Beautiful space, warm hospitality and excellent food.
I remember my first year in Palma, partly excited by and partly scared of all the things that this new city would lay in front of me. Back in 2015/16 I was often wandering around the old town, going into places I liked the look of and seeing where that takes me… On one such walk I stumbled upon Santosha. I was instantly drawn by this big, spacious, light yet homely interior. I ordered my favourite, “un cortado”, and was served in a glass, as it is customary, but on a cute little retro saucer that would fit right into my grandma’s kitchen back in the 70s and 80s! As a wave of nostalgia for people and places long gone hit me, I instantly fell in love with Santosha’s energy…
Since then I have been back many times, for coffees, meals, art exhibitions and even one little boy’s 1st birthday party! Then last month Ana – the wizard who adds life to my texts with her brilliant photos – told me about this great place I “just have to write about”… and guess where it was?
Fast forward a few days and i’m back to Santosha, chatting with Ruth and Eran, “the people behind the idea”, as I like to say. As we sat in the cosy book corner, I noted that the painting on the wall (and several more around the place) were by Jennifer Nicholson. The book on the coffee table was my 2022 favourite: Faces of Mallorca by Stephanie Schulz and Mark Edwards. I love that they are supporting local artists and writers, but this also made me realize how long I have come since moving here and feeling lost – now writing about all these people and calling many of them my friends.
Back to business… Eran, Ruth and her sister, who was also involved with the business at the start, fell in love with this space at the first sight. They almost didn’t get it, as someone else already made an offer, but luckily for them that fell through and here we are. The space is divided into several zones; there is a dining area, a book corner and even a cinema room at the back where they hold cinema nights and other events. The décor is super cool, yet instantly welcoming. Ruth had an “eclectic collection of things she wanted to fit in” and she managed to do that beautifully.
Ruth is a trained chef from Ireland, with a degree in culinary art. She started working at 17, first in restaurants and then on yachts. She loved the freedom and the creativity you get when you are a chef on a yacht so even now she still goes to the market, gets inspired by it and chooses seasonal food as much as possible. Over the years their menu has naturally evolved towards being more vegan and plant-based, although it’s still predominantly vegetarian with the focus on good quality ingredients, prepared with care and presented in interesting ways.
Eran is from Tel Aviv. He has been sailing since he was little, and as a trained captain-engineer he crossed The Atlantic several times, and really enjoyed that lifestyle and travelling the world for a while. Nowadays, aside from running the restaurant, he is also making his own line of knives named. Ana and I saw a few samples, with blades made of Japanese steal and with olive wood handles. We were really impressed by their beauty and craftsmanship. Eran also makes great cocktails and is very proud of his Bloody Mary, for which I will definitely come back one day.
This time we chose to have some fresh lemonade, raspberry for me and ginger for Ana, and they were both delicious. I also had a cold brew coffee (made with beans from Mistral) and I loved discovering new taste notes when the drink was served cold rather than hot.
As for food, Ana and I chose to trust Ruth and Eran with their recommendations and what they brought out was a real feast for our eyes as much as for our taste buds. First we tried one of their menu favourites: a poached egg dish with baby potatoes, roast miso mushrooms and home-made smoky mayonnaise. The testament to its taste is that Ana and I almost licked the plate between us! Next we tried an incredibly delicious “chicken no chicken” Caesar salad which was the “plato del día.” I was really intrigued by the texture of this Heura meat alternative. If I had my eyes closed I could have sworn it was a nicely spiced chicken thigh. Last, and probably my favourite, was a sour dough toast with muhamara spread made with roast peppers and walnuts, with melted goats cheese and more roasted walnuts on top. Today’s bread came from Uco Bakery, although they work with several places around town, including often Thomas Bakeshop. Trust me when I say that it is worth coming to Santosha, wherever on the island you are, just to try this! Being from the Balkan, Ana and I also wanted to try their take on one of our favourite ingredients – sour kraut – and it did not disappoint. It’s bright pink colour came from a mixture of green and purple cabbage, which was a novelty for me, and I am thinking of replicating it at home.
Pickup for yachts available on request.
Till next month…
Text: Mia Naprta
Photos: Ana Stan