Santa Catalina Market is Palma’s oldest food market, located west of the city center, in the neighborhood bearing the same name, outside the city walls of Es Baluard and just off Avenida Argentina where this neighborhood begins and the old town ends.
This area was traditionally lived in by fishermen due to its proximity to the sea, perched above the Port and the Paseo Marítimo who, in turn, were joined by rope and bread makers hence the molinos, some of which can still be found in Es Jonquet and Calle Industria.
Its position explains its popularity among the yachting community today in what has now become a culinary meeting place within a cosmopolitan neighborhood, full of restaurants and bars mixing locals with foreign residents as well as visitors to the island from around the world.
The Santa Catalina neighborhood has managed to conserve many of its typical houses of one or two floors with balconies and Mallorcan-style shutters and small gardens or patios, including some of the grander, Modernist-style houses which enriched the neighborhood at the end of the 19th Century/beginning of the 20th Century built by those returning from Cuba, known as indianos.
The market is the oldest of all the markets in Palma, predating L’Olivar and Pere Garau. The building we know today was built around 1920 and divided up into proper individual stalls in 1978. The roof was changed in 2000, followed by public loos and offices five years later, with a cold room being added as late as 2011.
Santa Catalina maintains the character of a traditional market offering fresh, mostly local produce on a seasonal basis to those accustomed to buying fresh food on a daily basis, but with all of today’s advantages; it has become a meeting place not only for the ordinary customer but also the professional chef or gourmand or anyone looking for information or advice, where besides doing your daily shop you can enjoy special events, taste new flavors or just stroll around and eat something at one of the market bars and let your senses do the rest.
Food has become a cultural phenomenon. Without traditional food markets, cities and their population lose part of their culture and identity.
Have a tapa with a glass of wine, listen to the chatter and take in the smells. Market garden produce, vegetables, spices, meat and fish, top quality elaborated foodstuffs including the very best wines, local almonds, sheep’s cheese, black pork sobrassada, split or whole olives, typical Mallorcan bread for pa amb oli and extra virgin oil that is now exported around the world.
The market offers a spectacle that changes color with the seasons and where you can still smell the produce. Buying locally produced food is not only more ecological and nutritional – it also helps support local agriculture and its farmers who are the real protectors of the landscape that has made Mallorca loved and appreciated worldwide. If we buy locally AND seasonally, produce retains its taste - something which is missing in much of the food we consume today, however perfect it looks!The Santa Catalina neighborhood