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.
Category : food and drink
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