Plate With A View: El Colomer, Mallorca

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The Independent Travel

"The queen sat there", says Sion Lopez, general manager of the Hotel Formentor, as he points to a table along the terrace.

THE PLATE

"The queen sat there", says Sion Lopez, general manager of the Hotel Formentor, as he points to a table along the terrace. Spain's royal family is inclined to drop in without warning for lunch at El Colomer, the premier restaurant at his hotel.

This continues a tradition established by the rich and famous in the 1930s, when celebrities were about the only tourists in Mallorca. Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and Princess Grace have all dined here (though not at the same time).

Some indulgent hotel guests eat three meals a day here; if you have to pick just one, then follow her majesty's example and make it lunch.

Tumbet is Mallorca's signature dish, and is available at almost every restaurant on the island that does not sell full English breakfasts; but the most delicate combination of aubergine, peppers and tomatoes is served here. The optimum seafood varies from one day to the next; the sea bass, simply grilled and served, is usually reliable. Unless you plan an especially long siesta, stick to the fresh fruit salad for dessert.

THE VIEW

You don't just taste the Mediterranean - you see it, too, shimmering beyond the gardens that are full of flowers even this late in the season. Formentor is the hard-to-reach peninsula at the far north of the island, but the restaurant faces east over the lovely bay of Alcudia. Unlike the mirror-image bay of Palma, at the south of Mallorca, this is largely free of high-rises. A couple of boats may waft across the horizon, bringing day trippers to a nearby beach, but otherwise nothing should spoil your view of the hills that corrugate the far shore.

THE BILL

With a couple of glasses of Mallorcan wine, your lunch will cost around €70 (£50); if your prefer merely to see how the elite live, an excellent café con leche is just €3 (£2.20).

El Colomer, Hotel Formentor, Mallorca (00 34 971 89 91 00; www.hotelformentor.net)

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