We often get asked to recommend a restaurant for a special occasion if someone has something to celebrate when they’re on holiday in Tenerife and there are lots to choose from. Whether it’s beach side restaurants, tapas restaurants, traditional Canarian restaurants or restaurants for Valentine’s Day, Tenerife can deliver the goods.
But for the foodies in the family, there’s one restaurant that deserves very special mention, and that’s El Rincón de Juan Carlos in Los Gigantes.
The small, unpretentious, family restaurant which is tucked away in Pasaje de Tarajal, behind Plaza Buganvilla in Los Gigantes, came away from the Concurso Cocinero Del Año (Chef of the Year Competition) in Barcelona last week with an incredible second place for Chef Juan Carlos Padrón (photo above, courtesy of Concurso Cocinero Del Año). Held over two years with six heats, the winners of which go on to the final, this is a highly prestigious competition for professional chefs in Spain in which only the crême de la crême rise to the top.
Apart from the menu, there’s nothing from the outside of El Rincón to indicate that one of Spain‘s top chefs is working in the kitchen along with his brother Jonathan and their mum, while in the dining room his wife and sister-in-law wait tables. But as soon as you’ve given your order and the hors-d’oevre arrives you know you’ve stumbled into something special.
When I was there a couple of weeks ago a single oyster shell placed on top of a mini mound of rock salt arrived, its fishy contents lightly battered, and decorated with what looked like a piece of a leaf. Popping the oyster into my mouth unleashed a trio of tastes that melted onto my tongue – succulent oyster, savoury tempura batter and fresh Japanese lime.
From there, the dishes and the flavours took my taste buds on a culinary journey of discovery featuring the finest of ingredients, delicately prepared and beautifully presented. Through mushroom cappuccino, parmesan ravioli, eggs with papas negras and truffle, wild sea bass and oxtail on potato purée with roasted onions to orange granules with parfait of passion fruit, orange blossom foam and cardamom ice cream, each new dish brought its own sensations. By the end of my meal the same thought I’d had when I swallowed that oyster popped back into my head and became an analogy for the restaurant – how could something so small and unassuming create such a lasting impression?
If your idea of a good restaurant is one where the portions are immense, there are no surprises on the plate and the bill looks as if they’ve forgotten to add an entire course, El Rincón de Juan Carlos is not for you. But if you appreciate gourmet cooking and have a special occasion while you’re away, head to Los Gigantes for a dining experience to match any you’ll find in the best restaurants of the world.
El Rincón de Juan Carlos; (0044) 922 86 80 40; Pasaje de Jacaranda 2, Los Gigantes; open Mon-Sat 19.00 to 22.30. Three courses including wine €45/€50 per person, Executive Tasting menu including wine €75 per person.
Category : food and drink
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