Buscando el Norte is just off the avenidas at the end of a popular shopping street in the city centre. Surrounded by shops and offices and not in a particularly touristy area we were interested to see the sort of clientele who would be in there on a Monday night.
First impression on walking in to Buscando el Norte (apart from enjoying the air con) was that it looked very fresh, modern and trendy. The interior has been done beautifully; they’ve respected the old structure and framework, retaining original features like the beautiful floor and beams, and the amazing exposed stone walls, but have also added a very light industrial feel. A real eclectic mix of old and new, and it really works well. The furniture is great, and just so well positioned. We noticed as the place filled up that all the tables are located carefully at angles to each other so you don’t get stuck listening to a conversation behind or next to you, or catch yourself staring at someone directly ahead on the next table. Perhaps I’m a bit odd, but this sort of thing really appeals to me.
Greeted by the manager Magda, we were blown away by the passion and enthusiasm she has for the restaurant. She’s been there since they opened 18 months ago and told us her ethos is simple, “Treat people as you wish to be treated yourselves.” She was happy to tell us how much she believes in the restaurant, and that her job is made easier because she believes in her team, and of course in the food they serve which is prepared by the talented Chef Gaston Mecchion.
We sat at a high table at the window, with a great view of the whole restaurant and bar area and able to keep an eye on everything around us. Which did include staring at other people’s dishes and apologising for rubbernecking. They have an adjoining back room which can be used for private functions and fully decorated out to meet your needs too. I absolutely adored the old library wall behind us complete with the attached wheely ladder. The music was cool; really chilled vibe and just the perfect volume, even when there wasn’t a spare seat in the house we could still talk to each other without shouting.
Reservations are a must; even on a Monday night! We arrived pretty early (shoot me I’m British I can’t help it) and watched the place fill up with customers of various ages but mostly you see it’s a restaurant for the cool people. So we tried not to be too conspicuous… We heard chatter in lots of different languages; there were groups large and small and couples. You could have a party in there or a romantic meal for two, it just all fits together beautifully (probably due to that well thought out table positioning I just mentioned…).
The menu was excellent. A great range of dishes focusing on tapas and sharing plates, they really want you to get stuck in and order lots of different items and try a bit of everything which, fortunately, we adore so we did just that. Avoiding anything with shellfish due to my partner’s highly inconvenient allergy (honestly he’s so shellfish ha ha ha) we started off with a few tapas and aperitivos. I went for my staple, cava, and he tried a Mai Tai. Apparently this is the best cocktail to try out on a menu, if they can make a good Mai Tai they can make anything (so I’m informed) and it did not disappoint.
The mini black angus burgers with slaw were awesome little bites of tastiness, the coca kept Mallorca’s traditional routes firmly planted but my favourite tapa was the gratinated cod served on black rice. Mother of cowbells. It was delicious; really delicate alioli and the inky rice was so smooth and light. And the colours and presentation were Instagram worthy.
Magda recommended the house signature dishes… the tuna tataki and the very special liquid croquetas. The tuna did not disappoint. I cannot write here what I wrote in my note book because I’d get fired on the spot for obscene language but seriously you must go there right now and eat the tuna tataki. It’s cooked to perfection and served on homemade tortilla chips, with guacamole and a dipping sauce, crushed pistachios and just works so so well. Look at the picture – and tell me this is not a thing of beauty. And the croquetas were called “the best croquetas in the whole world ever” by the Other Half which is a huge statement from this one. They just burst in the mouth and as soon as you bite into them you do wonder how they managed to retain their shape in the dish. Amazingly light! We think we figured out how they cook them but it’s a trade secret so we can’t say for fear of being barred. We also managed to try the red curry mussels which were just a delicious variation on the same old moules mariniere (which I also love but these were much jazzier with a bit of spice).
We saw some amazing salads coming out of the kitchen too (we had no room for those unfortunately), and the dessert tray was beautifully presented. Everything was super fresh and there was a great wine recommendation (or cocktail) to go with everything.
The service team were fabulous. Zipping around full of energy and very attentive, on hand to answer questions and give advice or make recommendations. Especially when you get awkward customers like us who both fancied a glass of red but like completely different wines.
Totally reasonably priced, Buscando del Norte is now firmly on my Palma restaurant hit list. It’s so cool without trying to be; the food was fresh, delicious and fun, the staff were excellent and clearly enjoy their job, and quite honestly I can’t wait to go back to try their new summer menu and wine list (Magda assured me the tuna would still be on the menu when I got a little panicked….). Buen provecho!