El Monasterio, Family Fun and Good Food in Puerto de la Cruz

Fri, July 15th, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Situated on top of the Montañeta del Fraile (Monk’s Mountain) volcanic cone on the boundary of Los Realejos and Puerto de la Cruz, El Monasterio is descended from a hacienda and a shrine built on the summit of the cone by the monk whose name the mountain took.

Locals tell of a Dominican monk named Fray Antonio el Gomero (Brother Antonio, the Gomeran) who, in order to raise funds to build a shrine to the Virgin of Candelaria – the Patron Saint of Tenerife and the Canary Islands – set off on his mule to ask for donations from his parishioners. The tale goes that Brother Antonio carried an empty barrel with him and every time he got to a vineyard, he asked the owner if he could have a barrel of wine as a donation to his cause. Over time Brother Antonio acquired a great deal of wine which he then sold to raise funds for his shrine.

Next, Brother Antonio went to the Guanche natives who still occupied the interior of Buenavista and La Orotava and he persuaded them to donate goat kids to him which he then asked his neighbours to raise for him in return for which, he made them goat stew. It wasn’t long before Brother Antonio had his funds and was able to build a hacienda and a shrine where he spent the rest of his days continuing to raise funds from his goat and wine business.

Carrying on Brother Antonio’s tradition, today El Monasterio occupies 100,000 sq metres on its mountain top vantage point with a finca, five restaurants, walkways, courtyards and gardens where ducks, geese, ponies and peacocks roam, and wine and goat stew feature on the menu. In a nod to its monastic origins, vaulted cavernous rooms, bare brick walls and names like El Confesionarío (the confessional) and El Convento (the convent) provide grand and quirky venues for the restaurants and for private functions.

Each of its five restaurants has a unique look and a different menu. El Mirador (the viewpoint) delivers the promise of its name by being perched on the southern slope of La Montañeta overlooking Puerto de la Cruz. The main restaurant serves traditional Canarian food, the Terraza Grill spit-roasts chickens and ducks every Sunday on a rooftop terrace, Casa Rocio specialises in haute cuisine to the most discerning of palates and Casa Fondue specialises in… well, fondue.

On special occasions or just for a treat, we like to go to El Mirador for their champagne breakfast – a full cooked breakfast with a basketful of fresh, warm breads and croissants; jams, aromatic coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and champagne for under €10. But you don’t have to have a meal to enjoy the place, it’s great just to wander around to see the animals, the grounds and the views.

There’s just one thing you really should try though, their cakes are sinfully good. I seriously doubt that Brother Antonio would approve.

Posted : Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
Category : days out
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2 Responses to “El Monasterio, Family Fun and Good Food in Puerto de la Cruz”

  1. […] you’re based in the north the place to go is most definitely El Monasterio, sitting in the foothills above Puerto de la Cruz, and built as a monastery in the 18th century. […]

  2. […] Monasterio The volcanic cone where El Monasterio sits in Los Realejos has had religious connections dating back to the early settlers. The beautiful […]

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