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Review: Royalty reigns supreme

Age and beauty


Delivering a fresh perspective on things is something I love to do as a reviewer and no better place to do it than the long established Royalty restaurant in Santa Eulalia. It first came to life in 1933 as a hotel café, which went on to become a restaurant, then later an island institution. It's open all year round and some of its regulars go there three times a day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, an afternoon cake or whatever takes their fancy.

Its ace is its informality and warm service combined with good honest food at reasonable prices; you can see why it's remained open all these years. It's also a place people go to for some quiet. During the summer, you'll see it full to the gills with tourists, though its relaxed charm never wavers. Winter is the time to go to rub shoulders with locals and other tourists in the know.

Food for all times of day

Royalty does a nice breakfast selection: tortillas, yoghurt and muesli, scrambled eggs and bacon and egg. They offer lots of different breads, fresh juices and all of it is done very well. They offer sandwiches, a great selection of freshly made tapas, the hamburgers are made in-house and very delicious plus they have an amazing array of cakes baked locally by two island bakeries, one in San Jordi and the other an Argentinian pastelería around the corner from the restaurant.

Those cakes bear a big mention. There's red fruit tortes, carrot cake, rich dark chocolate cakes, local pastries, apple cake; a cheesecake that's a work of art and lots more. You get heaps of different herbal teas as well as good coffees and teas with which to enjoy one of these farinaceous fancies. They do cocktails in summer and as well as their own list of classics, they can do just about any cocktail you ask them to do.

Another thing you should know are that this place offers a great menu del día for what is a very reasonable €15. The menu on the day of this review had things such as vermicelli soup with Serrano ham, sole stuffed with salmon, pork fillet stuffed with plums and bacon and a lemon sorbet with Champagne. You can't knock that. Then a tapas menu which offers 3 tapas and a glass of wine for around €16. You can change the drink too for water or a coke and there are deals for two and three people as well.

Posh ham and eggs

The a-la-carte menu is what we opted for; going for what we thought would be a lightish lunch, though the portion sizes made it a very good feed. We shared a starter of broken eggs with Serrano ham. This comes as a stack of potatoes with eggs cooked roughly through them and topped with the ham and baked peppers. Posh ham and eggs is something the Spanish do well, benefitting from some of the best cured ham in the world as well as their ingenuity. This was just delicious, something you'd want to eat all day, every day.

We went for what's popular with the customers, the above dish being one of them, the Brie salad with red fruits another. For the main course we took one of their celebrated burgers and chicken with a mustard and tarragon cream sauce. The burger was stupendous, large of size with roughly minced meat, it's topped with egg, cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce and caramelised red onion. No prizes for guessing that it went down fantastically well with my dining partner.

My chicken was a nice big piece of breast with that lovely sauce and came with baked tomatoes and halved medium-sized creamy potatoes in their skins. The hearty portion and deliciousness of it all kept me sated for most of the rest of the day. Tarragon and chicken together is like painting the exotic on an almost blank canvas – it's a marriage that is classic for a reason, it works damned well.

Lovely cakes and sweets

Desserts come to you via that lovely cake and pudding display but we only had room for something small: a Magdalena de Ibiza. Not like a normal sponge Magdalena but made with puff pastry and topped with a sweetened mixture of ground almonds. It had that lovely slightly burnt caramel thing going on and was the perfect end to a good lunch.

One thing to mention is that the paella selection is very good here. Course, we couldn't actually do that as well – there's just so much stuff here, but it's not an overlong menu, so you know the food is fresh. Royalty this place indeed is and its position among the Pantheon of good long-established restaurants remains intact. All that now remains, is for you to go and see for yourself.

Quick Facts

What? Royalty

Where? 51 San Jaime, Santa Eulalia

When? 7.30am to 11.00pm with the kitchen fully open for serving main meals from 12-4pm and 7-11.30pm. Note: for a late dinner, better to get there before the offiical 11pm closing time.

Why? A piece of Santa Eulalia history and good honest and tasty food

Average spend per head? €25 for a starter, main, dessert and a glass of wine

Veggie Options? There's a veg paella, salads that can be made bigger and sandwiches.

Disabled Facilities? Not yet, though access is easy. To note is that there are baby-changing facilities

Top tips? Go at the different times of day to fully appreciate why the locals hold in such high regard

Room for Improvement? Nothing that would drastically change this place, it would lose all character.

WORDS | Julian Heathcote PHOTOGRAPHY | Peter Young

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