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The Ranilla - heart of Puerto's restaurant district
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Eating out in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
If you’re a first time visitor, or even an oft returning one, the range of restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz can be bewildering and you could easily lose an hour or more wandering around looking at menus before you decide where to eat.
New restaurants are constantly opening in Puerto de la Cruz and even if you live here it’s hard to keep track. Having said that, there’s one district that’s a must for lovers of good food and wine.
Head east out of Puerto’s main plaza of Plaza del Charco, along Calle San Felipe and you’ll find yourself in the old fishing quarter, known as ‘La Ranilla’; the heart of the restaurant district. For years, regular visitors and residents have known that the restaurants that line the area’s narrow cobbled streets offer the very best in fish, seafood, Canarian and Italian cuisine.
Every few months it seems, another new restaurant is opening its doors in the Ranilla district, bringing new menus and contemporary décor to sit cheek by jowl with the old established businesses.
Vegetarian, organic whole foods, Mediterranean, classic Spanish and nouveau Canarian menus are appearing on the doors of elegant, sophisticated interiors while the pavement tables and chairs with their romantic candles and decorative crockery are giving the sleepy streets a new look and a steady trade.
And the really great news? The prices are not inflated to feign exclusivity, nor are any of the familiar fishing net and farm implements décor of the old established businesses being supplanted. You can still choose to eat simple, delicious conejo en salmorejo (rabbit stew), gambas a la plancha (grilled prawns) or cherne con papas arrugadas y mojo (grouper with wrinkled, boiled potatoes and spicy sauce) just as easily as you can choose panga fish with mango sauce or pork fillets in a herb baked crust.
With almost 300 restaurants to choose from in Puerto de la Cruz, this is just a selection of those that offer something different in terms of location, décor or menu and that we know from personal experience:
Where to eat in Puerto de la Cruz - La Ranilla District
A gem of a place in the heart of the Ranilla district that many people don’t know even exists, possibly because its opening hours can be a bit of a mystery. An unassuming cat faced cottage façade hides cosy little rooms each with a different personality and full of fascinating bric-a-brac. The food, creative Spanish cuisine, is fabulous and the restaurant regularly wins awards when the town holds tapas competitions.
Calle La Verdad,8
Stylish, mainly vegetarian, restaurant with a master chef-owner who loves to present you with a selection of his outstanding dishes. Don’t expect the usual vegetable lasagna or omelette choices usually faced by non meat eaters in Spain; this is gourmet cooking for veggies.
With contemporary décor which includes animal prints and a cactus chair (!) Maná is very popular with young, hip Canarians and booking is advisable.
Calle Mequinez, 21; (0034) 922 372 474
Generous portions of mainly meat and fish dishes with an international and slight Scandinavian influence; El Padrino’s menu with offerings such as pork steak with blueberry sauce, red cabbage and croquettes or sole fillets in a lobster sauce offer a variation from the traditional Canarian fayre served in many of Puerto’s restaurants.
Calle Lomo, 17; (0034) 922 382 937
La Clave – Tapas Y Pintxos
A chic tapas bar which has the sort of style you’d normally find in a tapas bar in Barrio Gotico in Barcelona. Super cool surroundings and what some people might call ‘real tapas’ as opposed to the ‘starter’ type dishes that many Canarian restaurants offer as tapas. Wear black, or white if you want to blend in with the colour scheme.
Calle Puerto Viejo,18
Where to eat in Puerto de la Cruz - La Ranilla District
A lovely garden courtyard is the romantic setting for this very popular restaurant which serves traditional and nouveau Canarian and Spanish cuisine.
Friendly service, relaxed atmosphere, excellent food and great value for money.
Calle Lomo, 14; (00 34) 922 382 811
La Rosa Di Bari
Sophisticated, elegant décor sets the tone for this fine Italian dining with a range of wines to suit even the most discerning of palettes. Excellent service, authentic freshly made pastas and sauces and fabulous surroundings. If you were in Britain, you’d have to add a nought to the bill.
Calle del Lomo, 23; (0034) 922 368 523
La Tasquita de Min
Located beside the harbour, La Tasquita is a popular choice with Canarians who fill the outside tables with their vivacious joi de vivre each Sunday; a surefire indication of the quality of the traditional dishes which they consume with mucho gusto. The lapas in ajo y cilantro (limpets in garlic and coriander), when they’re available, are possibly the best in Puerto.
Mequinez esq. Parque Maritimo; (0034) 922 371 834
One of the new breed of restaurants in the fishing district, this beautifully restored Canarian house offers Mediterranean dishes with, as the name says, a thousand flavours.
Try the Atlantic fish in lobster and Pernod sauce, pork fillet in a herb crust or the roast duck or…We’ve yet to order a dish that we haven’t wanted to come back and order over and over again. The postres (sweets) are sensational too.
Cruz Verde, 3; (0034) 922 368 172
Where to eat in Puerto de la Cruz - La Ranilla District
Bar Restaurant Oregón
Some of the fishermen’s’ bars at the harbour might be too authentic for some visitors, but Oregón maintains a nice balance between having the ambience of a local bar, but not one where you feel that you need to grow a grizzly beard to fit in. A good tapas menu includes seafood skewers of grilled, squid, cuttlefish and charcoaled vegetables drizzled with a tiger-ish mojo rojo and soy sauce. Their country wine will put hairs on your chest, but is very drinkable.
Calle Mequinez, 7
Often cited as one of Puerto’s best restaurants, Regulo is situated in a beautiful Canarian mansion with traditional wooden balconies and a wide wooden staircase. The food is of the very highest standard, as is the service and desserts are works of art to be admired, and then devoured.
The prices are a little above the usual for Puerto but still ridiculously good value for money by UK standards.
Booking is essential.
Perez Zamora, 16; (00 34) 922 380 360
El Templo de Vino
A great example of a tapas bar where traditional favourites and nouvelle tapas meet and get on swimmingly. Serrano ham, pinchos with a mischievously spicy sauce represent the old whilst the Tunisian, and extremely more-ish, dates wrapped in bacon represent newer, international influences. Beautifully cooked and elegantly presented and as the name suggests, the wine won’t disappoint either.
Calle El Lomo,2; (0034) 922 374 164
Where to eat in Puerto de la Cruz - Old Town Centre
Bar Luis, El Balcon
El Rincon is home to three restaurants. All serve good traditional Canarian cuisine, but Bar Louis has an extensive selection of tapas dishes; ideal for people who like to sample a range of local offerings. The churros de pescado (goujons of fried fish in herby batter) are particularly more-ish. Although the food is good, the real star is the setting; a towering palm tree dominates a courtyard surrounded by exquisite polished wood balconies.
Plaza del Charco (c.c.Rincon del Puerto) (0034) 922 384 207
One of ‘Real Tenerife’s’ favourites; an atmospheric restaurant set around two rooms and a courtyard in a charming antique town house. It’s full of character and the tapas dishes like cheese from El Hierro, chipirones (small squid) and grilled sardines are delicious. The house wine, from their bodega, is cheap, seriously quaffable and potent. A truly authentic experience and still something of a secret despite it’s proximity to Plaza del Charco.
Calle Blanco, 19: (0034) 922 380 730
Even veggies fancy junk food every now and again. El Limon is a popular student haunt with a fresh marine style décor which is still very unusual in Spain in that its menu consists mainly of veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs. They also specialise in natural fruit juices so not your typical fast junk food joint.
Los Príncipes Café
The former hotel has been reborn as a very smart venue to have a tapas lunch, or even to sit and have cake and coffee. The very stylish patio overlooks one of the prettiest squares in the town and when some live Spanish guitar is added to the mix in the evening, it’s an incredible romantic and magical spot to while away the time.
Plaza Dr. Victor Peréz
Tucked away at the corner of the atmospheric Calle Iriarte, Maga dishes up good Canarian cooking at great prices. Their menu del dia is particularly good value. How about salad, a jug of wine and paella (their paella is pretty damn good) for around €20 for two people, or papas arrugadas with mojo sauce, Canarian kebabs, a mixed fish and seafood grill followed by banana split for under €35 for two people.
Calle San Juan,24; (0034) 922 383 853
Unpretentious Italian restaurant whose uniqueness is its position below the main promenade. Wide stone arches which overlook the dramatic and beautiful coastline and the occasional muchacho trying to impress the girls by suicidal dives from the rocks are a distraction from the generally excellent food. Pizzas are cheap, large and tasty. This is a good choice for families.
Santo Domingo, s/n. (mirador punta del viento pza.); (0034) 922 381 328
Another restaurant set in the covered courtyard of a beautiful old colonial building. Service is friendly and efficient and the menu successfully combines traditional Canarian cuisine with imaginative international dishes. Main courses are generous and reasonably priced and the food is beautifully cooked and prepared; the flambé skewer could almost count as live entertainment.
Plaza Charco, 13; (0034) 922 373 422
Rancho Grande is from the same stable as El Monestario and Café de Paris, so quality and professionalism is guaranteed. The food is good rather than great, but the menu is a culinary version of a trawler fishing boat. With dishes representing Spanish, Scandinavian, German, British and Mexican cuisine, there’s something to fill the bellies of most nationalities in the town…and there’s a fantastic bread and pastry shop attached.
San Telmo, 10; (0034) 922 383 752
Tasca La Muralla
Intimately cosy tapas bar on Calle La Hoya. Good range of reasonably priced tapas and relaxed surroundings with a few tables outside; perfectly placed for watching the world go by.
Calle La Hoya, 40; (0034) 922 368 004
The name means ‘the twins’ and the portions in this traditional Canarian establishment are such that one main course could probably feed a pair of fully grown ‘gemelos’. The menu is no different from other traditional Canarian restaurants, but the food is perfectly cooked to order, the staff are friendly and efficient and the décor attractively rustic. A good place to sample some lip-smacking good local cuisine.
C/Peñón, 4; (+34) 922 370 133
Warm and intimate little Mediterranean restaurant tucked away in the atmospheric cobbled streets behind Plaza Iglesia in the old town. Dishes are freshly prepared by the personality Italian chef and include home made pastas, tapas, steaks and fresh fish such as tuna in an olive, tomato and anchovy salsa. Refreshingly different fare in a cosily romantic setting.
C/ Benjamin J. Miranda, 5; (+34) 922 382 711
Where to Eat in Puerto de la Cruz - Upper Town
So you think you know Mexican food? The menu at Poco Loco might make you reconsider. There are old favourites like chili con carne, fajitas and nachos, but mainly this is Mexican with imagination. Beautifully prepared dishes will have your taste buds dancing ‘la cucaracha’, helped along by some dangerously drinkable tequila beer (no…you haven’t misread that). An eclectic mix of wooden tables and chairs are set in and around a stone cottage, the décor is as creative as the food.
Paseo Dragos, 7 (beside Sitio Litre); (0034) 922 385 662
Where to eat in Puerto de la Cruz - La Paz
Part tasca, part wine shop. Chunky wine barrel act as tables in this friendly establishment opposite the El Botánico Hotel. A relaxing spot to spend a long, leisurely lunch with ‘tablas’ of Serrano hams and local cheeses. Add a carafe of wine to compliment and you’ll be purring with pleasure.
Ctra Botanico, 9; (0034) 922 386 560
Another popular lunch spot with a wide terrace opposite the delightful Botánico gardens. The menu consists of traditional Canarian dishes, pastas and pizzas. Pretty much something to suit everyone; great for keeping family squabbles about where to eat to a minimum.
Retama, 3; (0034) 922 371 524
With a ‘menu del dia’ costing only €8.95 for three courses plus refreshments, Aguamarina in La Paz is a wallet friendly hostelry with big portions of good quality food. What makes the restaurant a bit different from other similar establishments is that the choice on their ‘menu del dia’ is far more exrensive than the usual one or two dishes.
Ctra. Del Botánico ; (0034) 922 376 818
Tapas on Tenerife
Most restaurants have menus in English; however some translations can be confusing. I’ve seen ‘roasted paw of the house’ and 'tuna from the iron’. Here are a few Tenerife favourites to help you out.
These are small filleted fish in vinaigrette. Not salty, or bony, just tasty.
Mouth-watering fried camembert served with a fruit conserve.
Small squids usually brushed with oil and griddled on a hot plate; tender with an exquisite flavour.
Tiny squids with a crispy batter coating. A great little snack.
Churros de pescado
Small goujons of white fish in herby batter.
Simple bread-crumbed croquettes normally filled with potato and, or fish.
Empanadas are pies. Served as tapas they’re usually small crescent shaped pastries filled with tuna and tomato.
Sometimes called ensaladilla Rusa. A mix of tuna, potatoes, vegetables, hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise.
Gambas al ajillo
Sizzling clay pot of prawns flavoured with sliced garlic and chillies.
A chickpea stew flavoured with slivers of garlic and ham.
Tiny fish coated in flour and fried; the Canarian version of whitebait.
superior version of jamón Serrano from the tastier black hooved pig (pata negra).
Thin strips of cured ham; perfect accompaniment for manchego cheese.
Limpets in a half shell drizzled with oil, fresh coriander and garlic. Seafood fans will love them.
Literally wrinkled potatoes. Tasty, salty little potatoes which are an island speciality. They’re always accompanied by mojo verde (a slightly spicy coriander sauce) and mojo rojo (a spicier red sauce flavoured with chillies).
Pimientos de Padrón
Delicious little green peppers fried in olive oil and sprinkled with rock salt. One in ten can have a kick like a mule; eating these is the equivalent of playing culinary Russian roulette.
Small fried pastry sticks filled with cheese.
Chunky slice of savoury cake made from potato, onion and egg. Cheap and filling. Normally served with alioli (garlic mayonnaise).