The influx of the sea-and-sun-seeking masses has brought an international flavour – or lack thereof – to many Balearic cafés and restaurants. There are, perhaps, notably few dishes which are unique to the islands but that’s hardly surprising given their history of foreign invasion. Typical dishes, which are often of Catalan descent, consist of hearty stews, soups and spiced meats.

Fish and shellfish are the mainstay of most menus. Caldereta de llagosta (a lobster stew cooked with tomatoes) is a common speciality, especially in Menorca, as is salted cod, grilled squid and prawns cooked in antisocial – but delicious – amounts of garlic.

As in mainland Spain, the most enjoyable way to experiment with local cuisine is by sampling smaller portions in the form of tapas, or pintxos (typical of the Basque country). Pa amb oli (bread rubbed with olive oil) is an obvious cheap eat and is typically eaten for lunch or breakfast. For the sweeter-toothed, another source of Balearic culinary pride is a spiral pastry dusted with icing sugar called an ensaimada.

Menorcans were inspired into gin-making by the British, and Xoriguer gin made in Maó has a potent kick – it’s often drunk as a pomada (gin with lemonade). Mallorcan wine – particularly red Binissalem – is experiencing something of a resurgence and is worth seeking out.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a 1 minute guide to Spain

Video: a 1 minute guide to Spain

From the Moorish marvels and flamenco heartland of Andalucía to Ibiza's bleached-sand beaches and hedonistic nightlife, Spain is a country you'll want to visit…

16 May 2018 • Colt St. George videocam Video
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

One of the sunniest and liveliest capital cities in Europe, Madrid has a lot to take pride in. Indeed, its inhabitants, the Madrileños, are so proud of their …

15 May 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
An expert’s guide: the best places to stay in Madrid

An expert’s guide: the best places to stay in Madrid

A trio of world-class art galleries, an atmospheric historic core, the most successful club in the history of football and some of the best tapas, bars and nigh…

14 May 2018 • Simon Baskett insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right