The Best Restaurants in Formentera
As an island Formentera has traditionally made use of local produce in its cooking rather than rely on expensive imports. For this reason the local dishes at restaurants tend to be simple, with soups and stews that have a lot of fresh fish in them. Olives, figs, salt, and the local livestock are also key ingredients.
Lunch, la comida, is eaten at around 2pm, and dinner not until 10pm. The menus are usually available in English, and have a lot of options. Some of the places worth checking out include:
- Café de Lago, La Savina. It has a good chef with nice salads and pizzas. It’s popular with Italian footballers and looks out over a salt water lagoon.
- Meditteraneo, La Savina. It’s a bit pricey, but has great fish. It’s quite an elegant place with a good view out to the sea.
- El Sueno, Porto Saler. This is reservations only. It is international cuisine done very well and is only open for dinner.
- Can Carlos, Sant Ferran. Dinner only. Reservations required. This is a great spot for a romantic al fresco dinner. It serves international cuisine with a tendency towards Italian.
- Pivi, Sant Ferran. This is the place to come for local food. It’s economical, has nice surroundings and does a good paella.
- Capri, Es Pujols. Owned by a group of fishermen this serves up freshly caught fish in a garden surrounding. A simple, tasty menu.
- Voramar, Es Pujols. Owned by the same group as Capri, but distinguished by having a fancier interior.
- Pizza Pazza, Es Pujols. Good quality, local pizza.
- Caminito, Es Pujols. Caminito is just outside Es Pujols at the entrance to Estany Pudent. With a massive iron billboard on its roof showing a couple dancing you can’t miss it. As tacky as it may look from outside this Argentine steakhouse has some pretty special beef and great terraces around a pool. It doesn’t serve lunch so make this an evening out.
- Sa Varadero, Es Pujols. This place serves fish and meat, with the steaks done on an outdoor grill. It’s only open in the evening and you will require a reservation. The place to be is on the terrace upstairs overlooking the Es Pujols beach.
- Can Vent, Es Pujols. A lounge bar with a great cocktail list. They do good ice creams too. You can stay there all day and enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Can Rafalet, Es Calo. A fish specialist that does a magnificent paella. During the day it is a great place for coffee and snacks. You will need to make an appointment.
- Pascual, Es Calo. No terrace, but a well run fish restaurant.
- Pequena Isla, El Pilar. A family-run restaurant with very high quality local and international dishes. It is popular with the locals and has great hams and rice dishes.
- El Mirador, El Pilar. With the views from El Mirador the food is not the priority, but in fact it isn’t too bad. Like a lot of the local restaurants it has paella, grilled fish and rice-based dishes. This place definitely requires a reservation, and it you are going to walk Cami Roma then it is the perfect place to take a rest afterwards.
View from El Mirador
- Can Forn, Sant Ferran. This is a family run place that are specialists in tapas. It has good house wine and reasonable prices.
- Bar Verdera, Sant Ferran. This is a meeting point for the locals and tourists alike. It is a place to sample some great tapas.
- Macondo, Sant Ferran. This pizzeria probably makes the best pizza on the island so make sure you go early
Starters are varied, and some typical examples include: rice with sardines and cauliflower, rice with snails, noodles with rabbit, hotpot and gilthead soup. One of the most basic, that you will find at many restaurants, is a broad bean stew. This is made with broad beans, green beans, onions, tomatoes, garlic, sobrassada, bacon, paprika, vinegar, oil and salt. There is also a variation on this dish, fava pelada, which has noodles and chopped mint added.
Some of the typical fish dishes are squid stew with raisins and pine nuts, dogfish meatballs and plain old fish stew. One of my favorites is fisherman’s hake, which is really all about getting the hake cooked to just the right level. The hake is sliced and served on top of a dish made from ripe tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper and oil. There is also the all important sauce – the ingredients vary from restaurant to restaurant, but it usually has lemon juice, olive oil and paprika.
Meat dishes include stuffed leg of lamb, baked pork with milk mushrooms and lamb stew with artichokes. Rabbit with peas is also a good option. The important thing to remember is to let the rabbit marinade overnight with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some people like to use matured wine, but I find that this can dominate the taste. Sausage, peas, broad beans, onions and potatoes usually accompany this dish.
Cheese made from sheep and goat’s milk is a specialty of food in Ibiza and Formentera, and there is a full range from mild to mature. There is also cow’s milk cheese which is made with paprika, and this gives the rind a red tinge. In addition to the cheeses, the Balearics have many meats: sobrassada (cured meat), botifarra (sausage), botifarro (black pudding), and ventre farcit (stuffed pork belly). There is a wide variety of prepared meat, including those making use of poultry, rabbit and lamb. The local rabbits are also well used in stews and casseroles. Usually these consist of a good fried sauce base, a spicy sauce, fried rabbit liver, and are served with peas and potatoes. Chicken is also a very common choice of meat in the stews and casseroles of Formentera.