Impressions

The Best Paella in Mallorca

New York chef Camille Becerra describes time travel, a restaurant accessible only by boat, and Cenote Zaci.

Highly subjective takes on life's most interesting experiences.



What was your most surreal travel experience?

Cuba is by far the most surreal. Time is different there; beyond the buildings and the cars there's a lack of general overpopulation that happens in the modern world, making it transportive, literally like time travel. On an evening stroll you can find yourself in the 1940s; cobblestone streets, fragrant aromas from the tropical night blossoms, hanging vines, and horn instruments in the distance.


The most beautiful restaurant experience?

In Mallorca there is an amazing paella restaurant called Sa Foradada on the water that’s only accessible by boat (or a 15-minute hike from the road). After anchoring your boat, a short swim to shore and up a series of stone steps you find the restaurant perched on a hill with an incredible view of the cove and your boat. More amazing is the open outdoor kitchen with a series of paella pans atop a wood-fire stove. The chef is a woman and has five paellas going — visually this seals it for me as one of the most beautiful restaurant experiences. Both the black paella made with squid ink and squid, or the fideo paella, a paella that swaps out the rice for broken-up fideo (a noodle similar to a thin spaghetti), are the house specialty.


What’s the best swimming spot you’ve ever been to?

In the center of the Yucatán village of Valladolid is a cenote that’s so beautiful, Cenote Zaci. Unlike most cenotes that are found deep in the earth within dark caves that you travel into, this one is naturally half open, giving the swimming hole a grand amphitheater feel. A retreat from the scorching midday heat. Stick around for the later part of the day and the sun shines into it in the most cinematic way. Truly a gift from the Mayan gods.


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Our Contributors

Camille Becerra

Camille Becerra is a New York City–based chef and food media contributor. She is currently working on her cookbook, “Bright Cooking,” with Chronicle.

Joanna Neborsky Illustrator

Literary, frenetic, and bold, illustrator/animator Joanna Neborsky’s darkly humorous collage work has been featured in the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and W magazine, and has attracted notice in Bookforum and the Paris Review. Her latest book, her own modern take on the Proust Questionnaire, was published in 2016. Neborsky lives in Los Angeles.

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