The Best Restaurants to Eat Fish on Tenerife, Cofradía de Pescadores

Mon, January 3rd, 2011 - By Jack Montgomery

It’s a birthday tradition for me to have a leisurely lunch at a restaurant I’ve not eaten in before and there was one particular place in Puerto de la Cruz that perked up my taste buds every time I passed it; the town’s Cofradía de Pescadores.

Cofradía de pescadores basically means the fishermen’s guild and most fishing communities on Tenerife (Los Cristianos, Punta de Hidalgo and San Andrés outside Santa Cruz) have fish restaurants run by their local branch. Usually these are unassuming places with no frills and fish so fresh that it’s still feeling travel sick from its journey from the sea to the plate.

Not in Puerto de la Cruz. Although the Cofradía de Pescadores is housed in a revamped traditional colonial building beside the harbour, its interior is airy, sophisticated and contemporary. A marine theme is present throughout and there are models of boats, pictures of nets, old ropes and the fishermen’s patron saint, the Virgin del Carmen, but the style is as fresh as the fish sizzling in the kitchen’s frying pans.
Even the stools at the bar on the terrace overlooking the old fort and the harbour look more as though they belong in a style bar than a fishermen’s restaurant. It is the king of cofradía de pescadores restaurants on Tenerife.

The funny thing about fish restaurants on Tenerife is that every one I eat at manages to come up with something on their menu that I’ve never heard of before. The Cofradía’s blackboard had three such dishes – fideua, navajas and machuelas. Fideua turned out to be a type of paella; navajas were razorfish and machuelas small fried sardines.

We chose the machuelas to start, then Andy opted for caballa en salmorejo (mackerel in light gravy) for her main course whilst I ordered…err sardines. Don’t ask me why I’d basically ordered the big brother of the starter, I obviously just had an inkling for sardines.

Although the décor was swankier than other cofradías I’ve eaten in, the food presentation was much the same – simple. This isn’t the place for anyone who doesn’t like their food looking back at them. Here the fish comes with head and tail still attached.

I’d imagined the machuelas would be a bit like whitebait, but they were actually small-ish sardines and tasted wonderful; crispy and crunchy whilst retaining their distinctive sardine flavour. My main course sardines were pretty much more of the same except bigger and meatier.
Best of all was Andy’s mackerel. It was a huge specimen and had more meat on it than the average chicken. Mackerel has a lovely flavour in its own right, but the light sauce (a hint of garlic, peppers and even curry) accompanying this one unleashed a veritable taste sensation.

By the time we’d managed to eat all of our deliciously fishy feast we were satisfyingly stuffed to the gunwhales .

Because of the décor we though it might be a bit pricier than the average cofradía, but my sardines were €6.50 and Andy’s mackerel a surprising €8.50.

With its superb seafood, suitably marine surroundings and cheap as chips value, Puerto’s Cofradía de Pescadores is simply a must for fish lovers.

Posted : Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at 10:39 am
Category : food and drink
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7 Responses to “The Best Restaurants to Eat Fish on Tenerife, Cofradía de Pescadores”

  1. katja says:

    Hi there. thanks for writing the review. May I add the following experience from just a week ago: this is a place where it’s best to order all things from the Spanish menue. Never, ever order from the translated version. two days in a row we ate there (after having spent some hours at the wonderful beach). once we ordered from the tapas, just randomly 4 dishes. it was great and we paid a bit over 12Euros (with 2 servings of beer). the next day we ordered one main: the fish-platter. that was something they advertised on their English menue. that platter alone was 40Euros for 5 fish. We learned the lesson to simply order blindly something from the tappas menue… again, thanks for the blog!

    • Jack says:

      Thanks Katja.

      I totally agree with your advice about always ordering from the Spanish menu. Even if your Spanish is almost non-existant, it’s worth comparing menus. It’s not that anyone is trying to mislead, it’s just that in most places their English isn’t good enough to describe things accurately.

      I check out menus a lot and the English version is regularly quite different from the Spanish, especially when it comes to fish. I even saw one place recently where there dishes on the Spanish menu that were missing from the English translation.

      Thanks again for the tip.

  2. Juan says:

    Hey

    Thanks for the review. I am actually from Puerto de la Cruz (well born in Gran Canaria but lived in Puerto de la Cruz for most of my teenage years) and I am taking some friends of mine over to Tenerife in 5 days (I currently live in Edinburgh). I have eaten here before, but quite some years ago and so couldn’t remember how good or bad it was and how the place in itself looked. After your review, I am definitely taking them there, I think it will be a good experience and…well, as you say, you couldn’t get fresher fish even if you tried, so I think it will go down well with them.

    Anyways, thanks for making my decision-making easier and I will certainly let you know how it goes and how it goes down with my friends (I am taking over 2 Brits, 1 Greek girl and 1 Polish guy, so definitely a wide range of palates to accommodate for).

    Take care!

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