Up a long mountain road, full of treacherous switchbacks and steep drops, climbing to dizzying heights from the base of the Tramuntana foothills on the outskirts of Alaró, you’d expect to find nature in all its glorious forms. You expect sheep and goats crossing willy-nilly at various points. You may even expect to find a few stray walkers or cyclists along the way. What you don’t expect to find is a popular local restaurant with seriously excellent, down-to-earth food. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at Es Verger.
Famous Eats #
A few years ago, British TV chef Rick Stein went on record, saying he’d found a small Mallorcan restaurant that served “the best lamb I’ve ever tasted.” These six little words put this tiny establishment located halfway up the Puig de Alaró on the map. Locals have mixed feelings about his proclamation. Some feel he “ruined” the place by pointing hordes of tourists in its direction. But even those people agree, Mr. Stein’s endorsement led the way to one of Mallorca’s best kept secrets being let out. And boy, are we glad!
Typically Mallorcan #
The drive up, as earlier pointed out, is a bit harrowing, so it separates the wheat from the chafe, so to speak. You really have to want to go. Once there, though, you’ll find a large parking area across from the restaurant. Note that it is also used by walkers heading to the castle, so consider this in your plans, knowing weekends can be crowded. The restaurant itself is what I’d politely call “rustic”. It has a charm about it, with baskets and farming tools hanging from the walls and ceilings, and old tables placed a little too close together downstairs, and a more modern, but less attractive, setup upstairs. It's cosy in winter, but on fine days, eating outdoors is the better option. It’s normal to have a flock of sheep pass by your table, and the view is magnificent
Now that you’ve got a visual of the place, let’s get to the meat of things. The lamb. There are two choices on this front: the ribs or the shoulder. Go for the shoulder (paletilla). Cooked in a wood oven, it is succulent and we found the portion to be generous. Served with a small salad and potatoes, it’s a perfect Sunday (or any day!) meal.
The lamb isn’t the only thing on the menu. There are soups, salads, fish, and local specialities, as well, so even if you’re not a lamb-lover, you’re sure to find something that suits!
ES VERGER is located at:
Camino del Castell, 07340 Alaró
+34 971 18 21 26
By Stephanie Horsman
30 September, 2021