ESGuide

The Best Restaurants In Menorca

19 spots for seafood, small plates, and seasonal menus on Spain’s most low-key Balearic island.
The terrace of Cafe Balear in Menorca, Spain.

photo credit: Eva Timoner

When Menorca was named European Gastronomy Capital in 2022, the world simply clocked on to what locals (and a few clued-up travelers) have known for years. Dining on this bewitching island off Spain’s east coast is more relaxed than elsewhere in the Balearics, and even upscale places have a laid-back vibe. And while some restaurants close in the low season, there’s a growing movement for places to stay open year-round. 

Seafood is the star ingredient in regional recipes like lobster-loaded caldereta and cuttlefish arròs negre. Others come from Menorca’s organic farms and fresh produce markets, so expect many menus to change weekly, if not daily. And at cafes and bars around the island, you can get Spanish standbys like bite-sized pintxos and classic tapas, plus plenty of sustainably-made wine. From the capital of Maó in the east to Ciutadella on the west coast, here's where to eat in Menorca.


MAÓ & EAST MENORCA


photo credit: Eva Timoner

Menorcan

Maó

$$$$Perfect For:Small PlatesLiterally EveryoneDrinking Good Wine
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This casa de comidas, or restaurant that serves homestyle dishes at affordable prices, has been one of the capital’s most-loved tapas spots for almost two decades. It was once a standalone operation on Rovellada de Dalt—and even though it relocated to the Cristine Bedfor boutique hotel in 2021, it still feels more like a great local restaurant that just happens to be attached to a hotel. We love dropping by for a weekday lunch, when it gets lively with locals catching up over a lightly cooked tortilla with caviar, tomato and mahón cheese salads, and some ensaïmada-style sandwiches called bikinis.


This fresh fish market has a string of laid-back, all-day pintxo bars where you can cram around beer-barrel tables or find a spot on the sunny terrace to feast on tasty, tiny bites for just a few euros. It’s loud, bustling, and slightly chaotic—which is exactly what makes it great, especially around lunchtime, when the atmosphere is buzziest. Order a vermouth or a Menorcan wine from a bar counter like Es Vinet or Cas Torrat, along with a few pintxos from the Merca Apas or La Faim food counters, such as tortilla with peppers, prawns with jamón, or grilled octopus. 


The entire menu at this sustainable, seafood-focused kitchen is gluten-free, and they’ve got tasty vegetarian dishes like the chilled ajoblanco, an almond-based gazpacho that comes with crunchy seasonal vegetables. The friendly owners pick up the daily fresh catch from Mercat des Peix, just a few steps away, and whip up things like prawn tartare with truffle and white chocolate, or the wild fish of the day in hollandaise. There’s a sunny terrace that overlooks the back of Maó’s cathedral, but if you can’t get a seat there, the interior is also lovely and full of bright, exposed masonry that gives it an old-world vibe. 


This light-flooded French bakery got its name from a long-running cafe that used to be in the same space. It's located in Maó’s colorfully painted historic center and where you want to come for a real-deal croissant or pain au chocolat. Grab a freshly squeezed orange juice or a frothy cappuccino made with beans from Mallorca-based specialty roaster Mistral and perch at the window or streetside bench with the regulars. If you’re hitting the beach later on, grab a loaf of Pigalle’s payés sourdough bread (which you’ll spot at restaurants across the island) to go with a slab of cheese from Maó’s nearby market.


Anything seafood is the way to go at this newish, chiringuito-inspired spot on the outskirts of Maó, right on the harbor in Es Castell village. It’s only open from 6-11pm for now, but definitely make a reservation for dinner and get the grilled sardines, some fries with eggs and prawns, the mussels dressed with sobrasada, and a local tomato salad with mahón cheese. All of the seating is on the terrace that's decked with string lights and potted olive trees, and just a couple of meters from the water.


The staggering coastal views are reason enough for venturing a few miles north of Maó to Cap Roig, a stone-built restaurant on a cliff overlooking Sa Mesquida cove. Since opening in the 1980s, it’s been a top spot on the local radar for its fresh seafood, rice dishes, and Balearic-style fideuà. Share a few plates with a group over a long lunch—hopefully out on the terrace, because of course you remembered to book a table in advance. Start with a bottle of Menorca-made Sa Cudia wine and some grilled local prawns or mussels fresh from Maó’s harbor while you wait for your cuttlefish-loaded arròs negre to arrive. 


If you’ve been hearing a lot about Menorcan wines lately, you have bodegas like Binifadet to thank for pioneering the revival of rare, ancient grapes and putting this island on the world’s wine map. They also happen to have one of its best restaurants, which serves modern Menorcan dishes on a romantic, vine-shaded terrace. It’s handy for lunch if you’re joining a vineyard tour, but we think it feels more special at night when it’s all lit up. Order a platter of locally-made sobrasada or cheeses to share, plus a chargrilled-vegetable rice or heartier meat dish like pork cheeks with mahón cheese.


CIUTADELLA


As soon as you start planning your trip to Menorca, you’ll inevitably hear about this Ciutadella go-to for classic seafood with harbor views. This spot has been run by the same family for three generations and is a favorite for daily fish and seafood specials like local prawns, wild dorada, and various lobster dishes (including caldereta, Menorca’s most famous). Pair it all with something from the impressive list of Balearic and other Spanish wines. Lines get long in the high season, so reserve way ahead (and try to bag a terrace table by the water). Otherwise, be prepared to wait. 


If there’s one super-nice spot you should absolutely make time for on a trip to Menorca, it’s Smoix. The short, wonderfully original menu changes each season, though the now-famous crawfish ravioli (which you can order by piece) and beluga lentils with king-prawn tempura make regular appearances. The space used to be a shoe factory, with exposed ductwork and rafters that give it a warehouse vibe, while the whitewashed interior patio laid with giant stones is a little breezier. Smoix also has a few boutique-hotel rooms, making it an extra-tempting Ciutadella base. 


photo credit: Eva Timoner

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This place in the thick of Ciutadella’s meandering old town does great cocido croquetas that are based on a generations-long family recipe. The daily-changing arròs shows up at your table still simmering, and the Basque-style cheesecake owes all of its sublime goopiness to cala blau cheese. It’s open in the evenings, and also for lunch on the weekends, when you might need a break from wandering the markets. Pez Limón is hidden down a narrow alley, where most people gravitate towards its handful of streetside tables—but the arch-filled interior that’s lit with lots of beachy rattan fixtures is a fun vibe, too. 


Ulisses is equal parts wine bar, craft cocktail spot, and restaurant, so come with a few friends in the evening for a chill round or two of drinks before ordering a bunch of small plates for dinner. You’ll find it under the whitewashed arches opposite old-town Ciutadella’s fresh produce market, which means it’s always busy. The market is also where the restaurant sources many of its ingredients and everything else comes in on their own fishing boats or from local producers. The menu changes all the time, but Menorcan cheese boards, aromatic tomato salads, and lobster with fries (an island classic) are all regular favorites. Check out the on-site wine shop for Balearic vintages to stuff in your suitcases to take home. 


Slow all the way down for an intimate dinner at this converted 18th-century mansion in Ciutadella’s old town. Herbs grow in hanging baskets under whitewashed arches, and we can only presume they’re plucked and plated on the pretty dishes coming from the open-plan kitchen. Unsurprisingly, menus (around €35 per person) are driven by whatever is in season: plump tomatoes and fresh figs in the summer, earthy mushrooms in the fall. Regular plates include coca bread with toppings like sweet, juicy apricots, or sobrasada drizzled with honey, plus fish fresh from the surrounding waters. 


Come to the edge of Ciutadella’s historic center for a meal made by a native Menorcan chef who trained at Catalonia's famed El Celler de Can Roca. Book a table for dinner and pick from a three- or seven-course tasting menu that could include a spread of lesser-known Menorcan cheeses, squid dressed with peas and mint, or a delicate prawn carpaccio with basil ice cream. Set in a restored building from 1935, Mon is both a boutique inn and restaurant, with a bright, minimalist dining room that's backed by a cane-shaded courtyard. 


With its marble-top bar, no-fuss food, and chatty local crowd, Bar Imperi is what Spaniards call a café de toda la vida (basically, an everyday cafe). Open since the 1940s, it’s still one of Ciutadella’s go-to spots for breakfast, where Menorcans mingle with a few curious visitors at sunny terrace tables on a corner of the old town’s Plaça des Born. Start the day with some deliciously uncomplicated llonguets, which are small bread rolls stuffed with typical Menorcan ingredients, like tangy Mahón cheese, homemade tortilla, or sobrasada with honey. This is also a great place to pick up sandwiches to go for the beach or a hike, or to relax with a cold beer later in the day.


Come get a crisp Negroni made with Menorcan Xoriguer gin and a super-fresh mezze platter to go with it at this sprawling restaurant set in a restored, dusty-red, 100-year-old farmhouse just outside Ciutadella. Many ingredients on the Mediterranean menu are grown in the surrounding gardens, so you’ll get herby tabbouleh and wood-oven pizzas alongside pata negra jamón. It’s a cheery all-day spot, but if you can, come with a group of friends to catch the sunset over the hills before dinner. Later on, there are DJs, live music, and plenty of dancing for a fun, energetic party scene.


AROUND MENORCA


Head to this tavern-like spot to try the traditional Balearic dish of caldereta de llagosta, an intensely rich, tomatoey, spiny lobster stew (with an admittedly hefty price tag) that the north-coast town of Fornells is especially famous for. Sa Llagosta makes some of the best on the island, and, as with most other places, it takes at least two people to eat the whole thing. The lobster-laced rice and garlicky lobster al ajillo shine, as do local seasonal catches and seafood-focused dishes that pull in flavors from around the globe, like scorpionfish with shiitake and rockfish tartar with salicornia. Book ahead for lunch with a friend or two on the terrace overlooking the palm-lined harbor. 


Torralbenc is where you’ll want to come for that one big, memorable meal. Located between Alaior and Cala’n Porter on the south-central coast, this is Menorca’s original fancy agroturisme, or rural farmstay. It’s surrounded by vineyards that produce their wines, which everyone raves about (you’ll get well acquainted with them over dinner, of course). Like most places, the Basque and Menorcan menu changes according to what’s in season, but you’ll eat dishes like creamy prawn rice, lobster done three ways, or mahón-cheese souffle, all out on the knockout-pretty terrace. 


Once you’re drizzling lemon over barbecued sardines, garlicky squid, and prawns hot off the grill, you’ll get the fuss everyone has been making over Es Bruc since it opened in the 1950s. It’s located right on the beach in Sant Tomàs, and there's another outpost in Cala Santandria, just south of Ciutadella. They also do great fried seafood, plus burgers, steaks, and tortilla for some turf with your surf. Many other chiringuitos tend to be lunch-only affairs, but you can get late breakfast here from around 10am. Along Menorca’s central-southern coast, walking routes weave out by the water to hidden coves such as Cala Escorxada, which makes Es Bruc a convenient post-swim/post-hike stop. 


You’ll almost always spot someone balancing a delicately packed stack of sugar-dusted ensaïmades on flights out of the Balearics. These traditional, spiral-shaped pastries made with pork fat are typical for breakfast across the islands, and the inland town of Es Mercadal is known for small bakeries that are devoted to them. Cas Sucrer, a popular corner bakery founded back in the 1880s, makes some of the best. Pick from fillings like chocolate and savory sobrasada or go for a classic angel-hair ensaïmada, then head out to the umbrella-shaded terrace to eat them with your morning coffee. 


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