Are you planning your next trip to the Canary Islands? In that case, trying the Canarian cuisine is a must. The Canary Islands are said to have the most original gastronomy in the whole of Spain.
That is the reason why we want to tell you everything about the best dishes of Canarian cuisine — the bars and restaurants to go, the dishes and tapas that you should try, the ingredients that you need to prepare some of those dishes and tapas, and so on.
- 1 What is so special about Canarian Cuisine?
- 2 Delicious dishes you need to try in the Canary Islands
- 3 Canarian wines with designation of origin
- 4 The best tapas bars and restaurants that you need to try
What is so special about Canarian Cuisine?
Canarian cuisine refers to the most typical dishes and ingredients used in the cuisine of these Spanish islands. We have to say that it constitutes an important element in the culture of its inhabitants. The main features about the Canarian cuisine are its freshness, simplicity, variety, and the richness of its ingredients. The mix of seafood and meat dishes, its cultural influences and the low knowledge of it by the rest of the world is probably what makes it so special.
Canarian cuisine has been influenced by other cultures over the course of centuries, especially the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands (the Guanches), the Latin American cuisine and some of the African influences that prevail still.
Delicious dishes you need to try in the Canary Islands
Gastronomy empowers people to learn even more about a new culture. The Canary Islands, which are surrounded by stunning beaches, are well known for the wide variety of seafood that they offer. But they are known as well for the great variety of healthy food and side dishes.
As we have mentioned before, Canarian cuisine is a unique combination of freshness and flavor. So, if you want to discover the real taste of the Canary Islands and its unique blend of flavors, keep on reading!
Mojo picón is the big star of Canary Islands cuisine and the typical Canarian food dish that people always talk about. Canarian mojo sauce is a spicy sauce composed of garlic, olive oil, red or green pepper, cumin, salt, and vinegar. But there is a variant for spicy lovers —you just have to add a little hot chili to give mojo picón the perfect extra touch. Moreover, it fits perfectly the hot weather of the islands.
But there is something else — this famous sauce is served with almost everything in the Canarian cuisine. So if you visit the Canary Islands, you will find cheap handmade mojo picón on almost every market.
Nevertheless, we strongly recommend you to try the best mojo picón dishes and tapas at local restaurants, like Amigo Camilo Restaurant. It is located in the beach of Las Canteras in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This restaurant serves some of the best Canarian mojo sauce dishes on the island.
Papas Arrugadas are basically ‘potatoes’ — what makes the difference is that they are originated from the Canary Islands. However, due to the volcanic climate on the archipelago, these potatoes have a different texture and flavor — that is what makes papas Arrugadas that special.
You don’t need to peel them — the potatoes are boiled in water full of salt during 20 or 30 minutes approximately. After boiling them, you have to remove the water from the pan. Then, you need to add more salt over the potatoes until they are totally dry.
Finally, serve them with a generous amount of Canarian mojo sauce and voilá. This is a quite simple but unique dish. If you are interested in the typical Spanish tapas, you are going to eat papas Arrugadas as a tapa for sure! Moreover, if you are traveling with kids, this is the perfect dish to be enjoyed by the whole family, because… who does not like potatoes?
Almogrote is a flavorsome dip dish typical from the small island of La Gomera and it is prepared with a mix of matured cheese, hot peppers, and paprika. All of it blended together with some iconic Spanish ingredients, like olive oil and garlic. The Almogrote has a strong and spicy flavor, but the inhabitants of La Gomera love it and visitors too. If you want to enjoy it like the locals, you have to butter it onto bread.
One of the best chances to try this regional delicacy is the restaurant La Montaña, as well known as Casa Efigenia. It is one of the inhabitants’ favorite, and it is located right next to the Garajonay National Park, one of the natural gems of the Canary Islands.
Gofio is a kind of flour made from roasted grains — mainly wheat and some varieties of maize, and it is often used as a bread substitute. Gofio became an important part of the diet of the inhabitants of the Canary Islands during the Spanish Civil War. It was eaten due to it is rich in essential vitamins, fiber, and proteins. It is said by Canarian people that a glass of milk with gofio will improve your health. Although this weird combination might not sound like the tastiest option for travelers, gofio is a highly versatile food. It can be used in many forms — sometimes it is served with sauces, soups, or even as ice cream. A curious fact is that some places in the Canary Islands —like La Orotava in Tenerife Island— have a sweet smell in the air, it is probably a gofio mill producing this delicious flour.
Ropa vieja means literally ‘old clothes’ in Spanish. We could say that confusing names are typical in Canarian cuisine because it is clear that ropa vieja is not old clothes neither served to eat nor used to cook it. So we strongly recommend you to try it in spite of its name.
It seems that originally, the reference to ‘old clothes’ was originated from the idea of using food leftovers from a popular Spanish dish — the Puchero, which is a type of stew. Both recipes have the same basic ingredients in common — meat, chickpeas, potatoes, and onion.
Ropa vieja is a very popular dish on the Canary Islands in spite it takes so long to prepare. But one thing is for sure, you will never try two different dishes of ropa vieja with the same taste. Everyone prepares it differently — but if you want to try a traditionally made ropa vieja, we recommend you to try it at the restaurant Parador de las Cañadas del Teide, located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Miel de Palma
This could be a bit confusing for those who know the meaning of the word “Miel” in Spanish. “Miel” means honey, but Miel de Palma is not a type of honey. In fact, it is even more nutritious than honey, and it is not originated from the island of La Palma. Miel de Palma is basically the sap that comes from the palm trees, and it is made originate from the island of La Gomera.
So we could say that it is a sauce, and it is used as a condiment on some side dishes. It can also be served with cheese, desserts and even with some kinds of meat. If you are planning to visit Gran Canaria, you should go to Nelson Restaurant to have the chance to taste Miel de Palma and see how it is used in local cooking. Moreover, you should go to enjoy the relaxing ambiance of this seafood restaurant, which is located on the waterfront.
Sancocho Canario is another local specialty which puts together several of the gastronomic influences of the Canary Island in a beautiful way. Sancocho Canario dish is made with fish cooked whole and normally served with sweet potato, gofio, and Papas Arrugadas.
It is a simple and healthy plate, and if you add to it Canarian mojo sauce, you have to try it compulsory in order to taste the contrast between sweetness, spiciness and the touch of saltiness. This recipe of Sancocho Canario arrived in several places in Latin America due to the huge migratory movements that the inhabitants of the Canary Islands suffered.
Bienmesabe is another example of an original Spanish name for a dish typical of Canarian cuisine. It literally means “it tastes good to me”, and this time, we are talking about a dessert. Bienmesabe is a traditional sweet elaborated in Gran Canaria Island— in particular, in the city of Tejeda. This place is well known for the abundance of almond trees, which are the key to make Bienmesabe.
If you want to prepare Bienmesabe you will need the following ingredients — eggs, sugar, lemon peel and of course, the crown jewel, almonds. But we could say that this is the Canarian version, due to it is quite probably an adaptation of the traditional Spanish dessert “Bienmesabe Antequerano”, originate from the province of Málaga.
Canarian wines with designation of origin
Like every country in Europe, Spain has some products which granted the label of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). This is made to protect and promote the quality and authenticity of certain regional products, dishes, and drinks. If we go back to the 16th century, we will see how colonizers import to the Canary Islands a wide variety of non-native species of vines.
Later on, those vines were adapted to the volcanic nature of the land. As a result, there is a great variety of protected designation of origin (PDO) wines which are unique and exclusive from the Canary Islands.
Our recommendation for you is to have a long walk under the marvelous sun of Abona and try a glass of white wine originate from this region. Just one swallow and you will notice that it is one of a kind.
The best tapas bars and restaurants that you need to try
All we want is to support you while you are organizing your holidays in the Canary Islands — so, in order to help you to discover the best places to eat in Tenerife, we have created a little guide including our favorite bars and restaurants. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting the north, south, east, west, or, indeed, the center of Tenerife — we will show you where to eat the best tapas. Where will be your favorite tapas bars and restaurants in Tenerife?
La Torre del Mirador
La Torre del Mirador is a restaurant perfectly located at the seafront on the promenade backing the beach of Playa del Duque, in Costa Adeje. It is also near the well-known Bahia Del Duque Hotel. You can only get to this restaurant by walking from El Beril complex or from the other end of Playa del Duque, in Fañabe.
It is a remote and wonderful place, and its terrace seating area provides the best tableside views overall Costa Adeje. Its advantageous location makes it perfect come what may, even if the food and service were a bit worse — but that is not the case. The food and service are also amazing in La Torre del Mirador!
The menu that this restaurant offers has a wide variety of meat, fish and rice dishes. We strongly recommend you to try the beef fillet with almond croquettes, and the shoulder of lamb prepared at the Segovian style. But if you think that this is too much, don’t worry at all, there are a lot of lighter alternatives for lunch, like a great number ‘boards’ prepared with the best selections of hams, sausages, and cheeses.
The food is served carefully presented and very quickly if we consider the great size of the restaurant. If you decide to go, you will discover that La Torre del Mirador has nearly a dozen inside rooms, and all of them are decorated with different styles. If you go downstairs, you will see the outside area. This area is reserved for evening meals, and most of the nights they made something for the entertainment of their clients. Also downstairs you will find a little but fantastic winery, with regular entertainment and dancing.
It is one of the best places to eat in Tenerife and enjoy the Canarian cuisine.
La Casona del Vino Restaurant
This restaurant in Tenerife is one of those rare gems known by only a few tourists. But one thing is for sure — once you discover it, you will always come back. It has that familiar air, that friendly service, the cozy ambiance, and its simple decoration. Moreover, it offers the Canarian cuisine and a great Spanish menu, but it also has a wide variety of international meals. The food served at the restaurant La Casona del Vino is guaranteed to excite your taste buds!
The menu offers the typical food products of the Canarian and Spanish diet — for instance, salads, meat, fish, vegetables and rice. However, the key is in the mix of herbs, peppers, and spices. If you combine that the great quality and flavor of food with an exquisite presentation style, you have found the perfect match of Canarian cuisine!
Our recommendation for you at this restaurant is — as appetizers, you have to share a bowl of Pimientos Padrón, they are extremely delicious. Then, you should try the chefs scrambled egg with oyster mushrooms, king prawns and asparagus — they are definitely a delight for the palate! To continue, the options are endless, but we strongly recommend you to try the ‘Tenderloin Kisses’. This is the dish that will make your mouth watering.
You should definitely live the experience of eating in La Casona del Vino restaurant, located on the outskirts of Candelaria.
Restaurant Sama Sama
Sama Sama is a unique and amazing place to try the authentic Canarian cuisine. It is a cozy little restaurant, with a beautiful decoration and moreover, it shows off stunning views over Playa de Las Vistas. It is the perfect lunch spot. Their pizzas are prepared and cooked to taste — but further, than that, they offer a large variety of salads, lasagnas, and different kinds of carpaccio too.
It is also a good choice if you are looking for a little relaxation. In Sama Sama, you can just sit back in their chill-out lounge and enjoy a selection of top-quality cocktails or fruit juices. This is one of the reasons why it is a popular meeting point in the evenings. But don’t get wrong, it can get really lively!
Sama Sama is located in the shopping center of San Telmo, situated is in Playa de Los Cristianos. The best thing about San Telmo is you can spend the whole night there!
We are quite sure that right now you are looking forward to trying all these bars and restaurants and their Canarian cuisine. So, why don’t you do it after enjoying a paragliding flight with us? Don’t hesitate to contact us!