5 years, 6 months ago
Renowned for winter sun, warm weather and sandy beaches, Tenerife is far from the culture-free holiday island you may think it is. With nearly 1 million inhabitants and a multi-cultural capital in the form of Santa Cruz (known as “The Sydney of the Atlantic”) there is plenty to chew on in Tenerife, literally. In fact, today we’re going to give you a quick guide to eating in Tenerife, from the local delicacies you must try to the restaurants and cafes locals recommend.
What to eat: Local Dishes
Canarian food is dominated, unsurprisingly, by fish and seafood dishes. Dorada, sea breams and tuna will regularly feature on menus and most fish is grilled or baked and often accompanied by homemade Mojo, a special red or green spicy sauce. It’s also possible to find salted dried fish served as tapas or a bar snack alongside other Canarian specialties like Papas Arrugadas (which means “wrinkled potatoes”). Gofio is another local specialty; a type of flour made from roasted ground wheat, it is often added to dishes like meat or chickpea based stews, which are called Garbanzos (the name for chickpeas). Side dishes and vegetables are a bit more unusual compared with mainland Spain with yams, plantain and beans often accompanying stews, meat and fish dishes.
You will be able to find these specialties across the island but if you’re ever near Costa Adeje, it’s worth noting the region is famous for a special spicy chicken dish served at local restaurants – many of which offer stunning seafront views. And if you really want to do as the locals do, you should head down to the harbour in Puerto de la Cruz on the west of the island and eat at one of the guachinches, family-run makeshift shacks or stalls that serve up fresh local foods at astonishingly low prices.
While it’s hard to imagine you’d get bored of trying new Canarian foods, it is possible to take a break from it by dining in one of the international restaurants Santa Cruz is home to. From sushi to curry, you can find it all in the capital and we recommend using this website to find what you want across the island. Furthermore there are some spectacular views to be enjoyed on beach or sea front restaurants like Las Rocas on Costa Adeje, Los Rosques in Los Abrigos and Terrazas del Sauzal in El Sauzal. It’s also possible to experience fine-dining and some award-winning tasting menus on Tenerife. El Patio has a long-established tradition of offering upmarket gastronomic treats in its secluded outdoor setting along the Costa Adeje and if you want to sample some local rice dishes then Restaurante Arrocería Los Faroles in Puerto Cruz comes highly recommended.
Where to buy local produce
credit: Björn Freiberg
Part of the fun of visiting foreign climes is having a go at cooking local foods yourself, and a lot of Tenerife’s local produce is made easily available at supermarkets across the island. With a tropical climate and volcanic soil, Tenerife is home to a wide range of exotic fruits and vegetables including kiwi, guava, papaya, prickly pears and green bananas. Be sure to also keep your eyes open for local honey, local goat cheeses and regional wines including Malvasia.
The best and freshest way to get your hands on ingredients for Canarian cooking is at the island’s lively street markets. In the north of the island you should bookmark Tegueste farmers’ market on Saturday and Sunday mornings. La Laguna Mercado is the island’s largest daily indoor market in San Cristobal de la Laguna which is quite near to Santa Cruz and Tacoronte has another great weekend farmers’ market. All you have to do is decide which dish you’re going to try and master…
And if you want to cook that meal in the well-equipped kitchen of a self-catering holiday home in Tenerife, take a look at some of the best ones available for your winter sun holiday here.