One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is through the flavours, the textures, the typical dishes and the customs at the dinner table. The popular ‘variat mallorquí’, often served in an earthenware dish, has it all, including own rules.
If you are visiting Mallorca you should know that ‘variat mallorquí’ is almost a religion on the island. At mid-morning, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, many residents prowl the island’s most authentic bars in search of the stews and dishes that will make up their ‘variat’. Almost everything can be found on the same plate: salad (an essential), ‘frit’ (pork, lamb or seafood), meatballs in sauce, croquettes, squid and/or cuttlefish ‘pica-pica’, tripe, and even ‘porcella’. All of this is served with some good ‘llesques’ (slices) of Mallorcan bread to mop up all the ‘suquet’ (sauce) produced by all the various ingredients in the dish.
‘Variat mallorquí’ can be considered the king of tapas dishes and is often served with vermouth at the weekend. In towns such as Sineu and Sa Pobla this tradition is deeply rooted—historically, farm workers were the ones who used to eat this combination of local specialities—but also in Palma, where establishments serving ‘variat mallorquí’ as their star dish have been growing in popularity. Here is a small selection:
- Bar Bosch (Pl. del Rei Joan Carles I, 6). A historic café that has welcomed many celebrities.
- Bodega La Rambla (Via Roma, 6). Specialists in tapas and raciones since 1940.
- Can Joan Frau (Plaça de la Navegació). The ‘variats’ at this stall in the Santa Catalina Market are its hallmark.
- Bar Mavi (Carrer del 31 de Desembre, 29). A centrally located bar in Ciutat that also offers a set menu.
- Bar Ca na Martina (Pl. Pere Garau, 22). A traditional stall in the Pere Garau Market that is very popular with the locals.
Both in Palma and the rest of the island there are dozens of places where you can try this classic Mallorcan dish. They have even created a ‘variat mallorquí’ map based on the recommendations of hundreds of users that you can use to explore the different flavours all over the island. “Bon profit!”