Mallorca has claimed the hearts of many people who had chosen a nautical career. Former superyacht captain Eran Gindi and his wife Ruth – who was a superyacht chef – are two of those; they came ashore to anchor themselves on this beautiful Mediterranean island and pursue their dream.
The couple – Eran is Israeli and Ruth is Irish – opened their organic eatery Santosha in Palma in January 2016. But it’s more than just a place to eat or drink: it has the feel of a friendly community hub and a well-used noticeboard is crammed with details of their various events and the activities of other like-minded people.
Santosha is in a quiet lane just off C/ Bonaire and, despite being only a few minutes’ walk from the heart of Palma’s prime shopping area, offers an escape from the bustle of Mallorca’s capital. Ruth and her small team work in the semi-open kitchen, where we’re pleased to learn there is no deep-fat fryer or microwave oven.
If that already sounds healthy, there’s more: Santosha offers only home-cooked food, carefully prepared from seasonal and organic local produce. If it’s not local, it’ll be ethically sourced from fair-trade producers or suppliers sharing the couple’s respect for the environment, sustainability, and animal welfare.
Eran – who painstakingly restored the eye-catching vintage FAEMA coffee machine on the counter – is front of house, welcoming customers with a smile and a seemingly unflagging enthusiasm for what he does.
Santosha is housed in an old stone property, renovated to retain traditional Mallorcan architectural features – such as the massive wooden exterior doors, ceiling beams, and handsome stone arches. Be sure to look down too: in front of the wicker-clad counter, under a section of glass floor, stands an old motorbike made by Ossa (a Spanish company that originally made film projectors).
You’ll find a mix of tables and seating, vintage-style light bulbs creating warm lighting, and a stack of books you can dive into. Walk past the counter and a stone-framed doorway leads to a cosy rear area, with chairs and tables and some sofas. This tucked-away space is a magnet for young families during the daytime. Here, nursing mums can feed their babies in relative privacy; toddlers play without disturbing customers at the front of the café, and baby buggies are unlikely to get in anyone’s way.
What we ate and drank
We had Santosha’s set menú del día: three courses, including still or sparkling water for 14,90€ each. While we waited, we nibbled good pita bread (made by an authentic pita baker in Palma) with home-made hummus and crisp home-pickled vegetables. A good starter of simple but flavourful parsnip soup came with two slices of crusty bread. We then had golden crêpes filled with spinach, feta cheese, and sautéed cabbage, with a well-dressed mixed-leaves salad – delicious, satisfying, and healthy. Dessert was a cake-like olive oil and orange pudding, which was moist and zingy with flavour and made the most of local produce. Ruth also makes delicious brownies and cheesecakes, if you’re choosing from the main menu.
Being a big fan of ginger, I chose one of Santosha’s home-made drinks: Jamaican ginger juice. I’d had it before and it’s so good I didn’t even think about having a glass of wine. My friend Charlotte – on her first visit to Santosha – chose Gindi’s ginger beer, which she said had “a good kick”.
Cold drinks include wines from Mallorca and the Peninsula (many of them organic), craft and alcohol-free beers, and soft drinks. Turmeric milk, spiced chai masala, fair-trade loose-leaf and herb teas, and single-origin coffee roasted by Mistral Coffee in Palma are also offered.
Santosha is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘contentment, satisfaction, and gratitude’. You can experience each of these on a body-and-soul-nourishing visit to this Palma eatery.
If you haven’t yet tried Santosha, I recommend it for the honest, tasty cuisine made with organic produce and a liberal dash of love. And for the warm ambience and welcome.
We paid a total of 35€ for our two lunches and home-made ginger drinks.
Good to know
If you’re a movie fan, check out Santosha’s Thursday-night Sala Cinco Dinner & Film Club. Other events include live music on Saturday nights and occasional workshops.
Santosha has recently changed its opening hours to the following:
Brunch 10:00-15:30h Thursday to Sunday; Dinner 19:00-23:00h Wednesday to Saturday. A new daytime menu has also been introduced.
Written by Jan Edwards
About the author
Jan is an English freelance writer, blogger, and radio broadcaster, who moved from Oxfordshire to Mallorca in 2004. She and her husband – aka The Boss – have since lived in rural tranquillity in a solar-electricity-powered finca near Manacor. They share their property with eight cats – only one of which moved to the island with them.
A former BBC local radio presenter, Jan hosts a weekly show on the English-language station Mallorca Sunshine Radio.
Jan has had numerous Mallorca-related articles published in print and online. She also blogs about her country life on www.livinginruralmallorca.com and two favourite subjects – gastronomy and hospitality – on www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com. She has had several short stories published and is currently writing a novel.