Plate with a view: Es Pla Menorca, Spain

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The Independent Travel

The Plate

The comme il faut way to approach Es Pla restaurant is by launch from your yacht, left anchored at the mouth of the attractive lagoon upon which sits the water-sports heaven of Fornells. This is certainly the favoured method of King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and saves His Majesty from having to navigate the miserly non-resident car parking offered by this white-washed former fishing village. The reigning monarch apparently pays pilgrimages to Es Pla in order to tuck in to this bustling family restaurant's indeed the island's signature dish of caldereta de langosta, an unctuous lobster stew that is Fornells' answer to the British Sunday roast. In fact, lobster comes all ways here: sauted in whisky, baked with garlic mayonnaise on the side, grilled, plain boiled or tossed into a paella. But if large red crustaceans aren't your thing, or you'd prefer not to bust the purse strings, then a delicious seafood paella makes an acceptably delicious alternative. The rest of the menu is packed with the tourist staples of just about every Menorcan eatery, from grilled loin of pork, to fried hake, by way of cuttlefish and a distinctly retro prawn cocktail.

The View

It's important to book ahead for Sunday lunch, especially in season, and particularly if you want one of the tables overlooking the clear blue water of the bay. A natural harbour on Menorca's less spoilt northern coast (not that much of Menorca has been ravaged by mass tourism, thanks to enlightened governance since the Sixties), Fornells' naturally wave-free, but still windy, position makes it an ideal centre for dinghy-sailors and windsurfers. The view is of moored boats, their rigging flapping in the welcome breeze, fish darting in the shallows, and beyond that the bay and bare rugged hills. This part of the island designated a biosphere reserve by Unesco is rich in flora. So if you want to do something more active after your meal than just flopping on a nearby beach, there are some fine walks to be had, particularly in spring and early summer.

The Bill

As the fame of Es Pla's caldereta has grown, so have the prices, and a large dish of what the menu modestly describes as "crayfish soup" will set you back a thumping €69.50 (50) a large wedge by Menorcan standards. Other lobster dishes vary in price from €60 (43) to €71 (51). Paellas are better value at €32 (23) for two people to share, while the ever-dependable Torres de Casta Rosado (a ros wine, just the ticket for this sort of meal) is a modest €10 (7).

Es Pla, Fornells, Menorca, Spain (00 34 971 376 655). Open daily 1-3pm and also from 7-11pm at weekends.

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