It’s been fascinating to observe the changes over 28 years living in the Canary Islands. None have been more interesting than the changes in the food and restaurant sector.
In Tenerife, the changes came in waves. In the early 90s fast food arrived. McDonalds and Burger King opened in Playa de las Americas and in Santa Cruz; mid 90s it was Chinese restaurants popping up all over the place. There followed Thai, chill-out bars, Lebanese, et al. We’ve come a long way from the family restaurants and steak houses which predominated back in the day.
The latest seems to be coffee shops. A craving for cake and coffee years ago meant a drive to Los Gigantes. Since I lived on the hillside above Los Cristianos, that was quite a drive for a cup of coffee and a cream cake. Now it seems that every street corner or previously abandoned nook boasts a panaderia. Hopefully, this proliferation of new businesses also heralds the beginning of the end of our recession too, since all of them seemed to be thriving.
Granted the word panaderia translates as bakery, not coffee shop, but being places which sell a variety of snacks and baked goods, coffees and teas, but not cooked meals, it’s the same niche. A far cry from Starbucks or Café Nero, most resemble more the fictional Central Perk of “Friends” fame. Their clientèle runs the gamut from snacking office workers (male and female), through young mums to tourists, men in suits, and sporty types in running gear. In a country where the bar has been the default meeting point for so long, this is something new for the south of Tenerife, most of them don’t serve alcohol, or only sufficient to flavour an Irish coffee, a big departure.
In most, although you order at the bar, food and drinks will be brought to the table. A stroll around Los Cristianos revealed two, Expresiones Dulces and Panaria, almost side by side nestled behind the Disa service station, and a third, Crispypan, only two minutes walk, near the church, in a position which never seemed to work for other businesses during my time here. All were busy. Each has its own speciality Crispypan has a large display of gateau in the window, Panaria a variety of breads and savories, whilst Expresiones Dulces offer sin lactose alternatives for your coffee.
They aren’t confined to the resorts either. Last year we recommended Aroma in the village of Arona, and in the small rabbit warren of back streets in El Médano, Migas has opened; even the service station in Las Chafiras has one, much frequented by expats from Golf del Sur.
Prices come as a pleasant surprise to those accustomed to city coffee stops, a slice of excellent cake and a good cup of coffee are usually between 3 and 4 Euros.
We’re still a long way from the decaf, low-fat macchiato or gingerbread lattes I crave, but now I can get a shot of caramel in my cafe con leche!
Category : about tenerife
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