At the heart of the trendy Santa Catalina quarter in Palma is the legendary Santa Catalina market. Year-round, this is one of Mallorca’s most varied and interesting markets. The atmosphere is thoroughly Mediterranean. As well as selling traditional Mediterranean foods, the market is home to a number of international delicatessens that draw connoisseurs of good food from all over the island to the market hall between Plaça del Progrés and Avda. Argentina. Alongside the stalls offering top-quality fish, wine, seafood, meat and cheese, Mercat de Santa Catalina has numerous bars that serve freshly prepared specialities such as sushi, paella and tapas and provide a social meeting point for many residents of the island. The bar “Ca’n Joan Frau” is regarded as the place for lovers of typical Mallorcan tapas and is said to serve the best paella in Mallorca – King Juan Carlos himself has tried it and pronounced it good. But the paella is only available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and would-be diners are advised to book before noon.
The Mercat de Santa Catalina is also well worth visiting for its spices from all over the world, local olive oils, spiced vinegars and sauces, Kobe and Charilaos beef, organic products and the freshest sushi on the island.
The Santa Catalina market has adapted to the changes taking place around it. In days gone by it served mainly the inhabitants of the former fishing quarter: now the Spanish and international delicatessens attract a discerning international clientele from all parts of the island. This is but one expression of the upturn that the entire quarter around the market has been enjoying since the 1990s – it is increasingly becoming the “in” district of Palma. The Santa Catalina quarter of Palma is the place to go not only for the attractions of the market hall itself but also for the latest trends in fashion, lifestyle and living.
Despite the changes taking place, the traditions and the feel for the Spanish way of life have not been lost. It is here that the soul of the quarter comes together – which is one of the reasons why the Mercat de Santa Catalina features as a “must-see” in every good travel guide. The market is open daily (except Sundays) from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. It is only a few minutes’ walk west of Palma’s old town, between Plaça del Progrés and Av. Argentina.
A place that’s always worth a visit!