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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

What and where to eat in Tenerife: my favorite places and dishes

Canarian cuisine is very mixed and multi-ethnic, typically Mediterranean but with some Latin American influence. The most famous ingredient is Gofio, which is obtained by toasting wheat or corn flour and is used for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in milk, fish or desserts, enriched with more or less spicy sauces (mojos). Another fundamental ingredient in the island's cuisine are the "papas" potatoes, used for one of the most important typical dishes of the local cuisine, the "papas arrugadas". Unmissable are also the many fish-based dishes of all kinds, the wines and special liqueurs, such as banana or honey rum. Obviously let's not forget the fruit of the islands, a true triumph of tropical colors and flavors including avocado, papaya, mango, as well as the banana, grown everywhere in this area.

The best local dishes in Tenerife and that I highly recommend are:

  • Papas Arrugadas con Mojos: already mentioned and famous throughout the archipelago, these are potatoes boiled in salted water and served with a very tasty sauce made with garlic, tomato and chilli pepper, the mojo. We ate them every day, literally, simple but delicious, ideal to start the meal as tapas or to accompany a few seconds.

  • Mojo: it's a sauce served in every restaurant on the Canary island and which is used to start each meal. There are two types: the green one, based on parsley or coriander, which is mainly used with fish, and the mojo rojo or picon, based on paprika which goes best with meat. This sauce is often served as an accompaniment to queso asado and papas arrugadas.

  • Queso Asado: cheese grilled in honey, usually served with mojos verde or rojo, delicious! We loved it and ate at a lot of different restaurants; it is almost always found among tapas.

  • Quesillo: it's the most famous dessert of Tenerife and consists of a kind of pudding made with eggs and condensed milk served with a caramel coating and crumbled meringues.

  • Rum: you cannot leave Tenerife without tasting the typical alcoholic drink of the island, Ron Miel, a variety of rum made from liqueur or cane molasses. It is known as honey rum because the final product incorporates an amount of honey of at least 2% of the total volume. Its alcohol content varies from 20 to 30%, but it is quite light on the palate. Ideal after a meal.

Another suggestion that I would like to share with you after 8 days on the island is to also try both the Sangrìa and the Paella de Mariscos or Mixta. Spanish cliche, but always delicious! Let's not forget the bananas! In Tenerife they are grown everywhere, and you will be surprised by the quality and sweetness of this fruit which is grown with extreme dedication on the island. We took a tour of a plantation, where every procedure about bananas was explained to us, really interesting.

Restaurants in Tenerife:

For the choice of restaurants we had some names saved during our research before leaving and then we just followed our gut, but we also considered the position in which we were at the various meals. Sometimes we ate in the apartment, always taking advantage of typical and local products such as Iberian ham, goat cheeses, avocados, empanadas and tortillas (for packed lunches, do not underestimate the Spanish LIDL, especially in the morning it is full of fresh baked goods ideal to eat on the go for example during trekking or on the beach). In general, we spent an average of €15 each at each meal, always ordering lots of different dishes. Obviously it depends on where you choose to go. Another thing to always keep in mind: if you have some place in particular you want to go and that you have aimed for, perhaps taking advantage of a ride, always check the days and opening hours, some open only for lunch or dinner while others are open only from Thursday to Sunday; also always take into account the period in which you go, reservations may be required. Last thing: for paella, some restaurants require advance notice with a reservation!

Here are all the places we tried, following our personal ranking

El Jardin de la Abuela, Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Very easygoing little place, run by two girls, one of which is Italian, Giulia.

We went for lunch, and being a highly rated restaurant on Trip Advisor and which we had often read about in many travel blogs, we had previously made a reservation using whatsapp (the contact can be found on Facebook).

Super cute, fun and extravagant location, reminiscent of a colorful garden. The girls are very welcoming and helpful. Here for the Paella you have to give notice and it is not always available, it depends on how many reservations they already have. We chose a mix of tapas, which you can also take with a menu for €25 per person including Sangria. We also ordered two copas de Sangrìa (personally I'm not a lover but we wanted to try it at least once and I must say I was pleasantly surprised, it was very good, fresh and refreshing), and then we went for tapas: classic Papas Arrugadas, Queso Asado (the best ever eaten), two croquettes of the day, Pulpo a la Gallega and a Pincha con queso y Iberico (basically a kind of bruschetta, delicious), all to share, for a total of €31 in total. Here they are also famous for their desserts, but we had no more space! Absolutely one of my all time favorite places on the island, definitely worth a stop!

El Tejado, Costa Adeje, Tenerife

This little place was also on our list of restaurants , after having read so much about it on Trip Advisor and in the various blogs, and I must say that it lived up to the fame. Family-run restaurant, very down to earth and that you wouldn't give a penny from the street, it is very reminiscent of a home-made trattoria, but don't be fooled by appearances, you will literally eat divinely. We went on the evening of my birthday and to be safe, we had made a reservation with whatsapp via the contact found on Facebook.

Ludmila, the owner, is delightful, she alternates between dining room and kitchen, and treated us very well, very friendly and funny. We ordered a Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus with potatoes and a mix of spices including certainly paprika, it melted in the mouth, truly exceptional) and a Tabla Variada (a mixed platter of local cheeses and salami) as tapas, and finally a Paella de Mariscos for two, ordered on the spot. To end the dinner we had a Tarta de Manzanas (apple cake), and when Ludmila realized it was my birthday she offered us a shot of what looks like rum and milk, I can't tell you more, but it was very good. All this, plus three large and one small beers, for €50! Outstanding value for money! Don't miss it, trust me!

Guachince La Casona, Tenerife, Islas Canarias

The Guachinche are typical trattorias in Tenerife, often very small, which offer a few but excellent traditional dishes, with local products and wine.

They are very spartan places where you can breathe a homely atmosphere. The menu is limited, often with meat dishes, cheeses, papas arrugadas and little else. The bill is always very cheap, something like €10-12 per person. We tried the Guachinche La Casona, and we weren't disappointed at all. Set in the middle of a field, not easily seen from the road, but with a large car park reached by a private lane. Simply location, but not as spartan as we expected, but exactly what you imagine if you think of a classic trattoria. Many places both outdoors and indoors, menu not so extensive, but with all local dishes cooked according to traditional recipes. Very friendly and efficient staff. As always, we tried a bit of everything: usual queso asado (for the first time here accompanied by jam, delicious!), huevos a la estampida (potatoes, Canarian chorizo ​​and fried eggs on top, all dusted with paprika ), a portion of cochinillo (delicious, melt-in-your-mouth roast pork), our now loyal Papas arrugadas and champinones rellenos (stuffed and fried mushrooms). Finally, an exquisite dessert, tarta tres leches! All this plus two beers, for a total of 30€ in total. Very convenient, and really worth it. You cannot visit the island without trying one of these places!

In Puerto de la Cruz we didn't have great tips for restaurants, so we had a look the same evening before going on Trip Advisor, and we booked at Bodega Julian just few hours before going! If you decide to try it, I recommend you make a reservation for a table, it's not a very big place, but it's worth it! We ate very well but I warn you already, the menu is very limited but all made up of super typical and delicious dishes! We started with an ensalada ventresca de atun (very fresh tuna salad, with peppers, avocado and tomatoes with an excellent vinaigrette), followed by papas bravas (different from the arrugadas, this is a typical Spanish recipe that serves them dressed with a very spicy sauce but very good, slightly spicy), queso asado and a tortilla espanola (made with egg and potatoes, different from the canarian one in which gofio is added). To finish, a portion of quesillo, a super typical canarian dessert that I have already told you about. All this, including drinks for 35€ in total. Super convenient. Service perhaps a little slow, but only the owner Julian is in the room; I assure you that in any case it is worth all the waiting in the world.

El Bollullo, Tenerife, Spain

We discovered this restaurant by chance, trying to reach Bollullo beach. This cliffside restaurant offers plenty of parking for 3eur for the beach, and after leaving the car we decided to take advantage of it and grab a quick bite for lunch before heading down. The view is spectacular, and you can eat while enjoying a view of the sea and the beach! The menu is not very extensive, it mainly offers fish-based dishes. The food is not bad, we ate some meat empanadas, a fish ceviche and our first papas arrugadas. In the surroundings of the beach it is the only restaurant, excluding a small bar down on the beach, so if you happen to be in the area and you are hungry, I recommend you stop here. The prices are perhaps a little higher than the average, including drinks we spent €33 in total, but I think that a view like this is willing to pay!

La Isla Beach Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife

La Isla is a restaurant/bar on the beach where you can stop for lunch, dinner, an aperitif or even to rent deck chairs and umbrellas. We stopped directly after the hike in the Parque Rural de Anaga, very hungry, choosing the first place we met walking on the beach coming from the parking lot! And we weren't disappointed. Simple, quiet place with a splendid view of the golden beach of Playa de las Teresitas and its azure waters. We started with some nachos with guacamole and cheddar and a ceviche de gambas, followed by a calamar plancha with papas arrugadas and a rejo pulpo plancha with papas arrugadas. All very good, fresh and light fish, accompanied by two beers for a total of €38. I would say excellent price quality, much less than what we would have paid in Italy!

Las Arepas de la Yaya, Candelaria, Tenerife

Stumbled upon this super easy going little place walking back to the car from the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Candelaria. A Venezuelan food street restaurant, where we tried a little bit of everything without knowing what we were ordering and we chose very well! We tried the arepas asadas (flat breads handmade with water and white corn flour filled with meat), then the empanadas (which for the first time were fried instead of baked) and finally the cachapaz (a kind of pancakes base of fresh corn stuffed with meat and cheese). They were delicious, and ideal for a quick lunch on the go, paying very little, €14 for two including drinks!

If you're passing by, drop by, even just for a snack, it's really worth trying these Venezuelan recipes that we had never even heard of!

El Bajio, Tenerife

We stopped at this restaurant coming back directly from our adventure on Teide, very tired and starving, so I tell you the truth, the place didn't particularly inspire us, it seemed a bit touristy, but we were so stoned and hungry that we sat down at the first table! And in the end I will tell you that we didn't eat badly! We ordered lots of tapas, the usual papas arrugadas, queso asado, chopitos fritos (fried squid typical of the area), a portion of pan con tomate y serrano and finally a Paella Mixta. All good and in very generous portions, for a total of €56 including drinks. It's not the best place you can eat in Tenerife, but if you don't feel like wandering around and searching the narrow streets of Puerto de la Cruz, this isn't bad!

Snacks and Drinks in Tenerife

El Gran Sol, Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Walking along the coast of Adeje from Playa del Duque and passing Fanabè, we decided to stop at this restaurant to refresh ourselves a bit from the sultry heat of the day, attracted by the signs of delicious fresh fruit smoothies. This place is a restaurant, but it also has a part dedicated as a snack bar where you can order drinks, aperitifs and some delicious sweet dishes. We ordered two huge fruit smoothies, delicious and refreshing!

Super recommended, also for the splendid view of the sea offered by sitting at the tables.

Terrazza del Mare, Playas de las Americas, Tenerife

Very beautiful place on Costa Adeje, at Terrazza del Mare in the summer they also have lots of parties and it turns into a night club, but also offers restaurant service. The view and the place are wonderful, we went for an aperitif at sunset before going to dinner on my birthday.

The staff is very friendly and treated us very well. We ordered some delicious drinks with fresh fruit that went down a treat!

Pastry Shops:

You can find this pastry shop in several places scattered around the island, it was recommended to us by the owner of our apartment and what can I say, go there for breakfast and also if you want to take some sandwiches to take with you for a packed lunch! Vast choice of typical pastry and desserts at ridiculously low prices, lots of choice even for filled sandwiches. The girls are very kind and very sunny.

We went twice to los Realejos for breakfast before the trek and once to La Orotava as we found it by chance while walking around the city!

La Alsaciana Pasteleria, Garachico, Tenerife

Ice cream shop and pastry shop in a corner of Garachico, we entered attracted by the counter of sweets that offered a series of wonders for the eyes and, seeing is believing, also for the palate. In the middle of the morning we took a "tile" each and fell in love.

This is everything from Tenerife: I really hope you are going to fall in love with this Islands and its delicious food as we did.

It was truly an amazing surprise, I really didn't expect at all to find such beautiful places and exquisite cuisine.

If you're planning a trip to Tenerife don't miss the other post and

Have a nice trip and enjoy Tenerife!




So helpful!

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