It was a delight to start the festive season with an invitation to the beautifully-refurbished Bahia Mediterraneo. The restaurant has been a hidden gem on the Paseo Maritimo for many years – you approach the discreet entrance, enter the narrow ground floor hall and take the lift. You step out into an exterior terrace with amazing panoramic views. Straight ahead is the grand entrance, now handsomely decked in festive decorations.
Having visited the restaurant last year, the transformation was a revelation. The vintage flavour had been subtly retained but given a fresh contemporary lift. The tiled floor had been changed to warm parquet, perfectly in keeping with the vintage vibe. The beautiful glass chandeliers with glass crystals draped like palm leaves were still there but extra spotlights and uplighters now add a warm glow.
The entrance was warmly welcoming with its white grand piano and Christmas decorations. A new area of banquette seating now divides the huge room into a less formal space with smaller square tables and an area of larger round tables. Most impressive of all, the interior dining space had been transformed into a cool bar with dark walls, sultry wall paintings, dramatic lighting and a vast illuminated bar with a vast array of bottles. High bar stools in dark mushroom velvet and cosy corner seats now give the space a completely different flavour.
The views from the outdoor terraces are just as impressive, including the charming white temple which frames views of Palma cathedral. The other two dining terraces provide two very different and flexible spaces, both with superb views.
We sipped chilled cava and nibbled on home-made chicken croquettes – flavoursome, very crunchy and piping hot- before joining sector colleagues at the round tables to sample the new dinner menu.
Starters included large succulent prawns with crispy coatings and spicy mayonnaise. There was toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and topped with prime Iberian ham and tomato carpaccio in an array of colours from yellow to green. Then we were introduced to salt-encased sea bass which was spirited away to reappear as succulent fillets. Galician tenderloin was served on a rustic wooden platter to share with a creamy Bearnaise sauce in tiny copper saucepans. Sides of Parmesan broccoli, straw potatoes and crunchy sweet potato wedges were presented in rustic vintage containers.
It was hard to find a space for desserts but individual apple fritters in tiny, black chocolate terrine cheesecake and chocolate coulard, served with fresh forest fruits and ice cream were too tempting to resist.
It was a joy to rediscover this hidden gem now confidently updated and rejuvenated with a fresh menu and management team bringing out its many highlights.