Every once in a while you stumble upon a restaurant in Tenerife that leaves you vowing to return, and on my birthday at the beginning of July, we found just such a culinary gem. Ironically, it’s within five minute’s drive of our home and despite being on the ‘places we must go to eat’ list for years, it has taken us all this time to get there.
Head into the hills above Puerto de la Cruz and you’ll find yourself in the district of Cuesta de la Villa, a small community between Santa Ursula and La Orotava, nestled into the cliff side below the road to Humboldt’s Mirador. Apart from its picturesque, traditional buildings and wide screen vistas right across the north west coast, there’s one very distinguishing feature about La Cuesta de la Villa, and that’s the number and quality of its restaurants. And three of them belong to the same family.
First of the gastronomic threesome is Donde Mario, just along the road is El Calderito de La Abuela (Grandmother’s cooking pot) and over the road is the little wine cellar, which is exactly what it’s called – La Bodeguita de Enfrente (the little wine cellar opposite).
Like a Tardis that has become locked in a time-space continuum somewhere between the Canary Islands and the English countryside, the small exterior belies a buzzing, wooden beamed, pub-restaurant where multiple dining rooms and low beamed nooks and crannies lead off in all directions.
Chunky wooden tables, old wine barrels, corner seating and stools at the long bar give La Bodeguita that rustic country pub look while the menu is pure Canarian. You’ll find all the usual suspects of Tenerife tapas such as calamari, pimientos de Padrón and gambas al ajillo but you’ll also find some innovative creations. For example, we ordered campañez which was bite-sized chunks of cherne (grouper fish) on sweet potato beds topped with traditional red or green mojos.
Portions at La Bodeguita are picoteo (literally meaning for picking at) and are a half way house between tapas and full main course size. We found three dishes between us left us feeling nicely full but with just enough room to end with a slice of their deliciously light and moist, home-made Tiramisu and some Puding de Pasas which is a sort of bread and butter pudding and would have you walking five miles barefoot in the snow just for a taste.
It was a Friday night when we visited, every table was taken and there was a queue waiting right up to the point at which we left which was around 11.30pm. The clientele were a lively mix of Canarians, ex-pats and visitors ranging from twenty-something to retired and the multi-lingual conversation was buzzing. Service was fast and friendly, the food was fantastic and the bill came in at around the €50 mark including a bottle of their own Terral Barrica wine at €15.
It might have taken us years to finally dine at La Bodeguita de Enfrente but as Arnie says “We’ll be back.”
La Bodeguita de Enfrente, Carretera Provincial Cuesta de la Villa, 130; (+34) 922 302 760; dishes €7- €9 per picoteo; reservations a must at weekend
Category : food and drink
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