A lot of visitors traveling to Tenerife are more interested in enjoying its crystal clear waters and volcanic landscape than they are in exploring Canarian cuisine. Despite being one of the most popular islands in the Canaries, restaurants serving authentic dishes are hard to come by. Traditional food in Tenerife is rustic and simple, but the flavor combinations and native ingredients are certainly worth trying. The island’s produce is as varied as its terrain, with an abundance of fresh fish, wild meats, lots of maize and tropical foods like plantains. From neighborhood tabernas to kitchens turning out some of Spain’s most creative meals, Tenerife surely has restaurants that care about preserving the local gastronomy.
What to Try
Paps arrugadas con mojos: Probably the most famous dish from the Canaries, papas arrugadas are small local potatoes that are cooked in salt water until they are tender and the skin becomes arrugada, or wrinkled. Papas arrugadas are best accompanied with a green or red sauce called mojo. Mojos seem to be different no matter where you try them but the green variety tends to have flavors of garlic and green herbs while the red mojo is flavored with paprika and is usually spicy.
A cazuela of papas arrugadas with spicy mojo picon
Almagrote: This cheese spread from La Gomera has made it’s way around the Canaries and even some parts of mainland Spain. Hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it first hand, almagrote is both crumbly and creamy. The texture of this dish changes depending on who’s cooking, but the ingredients always consist of tomato, garlic, olive oil, paprika and hard cured cheese.
A mid-day snack of almagrote
Morcilla dulce: Morcilla, or pig blood sausage, can be found in about every region of Spain. In the Canaries they make a sweeter variety with onion, almond, raisins and sugar among it’s list of ingredients, hence the appendage of the word dulce. Try it on its own or incorporated into other dishes like scrambled eggs.
Ropa vieja: The Canary Islands have a lot of soups in their cuisine, especially considering the warm climate, and ropa vieja is among its best. Literally translating to “old clothes”, ropa vieja is much better than it sounds, making use of shredded leftover meats stewed with chickpeas and local veggies.
A hearty dish of ropa vieja
Conejo en salmorejo: Not to be confused with the tomato based soup of southern Spain, this dish consists of rabbit stewed in a flavorful marinade of wine, vinegar, garlic and spices. For those who aren’t inclined to eat rabbit, you can also try more traditional proteins like chicken and tuna en salmorejo.
Cherne: One of the most common fish eaten in Tenerife, cherne is wreckfish, a large deep-water white fish. Cherne is often served grilled, and is mildly flavored and meaty, making it a good fish to try even if seafood “isn’t really your thing”.
Local wreckfish with potatoes and sautéed veggies
Where to Eat in Tenerife
El Rincón de Juan Carlos: If you only had time for one meal in Tenerife, this should be the place you go to eat. Never mind that it’s not really near anything, the Padron brothers’ inventive take on Spanish cuisine will make it worth visiting. Don’t leave without ordering the rabo de toro dumplings, they are outstanding.
Stewed bull tail dumplings at El Rincón de Juan Carlos
Pasaje de Jacaranda, 2, Los Gigantes
La Tasca de Enfrente: There is nothing about this place that says fancy, but it’s packed with the charm of an authentic neighborhood eatery. From its rough wooden beams to the menu of fuss-free things to eat, La Tasca de Enfrente is perfect for a cold beer and a cheap bite to eat.
The tortilla with onion at La Tasca de Enfrente
Calle Doctor Jose Naveiras, 9, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
more details here
La Hierbita: This restaurant combines a traditional atmosphere with typical Canarian cuisine. Located inside a house from the 19th century, a meal at la Hierbita is full of history. Portion sizes are huge so order a few things and share to make the most out of what the menu is offering.
One of the cozy dining rooms at La Hierbita
Calle el Clavel, 19, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
La Concepción: An unexpected restaurant that feels more like a cafe, La Concepción is a nice stop, whether it’s for a full meal or a glass of wine while people watching on its charming pedestrian street. La Concepción’s relaxed atmosphere and playful menu, with ties to Canarian and Spanish gastronomy, make it the kind of place where it’s just plain fun to eat.
The colorful street where you’ll find La Concepción
Calle Antonio Domínguez Afonso 4 , Santa Cruz
more details here
Los Roques: One of the top restaurants in the Canaries, as well as all of Spain, Los Roques has been making a name for itself with a modern approach to the use of local products and techniques. Although the food is quite expensive compared to other restaurants in Tenerife, it’s still well worth trying. For those who are more hesitant when it comes to spending, Los Roques offers an alternative menu during the day as Café Los Roques.
Quesillo for dessert at Los Roques
Calle La Marina, 16, Los Abrigos
Casa Pache: If you like places that are random and quirky with food that tastes like a grandma is in the kitchen cooking, Casa Pache is where you should be. The menu here is full of stewed meats, fresh seafood and other typical dishes of the Canaries.
Calle La Verdad, 6, Puerto de la Cruz
more details here
El Cine: The fresh seafood at el Cine attracts locals and tourists to the point that there is regularly a line of people waiting to eat. The owner, Juan Carlos, can be found darting around checking on things but is never too busy to stop by and see how his customers are doing. Despite the crowds, service is quick and people always seem to leave happy.
Calle Juan Bariajo, 8, Los Cristianos
Folelé: One of the only restaurants to serve Canarian food in the southern towns of Tenerife, Folelé is the perfect place to try out a range of local dishes and ingredients without leaving the beach. Try their cherne, served with sautéed veggies and a light saffron sauce.
Calle Juan Bariajo, 2, Los Cristianos
Partaste believes in preserving the cultural heritage of food around the world by enabling others to appreciate and share the gastronomic diversity they experience while traveling. We hope to engage a global travel community and to become a one-stop resource for information on world cuisine.