1. Can Vermut
The go-to table for the in-the-know come spritz o’clock in Mahón, this chipper, easygoing tapas bar on the marina does its own brand of classic vermut (vermouth) that pairs handsomely with its roster of pleasingly simple seafood dishes like the bright, tangy, never-fail boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar) or a large, ace-value plate of pulpo a la gallega (octopus with paprika). Drinks start at €2.
Moll de Llevant 176, Mahón
Mon – meaning 'mine' – is Menorcan chef Felip Lluifriu’s stylish restaurant-with-rooms (yup, you can stay) that in no time established itself as one of Ciutadella’s top tables. And it’s not hard to see why: an attractive, white-minimal dining room is the suitably chic setting for crazy-good-value tasting courses that reimagine local ingredients to pleasingly pretty but still satisfying effect. Book ahead in summer.
Passeig de Sant Nicolau, 4, 07760 Ciutadella de Menorca
3. Cap Roig
This seasoned crowd-pleaser on Cala Sa Mesquida has been keeping the island’s ever-growing hardcore of ahderents happy since 1983. And the appeal is pretty obvious: the chic but unshowy crowd, sun-dappled coastal views and the seriously fresh, simple-in-a-good-way seafood at prices that could probably be more cynical for a restaurant with such a plum spot by the sea. Book ahead in peak season or forget it.
Carretera Sa Mesquida 13, Cala Sa Mesquida
4. Sa Llagosta
The small, picturesque seaside village of Fornells on Menorca's north coast is a destination in its own right, so if you're going and you need a lunch spot, it has to be chef David de Coca's unassuming but ace lobster bistro just by the water. The house special is, no surprise, the immensely good caldereta menorquina (lobster stew – considered the island's best) but just about everything is bang-on here. Crazy popular, call ahead for dinner.
Carrer de Gabriel Gelabert 12, Fornells
5. Cova D'En Xoroi
If you’ve done your pre-holiday homework on Menorca, chances are you’ve seen an image of this chic, Insta-baiting bar-club hacked into some cliffs on the south coast at least once. And, no, it’s not a cheesy tourist trap but one of Menorca’s bona-fides that makes for possibly one of the most chill, pre-dinner sundowners on the island. Not cheap, as you’d expect, but, hey, you can’t not, right? Come pretty: the dress code is enforced.
Urbanización Cala en Porter, Carrer de sa Cova 2
6. Café Belear
Sure, Michelin can continue to do the rounds on Menorca’s ever-shifting, ever-starry dining scene, but this boss-level seafood specialist from the 1970s sticks to its guns with unerring commitment to quality that keeps the locals and the island’s returnees coming back again and again. Every kind of seafood imaginable is done fabulously well here including the speciality caldereta de langosta (Menorcan-style lobster stew). Book ahead of hustle for one of the no-reservations outdoor tables.
Passeig es Pla de Sant Joan 15, Es Pla de Sant Joan 15, Ciutadella
Menorcan Carlos Anglés’s beautiful, family-run winery in the quiet countryside just south of Mahón makes a more-than-worthy reason to take a time-out from the coast: the wine, clearly, is the draw but it’s well worth budgeting time for the restaurant, too, where a three-course weekend brunch menu of sophisticated daily specials and a glass of Menorca bubbly and coffee feels like winning every time at €25 a head.
Carretera Sant Lluís-Es Castell
Pedigreed chef Joan Bagur returned to his Balearic rels ('roots') to create one of Ciutadella’s most imaginative restaurants where the traditions of the Menorcan kitchen are cleverly rewired into immaculate plates of holiday joy. Sure, it’s a bit fancy, but you can still expect enough heft from dishes like porcella de Menorca (suckling pig) or bacallà confitat (cod stew) to turn up hungry. And, hey, you’d pay loads more for this in Barcelona.
Carrer de Sant Isidre 33, Ciutadella
9. Passio Mediterrania
A heart-on-sleeve passion project on Mahón marina with an outdoor terrace run by all-smiles chef Teresa Montesinos and creative cohort Gonzalo Martinez who do their own take on modern Menorcan cooking that rarely disappoints the island’s in-the-know eaters. The small menu changes monthly but combines tapas-style small plates with good-sized mains. The well-assembled wine list shows similar care.
Moll de Llevant, 298, Mahon
10. Pins 46
Set on Plaça dels Pins in Ciutadella, this smart city-centre sister to beloved Menorca institution Café Belear carries all the same swagger as its portside sibling with a reliably fresh roll-call of seafood dishes that veers from fancy-but-not-fancy lobster with fried eggs on chips to a more debonair Menorcan monkfish carpaccio and everything in between. A list of sweet white wines by the glass deserves more attention than it gets.
Plaça dels Pins 46, Ciutadella