Look at Tripadviser reviews for Pizzería Rugantino in Garachico and you’ll see a few people marking it down for being ‘quite dark’, ‘basic’ and ‘not very well decorated’. Honestly, who goes to a pizzeria expecting sophisticated ambience, state of the art décor and romantic, candle-lit atmosphere? Rugantino does what you need it to do best, it delivers great pizzas, at good value, in a fun atmosphere.
It’s not as if Pizzería Rugantino is the only place in Garachico that’s worth eating in, the little town is packed to its characterful rafters with good restaurants including the very excellent Mirador de Garachico and the creatively quirky Canada de Garachico. So when we arrived at Rugantino around 15mins after it had opened and found that there were only two tables still free, we were pretty sure the pizzas were going to be good.
The fact that the place is closed three nights a week definitely adds to its tendency to fill up fast so if you’re planning a visit, skip lunch and go as close to its seven o’clock opening as you can manage or else expect to wait outside for a table along with an ever increasing volume of fellow diners.
Once inside there’s nothing fancy about Rugantino. The walls are plain white; half the furniture is chunky wood, the other half plastic garden chairs and tables; there’s no natural light except what comes in through the door and the artificial lighting is so low it’s impossible to get a decent photograph. We had barely been seated for five minutes when the smiling waiter appeared at our sides and I don’t think we waited more than 15 minutes for our pizzas to arrive, despite the place being rammed.
Extremely popular with families, the dining room was anything but quiet! There was a small group of aspirational chefs rolling out small pizza bases with mini rolling pins, all under the watchful eye of chef Luigi Loria whose pastry throwing skills are something to aspire to. Italian born Luigi gathers mushrooms from the woods in La Esperanza in the north of Tenerife and air dries them in his home to add to his store of ingredients. Along with aromatic, locally grown fresh herbs, it’s the authentic flavour that keeps them lining up for Luigi’s pizzas.
As you’d expect, the main feature on the menu is pizzas but there’s also a good selection of pasta dishes. We ordered the four cheeses (predictable, I know) and the Scaramouch (salami, ham, tuna, garlic & herbs). Thin crust, top heavy with cheese and packed with flavour, the pizza is delicious. A few drops of the fiery oil that sits on every table finished it off nicely and drew the flavours out even more. I saw a few pasta dishes coming out of the kitchen and they looked really good too but if I’m honest, I can’t see me ever ordering anything other then the pizza on future occasions, it’s just too good.
Don’t expect chic, romantic, sophisticated or contemporary dining but if you love pizza and pasta, you’ll love Pizzeria Rugantino. My top tip: leave room for the tiramisu.
Calle Estaban de Ponte 44, Garachico. The restaurant doesn’t have a telephone so reservations are impossible. Open Tues, Friday, Saturday 7pm – 11.45pm, Sundays 6pm-11.45pm
Category : food and drink
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