This traditional Mallorquin cafe is the only place you physically HAVE to visit when you’re in Palma. If you don’t, why did you even come here?
- Food (9/10)
- Value for money (10/10)
- Service (10/10)
There are three Ca’n Joan de S’aigos in Palma. The original, and thus 300 year old one is situated in Carrer de Can Sanç and is like stepping back in time to the 17th Century. The newer one (which I have frequented close to 20 times) is on the busy Carrer del Sindicat. The other one, I haven’t visited, no idea to it’s whereabouts.
The queues that form outside this cafe at all hours of the day are publicity enough to prove that this is the most popular place on the island to get an ensaimada, a beautiful pastry made with flour, water, sugar, eggs and pork lard. This simple pastry has been a staple of the mallorquín diet for over 300 years. The customers range from 1 to 99. Old mallorquín grandmas meeting up for a gossip, school kids coming at the weekends with their pocket money, tourists, locals coming got a quick bite on their lunch break, the customers just don’t stop from early in the morning until their shut their doors.
I don’t know what I like more about this cafe, the ridiculously fast service, the extremely low prices, or the food. Their orange juice is always freshly pressed, the ice-cream is home made, delicious and authentic, and is served in a little glass like it was when the restaurant first opened. Their hot chocolate is the best that I’ve ever had (I’m not exaggerating). It’s thick, it’s creamy, but it’s not too sweet you can’t drink down a whole mug of it easily.
Their ensaimada (always to be ordered with nata montada and nothing else) has the most incredible mouth feel of any pastry I have ever come across. If it had to be compared to anything, it would be somewhat like a round, crisper, oilier (but in a fantastic way) croissant. But lighter than a croissant and filled with expertly whipped and slightly sweetened cream.
So I’ve gushed about the ice cream, the ensaimada con nata montada, and the hot chocolates. I wouldn’t bother ordering any other food item off the menu, if i’m being honest with you. Their meat empanadas (pies), although better than most I’ve tried on the island, are still dry on the outside and inside, slightly too salty, and not worth ordering. Their ‘cocas’ in all their forms are also lucklustre and in my opinion, pointless. This isn’t a direct criticism at Ca’n Joan de S’aigo, but every café that serves them. Its a traditional catalan recipe of pastry with vegetables or various stuff on top. You’re not in this cafe to eat savoury things with vegetables, you’re here for the ensaimadas, the hot chocolate, the ice cream !
So when you’re in Mallorca, go there, queue up, sit down and wait to be ordered. When the waiter arrives just bark at him plainly ‘dos ensaimadas con nata monta, un chocolate caliente, un zumo de naranja, y un helado de fresa por favor’, nothing else is needed, but these are all imperitive.