Best known as ‘the lamb restaurant’, Es Verger is a rustic establishment halfway up the Puig de Alaró mountain, offering typical Mallorcan cuisine. When British chef Rick Stein recorded a BBC TV programme here in 2012, he declared the shoulder of lamb (slow roasted in beer in the huge restaurant’s wood-fired oven) to be the best lamb he’d ever tasted. It should be pointed out though that Rick tends to say pretty much the same whatever and wherever he eats! Nevertheless, the lamb is good – and is the reason so many tourists and locals come here.
The journey up to this simple white-painted building is not the easiest. If you drive, you’ll be tackling a narrow winding road, with a steep drop to one side in places. Whilst the long countryside views are spectacular, meeting a vehicle coming in the opposite direction can be challenging. For nervous drivers, anyone who suffers from travel sickness or vertigo, or owners of super-duper cars, we recommend the walk from Alaró itself (about 90 minutes), following the signs for the Castell d’Alaró.
There is a large parking area by Es Verger, but it’s also used by walkers heading for the castle. On a fine spring Sunday we had to abandon our plans for lunch here because there was nowhere to park. Best to avoid the weekends ….
Inside, the restaurant is authentically rustic, with agricultural implements decorating the walls. The delicious aroma of wood-smoke and roasting meat from the oven compensates for the basic furniture and sometimes rather indifferent service.
The lamb shoulder – ‘paletilla de cordero’ – is your reason to come. It’s succulent and satisfying, served with tiny roast potatoes and a very basic salad – perfect after a long walk. If you arrive after 14:00h you may find it’s sold out, so plan to get there in good time for this star dish.