There are cafés galore in Palma de Mallorca, the cosmopolitan capital of the largest of the Balearic Islands. But which do you choose for your cup of Joe, when it’s time for a break from the city’s excellent shopping or sightseeing? For good barista-made coffee (and perhaps something tasty to go with it) in a-cut-above setting, these are the recommended top seven central Palma cafés (in alphabetical order):
Bagel, Carrer dels Set Cantons, 4
This cosy little bakery/café is tucked away in a lane only a short walk from Plaça Cort, home of Palma’s imposing town hall. Bagel serves Illy coffee (and teas and infusions from Dammann Frères, the oldest tea merchant in Europe). It’s all about the bagel here: five varieties are made on the premises every morning from 6am and it’s the only Balearic bakery using the traditional method of poaching before baking. If filled bagels aren’t your thing, they also serve very good crusty rolls.
Vegans and vegetarians are well catered for: as well as savoury items, Bagel is Mallorca’s only café selling vegan cakes and pastries – including a gluten-free chocolate coulant – from Barcelona-based patisserie Lujuria Vegana. The café also has a few tables outside at the front.
Café Bonaire, Carrer de Bonaire, 7
Just around the corner from Palma de Mallorca’s smartest shopping street – Jaume III – this spacious café/bar is off the main tourist route, with a clientele largely of yummy mummies, coiffed ladies-of-a-certain-age, and local office workers. Indoors, the monochrome décor features marble floors and table-tops, black leather upholstery and gleaming brass. Outside there’s a decked terrace (with retractable cover), where there are heaters in the cooler months.
Café Bonaire serves Lavazza coffee and there’s a choice of pastries to help boost your energy levels for your next instalment of shopping.
Cappuccino, Carrer San Miguel, 53
A real Mallorcan success story, Cappuccino’s distinctive cafés can be found in six locations in Palma de Mallorca, but this one has the benefit of a large courtyard garden – with fountain – at the rear. Located close to the city’s intermodal station and the main covered market (Olivar), this café is in a beautifully restored palacio. Enjoy an Illy coffee with a good ensaïmada (traditional Mallorcan pastry), and listen to the ambient music chosen for Cappuccino by DJ Pepe Link, who has created a series of albums for the chain.
You’ll pay a bit more for a Cappuccino experience, but the stylish interiors, good-looking servers and cool background music make it worth it.
Fibonacci, Carrer San Nicolás, 8
This is one of five Fibonacci bakery/cafés in Palma de Mallorca, started by a Norwegian lawyer who re-launched his career to create the type of establishment found in his home country. Choose from their own several blends of coffee (you can also buy bags of their coffee in ground or bean form), and accompany it with one of their pastries or cakes. Their wholesome breads and baked goods are made from organic ingredients, with no artificial flavourings or additives.
This small café has just a few tables indoors and more on the covered front terrace, opposite the 14th Century church of San Nicolás, and is in a pedestrianized zone.
Mari-Lin Café Lounge, Costa de sa Pols, 8
Close to Palma’s Mercat Olivar, Mari-Lin Café Lounge took its name from the uniforms retailer which previously occupied the premises. This attractively decorated café serves coffee from Caffè Vergnano, teas and infusions, and hot chocolate. You may be tempted by carrot cake, Banoffee pie or the café’s own chocolatey Choco-Lin special.
Indoors, the sympathetically restored building has tiled floors, art on the walls and marble-topped tables with comfortable wicker chairs. The building has three tiny balconies where you can perch on a stool at a high table, and a terraced seating area outside on the traffic-free lane.
Nicolás, Plaça Mercat, 19
At night Nicolás becomes a trendy cocktail bar and cellar restaurant for Palma de Mallorca’s smart young set, but during the day it’s also a pleasant place to stop for a coffee or tea. There’s limited seating indoors on the ground floor – the elegant bar with its display of jewel-coloured bottled spirits dominates the space – but the canopied terrace at the front (with heaters in the winter) is a good place for people-watching.
Nicolás’s pastries include flakey croissants (mini-sized for reduced guilt factor) that are probably among the best in the city; their coffee is the Italian Lavazza brand.
Rialto Living, Carrer de Sant Feliu, 3c
This small café is part of Rialto Living, the Swedish-owned lifestyle store featured in the coffee table book Luxury Stores – Top of the World (published by TeNeues). The premises used to be Palma de Mallorca’s Rialto theatre, then a cinema, and some of the original stage lights still hang from the ceiling (the café area was the stage). You can sit at tables on contemporary metal chairs, or on a stool at one of the counters, gazing over the covetable furnishings and accessories on display.
Rialto Café serves very good home-made cakes and Spanish Salzillo coffee and offers a stylish refuge from the bustle of the city. Check out their latest art exhibition in the mezzanine floor gallery space before you leave.