They say you can never have too much of a good thing, so on a second visit in as many years to the lovely Hotel Can Faustino located in the old Ciutadella on the Spanish island of Menorca, we couldn’t wait to return to eat at some of our previous favourite restaurants, as well as try out some others we didn’t have time to fit in before. To keep this a quick and simple read, here is an update to our previous blog post.
We’ve again ranked each restaurant out of 5, highest number being the best…you get the drill:
Ses Voltes 3/5 : Spanish/International (RATING CHANGE)
We loved the tapas here last visit so were excited to take our friends and get them to try the fried Sobrasada ravioli with honey. The menu hadn’t changed so we ordered all our favourites, alas the quality and flavours weren’t as good as we remembered. We’re not sure if they’ve had a change in the kitchen or our expectations were too high second time around, but we’ve had to mark our score down slightly to compensate. Still better tapas than some other places we tried, the ravioli is still a nice dish, but we didn’t bother returning during this 5-day trip to the island.
Es Tast De Na Silvia 3.5/5 : Spanish/International (RATING CHANGE)
We gave such high praise for this restaurant last year that we probably set ourselves up for disappointment. Actually, that’s not the right word to use. Whilst we have marked them down slightly, the food wasn’t disappointing, just a few too many hits and misses that left us deflated after such high expectations.
The restaurant was much busier than our first visit, so boded well in terms of vibe and atmosphere. It started well with a loaf of their delicious home baked bread, followed by a flavoursome salad of tomato, basil, pine nuts and cheese (can’t go wrong really) and their homemade meat croquettes, however the vegetable fritters with tomato compote were way too salty, and whilst the coca of carob, Sobrasada, honey onions and cheese could have been amazing, again the salt dominated and ruined the dish.
For mains the meatballs in almond sauce, wheat and quinoa tasted great, however were rich and too heavy to be served as a main – they would have been better on the starters menu. Both the shrimp rice and fish of the island with baked potatoes were even too fishy for our seafood loving friends, and the meat special with beetroot and potato read perfectly, but again, the dish was so salty that we couldn’t finish it. We mentioned that some of the dishes were too salty to our waiter, and were told the information would be passed on to chef Silvia, but nothing more was said. We decided to share a dessert to cleanse our palate before we left but alas we were again underwhelmed. No complimentary semi-frozen Mahon Gin lemonade this time to put a smile back on our faces, this visit there seemed to be issues with seasoning and balance of flavours – we felt that Silvia was trying too hard and over complicating dishes. Shame really as we had left this booking for our last night of the holiday.
El Horno 3.5/5 : Spanish/International
If you can ignore the rather unfortunate western way of pronouncing its name, we walked past this restaurant about 20 times over both visits as it was just around the corner from our hotel, but it never appealed as it’s located in a basement off a quiet pedestrian street with no windows. Biting the bullet, we decided to give it a try. Big portions of great food packed with flavour; three of us had delicious melt-in-the-mouth steaks; one of us had an old-fashioned chicken kiev – good quality, real chicken dripping in butter (70’s style vs processed, frozen supermarket style). This is the place for a hearty meal that won’t disappoint on quality or price. With attentive staff, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and wished we tried it sooner. It’s just a shame about the atmosphere, due to its underground location it doesn’t really scream “summer holiday experience”. A perfect place for an evening meal but try and take some friends to liven it up a bit…this is definitely one to put on your list if you’re feeling hungry.
Santa Clara 4.5/5 : Pizza/Pasta (RATING CHANGE)
Talk about knocking it out of the park, again. This restaurant was even better than how we remembered it. With a mix of pastas and pizzas, including the fantastic veal carpaccio and that amazing almond cake made by the nuns next door, this was one of the best meals this visit. Great local vibe, busy and buzzy, fantastic prices and really great staff – this is a must for anyone visiting.
Café Balear 4.5/5 : Spanish/International
This is the other highly rated marina restaurant, without the prime harbour frontage of its competitor S’Amarador, that we wished we had tried last visit. Not dampening our spirits to get a table, even when the hotel couldn’t use its influence to get us one (as all inside tables are bookings only), we lined up on the street for 30 mins in the heat, for an outside ‘drop-in’ table, in the hope that its great reviews would lead to a great evening…it did, so don’t let the queue put you off; it’s efficient, moves quickly and drinks from the restaurant bar are available whilst you wait.
Sitting on the edge of the pavement – between a quiet road that leads to the nightclubs and the launch ramp for boats accessing the marina – a refreshing glass of dry white wine was delivered promptly to our table before we enjoyed starters of beef carpaccio and tender calamari. With a craving for steak and chips we enjoyed T-bones cooked and seasoned perfectly…and the Padrón peppers were a great accompaniment. Desserts not only looked amazing but they were the perfect way to end our meal before we headed off for a long stroll around the old town to burn off the calories. Make sure you add this restaurant to your list. It’s worth it!
So that was visit No. 2 to Ciutadella, Menorca. We understand there are so many factors that contribute to either a good, average or bad dining experience. We assumed some of the places we revisited would not meet previous expectations, putting it down to being overexcited on our first trip, but with Santa Clara wowing us (and this is a pretty basic pizza/pasta venue) we’ve concluded that it’s too unpredictable…all we can do is hope to have a good experience that’s deemed value for money. If you find any other gems, do let us know, we would love to give them a try next time we are on the island.