What and Where to Eat in Tenerife? - Kelionės su vaikais Traveling
What and Where to Eat in Tenerife?
Ką ir kur valgyti Tenerifėje

What and Where to Eat in Tenerife?

Canarians frequent restaurants, picnics with family and friends, and celebrations where food is one of the most important and indispensable attributes. Food culture in Tenerife is one of the main areas of life.

What and where to eat in Tenerife? Jolita, one of the founders of Travelling with Children ®, shares her information and experience about restaurants and Canarian and non-Canarian dishes. In this article, Jolita only mentions restaurants that she has tried and only recommends those that she has tried. This is not an advertisement, but a genuine and sincere personal recommendation.

All the restaurants mentioned here accept children! And even the most luxurious ones either have a children’s menu or will offer off-menu dishes suitable for children.

Tip: we recommend that you make reservations in advance, especially for dinner time – often the better and higher quality restaurants only accept reservations.

What is Canarian cuisine?

Close to the west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands have been a crossroads between Europe and America for centuries. Historically, the islands were the first stop on Spanish soil when ships returned from the Americas, so the inhabitants began to grow and incorporate into their diet foods such as potatoes, beans, tomatoes, avocados, papayas and corn. The cuisine of the islands is a mixture of local Guanche elements with Spanish, African and Latin American flavours and recipes. The best way to discover and discover an authentic culinary experience is to eat with the locals.

Meat Dishes and Restaurants in Tenerife

While Canarians enjoy fresh fish and seafood, they simply adore a wide variety of meats. And I do admit that the meat here is high quality, fresh, with a really wide choice and affordable prices.

The Canarians cook their meat over a fire (carne a la plancha/a la brasa), and the restaurant often serves it on the table with a frying pan, where everyone can cook as much as they like.

  • Beef (ternera) – one of the most popular dishes is a good cut of meat on the bone (chuleton).
  • Pork (cerdo) – the taste here is very different from Lithuanian pork and it tastes more like chicken (at least for us, as our family hardly eats pork). Did you know that they even raise black pigs with music?
  • Chicken (pollo, pronounced pojo), rabbit and goat are very popular among Canarians, the latter being the most common stew. Chicken salmorejo is a delicious chicken dish marinated with garlic, cooked in white wine and seasoned with cumin, oregano, paprika and thyme. Rabbit salmorejo’ is also made in the same way.
  • Meat, fish and vegetable croquettes are among the most popular snacks (tapas). And they are certainly not just potato croquettes. The main ingredient is usually ham, fish or chicken. Vegetarian ones are also available – carrots, spinach, mushrooms. Our children like chicken croquettes best.
  • Canary stew – made with pumpkin, cabbage, sweet potato, corn, pork and beef.
  • And of course a variety of sausages – spicy and even sweet. From chorizo spicy and salty sausages to the so-called morcilla dulce, a bloody sweet sausage that Tenerife’s inhabitants love.

Where to Eat Meat Dishes in Tenerife?

First of all, as I already mentioned, local food should be eaten in local Canarian restaurants. Guachinche-type restaurants are where I recommend eating meat and other typical local dishes.

And if you want to eat good, but European-style meat, I recommend the two more upmarket restaurants – LAGARTO and CHAR FUEGOS Y BRASAS, both in La Caleta. The CHAR restaurant served the best meat we’ve had so far – but the prices are really high.

Also check out the recently opened Smoke bros restaurant – you’ll get the more usual long-smoked-roasted meats, burgers and very inventive cocktails.

What is Guachinche?

Do you want local home-made food? Do you want to feel the Spanish atmosphere, hear the Spanish hustle and bustle, get away from the tourist places? Go to a local guachinche, order something you might not understand, taste, enjoy and feel the Canarian spirit and the taste of Canarian food.

Some guachinche can be quite nice little local family restaurants, but the most important thing that makes a guachinche special is that it is like a home restaurant right in the Canarian home, in garages, in remote places like vineyards, banana plantations and so on.

Travelers and Guachinche

A traveller looking for a guachinche should not expect great luxury. They will find folding chairs, paper tablecloths. But the most important thing is that you will find family cuisine, homemade and traditional, that is to say, typical inexpensive local food.

Guachinche is actually a private house selling locally produced wine and accompanying meals. Until recently, these places were illegal. There was no legislation governing them, because they were places where locals went to taste wines, but they did not have restaurant licences. Eventually, the legislation was regulated so that the guachinche got a licence to serve food. There are now regulations in place so that these restaurants do not pay taxes. Each has its own personal charm, customs and traditions. They usually open at certain times, such as when they sell their vintage wine, which is usually between October/November and March/April.

Most of them are located in the north of Tenerife, especially La Orotava, Santa Ursula, El Sauzal, La Victoria, La Matanza. Usually the more difficult the place is to reach, the more interesting and authentic it is. You’ll find them in the southern part of the island too, but our advice is to move away from the tourist areas, go up into the mountains and look for a taste of the Canary Islands there.

Recommendations with specific guachinche locations

Larger, more tourist-friendly sites

  • El Cordero – a local food restaurant on a banana plantation. For our family, it’s not the best meat restaurant on the island, but it often makes a great impression because of the setting (the banana plantation), the size, the sheep and goat pen (the kids especially like it) and the wide choice of food. The prices are also touristy, although the restaurant is a favourite with the Spanish themselves, who often celebrate family holidays here too.
  • El Rancho de Nino is a restaurant in a large hangar. Vegetables, chickens and other poultry are also grown here.  A typical Spanish restaurant loved by the Spanish themselves.
  • Xanadu – famous for the “Show Gladiux”, a typical Spanish equestrian and gladiatorial show with a typical Canarian dinner. Also open as a simple Spanish food restaurant. You can also see animals and, if you’re lucky, horses in training.
  • Las Gangarras – a large outdoor tertory, a small playground, and a pen of donkeys.
  • Restaurante Braseros del Mirador (El Mirador Asador & Terraza Chill Out) – with beautiful panoramic views, a Spanish favourite grill meat restaurant.
  • Asador la camella. Grill meat, Spanish food restaurant.

Smaller Authentic Guachinche

We prefer the smaller guachinche, where you can only use your fingers to communicate in Spanish, where the children cover their ears from the Spanish language and the hustle and bustle, and where you get to taste the food cooked by the men and women of the family, according to the family heritage. The first guachinche, and the one that got us on the guachinche’s long and still never-ending tour, was NATURAL guachinche El Sauzal. We arrived at dusk, taking very steep, narrow paths to the vineyards. 7 years ago it had only two tables and was run by the owner. However, he roasted us a half of the then most delicious chicken, gave the children home-made unfrozen potatoes, and served us the traditional cod in onion and raisin sauce. Unfortunately, this place is temporarily closed at the moment…

We won’t list all the guachinches we’ve visited, of which there are probably close to 150 already on our list, but do a google search, don’t be afraid of the off-white tablecloth tables and the seemingly insurmountable narrow paths leading up the mountains, and you’ll find some of the jewels of the Canaries.

We’ll give you the directions:

Guachinche La Finca in La Victoria de Acentejo – get ready for daunting steep hills, breathtaking views and stunning vineyards.

Caprichosa, near the capital, is a spectacular cave home to a restaurant famous not only for its meat dishes but also for its highly original salads (be sure to try the special one with apples).

Tip – look out for restaurants and eateries such as finca (farmhouse), bodegon (winery), tasca (taverna) – these are not the same as guachinche, but these types of places are also classified as authentic local food places.

Fish and Seafood in Tenerife

In Tenerife, you can really enjoy fresh fish and seafood. Many boats go fishing at night and return early in the morning with their catch.

Eat (we can’t even give you all the names of the fish in English) dorado, lupin, tuna, cherne, gallo, vieja or even morena. In restaurants, you can usually see what kind of fish is on offer, ask if it has a lot of bones, if it is white fish, etc.

What and where to eat in Tenerife

What and where to eat in Tenerife

Traditional cod (bacalao encebollado) – braised cod in a sauce with onions.

Savour and enjoy the abundance of seafood and its varied presentations – large and small squid (choco and chipirones and chopitos), octopus (pulpo), prawns (gambas), bowls (leaf), knives (navajas), scallops (zamburinas) and mussels (mejillones).

Where to Eat Fish and Seafood in Tenerife?

In the fishing towns of Los Abrigos, Playa san Juan, La Caleta, Los Cristianos.

We can’t think of better or more authentic restaurants than those in Tajao. Tajao is a fishing town and has over 10 fish restaurants.

We like these three in Tajao:

  • Mero Pancho – our favourite because of the choice, adequate prices and excellent service.
  • Delicias del Mar – a small restaurant renowned for its quality food.
  • Rincon del Marinero – a favourite with locals, also for its view of the ocean.

Other restaurants in the south of the island:

  • El Medano Cofradia – restaurant-style with delicious food and excellent service.
  • El Medano El Timon – famous for its paella and beautiful views.
  • El Medano Playa Chica – a typical fish restaurant near El Timon.
  • Casa Juan Adeje – don’t hesitate to choose a package for 2-3 people.
  • Los Cristianos El cine – a local fish restaurant in the tourist area.

Want to Visit a Fish Guachinche?

Then head to Candeleria for a guachinche that’s a local favourite, less known to tourists, with a very simple interior but a great view and very good value for money. I warn you right away, do not go here for the sumptuous presentation, the elaborate dishes or the Michelin stars. All you will get is fresh, simply prepared and really inexpensive food. Guachinche del Pescado, if you’re interested.

For even more excitement, head to the capital’s Grand Bazaar and the island’s oldest market. There, you can just point your finger at the delicacies you want to sample and they’ll make them right there in front of your eyes.  Try oysters, prawns and, if you’re looking for something more exotic, percebes (precious molluscs), which you won’t find elsewhere. You’ll feel like you’re in a big Spanish city – the smells, the sounds, the sights, the people. It’s definitely worth experiencing. And if you take the kids for homemade ice cream at Gelato del Mercato, right here in this market, you’ve had a lucky day…

Other Canarian Specialities

Everyone says you have to try paella. Did you know that real paella originated in southern mainland Spain and was made with rabbit, frogs, snails and large white beans? Paella was the food of the common poor man, and these ingredients were the simplest and most easily available to him.

  • Ropa vieja – chickpea stew with vegetables and meat. Hearty and tasty. For vegetarians, I suggest meatless chickpeas (garbanzos sin carne).
  • If you like cheese, try the fried goat’s cheese with sauces (‘queso a la plancha’).
  • Gofio and escalade – a little bit of exoticism and complete authenticity. Gofio is a flour made from roasted wheat or sorghum grains. It is used to make a wide range of foods, such as sauces, baked goods and even ice cream. One of the most famous dishes based on it is escaldón de gofio. This is gofio flour mixed with fish stock. It’s not the most preferred taste for tourists, but it’s highly valued by the locals for its high vitamin and mineral content. This porridge is sometimes mixed with potatoes or carrots, and is definitely served with onions.

Potatoes and Sauces

  • And of course boiled potatoes with peel (papas arrugadas, which literally translates as shrivelled/crinkled potatoes). Due to the volcanic soil and the climate in which they are grown, the potatoes are smaller and have a unique texture and taste. The traditional way to cook these potatoes is to boil them with the skin on with plenty of salt and serve them as a side dish. Children love them on their own and adults enjoy them with red and green mojo sauce. Eat them with the peel!
  • Red and green sauces (mojo verde and mojo rojo). Red sauce is a hot sauce made of garlic, olive oil, red or green pepper, salt and vinegar. This traditional sauce is served with almost all the island’s dishes. The green sauce contains coriander or parsley.
  • And at the end, coffee and dessert? Barraquito’s most exclusive coffee is a trio of espresso, condensed milk and liqueur. And my favourite is the coffee with a little milk – cortado natural. And of course the Spanish elongated doughnuts (churros), eaten with sugar or chocolate.

Friendship Between Canarian and Modern Cuisines

  • Sabor Canario. The restaurant doesn’t have a special image, but it does have a special chef who tries endlessly to impress with his dishes. The restaurant is located in Costa del Silencio. We have tasted many dishes – all of them are special, and the presentation is also very good. We particularly liked the tartare, the tuna tataki, the gnocchi with saffron and a wonderful surprise on top.
  • Tasca Tierras del Sur. The restaurant is located in Granadilla de Abona, in an old authentic house, with a cosy inner hall and exclusive décor. Canarian food with a difference. Special attention from the chef.

Cuisines from Other Countries in Tenerife

Italian Restaurants

One of the largest immigrant communities in Tenerife is Italian, so there’s no shortage of authentic cuisine. Oven-baked pizzas, homemade pasta and ravioli, risotto, mozzarella and bufola fresh cheeses, focaccia bread and of course ice cream, panacotta and tiramisu. Different restaurants representing different regions of Italy (Venice, Naples, Verona, Sicily, etc.). You will also find Italian restaurants in non-tourist areas.

  • The Italians on the island themselves recommend La Piazzetta in Los Cristianos. Try the pizzas, pastas and snacks.
  • For us, the tastiest pizzas in the south of the island are at Pizzeria Carbone, a restaurant that makes only pizzas.

South American cuisine (Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, Peruvian, Chili, Argentinian)

Tenerife and the Canary Islands have been linked to South America since the time of Christopher Columbus. For more than 500 years, the links between Tenerife and South America have grown stronger and stronger, influencing culture, food and music. After all, the carnival celebrations in Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz, are as big as those in Rio de Janeiro, and are considered the second biggest after the Brazilian Carnival. And the locals speak with several accents, one of them being a South American accent. As a result, there is no shortage of Latin American cuisine. One of them is arepas – these grilled Venezuelan cornmeal cakes filled with spicy beef or chicken, mayonnaise and avocado are very popular in Tenerife. Arepas are classified as fast food, so you will often find them in Venezuelan snack bars, especially in the island’s capital. And there is no shortage of Mexican restaurants on Tenerife.

  • Surprisingly, one of the most delicious arepas we had was at the Anaza supermarket’s Arepera Caracas.
  • For an interesting experience and more modern Mexican cuisine, head to the Oxalis restaurant, where you will be served by a robot cat.
  • For something more authentic, choose other Mexican restaurants – we like EL MEXICANO DE GUARGACHO or Mexicano El Chango Las Galletas.
  • Our family’s greatest discovery on the island is Peruvian cuisine. There are more restaurants in the capital, but there are also some on the south side of the island. Quality food, an extensive Peruvian menu, Michelin recommendations and good prices are all to be found at QAPAQ restaurant in Los Cristianos.
  • For more authentic Peruvian cuisine, visit Aroma Y Sabor in Tenerife Adeje. The marinated raw fish ceviche is a must, as are the tiradito (potato towers with accompaniments), beef with vegetables and duck leg with rice.

Dish Kitchen

We’ve rediscovered Indian cuisine here in Tenerife. It wasn’t our favourite food in Lithuania, we used to try it in London, Germany, Portugal, but Tenerife does have some great restaurants that serve Indian food. We recommend Bombay Babu – a chain of restaurants that cook really good quality, tasty food and offer curries of different spiciness and flavours (be sure to try it).

Bombay Babu is a chain of restaurants with several locations:

Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese

They offer authentic dishes of their country. While Chinese restaurants can be found in most towns, look for Thai and Vietnamese in the more touristy areas. We like to go to the Thai Botanico restaurant. Also try buffet-style Chinese restaurants, where you can eat as much as you like and it will cost you from €9.90 per person. The Japanese restaurants here can offer really top-quality dishes, as the fish is fresh and the choice is wide. For sushi restaurants, I recommend the Deba sushi and Amore sushi restaurants. Asian cuisine is also represented by the excellent Restaurant 88, which offers Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes.

Lebanese Cuisine

We recommend Zoco – the Arabic New Concept restaurant, which hosts belly dancing performances on Fridays and Saturdays. The food is of good quality and the choice is wide.

Restaurants in Other Regions of Spain

Basque cuisine, Asturian cuisine, Catalan cuisine, Valencian paella… Taste and travel through the regions of Spain, each with its own distinctive character – Tenerife has the perfect conditions and restaurants for this. The Basque cuisine is proud of its bacalao al pil pil (cod dish) and pinchas (the Basque name for appetizers), Catalan cuisine impresses with fried onions (calcots) and tapas (a name more familiar to us than the Basque pinchas), while Asturian cuisine is famous for its bean stew (fabada) and beef steaks (cachapo de ternera.) In Tenerife, you can even try paella from Valencia, which has little in common with what we have here, apart from the rice – the real paella was and is made with broad white beans, snails and rabbit.

A recommendation of places to try Asturian cuisine and meat dishes is El Perenquen Gloton Guimare, a local favourite with a great selection of Cachapas.

Breakfast Restaurants

Want healthy, beautifully presented and interesting food for breakfast?

We recommend:

  • Pistacho Coffee Brunch – a quality breakfast place with a great choice.
  • Eco Eco Brunch & Café – an eco-friendly breakfast place, with interesting flavour combinations, healthy breakfasts, and delicious benedicts.
  • Soul kitchen and Soul kitchen Siam mall – Lithuanian desserts have already won the hearts of locals and tourists alike.
  • Lilies Garden – one of the most Instagrammable cafés in Tenerife, with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Delicious breakfasts and brunches.

Michelin-starred or Recommended Restaurants in Tenerife

Tenerife has them too. Most of them are in the capital, Santa Cruz, but there are also a few in southern Tenerife.

One of them, already mentioned, is the Qapaq restaurant, with its exceptional Peruvian cuisine.

I would also mention a restaurant in the town of Chimiche that does not have any stars, but which has received an official Michelin recommendation for many years, El Secreto de Chimiche. The restaurant specialises in grilled dishes, combining tradition with modernity and elegance. The products used in the dishes are mainly from the local Chasna region.

Another one that recently opened its doors in Kensei. I recommend the tasting menu, so you can try more dishes and experience a gourmet journey. It’s a very cosy atmosphere, ask for a table in the courtyard.

And the Casa Tagoro Granadilla de Abona, a freshly discovered restaurant serving traditional Canarian classics as well as Austrian dishes. Why? The answer is simple – the chef is Austrian. And here I had the most delicious FOE GRAS I’ve had so far – not on the island, but in my life…

Lithuanian Restaurants and Food

Soul kitchen in Tenerife impresses with its wonderful desserts, delicious coffee and breakfast menu. Ask for the mushroom bread for breakfast, of course if you like mushrooms you won’t be disappointed. Paulius and Kornelija are adventurous Lithuanians who offer desserts that are unusual for Spanish tastes but which excite our palates. For me, Kornelija is the queen of desserts – what she creates in her workshop is not only beautiful to look at, but also very tasty.

Old fashioned 1986 (the chef is not Lithuanian, but a Hungarian married to a Lithuanian), and we love the sincerity of this chef and his lovingly prepared dishes. If you want quality mussels, this chef makes them very well. And be sure to try the tuna with sesame seeds and seaweed salad. Commendably, for the children, he has made home-made chicken pieces instead of frozen ones.

Other Solutions

If you want traditional Lithuanian food to take home (kibbins, pancakes, dumplings, dumplings, dumplings, hearty soups, homemade bread and other lovingly prepared dishes), please contact Food in Tenerife.

And if you want a unique healthy cake for the festive season, contact pastelverde.tenerife.

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