Las Olas is a popular bistro restaurant in Palma that has a good reputation and enjoys a positive buzz on internet review sites as one of the best restaurants in Palma de Mallorca.
We found the restaurant a few nights ago behind Palma Cathedral on Carrer Con Fortuny just round the corner from the Santa Eulalia square. Las Olas (The Waves) sits alone on a quiet street in this charming part of the city where the narrow alleys are lit with a golden light in the evenings and every now and then the streets open up to reveal some of Palma's most iconic buildings.
Las Olas is a family run bistro and it certainly feels like a friendly place when you enter. The restaurant is run by John and his wife Evelyne who offer a tapas/dim sum menu which should appeal to fans of Asian and European cuisine.
For a restaurant with such a good reputation the decor is fairly awful. Plastic flowers that have achieved the miraculous feat of looking like they are dying clutter the bar area . The walls are equally over decorated with pictures of crashing waves competing with wooden menu boards carved in rustic shapes competing for prominence in a sea of stencils and stippling. The place feels like an over crowded dining room in an elderly aunts house. Not cool and not quaint, it's an odd choice of decor and it set alarm bells ringing as we took our seats and looked over the menu.
The seating area inside is quite compact, although there is more space upstairs, and as such the conversations have to be conducted in quite hushed voices for fear of being overheard by other diners. This may not bother everyone, certainly the excitable teenager on the table next ours had no worries about it but I had come to eat and talk with the Canadian and wasn't interested in which was the best "Twilight" film. It's "New Moon" apparently.
So far I had been unimpressed by Las Olas but the menu was full of plenty of tasty looking food that I was looking forward to trying. As I mentioned earlier Las Olas is a tapas style bistro and we opted for six dishes for the two of us; vegetable samosas, empinadillas, marinated beef salad, steamed prawn dumpling, goats cheese and deep fried shrimp with rice and sweet chilli sauce.
All the food was good. Evelyne works in a kitchen at the end of the restaurant and occasionally she will appear at the window and ring a bell to let you know that she has prepared another plate for you to enjoy. The steamed dumplings were some of the best I have had, managing that tricky feat of remaining firm but cooked and when dunked in soy sauce were a real treat. The deep fried shrimp were rolled in pastry and served with sticky rice and chilli sauce which made them a little meal in themselves rather than just finger food. The best was the marinated beef salad. The beef was tasty and tender and served on a bed of mixed salad and crispy noodles.
All the portions are generous and the food is very reasonably priced, our six dishes and two glasses of wine and two bottles of water cost €46. Las Olas is worth a visit for some fun and tasty food but I don't think it's in the top three restaurants in Palma, a claim made by Trip Advisor. If you do go, and for a casual evening out I would recommend it, try and sit outside, Palma's cobbled old town streets are better looking than the pictures inside and the evening air is a far nicer environment in which to enjoy your meal.
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