Looking at the exterior of this inviting place, on a corner behind the church of San Miguel, you may wonder who Mari-lin is. Locals could tell you that the premises were once home to a shop named Mari-lin, selling uniforms. When Mari-Lin Café Lounge opened in the summer of 2012, a small part of Palma’s retail history was preserved in its name.
The location is tranquil: pedestrians only, and photogenic. Mari-lin is at the top of a browse-worthy lane full of small interesting businesses. Sit indoors or on the terrace outside (with heaters in cooler weather), facing the rear walls of the 17th-century church of San Miguel, and a picturesque old flight of steps. Mari-lin’s outdoor pale-pink wicker chairs are the same as those indoors, where the décor is stylish but relaxed. It has something of the ambience of a Parisian café (but with much friendlier staff!).
Open all day, you can come here for hot drinks, cocktails, snacks, lunch or dinner. We had lunch and sat indoors, admiring the art on the walls and the style of the place. We sipped a glass of cava and munched on gold-dusted Mallorcan almonds as we studied the menu, presented in Spanish, English, and German. The choice is plentiful: sandwiches, ‘pa amb oli’ (bread with oil), tapas, salads, pasta and rice dishes, fish, meat, and desserts. Specials of the day are also offered.
We shared a starter of courgette carpaccio: wafer-thin slices of courgette dressed lightly with olive oil, pesto, shaved Parmesan, and sprinkled with crushed almonds; simple, healthy, and surprisingly good.
We shared two main courses: the fish of the day, seabass, simply grilled with a good mix of sautéed vegetables – an excellent choice – and a generous portion of scallop and prawn ravioli.
We can’t report on the dessert – we had no room for it – but the menu includes crowd-pleasers such as cheesecake with red fruits, tiramisu, and half-a-dozen flavours of organic ice cream.
The warm welcome, friendly service and free Wi-Fi make this is a good place to stop for a coffee, snack, meal, or evening cocktail. Whenever you visit, try and find time to stroll down the lane to have a look at the 4-star Art Hotel Palma which, like Mari-lin, is owned by the charming former Palma antique dealer Pepe Rubio.
This restaurant is closed for holidays during February.