Several waiters and waitresses at ‘Amadip’ are intellectually disabled and work under the guidance of supervisors. If one is not already aware of this, it’s hardly noticeable. Everything’s carried out so naturally and inconspicuously, that one can completely concentrate on the first class gourmet experience. And after that satisfaction, the customer also has the benefit of knowing that they are contributing to a good cause, when they open their wallet to pay the bill. Amadip Esment is a local NGO, which dedicates its revenue to a private foundation.
A visit there is also a boost for one’s own well-being. Having dinner in the heart of Palma’s Casco Antiguo is uplifting. Next to a plaza of Venetian- style picturesque façades stands a magical building: El Temple, the historic entrance to Palma’s Arabic Old Town. Many centuries ago the Arabs called Palma Madina Mayurqa. Sitting on the raised terrace of Amadip is like being in the old quarters of Rome or Paris – or finding oneself immersed in the real Spain. The venue exudes calmness. Other districts of the city, where hordes of tourists pound the pavements in search of their ideal restaurant, seem far away. The Southern-romantic dinner atmosphere in the cool of the evening becomes a reality every Friday night. On all the other weekdays, Amadip only opens at lunch time.
The regulars attending the Cafè Botiga are mainly locals. All the information signs are written in Catalan and the cuisine of chef Toni Martorell is typically Mallorcan, conforming with the products of the season. In order to draw more international guests, the menu for lunch is available in English. The lunch menu is the typical Spanish all-inclusive combination of beverage, starter, main course and dessert. The quality is good at a price of 12.20 € (incl. VAT), and “some dishes appear on our Menu, which would be à la carte in other restaurants,” remarks Amadip’s PR manager Guiem Porcel. Examples of this are stuffed aubergine or duck with mashed potatoes.
A Mallorcan, the active Porcel (43), works – alongside Marga Coll – with local institutions, in order to gain support. He moderates between schools and parents and between kitchen and clients in order to maintain the high quality of the food .
With 415 employees and 70 volunteers, Amadip Esment is among the 50 biggest companies in the Balearics. Six hundred and fifty people obtain different kinds of support: jobs (also in workshops for people with disabilities), social housing, home care, apprenticeship positions. Even seniors are provided venues for leisure activities.
The business concept of the 40-seat restaurant is non-profit. Running the site with deli shop and a catering branch in Casco Antiguo provides 50 per cent of the total income of Amadip. Furthermore Amadip offers services such as cleaning, gardening and printing of any kind of publication. The rest of the income is generated through donations and subsidies. Amadip has more than 45 years of tradition and works closely in touch with the employment office (INEM), the social department (SOIB), the Insular Council (Consell) and the Balearic Government (Govern).
Many ingredients for the restaurant – especially vegetables and fruits – are grown in the horta (vegetable gardens) of Amadip in Son Ferriol. – where there are also many disabled people employed. The natural taste of the ecological agricultural products is obvious, although Porcel doesn’t have an official bio-certificate: “Because we must buy some ingredients like fish or meat somewhere else – and our clients would consider certified bio-food too expensive.”
Every Friday is the unofficial peak of the week at Amadip: dinner is served from 9 p.m. until after midnight. A special meal including several courses (menu de degustación) is served, which would fit very well with any gourmet restaurant. Chef Toni is a recognized specialist: he has previously worked at celebrated venues like Read’s Hotel (one Michelin star) in Santa Maria, Bens d’Avall near Deià and Plat d’Or at Arabella Sheraton Son Vida (one Michelin star). However, he is very understated. He’s only part of a concept more important than the food.
The combination of the meal varies every week and is notified to regulars by an email newsletter. abcMallorca is privileged to sample the following dishes on a marvellous evening in June: Gazpacho with watermelon and balsamico (apertura), Carpaccio of beef with salad of green beans (entrante), fillet of loup de mer with vegetable lasagna and parmesan crème (fish course), followed by lamb with Biryani dressing (meat course) and, for dessert, Pannacotta with mint and Coulis with red fruits. All together these delicacies surprisingly cost only 26 €, including VAT.
The white wine served by our waiter Rafael is a Mallorcan Son Bordils Muscat 2008. Regarding red wine, he recommends the ecological Apunt d’es Plà. We also drink the starter, Gazpacho with watermelon. It tastes fresh and spicy. The medium-fried Carpaccio is absolutely tender, it tastes a little salty and melts like butter on the tongue. The loup de mer lasagna is a wonderful sweet and sour mixture. Some of these dishes, sandwiches and the insider tip Fét a Sóller ice cream are available to go at the Amadip deli shop.
The Amadip restaurant is a hidden gem in the heart of Mallorca’s capital, an interesting venue for connoisseurs, for people who don´t want to spend a lot and for charity supporters. One can see directly where the money of this “everyday charity” goes to. There is a second Amadip restaurant in Palma Nova, designed to attract more foreign residents and tourists. The extension fits with their guiding principle: “We are never satisfied with our achievements.”