In an effort to impose my own austerity measures in this time of financial crisis, and to show the Canadian something new in Mallorca, last Wednesday we set out on a bar crawl along the Ruta Martiana in Palma's Gerreria district. Every Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, the bars in this area offer tapas and pinxos (little open sandwiches) with either a beer or or glass of wine for just two Euros. This makes it one of the cheapest nights out in Palma de Mallorca and a fun way to see a bit of town often overlooked by tourists but popular with the Palma locals.
We started our little adventure with very empty stomachs in Placa d'en Coll at the cafe on the corner. The beer was refreshing and the placa is a good spot for people watching but I had to concede that the food was not great here. I had a lamb skewer which was a little bit suspect, but with my stomach complaining and my bank account at an all time low I ate it without a second thought.
Unfortunately my stomach was not the only one complaining. "These are just Doritos." pointed out the Canadian, unimpressed with her nachos.
We decided that although the sitting on the terrace was very pleasant we would move on to try and find some better tapas.
Our next stop was just twenty metres away on Carrer de Galera, at Bar Boya. This looked more promising. More upmarket furnishings, and a decent though not wonderful selection of tapas. A little disappointed we picked out a couple - tortillas and chicken croquettes.
It was here in Bar Boya that we learned our first lesson about Ruta Martiana, a lesson I will pass onto you dear reader free of charge.
Don't rush into ordering your food.
The tapas and pinxos are made fresh all night and the best ones go first and are quickly replaced. If when you arrive in a bar there is a fairly limited selection, it just means that the favourites are being made up and will be out soon. Bide your time and then at the opportune moment swoop in like an eagle and pick up the tastiest treats.
No sooner had we decided that the tortilla was tasty but the chicken was a bit dull than the chef emerged with fresh plates of salmon and fish, and local cheese with a particularly good chutney. This last little number tickled the Canadians taste buds and a proclamation was made: "It's sooooo good!" I had another hit on my hands. Vindicated and forgiven for my part in Dorito-gate, we stayed for a couple more rounds of these newly discovered favourites.
Next up we moved onto Cero 58 on the corner of Placa de Quartera. This is a cool little bar with simple, clean styling and the best selection of tapas we found all night. Not only did they do prawns and calamari but they also had a couple of goats cheese and fruit pinxos that were an immediate hit with the Canadian, who declared that this was the best bar and these were the best tapas and we were not moving. As Cero 58 also does a variety of Mojitos for a very reasonable €3 I did not mind this decision.
There are plenty of other bars involved in the Ruta Martiana and if you can you should make sure to visit Molta Barra on Carrer del Pes de la Farina which is always lively and full of local kids having a good time.
The Ruta Martiana is on every Tuesday and Wednesday from 7.30pm until the bars close at around midnight. Walking the streets looking for your next bar and trying all the different tapas on offer makes it a fun night out and if you are in Palma on Tuesday or Wednesday you should make a trip up to the Gerreria district, you'll find it just behind Placa Major. Check the website for participating bars.