Located in the former Son Orlandis ‘tafona’ (olive press) between Andratx and Port d’Andratx, Oliu is owned by the talented young Mallorcan chef Joan Porcel Balaguer.
As you enter the gates of the property, which is on the main road, there is a large car park and, to the right, a lovely garden with fountain.
Oliu Cuina Mediterrania
English & Spanish
The building has been superbly restored with a smart contemporary interior and open kitchen, where you can see Joan and his team at work. In fine weather you can dine on the terrace, admiring views of the garden and mountains beyond.
Inspired by Mallorca’s typical traditional dishes and recipes, Joan elevates his culinary inventions to unexpected heights: pure innovation.
Oliu’s tempting and surprisingly affordable seasonal menu may include delights such as a sophisticated ‘Pa amb oli’ with a sphere of cheese and a sobrasada centre, fried Mahi-Mahi (fish) with puffed rice, roasted peppers and tamarind as well as the never-changing star dessert made from olive oil, vanilla, and chocolate.
The fine Mallorcan Treurer de Algaida olive oil is a key ingredient – chef even creates his own pearls of oil. A must-visit for anyone looking for an original and delicious interpretation of Mediterranean cuisine.
Former Restaurant Reviews
At just 25, Mallorcan chef Joan Porcel Balaguer achieved his dream: opening his own restaurant in July 2013. Now, at the ripe old age of 28, his establishment Oliu – on the left-hand side of the road from Andratx to the port (just before the Sant Elm road) – has become a foodie must-visit and attracts glowing TripAdvisor reviews.
At the age of 14, Joan was washing dishes in his family’s small Peguera hotel, but went on to study catering. He gained experience in quality restaurants in Aspen and Seattle (USA), in Spain with star chefs Juan Arzak and Martín Berasategui, and worked in the kitchens of several restaurants in Mallorca’s southwest. “As a chef, you never stop learning,” Joan told us. We went for lunch on a Sunday that wasn’t warm (or dry) enough to sit out on the terrace, but the huge picture windows offer the same view: a charming garden area with palm and olive trees, raised beds full of lavender, and a fountain – with a backdrop of hills and mountains. At night the garden is illuminated for alfresco dining.
The restaurant décor is smart and contemporary, with exposed stone walls, cream-painted ceiling and beams – and comfortable dining chairs. A further dining space is also suitable for private groups. The kitchen – open to view – reveals a young team (several of them either Joan’s former work colleagues, or related to him).
Oliu serves lunch and dinner (closed Mondays) and offers an interesting small à la carte menu (in Spanish, German and English) of Mediterranean dishes, simply described. Fresh fish comes locally “from Pepe”; eggs from a nearby farm. Joan uses the fine Treurer olive oil but, in two or three years, will have oil from his own olives.
We sampled tasters from each menu section, starting with the innovative Mini Airbags stuffed with Mahon cheese; these small puffed ‘bags’ of thin bread dough are filled with melted cheese and topped with Joan’s own pearls of olive oil. Another excellent starter marries white asparagus with melt-in-the-mouth foie and a vinaigrette made from the charred outer leaves of leeks, giving a subtle smoky taste to the dish.
Of the four salads, we tried orange, lettuce hearts and olives – fresh-tasting and zingy, with the surprise element of spherified olives. Joan has a whole of box of modern culinary tricks up his chef’s jacket sleeve.
From the pasta and rice section, we sampled what’s called packets of black truffle and oyster mushrooms – perfectly cooked pasta ‘bags’ packed with flavour. Fish dishes on the menu include scallops with egg yolk truffles and almond cream and the white tuna Baobab, which was one of the best tuna dishes I’ve ever eaten, accompanied by a confit baby turnip (delicious). Slices of pork fillet on a light flaky pastry (Mallorcan pork fillet Wellington and sobrasada sauté – 21 euros) were topped with a combo of sobrasada, honey and pine nuts. Sautéed vegetables and crispy straw potatoes completed the dish.
And so to the finale: the dessert named Oliu – permanently on the seasonally changing menu. Made from olive oil, vanilla and dark chocolate (9 euros), it’s a thing of beauty to see and a revelation to eat. If you follow your meal with a coffee, it’ll be accompanied by two crispy biscuits – yes, olive oil features in these too. Wines are reasonably priced and mainly from the Spanish mainland. Prices range from 14 euros for the white ‘Piedra Papel Tijera’ up to 133 euros for the luxurious Aalto PS (Ribera del Duero). Our only slight criticism of Oliu is the lack of more Mallorcan wines. But the food is excellent, the service friendly and enthusiastic, and the chef is modest and amiable. We’ll definitely be back.