We’re slurping down French oysters and holding a sizzling glass of Laurent Perrier, which might make you think we’re seated in a swanky seafront restaurant but actually, nothing could be further from the truth! We’re at the ‘Mercat de l’Olivar’, Palma’s prime spot for fresh foods where you can find anything from sobrasada sausages to the Mallorquin Ramallet tomatoes but where you can also get the best of bubbles and a sumptuous seafood lunch for roughly the price of a glass of water and a salad in most upmarket, sit down seafood restaurants on La Isla!
Spanish ‘mercados’ have always been the go-to places for great, local food and Palma’s Mercat de l’Olivar is no exception. Here in the fish section visitors arrive early morning to peruse the 35 stalls, selling everything from small sharks to skinny sardines but this particular part of the market is as much about snacking and sipping as it is about buying fish.
For example there are four sushi stalls which sell sushi from fish so fresh it talks back and serve chilled glasses of good quality vino blanco.. Savvy stall holder Tolo however got the idea to sell oysters and glasses of the extra classy stuff (pink cava, champagne and blow-the-budget bottles of Cristal!) after he saw something similar at Madrid’s ‘Mercat de San Miquel’.
Before setting up shop he secured his permission to sell champers first because as Tolo told us: “Eating oysters just doesn’t go with drinking water”. We couldn’t put it better ourselves. And seeing as Mallorquins are fans of all things fish and are big on small portions Tolo’s stall serving cava and oysters per-piece was soon a great success. Now, aside from oyster and sushi stalls there are prawn, cod, fried fish and shellfish bars which serve stylish snack style portions and feature big buckets of bottled bubbly just itching to give you a cheeky mid-morning buzz.
Saturdays are packed! Vivacious high noise levels and using your elbows are part of the game as you balance your plate and wave your glass over the heads of others to not have it knocked out of your hands. We love the paradox here of people dressed for meeting their friends and sipping sparkles while their heeled feet are stood between fish tails and the guy next to them is loudly negotiating the price of a whole plaice.
Sure, you can spend Saturday morning sleeping in or sipping cappuccinos but when there’s also a place which is all about spirited snacking and where more bottles are being popped per minute than you can shake a swizzle stick at -well, there’s no guessing where we would rather be..
Adress: Plaça de l´Olivar 4, 07002, Palma de Mallorca
Phone: 971 72 03 14
Monday – Saturday 7:00h – 14:30h and Friday 14:30h – 20:00h.