Thursday, 7 January 2010

Looking for an Atmospheric Tapas Restaurant on Tenerife


Anyone who enjoys spending a leisurely lunch lingering over a taste-bud teasing selection of tapas dishes accompanied by a carafe of local vino will find that, depending where they’re staying on Tenerife, finding an atmospheric tapas bar will either be as easy as falling off a log, or as difficult as getting a flight out of a UK airport at the moment.

On my birthday I enjoy having a long tapas lunch. In Puerto de la Cruz we’re spoiled for places to have tapas. There were twenty eight bars and restaurants participating in a recent ‘ruta de la tapa’ (a council sponsored competition to find the best tapas in town). These aren’t all the places in Puerto that serve tapas, just the ones which had opted to participate. We only managed to get around six of the restaurants and the tapas in each were a delight. But what added to the experience was the ambience and surroundings which ranged from interior courtyards of colonial mansions to stylish terraces to pavement cafés overlooking charming squares. Like I said we’re spoiled in Puerto.

On my birthday I opted for a place we hadn’t been to before, Tasca El Olivo, on one of the back streets behind Plaza del Charco. It’s not the most picturesque location in town, but being situated beside a Cuban bar whose salsa music added a South American soundtrack to the scene, it was atmospheric and we whiled the afternoon away eating the most delicious tapas and people-watching.

Rewind a few weeks and we’re researching in Costa Adeje around the San Eugenio/Torviscas area. There are hundreds of places to eat and if we wanted burgers, toasties or bocadillos (filled baguettes), or even a meal in a nice restaurant we’d be fine. However, when we’re out and about working, we like to try a couple of tapas dishes in a quaint little bar/restaurant if possible. We were on a hiding to nothing.

A couple of days later we’re in a couple of other resorts carrying out more research – same result. There just wasn’t anywhere that fitted the bill and in the end on both occasions, we settled for baguettes in pleasant, but run of the mill establishments.

Admittedly it’s difficult for resorts which have only been in existence for a few decades at most to meet the ‘quaint’ requirement. If you’re in Santa Cruz, La Laguna or La Orotava, you’ve got five hundred years of history to add to the overall ambience and that’s something that’s almost impossible to replicate.

But it’s not impossible. Los Cristianos has a wonderful selection of contemporary tapas bars in the San Telmo area. El Médano has great tapas restaurants overlooking the harbour and even small places like up and coming Alcalá has a couple of inviting tapas bars around its small square. And there are plenty of others like them.
But then these three were towns or villages first and that’s where for me the difference lies.

For many years establishments in some parts of the main southern resorts have occupied the culinary middle ground, offering familiar ‘international’ menus to appeal to the masses.Recently that’s changed in the newer, more upmarket areas.

But generally speaking, if you want to try some local tapas in an ambient bar where the atmosphere complements the food on your plate, look to the towns that were already in existence before the mass tourism boom of the 70s.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Tapasbar La Costa would like to invite you readers, to come to our place and try our delicious tapas!

Tapasbar La Costa
San Telmo streetlevel
Los Cristianos, Tenerife
For reservations or more info;
Tel: 678819099