Majorca has some splendid restaurants serving authentic local cuisine at its best (why are they never awarded a Michelin star?) and some very good pastries too.
But there is only one place where, under the same centuries-old roof, you will be served good local cuisine and the best in terms of French pies and cakes.
This place is Restaurante-Celler Sa Sini in Santa María and right in the city center, on the main street, where it occupies the ground floor of a 16th century house.
Sa Sini has been preparing the best Mallorcan dishes for 56 years, but French pies and cakes only arrived 25 years ago. It was then that Andrea Terrades Massion moved from Peguera to Santa María.
Andrea was born in Nantes, a town on the Loire in western France, where she studied accounting and learned to bake French pastries. She had a Mallorcan father and a French mother and eventually landed in Peguera where she made French pastries in a German-owned tea room, then in her own Café Paris, before moving to Santa María to run Sa Sini with her husband. From that moment, Sa Sini became the restaurant on the island with the best and largest selection of French cakes and pies. There isn’t a Michelin starred place that’s even in the same league of patisseries…not just in Mallorca but in all of Spain…and France. Andrea has built a repertoire of over 50 recipes and 25 of them are on display every day at the restaurant — and even more on Sundays and holidays. Every pie and cake at Sa Sini is made with only the finest ingredients. This includes fresh fruits like raspberries, strawberries and cranberries. Andrea uses only salted butter, like all the best pastry chefs in France.
None of the pastries are listed on the menu. At the end of the menu it simply says ‘Try our delicious homemade desserts‘ and it gives a single price: 4.15 €. This means that each piece of pie or cake costs an incredibly low €4.15. I don’t know of any other half decent restaurant with desserts as inexpensive as this one – and they are pastries made with butter and fresh fruit like raspberries and cranberries. And it’s not like Andrea is a model and doesn’t know how to calculate her costs and charge accordingly. She studied accounting and has publicly stated that her experience in this field taught her how to calculate costs and calculate profit margins.
Although I am writing this review in the last days of April, I actually ate at Sa Sini in December last year. At that time, the strawberries I bought in Palma (in some of the better places) weren’t very sweet. But those of Sa Sini’s strawberry cake, which had done nothing for them, were very sweet. In other words, it was a kind of top strawberry. With the increase in the price of electricity, gas, transport costs, food prices and a long etcetera, I phoned the restaurant to make sure that all the cakes and pies still cost only €4.15. The waiter who took my call said almost mockingly: “Of course, the prices are always the same.”
If you are an attentive newspaper reader, you may have noticed that the ‘invoice’ section of the review does not mention the €4.15 price of our Raspberry Tart and Strawberry Cake.
It’s because I went to Sa Sini with Pepe Ariza who was one of Andrea’s suppliers in his early years and is also a regular customer. She never charged him for dessert. I can assure you that not all restaurateurs are that generous. There is a slight downside to this opinion: Andrea will retire at the end of June. The good news is that for the last six months she taught her successor how to make her over 50 recipes for pies and cakes.
So there will be continuity in the pastry part of the kitchen. I’ll be back at the end of the summer to see how the new pastry chef is doing. I’m pretty sure Andrea is as good a teacher as she is a baker.
Sa Sini is a restaurant where you will eat some of the best known dishes that Mallorca is famous for. The owner happens to have a wife of French descent (Majorcan descent) and she is an expert pastry chef. Thus, diners at Sa Sini also enjoy the largest selection of the best French pies and cakes on the island. It’s a good culinary mix, and because the prices here are so reasonable, the place fills up twice a day for six days of the week. Sa Sini is also appreciated because it is in a superb setting, on the ground floor of a splendid 16th century house in the very center of town. Our Mallorcan dishes were well prepared and the cod fritters were immediately worth £10. The frito de matanza dish was perfect as was the wet version of the tumbet. Our slices of raspberry pie and strawberry cake were both rated 10 and they cost €4.15 each, the price set for each of the 25 pastries that are still on display. Be sure to reserve a table when eating here – all other diners do.
You will eat some of the best known dishes Mallorca is famous for at this restaurant.
Raola de bacalao – 8.75€
Frito of matanzas – 9.50€
Grave – 7.90€
Spinach croquettes – 7.50€
2 red wines – 4.40€
2 cans – 4.40€
Total cost with VAT: €42.45
Celler Sa Sini, Plaça Hostels 20, Santa María del Camí. Tel: 971-620352. Closed on Mondays. Open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. It is always best to book, even on weekdays.