You know a restaurant feels confident with its food when they let a white wall in the main dining area become a canvas for satisfied diners, who over the years have written their praise for the food and chef Alvaro, an amiable host whose dynamic menu of tapas and small plates is both creative and satisfying.
The generous menu at Casa Alvaro is formed around Spanish cooking, but not exclusively, with subtle references to Asian, Middle Eastern, and most interestingly, to Mexican cuisine, something diners rarely experience on Mallorca and a definite treat. We started the meal with a plate of flautas, a traditional Mexican dish that Alvaro prepared perfectly––the crispy, rolled tortilla light and flaky but not falling apart after one bite. The flautas, (not always on the menu), were stuffed with breaded chicken and served with a light green tomatillo sauce, shredded cheese and sour cream. This was followed by a plate of “scrambled mushrooms,” a host of wild mushrooms prepared so as to keep all their juice and texture, along with small bits of artichoke. Served at the table with a raw egg which is immediately scrambled together, it had a nutty, garlic taste that embraced the coming fall season.
Though there are plenty of meat and fish based dishes, the vegetable-forward menu makes the most of fresh and seasonal ingredients, and this shone through particularly in, “vegetables from our garden,” a beautiful array of small veg—including baby carrots, brussels sprouts, peppers and cherry tomatoes, cooked at a low temperature and arranged on a bed of “edible soil,” which was a light, almond based powder. The vegetables were just the right texture––lightly cooked but still crunchy and keeping their full, fresh flavour, and the “carrot with roasted onion,” lacquered baby carrots with a sake-roasted onion glaze, were also an inventive way to push a vegetable dish as more than just a side dish.
For the main courses, though these too can be for sharing, we tried the Quail’s Nest with foie gras and fig. It had a creative presentation but was bit too sweet for my taste, while the Negre (black) squid, served with a sauce of huitlacoche, a highly undervalued Mexican ingredient, and toasted rice had an nice earthy/seafood flavour. There were several desserts listed on the menu. The lemon tart with meringue crumble was a highlight, the crema catalana was less inspiring.
Chef Alvaro doesn’t seem to be afraid to push the boundaries, letting experimentation guide his inventive spirit––and that is part of the charm of Casa Alvaro, and why it continues to be a local favourite.
Why eat here?
Get off the main square of Sóller and have an authentic culinary experience with style.