Tenerife Gastronomic Guide: Canarian cuisine and best restaurants
Canarian cuisine in Tenerife

Tenerife Gastronomic Guide: Canarian cuisine and best restaurants

It’s hard to go hungry on vacation in Tenerife. Cafes and restaurants with cuisine from all over the world can be found on the island, and for those who want to try unusual Canarian dishes, Tenerife offers shriveled potatoes, cactus juice and fried bananas.

Here you can try traditional Spanish dishes — paella- rice with seafood and meat, tortilla — Spanish omelette with potatoes, and gazpacho — cold vegetable soup.

There are not many traditional local dishes, different from mainland Spain, on the island. I will tell you more about them and give you a list of the best fish restaurants on the island and budget cafes with excellent food.

Where to eat in Tenerife

Wrinkled potatoes (papas arrugadas)

Tenerife has volcanic soil and special climatic conditions. Several varieties of potatoes are grown here that are not found elsewhere. The most famous and unusual local variety is the Black Potato (Papa Negra). Its tubers are small and wrinkled, the taste is sweet, and the price is high — about 8 € per kilogram in the market and 3 — 10 € per portion in the restaurant.

Traditionally, Canarian potatoes are boiled raw in seawater and then baked until salt crystals appear. In restaurants, these potatoes are served with the traditional spicy mojo sauce.

Mojo sauce.

Mojo sauce is a must on the Canarian table, it goes with almost any dish. You don’t have to order it in a restaurant — it will be brought with the bread anyway and included in the bill.

Mojo sauce can be red (mojo rojo) or green (mojo verde). The red sauce is spicier and more suitable for meat dishes, while the green sauce goes particularly well with fish.

The sauce is easy to prepare and does not need heat treatment, it can be made at home. Just mix olive oil, garlic, red paprika, hot pepper, wine vinegar and salt to make red mojo. In green mojo, instead of paprika and hot pepper, dill, parsley, cilantro or green pepper are added.

Tenerife stores sell a ready-made spice mix for making mojo sauce at home and it is often bought as a souvenir from the Canary Islands.

Mashed potatoes and mojo sauce
Mashed potatoes and mojo sauce


This traditional product has existed on the island since before the Spanish conquest. Gofio is a Canarian flour made from roasted grains of wheat, corn or barley. Canary flour is used as a garnish for main dishes, added to desserts, cooked into breakfast porridge or eaten with milk and dried fruit. Gofio is a nutritious product that keeps for a long time.

In Tenerife restaurants you can try steamed gofio (Escaldon de gofio), which is made from meat broth, Canarian flour, parsley, garlic and hot pepper.

Bananas (platanos)

Bananas are the main crop grown in Tenerife on about 6,000 hectares of plantations. Most Canarian bananas are exported to mainland Spain. Unlike the familiar African bananas, local bananas are smaller and sweeter, costing about 1.2 € per kg in the store.

Restaurants and cafes offer fried bananas (plátano frito) and banana mousse (flan de plátano). The traditional Canarian banana liqueur (licor de plátano) is often brought back from Tenerife as a souvenir.

Canary bananas are small and very sweet
Canary bananas are small and very sweet

Meat (Carne): rabbit, goat and «old clothes».

The most unusual traditional meat dishes in Tenerife are rabbit in salmonejo sauce (conejo al salmorejo) and goat (carne de cabra).

The rabbit dish is a roast in a clay pot. The meat is marinated in a sauce before cooking. And goat is traditionally prepared on Christmas Day: the meat is marinated in olive oil and spices and then cooked in a spicy sauce.

A traditional Canarian dish with a strange name — Old Clothes (RopaVieja) — can often be found in restaurants. It is a chicken and beef stew to which potatoes, chickpeas, sweet peppers, tomato sauce, garlic and seasonings are added.

Meat is loved and eaten a lot on the island: you can find steak in almost every establishment. It is usually served with French fries.

Entrecote with green peppers
Entrecote with green peppers

Fish and seafood (pescado y mariscos)

The Atlantic Ocean provides the island’s fishermen with its daily bounty — a paradise for lovers of fish and seafood. In Tenerife you can try dishes made of unusual fish: vieja, cherne, abadejo, pompano. Octopus, cuttlefish, squid and shrimp are often found on restaurant menus.

We lived in apartments with kitchens, bought fresh seafood from supermarkets or the market and cooked ourselves.

Fish restaurants are better to choose in fishing villages. There you can choose seafood from fresh catch, pay by weight and wait for cooking. You get a delicious and inexpensive dinner of fish that was still swimming in the morning.

The most popular fishing villages with fish restaurants:

  • Tajao.
  • Los Abrigos.
  • La Caleta.
Boiled king prawns
Boiled king prawns

Best fish restaurants in Tenerife

A staple on the island is seafood, which is abundant in the Atlantic Ocean. I picked the best fish and restaurants for the trip on TripAdvisor.

La Piazzetta del Mar

The restaurant is characterized by quality and delicious seafood dishes, friendly and professional service. Black paella with cuttlefish is recommended here.

  • Mode of operation: from 11:00 to 23:00.

Almar Tenerife

A small restaurant overlooking the ocean, where seats are best reserved in advance. Fresh seafood, especially recommended to try the tuna. The average check in the restaurant is 20—30 €.

  • Mode of operation: from 14:00 to 16:00, from 18:00 to 22:00.

Restaurante Agua Marina

Fish and seafood can be selected from the display case. The restaurant is small, new and clean, and the service is fast and friendly. There is a menu in Russian.

  • Mode of operation from 10:00 to 23:00.

Delicias del Mar

One of the restaurants in the fishing village of Tahao. There is no menu: the guest chooses fresh seafood from the display case and the way it is prepared. The cooking is fast, the service is friendly, but the English is poor. Prices are low, compared to the main part of fish restaurants in Tenerife: a kilogram of any fish — 17 €. The main visitors of the restaurant are locals.

  • Mode of operation: from 12:30 to 22:00.

Tasquita Del Puerto

The best fish restaurant in the fishing village of Los Abrigos. It is recommended to book a table in advance to avoid being left without a place. Prices are lower than in tourist places, the quality is at the highest level. According to reviews, the paella is good here, which costs 20 € for two people.

  • Mode of operation: from 12:30 to 22:00.

Best budget cafes and restaurants in Tenerife with Spanish cuisine

Bar Los Castillos

A small family-run establishment where you can have a good and inexpensive breakfast or lunch. Specializes in Canarian cuisine.

  • Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends.

La Casita De Taby

Family cafe with democratic prices, cozy atmosphere and ocean view. Specializes in tapas — traditional Spanish snacks.

  • Mode of operation: from 18:00 to 00:00, Monday — closed.

El Tejado

Cozy inexpensive cafe with Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine. Homely atmosphere and friendly staff. The crown dish is paella.

  • Working hours: Monday — Friday from 14:00 to 23:00, Saturday from 17:00 to 23:00, Sunday — day off.

Restaurante El Guanche

Vegetarian restaurant with local cuisine and views of the Masca Gorge. We recommend trying the unusual cactus juice and banana mousse with banana liqueur.

  • Working hours: from 10:00 to 18:00, Sunday — day off.

Cruz de Tea

Overlooking Teide Volcano, the cafe serves homemade Spanish and Canarian food, with a modest interior, great staff and tasty, inexpensive dishes.

  • Opening hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., closed Thursday.
Vegetable salad
Vegetable salad

What you need to know about restaurants in Tenerife

  • When choosing a restaurant or cafe, remember the main rule: outside the tourist areas cook for the locals, that is, better quality and cheaper.
  • Tipping in restaurants is not obligatory, but no one will refuse it. It is customary to leave 10% of the bill.
  • Portions in cafes and restaurants are large, so it is better to order meals gradually. Anything not eaten at the table can be asked to pack with you.
  • While the main course is being prepared, the waiters will be sure to bring bread and two kinds of mojo sauce to the table, which will end up on the bill even if they weren’t eaten.
  • Meat dishes come with a side dish by default, usually fries.

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