Just down from Sabarca, the smart restaurant in Port de Soller where we dined at sunset, are the Asgard Bar and the Altamar Discoteca. There’s also a sprinkling of souvenir shops on the seafront. It’s good to see.
I can’t think of any other part of the island where chic restaurants and seaside tat sit by side. Which, if you’re holidaying in this part of the island, gives you the best of all worlds. Especially if you have young children.
Much as I love Deià, it is somewhat unrelentingly tasteful and right on. You could see Port de Soller as a blast of cheap and cheerful vulgarity to remind you that paradise comes in many forms.
And, let’s face it, in high summer, Cala Deià is only really beautiful early in the morning and from late afternoon onwards. In total contrast to the cala, Port de Soller beach is flat and sandy so it’s easy to get in and out of the water.
Sabarca was one of four restaurants recommended to me by my friend Anna Nicholas. Anna is a writer who’s lived in Soller for many years. She writes about Mallorca for The Financial Times and Telegraph, among other publications, and is the author of several books set on the island.
The food was delicious and the service impeccable. I would have liked the portions to be at least twice as large, but they were perfect for my dining companions.
Anna also recommended Kingfisher, which she described as ‘the leading restaurant in the port. It is magical with a simple menu that rarely changes. The gin selection is fabulous and served with panache. Forties music plays and the staff are warm, relaxed and unstuffy but always polite – all dressed like yachties. The fresh fish in beer batter and chips is a resounding bestseller as is grilled fish of the day. Pricey of course, but worth it.’
But, Anna warned me, Kingfisher is also booked out weeks in advance. When I tried to reserve a table, I was told the restaurant was reserved until 26 August. Sadly, in the summer at least, you can’t just wake up one morning like I did and think ‘Let’s eat at Kingfisher tonight’.
Anna also suggested Agapanto, on the other side of the port from Kingfisher. I’ve eaten there before. The food is Mediterranean, simple and fresh. It has more of a laidback vibe: big Buddhas and rose petals floating in bowls of water. Agapanto is apparently the flower of love and, as Anna says, the restaurant offers the most romantic view of the port of all from its terrace.
Family run Pizzeria Del Porto is Anna’s recommendation for ‘consistently nice food’.
After we’d eaten, and I’d resisted the temptation to duck into the Asgard Bar for a Thorburger, we took a stroll as the sun went down. The lights of the twin lighthouses on either side of the port began to pulse. The last orange tram rattled down the seafront. Sunkissed families glammed up for the night peered at menus. There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air.
There are several buses from Deià to Port de Soller and back throughout the day. The journey takes around 35 minutes. You can find the timetable at the Deià bus stop. Prices and a taxi number to call are posted in the car park in front of Belmond la Residencia. Remember to ask the Deià taxi driver if you’ll have to use a Soller taxi to come back to Deià.
From Palma, you have the choice of the funky Orange Train which leaves from its own railway station at Placa Espanya in the centre of the city or regular buses from the main station. The last bus back to Palma from the port leaves at 9.30.
All photos are by Gabriella Kiss.