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Tonight, for my birthday dinner it was mixed paella finished off with a hierbas liquor from the Balearic Islands served "on la casa" by the friendly restaurant staff. The place I chose for this orgy was Can Rafalet in Es Calo de Sant Agustí which boasts the prettiest views on the island.

Here the sea is at its turquoise best and I like the paella here. Whereas other places serve rice with "some things in it" this place serves a paella worth its salt, studded with meat and seafood.

As soon as you sit down you get a delicious aioli loaded with garlic, the obligatory olives and a basket of crusty rolls set before you. The aioli is proper garlicky and the rolls are used to scoop up the dip, which is said to be first introduced by the Roman emperor Nero in between his fiddle lessons.

I knew exactly what I wanted and I even got confident enough to order in Spanish “Por favor Tomar me paella mixta“ You can only order paella for two so I had to eat it all myself!

Because my friend Bernadette does not eat meat and fish, she settled for a rather delicious Ensalada de queso de Cabra (goat's cheese salad).

It was wonderful, and the view wasn't bad either.

Actually, as you can see the view is outstanding.

This was the best paella I think I have had in a restaurant on the island. The flavours were fused together beautifully with the saffron and the seafood, fish and chicken.

After finishing I then questioned the astonished waiters when they found an empty pan whether this was for one or two people. I was just messing with them and besides, it was my birthday and the day demanded an excess of some kind. The waiter boasted his grandmother's paella was the best “por supuesto” I exclaimed. (of course)

When they found out I was from California and were visibly impressed (I even sang them a Beach Boys song) we were plied with copious amounts of hierbas, the local potent liquor, and so we stumbled back home just down the road drunk and stuffed, (at least I was) and swearing not to eat or drink anything for at least 24 hours.

All kinds of fish and seafood are available here, all of excellent quality.

The Bullit de peix is also very good.

The restaurant has been here for many years, serving the traditional food of the Island.

To avoid confusion there are two places side by side here, both with very nice sea views:

1) Cafe Rafalet, which is part of the hostal Rafalet

2) Restaurant Can Rafalet

If you want tapas and "pan con Cosas" and a good breakfast you go to Cafe Rafalet. They don't make table reservations. If you want one of the various paella/rice dishes you should book a table in the first row to have the best sea view at:


Carrer Sant Agustí 1, 07872 Es Caló, Formentera +34 971 32 70 77

Open 13:00 - 23:30 from 26th May - 30th September.

Words © Jonathon Lipsin

Returning to the Island made Jonathon relive his early favourites in music. Some of them here.

A mix for Bernadette "The blues lady of Formentera"

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