a fairy-tale, the concept of freedom must have been as important as enjoying lunch while sitting barefoot at a table on the waterfront.