Where to Find Some Great Restaurants in Los Cristianos

Los Cristianos has a brightly coloured coastline, harbour to catch a ferry to the neighbouring island of La Gomera, plenty of bars and an array of some great, long standing restaurants. The popular choices have been many tourist’s favourites over the years and still today, they attract diners and maintain good reviews on Tripadvisor.

Tenerife has so many fabulous places to eat with different cuisines to choose from so selection is readily available. From Thai, Italian, French, Chinese and my favourite, Canarian, this is just to name a few!

Rincón del Marinero, c/cabeza Muella Viejo not just your ordinary fish selection

Tenerife offers an amazing opportunity to dine with fresh fish choices and over the years, Los Cristianos was once one of the busiest fishing ports on the Island. Home to fisherman and some delicious fresh fish. This fish restaurant is one of the longstanding favourites which has been operating since 1978 and specialises in fresh fish or seafood only.

Over the years, I have walked past this restaurant countless times as it is on the main walkway from Los Cristianos to Playa de Las Americas (just before the subway tunnel). The downside of this restaurant is that there is no view, it just looks out onto a yard which is in front of the harbour. The positive side is that you will be guaranteed fresh fish or seafood!

Traditional Sea Bass is on the menu or you can opt for something a little different like Wreckfish (which is great for sharing for two) or why not try the Snapper fish. Other menu favourites include garlic prawns, Calamari or seafood Paella.

It is easy to spot with the fishing boat located at the entrance of the restaurant and the bold blue and white colours will catch your attention either before or after coming out of the subway.

Linares, Av, Las Playeras 41 is central location and popular Italian food

Trading since 1957, Linares is situated in a prime location, short walk to the beach and a popular choice for lunchtime or evening meal. Inside dining or you can sit in the shade outside in the main street and take a cold beer or glass of wine. If you feel like getting more into the theme, try a Sangria.

You can expect to find dishes such as pasta, pizza, cannelloni, steaks, mixed grill or fish paella.

Linares is close to many shops so if you fancy a little bit of shopping along the way, this is a perfect choice. This restaurant is certainly in a good location and an ideal resting area to top up on refreshments or chill out at night for an evening meal.

Check out a nice, quirky gift shop Ale Hop which is based in the same street as Linares and a fun little place to take a peek. Most of the holiday type shops offer the same tourist style gifts but this one is worth a visit.

Mongolian, Av. Amsterdam and offers eat all you can style dining

Renowned for good food and value, this popular restaurant certainly pulls in the crowds at night. A little walk from the beach, heading towards Paradise Park Hotel direction (but not up the slightly steep hill so it’s easy to walk to), this restaurant builds up its name based on repeat business.

For €12 per person, you can have starters of sushi, duck, pancakes, ribs, wontons, spring rolls (remember this is eat all you can style) so you can mix and match. Main dishes include steak, lamb chops, chicken, fish, king prawns, mussels and more. There are around 30 sauces to choose from which you can select and then take your food to the chef who cooks it in front of you with your selected sauce.

There is a choice of desserts too so you can see why this restaurant attracts many visitors night after night. For those tourists who have a large appetite, this is ‘food heaven’.

The quality of the food receives great reviews on Tripadvisor so it is definitely worth checking it out if you are staying in or around Los Cristianos.

Whichever restaurant you select, it’s great that you have ventured out to support the local businesses. It is really important to step out and take a look around the area, try some different food and enjoy what Los Cristianos has to offer, especially the fantastic restaurants and friendly service.

Take advantage of Tenerife, especially Los Cristianos and relax, eat and be happy!

For more information on Tenerife and where to eat, you can visit my blog: www.tapasintenerife.com


Top 5 Romantic Places in Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Following on from my post ‘Top 5 Romantic Places in Puerto de la Cruz’ is my second Valentine’s Day special article. This time focusing on the area of Costa Adeje in the south of Tenerife.


This is a fantastic hotel, where you can relax in beautiful surroundings overlooking the sea. You can spend your romantic holiday sipping cocktails by the pool with your loved one, while enjoying the peace and quiet, and stunning views of this fantastic location.

All rooms are great, but to make your trip just that little more special pick the deluxe suite, which has a huge private terrace with spectacular sea views. You will also find a bedroom with a huge Sheraton Signature bed, a separate living area, and a bathroom with a shower and a bath.

The food is heavenly, and with four restaurants to choose from you will be spoilt for choice. I believe the La Venta Restaurant is the most romantic. The menu is Spanish gastronomy and has some delicious fish and meat options. All is served to you by the welcoming and professional staff. You couldn’t choose a better hotel for romance in Costa Adeje.



The Bahia Del Duque Spa is pure luxury, set in a serene location. From the warm welcome and excellent service to the hydrotherapy circuit, aromatherapy facials, and seawater Jacuzzi’s and pool, you will feel pampered and relaxed like never before. Afterwards you can spend some time in the relaxation area enjoying complimentary chocolates and coffee pastries.

Photo Credit: Bahia del Duque

For a romantic visit how about enjoying an exclusive private spa suite with relaxation area, treatment area, Turkish bath, hydrotherapy bath, and a private terrace. This spa is one of the finest in Tenerife, and it certainly shows. Your better half will thank you for a visit here!


Restaurante Sebastian is a hidden treasure in a very touristy area. Don’t let this put you off, as you are in for an amazing dinner experience, with great service in a relaxed atmosphere. The authentic Spanish food will melt in your mouth, and I highly recommend the warm tapas menu and the half roast duck with the orange and Marnier sauce, both of which are delicious!

The wine is high quality, and the Cava is excellent! For a romantic meal, this great restaurant will be hard to beat. It can get quite busy so it’s a good idea to book your table in advance.



How can a water park possibly be romantic? Well in Siam Park it can be! Here you can rent a private VIP cabana equipped with a private terrace with shower, sunbeds, towels, sofa, TV, and a free minibar with soft drinks, beer, and snacks. Also included in the rental price (per cabana by the way, not per person), is entrance to the park, fast passes to the attractions, and floats.

The all-inclusive service includes soft drinks, beer, wine, water, ice creams and food at the Beach Bar, Beach Club, Thai Bar and Thai House.

You have a huge choice of superb water slides, some relaxing, and some which will propel you down them at high speed. You can be surfing waves one minute and watching deadly sharks the next.

A day here together with your loved one, would certainly be a romantic fun day!



The Kaluna Beach Club is a wonderful place to come during the day, but at sunset, with the reflections from the last rays of light, it is stunning. The club is beautifully decorated and plays good music which helps create a great atmosphere. There is a heated pool, which is a great place to cool down in. You can also pay €50 euros for a bed or €100 for a VIP bed by the pool or overlooking the ocean. You receive the money back in the form of food and drinks. The cocktails are very tasty and served quickly by friendly smiling staff.

Photo Credit: Kaluna Beach Club

This club has an excellent view over the beach, and I can’t think of anything more romantic than sipping some champagne with your partner while watching the sun disappear slowly below the horizon. What a beautiful place to propose!


Post by Lynne Knightley

If you wish to read more about amazing things to do in Tenerife, then take a look at Lynne’s excellent guidebook.

Simply click here  > https://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Knightley/e/B00QNR2QGA to head to the download page.

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The Edge of Perfection for Tapas at Pearly Grey

For those readers who have read my previous articles, it’s clear that ‘good food and nice settings’ are key factors on my list. For those who don’t know me, let me tell you about a wonderful restaurant which is situated in a sleepy little town called Callao Salvaje, not far from Costa Adeje. The Edge Restaurant is a hidden little gem of a place which has stunning views of a rugged coastline and food to ‘just dream about’. Honestly, this food is amazing!

It was a perfect opportunity for me to get some photographs of the sun going down and the night falling in. It was wonderful to physically see the sun moving closer to the sea and within minutes, it disappeared.

The Edge Restaurant is situated in the Pearly Grey hotel. Tapas and good restaurants is one of my specialities and I don’t just want to talk to you about what was on offer, I want to let you visualise the dishes which were produced by a fabulous chef and assistant.

The outside dining area was the perfect setting with low lighting, soft furnishings, cool sea breeze (heaters on the terrace kept the temperature spot on for an evening meal – it was December time but still really warm). Fresh, warm, comfortable and totally relaxed, ready to see what tapas were heading my way!

The mood was light and fun, sipping a drink and chatting, it was easy to see why the Edge Restaurant was appealing to the holidaymakers who wanted to escape the crowds and enjoy some top cuisine.

Chatting to one of the guests at the hotel, I wanted to get to know his opinion, especially the food. The relaxed conversation supported what I was hoping for (as I was still about to experience my food which was being prepared). The guest had returned for another holiday at Pearly Grey and his reaction was for the food, peaceful location and the stunning sunsets.

Well our food was nearly ready to be served and it was time for me to see if it lived up to the conversation we had just had or if this would be a mediocre meal. With our table all set, eyes glued to the waitress in anticipation of hunger, the plates started arriving!

Beautifully cooked cutlets which were seasoned and dressed with some spicy chickpeas. Tucking into this dish and adding some to my plate, the meat melted in my mouth and then followed the kick of the chickpeas. Fabulous choice for those diners who like a little spice added to the flavour of their food. Perfect!

Next up was perfectly rolled, fresh healthy vegetables and salad in a tortilla style wrap, which any vegetarian would enjoy. The attention to detail in the presentation of this dish was outstanding. Dressed to impress and perfection on a plate.

Another stunning and well presented dish was round, vegetable (patty like) treats. Packed with flavours that would make any palate happy and the tapas were finished off with a beautiful drizzle of sauce dressing. I even tucked into the dressing and side salad to ensure I got the full advantage of the seasons used. My appetite just kept increasing.

For diners who like Octopus, well this dish would impress you. Perfectly presented, seasoned and garnished with a bit of colour. Finely chopped and dressed with a slight sprinkle of seasoning, this kept our crowd tucking in for more.

It is easy to see how the Edge Restaurant receives praise after praise for the top class food it serves guests and diners. The dishes exceeded my expectations without doubt and it left me wanting more of the wonderful flavours and perfectly presented food. What more could anyone ask for?

Sitting back, listening to the music, the good food, wine and scenery, what a great end to our night and an added bonus to watch the stunning sunset from the restaurant. I suddenly keyed in to think about my previous conversation early on in the night, from the guest and ‘totally got him’ regarding his reasons for coming back to stay at Pearly Grey hotel and to make the most of this stunning restaurant.

The hotel and Edge Restaurant is known for picture perfect opportunities. This place is a winner for anyone who is thinking of booking a nice table for Valentines day, anniversary or simply just a really good meal or get together! The standards are exceptional and the views are just stunning.

To end this amazing night of perfect food and magical scenery, it was lovely to meet the genius’ behind the scene who cooked these amazing tapas. (Oh and the desserts are another reason to indulge that little bit more). Keep up the great work as you are an amazing team!

Thank you to Pearly Grey for providing this stunning setting and restaurant for a ‘great little get away’. Most of all, the amazing tapas and gourmet food which this restaurant offers. Reserve a table for me please, as I will most certainly be back for more!

For more information on Tenerife and where to eat, you can visit my blog:www.tapasintenerife.com









5 Top Tips for Real Canarian Tapas

With so many beautiful parts of Tenerife to explore, this time my selection was Los Cristianos, where I was on the look out for some good tapas. Yes, proper tapas like what the local people eat and not tourist labelled tapas which has an overcharged price tag attached to the menu.

Los Cristianos is such a stunning area of beautiful beaches, sand and plenty of restaurants.

Heading along the beachfront, I decided to go off the main beach walk area and towards the bus station. Local people know that good, authentic tapas are cheaper and better away from the main tourist areas. Luckily, a local friend had told me about a cafeteria, Casa Goyo which was on my list to try out and they were based in Los Cristianos. What was I waiting for? Off I went in search of this restaurant to check out the quality and price of the tapas.

Tip No 1 – open your options to looking away from the beach front and travel more inland or better still, the local garages serve great tapas and drinks with very reasonable prices.


True to form, the caféteria had local people taking a coffee and tapas so I knew that the price would be good to my purse and the quality should be on par with what I expected, but you never know until you try it.

Casa Goyo which is situated in Bulevar Chajofe, 3, 38650, Los Cristianos. It was a nice sunny morning and a week before Christmas. Heading into the cafeteria, the brightly glowing interior colours of orange and yellow, gave me a happy feeling to this place. Instantly I thought that the orange walls matched the beautiful shades of the parasols down at the playa and the yellow contrast matched the glowing sun which was out in full force that day

Spotlessly clean and typical of a local Canarian style cafeteria, I instantly knew that the tapas were going to be the real thing.

Tip No 2 – look for a caféteria or bar in which the locals eat to ensure you get the authentic Canarian style food.

Usually, a standard selection would be around 6 tapas and this would range from Tortilla, Meatballs, Chicken thighs or drumsticks in a sauce, croquettes, ensaladilla, Octopus or Beef, potato & chickpea stew. There will be other types of tapas as this depends on the cafeteria or bar.

Sitting myself down outside among the local people, I was greeted by a nice waitress who spoke a little English but as I knew what I wanted, it was easy to order my 2 tapas selection. For me it would be Tortilla (Omelette) and Ensaladilla (Potato Salad).

One of the good points when ordering tapas, you don’t have to wait long for your food. Sipping my refreshing Fanta Lemon (a must if you go to Tenerife), true to form, my food arrived quite quickly and certainly not to the meaning of the word ‘tapas’. The portion was huge and far too much for me to eat alone but I gave it a good go and tucked straight into it.

Tip No 3 – always go into the bar area and take a look at the selection of tapas available. Ask what they have and check with croquettes as sometimes the potatoes can be mixed with chicken or fish

All fresh products, healthy side salad and the tomatoes are one of my favourites ‘must eat’ when holidaying in Tenerife. The tortilla was packed with seasoning and potatoes and a great choice for any vegetarian.

Again, the ensaladilla was a perfect choice but unfortunately my efforts were not that good as I only managed to eat half.

Tip 4 – by finding a proper Canarian tapas cafeteria, you should save on price and increase in portion size

You don’t just have to have tapas, there are plenty of other tasty dishes on the menu for instance Paella or you could just order a sandwich and coffee to keep you on the go (which I did on another day, just to try out other options).

One thing that is important is, to get out of the hotel and take a walk around, see the area and support local businesses. It can be difficult for them to compete against the ‘all inclusive hotels’ and therefore they appreciate you stopping by, even if it is just for a drink and a friendly ‘hola’.

Finding a local tapas cafeteria or bar is certainly one of the cheapest options to eat out and it is ideal if you want to stick to a budget. The food is filling, good quality and more value for money.

Quite often, tourists will walk past this type of place when looking where to eat, as it is not the usual form of restaurant or holiday enticement. What I would say is, keep your eyes peeled and take a look next time. It certainly is worth a try and eating where the locals choose is definitely a winner in my books.

Tip 5 – to maximise your money and selection, head into one of the local towns where you will find even more selections of great food, tapas and cheaper prices. You will find great soups, goat stews, cheeses and meat dishes, all for half of the price you would pay in the tourist areas.

Luckily, Casa Goyo has reasonable prices even though they are only 5 minutes walk from the beach so it’s great to know that this cafeteria is offering excellent food, at a reasonable price.

After my food, the stunning scenery of Los Cristianos offered me a perfect setting to stroll along and click away on my camera. Perfectly relaxed and satisfied with my choice of tapas.

If you are staying in Playa Las Americas then I would recommend ‘Rosie’s Bar’ which is situated opposite the Chieftain Pub, close the Columbus Hotel. If staying in Costa Adeje, I would recommend Bar Rebumbio which is situated at Fanabe Plaza.

Choosing a good tapas restaurant or cafeteria is part of the fun of exploring so ‘enjoy the fun’ and hopefully you will be sure to find some tasty treats!

For more information on Tenerife and where to eat, you can visit my blog:www.tapasintenerife.com



5 Tasty Choices to Eat in Tenerife

From cafes, bars, restaurants and 5-star Michelin gourmet food, you will have a fantastic choice of dining when it comes to eating in Tenerife. The selection is endless and the standards are improving, year upon year. From international dishes of English, Italian, Chinese, Indian, right through to the local dishes of the Canarian style, which are definitely top of my list.

Having visited the island many times, over a lot of years, for me the food is one of the most enjoyable things of Tenerife. Why? Because it tastes so damn good!

Here is a quick look at my 5 tasty choices to eat in Tenerife.

Food for thought at Mesón Era Las Mozas and the portions are huge.

Typical Canarian and oh boy is this place really great value for money as it offers top, quality food. Popular with the local people but over the years, tourists are becoming more and more aware of this fabulous restaurant. They head there to try out the large meat portions that are on offer.

You will find Mesón Era Las Mozas in Calle La Cabezada 26, Valle San Lorenzo which is in the South part of Tenerife. Hard working staff and a bonus as they have the menu in English too.

The slow cooked chicken is a ‘must try’ or if you feel like a challenge, try one of the famous pork chops. Don’t forget the mojo to add to the Canarian potatoes and why not try a butterbean and ham soup for starters or garlic goat’s cheese. Simply delicious!

All the right ingredients for a classical and elegant restaurant at Monte Christo

If you want to have the option of an Italian meal while holidaying in Tenerife, Fanabe hosts a fabulous restaurant for that extra classy touch. Monte Christo is an elegant and selected restaurant that offers tourists a quiet, relaxed and refined dining experience for an evening meal.

The restaurant is situated in Calle Bruselas, Adeje and opposite the Bahia Princess Hotel.

The experience here is truly a high standard of interior and food. The fillet steak is a winner for me and the ‘secret ingredients’ for the Tiramisu dessert is something you must try before leaving. For me, the memory of eating in this amazing restaurant, stays with me and a longing for me to visit again, really soon!

Please be aware that the restaurant is closed on a Wednesday so make sure you don’t plan your special night for this time of the week.

Let’s be honest, the views don’t get much better than from La Baranda

If you are staying in Tenerife North, La Baranda in El Sauzal is a place worth visiting for the views alone. The simple style café type service, offers day time menu but at night, it is vibrant with music and locals enjoying dancing.

This is a perfect choice for some tapas but they also offer a selection of meals such as steaks or fish. The inside is fresh, cool and airy and the cafeteria also offers an amazing balcony where you can take in some of the fresh air, spectacular views and lose your cares to the world.

The hidden little gem of a place is a photographer’s paradise and a fantastic choice for afternoon snacks, cold drink or just a light meal to watch the sun go down. With postcard views, framed with green palm trees and plants, the added little houses dotted around in the background, make this a colour scenic picture for any traveller.

Power up your day trip to Candelaria by eating at Doña Pata

Many tourists head out to Candelaria and if so, don’t miss the opportunity to take some local food in a wonderful cafeteria which is hidden at the back of the main square. Doña Pata is situated in Calle Obispo Perez and it offers some really good local dishes, meats and fresh food. It is a fraction of the cost from the restaurants in the main plaza of Candelaria so if you are heading that way, make note of the name and address.

The colourful green and orange interior offers a vibrant setting for locals and tourists. It has great views out to sea and being sat inside, you will be sheltered from the winds which can be blustery in Candelaria.

The best kept secret tapas in Los Cristianos is at San Luis

Last but not least, my choice is a relaxing restaurant based in Los Cristianos. San Luis is based in the old cobbled streets part of the town and situated in Calle Estocolmo 7. It has a relaxing feel to the place and looks very pretty.

You will need to walk up the steps to gain entrance so this restaurant is not suited for those people who have mobility issues.

There are some lovely tapas on the menu, good wine and a friendly feel to the place. Set in the main busy area of Los Cristianos, it is ideal to walk in the afternoon looking around the shops or a stroll along the beach to finish off your day.

My work is featured from experiences of eating in the restaurants or cafeterias so all information is based on my opinion. Photographs are images taken by me and therefore reflect my interpretation of my views.

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Checking Into Tenerife’s Hotels, Jardín Tropical

It was Easter last year when Tenerife Magazine headed to the Hotel Jardín Tropical to find out what keeps 40% of guests returning year after year and what one lucky winner of our competition can expect.

Strolling past the elegant palm trees and soft, white turrets that guard the entrance to the Hotel Jardín Tropical, I pass beneath the straw thatched roof and leave the glare of sunlight to enter the portal to a dream world. Combining the principles of Feng Shui with shades of North African, Moorish and Colonial design, the architect Melvin Villaroel has created a space filled with hidden, tranquil corners where light, air and nature combine in perfect harmony.

Velvety white corridors weave below mirrored ceilings to shady courtyards at the foot of tiered minarets and bougainvillea draped terraces. Falling in gentle tiers from the hotel’s reception, brick paved terraces embedded with turquoise and ruby ceramic tiles lead past carved pine settees and over wooden foot bridges to water cascades and a sapphire pool that meanders around scented garden jungles.

The check-in welcome is accompanied by a chilled glass of cava while Joaquín explains the Alice in Wonderland principle of a ground floor which is in fact on the fifth floor and points me towards my room. Minus the aid of a White Rabbit, I follow the warren of corridors, my eyes wide at the eclectic beauty of my surroundings, until I arrive at room 457.

Don’t you just love it when you walk into your hotel room and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is “Wow”? A corridor of fitted wardrobes with wooden latticed doors leads to a cavernous room where crimson, colour washed walls lend a rich warmth to the beautifully cool interior. Centre stage, a bed the size of a small land mass is draped in the same rich, flower print drapes that cover the windows. French impressionist paintings join forces with the period furniture to give the room a classic, timeless elegance. I open the curtains and step onto the intimate balcony which peeks out through Kentia palm fronds at the giant strelitzias and towering palm trees that lend the gardens and pools the environment so richly deserving of the name Jardín Tropical.

I relax into one of the cane chairs, savouring the short time I have before my dinner reservation at the hotel’s award winning restaurant of Las Rocas. Birds are chatting noisily as they make last minute preparations for their sundown bed time, the last of the day’s sunbathers are heading back to their rooms while other couples are already dressed for the evening, strolling hand in hand towards a sunset cocktail at the Beach Club before dinner.
Three words are foremost in my mind ““ symmetry, serenity, serendipity.

The Essentials
Location: One of the first hotels to be built in Tenerife’s newest resort of Costa Adeje, the Hotel Jardín Tropical has seen many bigger and more flashy hotels springing up all around it while this tropical paradise has quietly taken root and flourished. Sited on a picturesque headland of Costa Adeje with Playa Bobo a few minutes stroll to the south and Puerto Colón to the west.

Rooms: Completely refurbished in 2010 and featuring LCD satellite TV, mini bar and safe, rooms are beautifully designed and appointed to maximise the quality of light, coupling the hotel’s trademark white with rich turquoise soft furnishings. Suites raise the floor space quota from generous to oodles and the decor to individually styled. The walk-in shower was powerful enough to double as an aqua massage and the bath was big enough to lie full length in. 26 interconnecting family rooms offer microwave, baby alarm and Playstation – essential ingredients of a family holiday.

Service: From the moment I arrived at reception, I was made to feel welcome by multi-lingual, professional staff. Service in the buffet restaurant and the bars was exceptionally good while at restaurant Las Rocas, the delightful Julio fussed over my every whim with a warm smile, professionalism and buckets of personality.

Food: Hotel Jardín Tropical has a deserved reputation for excellence in dining. The El Patio restaurant is reputed to serve the best steak tartare in Tenerife from its heavenly garden setting, while the romantic headland setting of Las Rocas is the venue for excellent gourmet cuisine. Breakfast in the Las Mimosas restaurant was a sumptuous choice of fresh fruit, continental and cooked dishes, all prepared and presented with aplomb in the stylish dining room and garden patio.

Entertainment: I followed the sound of laughter and applause to the bar lounge where families were being entertained by contemporary clowns, acrobats and breakdancers until it was time for the youngest of drooping eyelids to be carried to their beds. Night people will find themselves within sandal strolling distance of the iconic Faro Chill Art at Puerto Colón.

Overall: A fabulously stylish and chic four star hotel with five star design and aspirations where the good things in life ““ consummate service, fine dining, luxurious comfort and impeccable taste – are placed at the top of the agenda. Perfect for couples, honeymooners, families and anyone with an eye for quality and selectivity. As official host to players at golf tournaments like the Tenerife Ladies Match Play, it’s also the perfect year-round base for Tenerife golfers.

Hotel Jardín Tropical; 4 Star; Calle Gran Bretagña, Costa Adeje; (0034) 902 25 02 51; email: hotel@jardin-tropical.com


Tenerife’s Juan Carlos Padrón is Runner Up to Spain’s Chef of the Year 2012

Last week Tenerife Magazine shone a spotlight on the quiet chef whose culinary skills have taken him to the final of the Concurso Cocinero del Año 2012 in Barcelona last week. Today we’re very proud to report that Juan Carlos Padrón was declared runner up to Chef of the Year, pipped at the post by winner VÃíctor Manuel Rodrigo from Valencia.

Juan Carlos returned to his family restaurant El Rincón de Juan Carlos in Los Gigantes having beaten four of his six fellow finalists at the cooking spectacular hosted by Martí­n Berasategui, holder of three Michelin stars and three Repsol soles.

Here at Tenerife Magazine we’re blown away by the fact that we have a home grown chef who is ranked at the very top of his profession and thanks to his skill and his passion for cooking, we have some of the finest cuisine in Spain on our doorstep at El Rincón de Juan Carlos.

¡Felicidades Juan Carlos!


The Chef Who’s Putting Los Gigantes on the Spanish Gourmet Map

Occupying a small, unassuming corner behind the plaza in Los Gigantes is Restaurant El Rincón de Juan Carlos. From the outside you might not give it a second glance, passing it by in favour of a table in the plaza, but to walk by its door is to pass up the opportunity to sample some of Spain’s finest gastronomy. And that’s not just my opinion, that’s official.

On March 29th 2012, at the BCN Vanguardia conference centre in Barcelona, six young chefs drawn from across Spain will compete for the title of Cocinero del Año 2012 (Chef of the Year 2012) at the IV Concurso Cocinero del Año (CCA), and one of those finalists will be Juan Carlos Padrón, the chef who lends his name to the family restaurant.

Last week, Tenerife Magazine went along to Restaurant El Rincón de Juan Carlos in Los Gigantes, which is considered by many to be the best restaurant in the Canary Islands, to meet the rising young star of the Spanish gastronomic world and to find out what it takes to become a top chef.

As I entered the bijou restaurant, tucked onto the corner of Pasaje de Jacaranda, I was struck by the complete lack of pretensions in the dining room. Were it not for the menu outside and the knowledge that there was a maestro at work in the kitchen, I might have mistaken it for any other restaurant in the resort. The simple, lemon décor, white linen and original artwork (Juan Carlos” wife is the canvas artist in the family) made no attempt to detract from the reason you enter that doorway ““ to enjoy truly excellent cuisine.

How to grow a top chef
Occupying a table in the corner of the restaurant, I begin to ask Juan Carlos about his career as a chef and how he came to be such an accomplished culinary artist.

Juan Carlos tells me that cooking is in his blood and just about everyone in the Padrón family tree for the past three generations has worked in the production and preparation of food. His grandfather was a fisherman, his grandmother and mother both cooks and his father a chef. Growing up in the family restaurant, Juan Carlos” culinary training began when, as small boys, he and his brother Jonathan were given a pot with carrots and potatoes to play with.

“When I was a small boy my father placed crates for me to stand on so I could reach the sink to wash dishes,” says the ever-smiling chef. “As I got older I learned to give out the menus to customers, to take the orders and to serve the drinks. Then I started to do some flambés supervised by the chefs, and to clean the fish and serve it.”

Since leaving the family restaurant to train as a chef, Juan Carlos has worked in Michelin starred restaurants in mainland Spain and France as well as in the restaurant El Drago in Tegueste where he worked alongside Carlos Gamonal. Attending seminars in El Bulli with Feran Adria and in El Celler de Can Roca with the Roca Brothers, gastronomic influences on the young Tinerfeño chef have been at the very cutting edge of the world’s most creative cuisine.

The best chefs in Spain
Now on its fourth edition, each CCA final takes two years during which 60 professional chefs are selected from more than 1,000 applicants drawn from all parts of the Spanish mainland and islands to compete in six semi-finals. The winners of each heat then compete in the final to find the Cocinero del Año (Chef of the Year).

The chefs have to prepare a balanced menu with the correct amount of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibre, all for under €16 cost. The three courses are judged on flavour, composition, presentation, creativity, texture and aroma as well as the professionalism of their preparation. Juan Carlos was the only chef from the Canary Islands to be selected to participate, and he went on to win his semi-final which was held in Malaga on 1st June 2011.

On 29th March 2012, at the BCN Vanguardia conference centre in Barcelona, Juan Carlos will join his fellow semi finalists; Victor Manuel Rodrigo, Juan Jiménez, Marco Varela, Sergio Bastard and Javier Estévez, in the final which will be hosted by three Michelin stars chef and President of the CCA, Martín Berasategui.

The menu
Amazed at the €16 cost tag as the criteria for the menu in such a prestigious competition, I ask Juan Carlos what his winning Malaga menu consisted of.

“The starter was Steamed Parmesan Ravioli in a Lentil Reduction with Onion Petals; main course was Fillet of Parrot Fish with its Livers in a Seafood Sauce and for dessert, Warm Apple Terrine with Cinnamon Ice Cream.”

Since the competition, the parmesan raviolis have made it onto the menu at El Rincón de Juan Carlos and I can vouch first hand for their sublime flavour and texture ““ they’re like fairy pillows of soft, parmesan down that melt on the tongue. The ‘classic’ menu at El Rincón de Juan Carlos features dishes which combine taste and texture in a way that doesn’t just delight the palate, but that also provoke experiences and feelings. For those who appreciate top notch gourmet food, El Rincón offers a tasting menu which affords diners the chance to sample some of Juan Carlos” most creative dishes.

As we chatted, the tables of the restaurant began to fill and I asked Juan Carlos what the menu specialities are at Rincón de Juan Carlos.
“We don’t have specialities,” he tells me earnestly. “Every dish we do is a speciality and the menu changes frequently to incorporate seasonal ingredients.”

It’s a family affair
Now in its ninth year of operation, El Rincón de Juan Carlos has continued the Padrón tradition of being a truly family affair with Juan Carlos and his brother Jonathan in the kitchen and their wives front of house, quietly and efficiently waiting on tables, describing the dishes for customers and providing wine and menu recommendations with a wealth of knowledge and winning smiles. Their father now sadly passed away, the boys” mum still works alongside her sons in the kitchen.

One of the most down-to-earth and unassuming people I have met in a long time, chatting to Jaun Carlos it’s difficult to imagine the world he inhabits when he competes; a world filled with Michelin stars and Repsol soles where he rubs shoulders with the likes of Martín Berasategui. To me, he and his brother are like Tenerife’s answer to the Roca Brothers whose El Celler de Can Roca is officially runner up to the best restaurant in the world. Of all the famous chefs he has trained and studied with, I ask Juan Carlos which he admires the most.
“My father,” he says, unhesitatingly. “The best chef in the world was my father. When I cook in the final of the Concurso Cocinero del Año, it will be for him.”


Walk this Way, Santiago del Teide

As we emerge from the stifling heat of late summer and the first rains of the autumn feed the earth, turning brown to green and filling the air with the promise of new growth, it’s the perfect time to head into the hills of Santiago del Teide and visit the delightful Erjos Pools.

Why this way?
There are very few places on Tenerife where you’ll find pools or lakes that aren’t surrounded by sun loungers or walls. The disused quarry workings of Erjos are one of the prettiest. When the heavy digging machinery moved out, the wildlife moved in and now the pools are a haven for butterflies, dragonflies, ducks and rabbits ““ a veritable Watership Down, but without the sad bits.

It’s a part of Tenerife that’s favoured by walkers and it’s a million miles from the beaches of the south coast. Up here, the air is scented with pine, the landscapes are rolling green hills and dramatic volcanic cones and the nearby village of Santiago del Teide is to my mind, one of the prettiest on Tenerife. For the bonus ball, Bar Fleytas provides a great place to head for a beer and some tapas when you’ve finished. The inside bar is great for escaping the cool clouds and if it’s hot, the outside tables are perfect for perusing the, err, car park. Still, there’s always plenty to nosey at.

You don’t have to be a hiking pole-carrying, rucksack sporting, boot-clad rambler to enjoy this part of Tenerife. The pools are easily accessible from the main Icod de los Vinos to Santiago del Teide road and are great fun to explore just on their own and there are more than enough places to buy ice cream and fun things to do in Santiago del Teide to please the whole family.

Hike this way*
A path drops down from a dangerous bend on the main road, just north of Bar Fleytas on the Icod road, and zig-zags down to the pools. From there, any number of trails criss-cross their way, connecting smaller pools to wannabe lakes and providing reed cover for mallards and dragonflies. Just keep hold of the smallest members of the family lest they mistake bulrushes for solid ground and find themselves doing a Moses impersonation without the aid of a basket.

When the novelty of chasing rabbits and crickets wears thin, a path leads up through heather and willow trees to the ridge that overlooks Valle de Arriba and Santiago del Teide. At this point, any breath you had spare from the climb will be taken away as the gorgeous valleys unfold at your feet with the massive bulk of Mount Teide and Pico Viejo blotting out the horizon.

From here, a Red Riding Hood trail takes you through dense forest which still bears the blackened scars of the 2007 fires, along the north west ridge overlooking Los Silos before bringing you full circle to emerge once more above the Erjos Pools. Whistling the theme tune from the Archers, you descend through the green and pleasant farming land and arrive back at the pools.

Stroll this way
In the centre of Santiago del Teide is a small footbridge which looks as if it leads nowhere. In fact, it leads to a small shrine hidden in the hillside high above the village. The path is called the Camino de la Virgin de Lourdes and is marked by the white crosses (stations of the cross) that the pilgrims follow to reach the shrine. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with lovely views back over the valley and the village, and a small oasis of honeysuckle, roses and bougainvillea in which to sit and ponder the beauty of your surroundings.

Alternatively, take a stroll through the neighbouring village of Valle de Arriba where you’ll find rural Tenerife in all its simplistic glory. Agriculture is the mainstay of the village, much of it still by back-breaking bending and weeding by hand, and the fresh water spring is the centre of village life where bottles are filled and gossip exchanged. Feel free to join the queue for the free water, it tastes much better than the bottled variety and is rich in minerals.

My way

Peaks: Check out the lovely Casa Del Patio in Santiago del Teide for great food, souvenirs and a menagerie of farmyard animals or enjoy a eucalyptus-scented picnic at the zona recreativa opposite, If you’ve forgotten to pack the egg butties, the kiosk does a mean burger.

Troughs: If you’re unlucky and the bruma (low cloud) rolls in, the temperatures can plunge to uncomfortable levels and scenery can disappear.

My view: 4 Stars ““ This is one of my enduring favourite walks in an unspoilt area of Tenerife and is easily accessible by everyone. With the lovely Santiago del Teide next door, it makes for a great family day out.

*Detailed directions for this walk are available in PDF format as part of the ‘Into the Valley’ Island Walks.


Tenerife Restaurant Reviews on Tripadvisor

It’s now widely accepted that most UK residents researching a holiday abroad will use predominantly online sources before they book and for many, Tripadvisor is their first port of call.

But checking out Tripadvisor for a restaurant recommendation recently, it was surprising to discover which restaurants were ranked as the top three in each of Tenerife’s most popular resorts. Many of those currently holding these valuable positions were strangers to TenerifeMagazine.com, and indeed to the Tenerife Tripadvisor forum on which restaurant recommendations are frequently requested and given. With so much at stake, whose opinion is it that we’re trusting and how can we be sure that they would know a good restaurant if it walked up to them and introduced itself? It got us thinking…when it comes to restaurant reviews, does Tripadvisor really know its onions?

Success sells
One of the most interesting things that you first notice with the reviews is the number of people whose opening line is something along the lines of “we chose this restaurant because so many people on Tripadvisor had recommended it”. Having a good ranking on this holiday watchdog site is clearly worth its weight in gold and once you’ve managed to get into those ranks, success naturally breeds success.

Rating criteria
Anyone reviewing a restaurant on Tripadvisor is asked to give a rating of one to five stars, one being terrible and five being excellent, in the categories service, food, value, atmosphere. Interestingly, the only star ratings that show up on reviews are the overall average and the Service and Value, not the food, which is the main thing you would have thought most people would want to see.

Who do you trust?
Tripadvisor has come in for a lot of stick about the integrity of its reviews and rightly so, but to be fair to Tripadvisor, it’s a very difficult system to police effectively. Scrolling through the reviews given to restaurants that ranked at numbers one, two and three in the resorts of Costa Adeje, Playa de Las Américas, Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz, a pattern began to emerge.

In the restaurants who’s presence in these lofty positions was a surprise, of those reviewers who had given the restaurant straight five star ratings, the vast majority had only given this one review or at best, this plus one other. In one case, out of 56 reviews giving five stars, 39 had only ever reviewed this restaurant and a further seven had only reviewed one other as well. In another case, a staggering 20 out of 27 five stars came from mainly first time reviewers, and in a third six out of nine.

What was equally interesting was that the majority of those making their first and only review and awarding five stars were in the last three months.

Convenience versus quality
It was intriguing to discover that the currently top ranked restaurant in Costa Adeje is hidden away, a fair walking distance from the coast and with 65 reviews to its name, which makes you wonder how on earth so many people had managed to find it in the first place. It seems that the restaurant is in fact located within a timeshare apartment complex and so is convenient for lots of holidaymakers for whom the walk anywhere else would be lengthy. And why go anywhere else when you’ve got a very good restaurant on the door step? There’s no reason to doubt that the restaurant has good food, but does it warrant best restaurant in Costa Adeje? One reviewer gave it five straight stars having only had two takeaway pizzas from it.

The same pattern emerged for the top ranked restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz, numbers one and two of which are not even in the town. The number one ranking, although clearly a very good restaurant, is in La Paz, in easy distance of Casablanca Apartments for all those who don’t want to do the climb back from town but way off the radar of anyone staying near the coast. The second ranked restaurant is in Punta Brava ““ a considerable trek from Puerto and located directly outside Loro Parque. Interestingly, the seven reviews for this restaurant all gave straight fives, were all first time and only reviews and six of them had been posted in the last eight weeks.

With one or two notable exceptions such as Coeur de Filet and Méson Castellano, the first twelve ranked restaurants across our four chosen resorts had menus that predictably catered to a British palate. Steaks featured heavily in the reviews with pizza and pasta hot on their heels and Indian and Chinese taking two out of the twelve spots.

Even where restaurants with more varied and creative cuisine crept into the top rankings, some reviewers marked them down because the choices didn’t suit them. At Méson Castellano reviewers who don’t speak Spanish struggled with the ‘no menu’ concept and had a less enjoyable dining experience whilst a reviewer at Coeur de Filet complained that when she asked the waiter if she could have chicken in her spaghetti carbonara, he tutted ““ personally I think he showed remarkable restraint.

The best restaurants in Tenerife ““ Tripadvisor style.
So here, with our ‘look before you book’ warning that all that glistens is not gold, are the current top ranked restaurants in Tenerife’s major resort areas according to Tripadvisor. Are there any surprises there for you?

Costa Adeje
1st Restaurante Sebastián
2nd Coeur de Filet
3rd Torviscas Tandoori

Playa de Las Américas
1st First Love
2nd Méson Castellano
3rd La Martina

Los Cristianos
1st Chill Out
2nd Overseas
3rd Las Velas

Puerto de la Cruz
1st Tucan
2nd Tambo
3rd El Regulo