Stepping into Restaurante Bugambilia is stepping into a love story. In 1978 a Danish couple, having fallen in love with the island, bought a house in the area of Cala Major and came to know the restaurant owner, Julio.
When their 19 year old daughter, Lise, visited on holiday, they told her, "Go to Bugambilia, you'll be in safe hands there." They didn't mean for her to take it quite so literally. She married Julio a few years later. Lise is now the beating heart of the restaurant, running it alongside her husband and 'los chicos', her two sons, Miguel and José.
Could there be a more relaxing place to eat? This is a restaurant where you can eat in your beachwear. It is an unpretentious, open-air seaside bar, which prioritises the taste of its food and welcoming atmosphere over sophisticated decor. It's set against a glittering turquoise sea and on the edge of a sandy bay. The warm caress of the sea breeze and hush of the waves lulls you into an unbelievable sense of peace. Don't be offended if your lunch partner stops talking to you during the meal. It is the silence of the deeply contented.
The specialties are the grilled fish, homemade burgers and 'paella ciega', literally meaning 'blind paella'. The waiter explained that a blind dish was invented to be suitable for the blind, therefore a blind paella has no bones or shells. I couldn't resist the thought of a delicious seafood feast and promptly ordered.
With a generous helping of succulent seafood, tender pork and perfectly cooked rice, the paellas at Bugambilia are both flavoursome and filling. Make sure you go with someone who shares your taste though, as the minimum order is for 2 people, and costs 15.50€ per person. Enjoyed with a cold beer (2.95€) or glass of Sangria (4€), you'll soon find yourself sinking deeper into a state of bliss.
If paella isn't your thing, then their menu offers plenty of variety of salads, meats and fish (mains costing 9€ - 19€). For the sweet tooth amongst you, try the carrot cake or homemade brownie with ice cream. From Monday to Friday their special set menu includes a starter, main, dessert and a drink for 15.50€.
Watching the owner warmly greet people as they arrived, it felt that nearly everyone was a returning client and already familiar with the establishment. Lise revealed that 50% of their customers were residents or regular tourists with nearby holiday homes. They are the same people that swim and sunbathe in the adjoining bay, a perfect place for a post-lunch siesta or invigorating swim.
From mid June, Bugambilia will start opening until midnight and you'll be able to sit at the edge of the sea and watch the sunset and twinkling lights of distant marinas. Lise assures me that her boys make "the best mojitos in town", and after trying her fruity favourite, Cava Sangria, I'm inclined to believe her.
An absence of fine tableware doesn't make it any less popular and my advice is to book in advance to avoid disappointment - and you will be disappointed if you arrive and find yourself without a place to savour the fantastic view.
When you go to Restaurante Bugambilia, it isn't just your taste buds that come alive. It's all your senses. Will I go back? To be honest, I'm quite surprised I managed to leave.
- Restaurante Bugambilia, Carretera de Andratx, 29 Bajos
- Tel: +34 971 402 741
- Tables Reserved for lunch from Monday to Sunday 13.00 -16.00
- Street Parking
- No Disabled Access