La Rosa Vermutería : Palma de Mallorca, Spain
I love vermouth, so much so I made this little International Society devoted to it. So it stands to reason that, in every city I visit, I turn on the vermut radar to see out spots to try new and old favorites.
So on a recent trip to Palma de Mallorca, of course we ended up at La Rosa Vermutería. Palma de Mallorca is a strange town. Invaded several generations ago by Germans, much of local tradition has been pushed to the outskirts or even denied completely, by locals themselves. This has left room for global trends, for trends imported from the mainland peninsula, and for resurgence of things from the forgotten past. However, it is still very much a city re-discovering itself—and its appetite.
La Rosa Vermutería is a lovely spot that couldn't possibly be more on-trend. Part of a breed of new-old bodegas where vermouth is the star drink, this place is a Disneyland for the vermouth lover. Over 20 vermouths dot the bar, with the most expensive ones coming in around €5.50, vermouths imported from France and Italy. Truly, though, there is no need to splurge on these imported versions of vermouth, when Spain's artisan scene is EXPLODING. Order a vermut Montaner instead, keeping your drinking roots closer to home.
In the tradition of Barcelona's Casa Mariol, there are nods to comida viejuna, like an extensive list of conserved seafood ranging from mackerel (above) to sardines to octopus. This Spanish version of "fast food" has a long history, its raison d'etre being to make perishable food readily available all year round. And to pair magically with vermouth.
Like another Barcelona favorite, Bodega 1900, there are also aspirations to modern cuisine glory, like the above dish of anchovies, mahonés cream, and pepper "crystals". It was tasty, but a bit clumsy, and in the end kept me wishing for more old-fashioned canned fish.
Vermutería La Rosa is hot....you can catch Palma's young in-crowd gathering at night and on the weekends, and a table can be hard to find. And the decor is equally "on-trend", that perfect combo of vintage and modern, of carefully curated yet somehow happenstance aesthetic.
God bless it, Vermutería La Rosa has something that just makes me happy. A must visit on the island.