I’m going to let you in on a secret. Mallorca has the best lamb I’ve ever tasted. But if you want to get there, you’ll have to drive to the boonies of the Mallorcan countryside, up dozens of switchbacks on a one-lane mountain road, where you might drive off a cliff if you get too close to a passing car. If this doesn’t scare you off, then you’ve earned the lamb you’re about to have.
However, before we got to this sacred restaurant on the top of a mountain, my dad and I wanted to see all of what the Mallorcan interior had to offer. So we took a trip to Jardines de Alfabia, a local treasure that features a stunning villa, surrounded by naturally irrigated gardens, an ancient olive press and historical artifacts dating back to the 1500s. This place really gives tourists a true sense of the historical significance of Mallorca. The architecture is a mix of Gothic, Arabic and Moorish styles, which truly reflects the mix of cultures that has created the island we know today.
After nearly two hours at the gardens, my dad and I began our drive to reach Es Verger, the mountaintop lamb restaurant made famous by British Restauranteur Rick Stein. It was quite the drive…and although the drive was incredibly nerve-wracking, it was loads better than hiking up. We were told the hike would take about an hour but there’s no way it would have been that short–it was a straight shot up the steep mountain! I’m sure it would have been at least two or three hours… Anyways, so we drove up instead and BOY was it humbling. It’s about a half hour drive of pure terror–with every turn you take up the mountain, you can’t see around the bend. So you need to go slow, hug the interior of the mountain and pray you don’t accidentally slip off. But at least you’ll know you’re going to have some delicious lamb at the top! Oh, and the views are unbeatable. Absolutely GORGEOUS. You’ll have a complete panorama of Alaró and Santa Maria del Camí below, some surrounding towns, mountains and olive and citrus orchards. So yes, it’s worth it. Now, the menu at Es Verger is a pretty good size but just remember to get the lamb SHOULDER. My dad got the ribs and was underwhelmed. I, of course, made the right choice and got the shoulder. It was literally hanging off the bone and was as soft as butter. DELICIOUS!!!!!
After I tried surprise adopting some local sheep, my dad and I made the grueling drive down the mountain. We stopped at Macià Batle in Santa Maria del Camí for a quick wine and olive oil tasting. I was a little unimpressed with the wine, as it was supposed to be one of Mallorca’s best, but the olive oil was delicious. I bought a large jar for my mom and off we went back to Deiá! It was a wonderful day trip and definitely worth not spending time on the beach for (at least for one day).