Curious in Menorca (Minorca)

Cova d’en Xoroi @Cala en Porter

For some time I had Menorca on the bucket list. Actually, it was the salesperson of a Pou Nou store in Mallorca, who told us that their clothing brand was originally from Menorca and that the little island (695.7 km² vs. Mallorca’s 3,640 km²) was worthwhile a visit. You can also check my Sneak Peak Curious in Mallorca for tips on the larger island …

I have found Menorca such a stunning place that I cannot only talk about its fantastic food.  Taking the Camí de Cavalls, it was a delight to walk through the beautiful reserves, admiring the unspoiled nature,

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to find stunning, pristine beaches and calas (beach coves).  With a total coastline of 216 km Menorca has officially 75 beaches.  Here are some impressions of the few ones we could explore …

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One can easily understand why it is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993.

I have enjoyed experiencing Menorca as a hassle-free zone. The Menorcan laid-back outlook is reflected on their calm daily life, their appreciation of traditions, their skilled artisans, sustainable tourism, and amazing slow food, dedicated work of talented chefs who made the best with the fresh goods that the Mediterranean sea and land offer them.

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“Thanks for a smile” sign @Can Vermut, Maó

Being a control freak, I arrived, as usual, ready with all my restaurant bookings; this time with nine to be precise. My husband fears this, because he says he cannot eat that much … although he is usually the one who eats the most!

The proof that Menorca is a destination for foodies is that we had one highlight after another. I am listing the restaurants under the cities where they are located.

ALAIOR

Torralbenc – A traditional farm of the 19th century is now an exquisite lodging (22 rooms) with a fantastic restaurant.IMG_2644

Arriving to the property

At the entrance the typical Menorcan gate made of wild oliveIMG_2642

Surrounded by impeccably kept vineyards

Chilling out at their fabulous terrace for our first sundowners was a real treat. The staff was immediately attentive and friendly.

Delicious, white Torralbenc 2016 and greetings from the kitchen

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Steamed local mussels with a lightly spiced tomato sauce
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Shad fish cebiche with pickled vegetables and passion fruit

The dinner at Torralbenc is an unforgettable one. It really increases the appetite to return!

TIP:
• Also in Alaior at Cala en Porter is Cova d’en Xoroi. This is not a secret tip at all, because it is mentioned in all the Menorca guides. Although it may fall into the ‘touristy’ side, I still recommend a visit because the bar is privileged, being housed in clifftop caves overlooking the sea. You will not be alone trying to catch the stunning, sunset sights.  Book on-line to avoid the queue, and check the different fees.

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CIUTADELLA

Cafè Balear – A visit to Ciutadella, the capital of Menorca until 1708, with its historic quarter and lovely little harbor is a must.

Conveniently located at the harbor, Cafè Balear was a good stop for lunch. Yes, that one with the green chairs outside.

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We ordered the specialty, which is always the daily catch of their own boat.

ES MERCADAL

Es Molí d’es RacóThis was a good recommendation of my friend’s cousin, who lives in Menorca; thanks, Glo!

The restaurant with a rustic, casual atmosphere is friendly run in an old mill and offers traditional, Menorcan dishes. The choice is huge, and consider that the portions are large when ordering.

On the house …

FORNELLS

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Es Port – In Fornells, a former fishermen’s village that is now more a base for sail water sports. It is also known for offering the best caldereta de langosta, Menorca’s signature dish. Having the fame, you can imagine, that there are many restaurants serving the specialty. I was glad that I had made the right choice reserving at Es Port, alongside the harbor quay.

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The fresh lobster cooked in this soup was heavenly delicious. I have never had a lobster like this.  The lobsters came directly out of the sea … and we too!

The waiter showed us how to get every last morsel out of it.

Even my husband, who is not that fond of lobster, loved it.

Tip:

  • Visit Far de Cavalleria, one of the the seven lighthouses and located on the most northerly point of the island.

Maó-Mahón

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Maó-Mahón Old Town

Maó-Mahón  is the capital of Menorca, and we were based here during our whole stay.

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Maó-Mahón Port

Can Roca Nou, our B&B, was conveniently located (15 min from the airport) a few steps from the city center and the Maó harbor.

Can Roca Nou has five comfortable, spacious rooms/suites.

The breakfast includes Menorcan products and delicious, freshly squeezed orange juice!

Can Vermut – We loved this tavern one of the many along the 6-km long port. A meeting point for many locals, who come to have a vermouth. For us the perfect spot to enjoy a good drink and a delicious bite at the harbor.

Alexis, the host, is welcoming and friendly. He explained us that he devotes five months a year to elaborate the menu, always searching for first-quality products.

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Alexis, the host, here behind the bar

Apparently, some evenings they also have live music, but this time we did not have the chance to return by night.

The drinks,

the food,

the service and the atmosphere of Can Vermut is all you need when you are on vacation.

El Rais – Also located alongside the harbor but with a privileged terrace, this restaurant serves traditional dishes with a modern touch.  It belongs to the Ses Forquilles group.

The main ingredient used for their dishes is rice.  This is the reason why they have called the restaurant “Rais”; the Spanish way of pronouncing the word “rice”!  All the dishes were really good, and we loved the flavors.

Coffee and chupitos at the inviting lounge @El Rais

Gana Loca, Heladeria Artesana Italiana (Moll de Llevant 151, Maó) – Finding this ice cream parlor (just a few steps from Can Vermut) was like winning the lottery for me. I had the most delicious pistachio ice cream … almost as good as those in Turin!  Here you can see my ice cream tips in Turin.

The second time I also tried the frutas del bosque (wild berries), but it did not taste natural.

Ses Forquilles – This restaurant is located in the old town. IMG_2793

They offer good-quality food in form of traditional tapas but also some other innovative dishes.

Tip:

  • Visit Cap de Favàritx (or Capifort), the lighthouse on the northeast of the island, just 17 km from Maó.

SAN CLIMENT

Es Molí de Foc – We were really excited about this place.

Mainly because from different sources we had heard that they had an excellent kitchen–especially their rice–but also because they brew Grahame Pearce, a craft beer my husband had just discovered.

The brewer, operating next door, was working and kindly invited us to have a look. The production of their craft beer is small so Grahame Pearce is consumed only in Menorca.

We took our table in this welcoming restaurant. The staff was attentive and working with a smile.

We ordered a Sangría de Cava and a draft.

They came with a complimentary: Warm sobrasada on mini-toasts.

The starter: Anchovies with and olive paste – Delicious and beautifully plated.

The main: Paella with boneless duck and meatballs – Perfectly cooked.

SAN LLUIS

Binifadet – This is the largest winery in Menorca.

They also have a restaurant and, of course, you can also visit the winery and have tastings.

We just popped by for a drink at their wine bar: Grape Mojito and a Aperol Spritz prepared with their own sparkling wine—by the way, the only one produced on the island. We liked both.

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If asked about Menorca, I can summarize: The expectation was exceeded by the experience!

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12 thoughts on “Curious in Menorca (Minorca)

  1. Patty hace muchos años vi una película en la que una familia venía de Mahon y hablaban una especie de español antiguo. No sabía que Mahon quedaba en Menorca.
    ¿Sabes si allí se hablaba una variante del español?

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    1. Gaby, asi es. Mao-Mahon es la capital de Menorca. Hoy hablan el menorquin, que es un dialecto del catalan. No creo que se haya hablado algun tipo de espanol. Una de las particularidades del menorquin es que algunas de sus palabras vienen del ingles como resultado del dominio britanico (s. XVIII-XIX).

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