Go Spanish on Tenerife

Fri, November 23rd, 2012 - By Jack Montgomery

The first time we visited Tenerife we went out for dinner about 7pm to a very nice but empty restaurant set in the courtyard of a colonial Canarian house. Then we hit a couple of bars up a side street in the old part of Puerto de la Cruz. They were pleasant places to quaff a glass of local vino or two but they were about as lively as the local cemetery. By 11pm we decided Puerto had gone to bed and headed back to the Marquesa Hotel through nearly deserted streets.

Read travel forums and you’ll often get a similar picture. But it’s an incomplete one caused by the fact that although paths sometimes cross like railroad tracks, Spanish and British eating and playing patterns don’t really gel.


Tenerife resorts like Los Gigantes, Playa de las Américas or Costa Adeje were designed to meet the patterns of the majority of tourists, so the times when people eat and go bar hopping are pretty much the same as at home.

However, anyone staying in one of the traditional towns like Puerto, La Orotava, La Laguna or Santa Cruz who wants to go native will have to change their eating and drinking habits a bit.

7 to 8am: Breakfast (Desayuno)
Go Spanish by starting the day with a café con leche (milky coffee) or café cortado (small espresso like coffee with milk) and a magdalena cake or churros (fried pastry strips dipped in sugar – optional) with hot chocolate. Some places do pan con tomate which is bread rubbed with garlic and ripe tomato that’s drizzled with olive oil and finished with a sprinkling of salt. I particularly like this topped with a slice of Serrano ham. Cafés at petrol stations are particularly good places to experience an authentic Spanish breakfast.

Eating only a light breakfast does mean that there’s a need to supplement it around 10-11am with a coffee and a cake.


Tapas in Tenerife

2pm till ???: Lunch (Almuerza or La Comida)
This is the biggie meal of the day. I’ve enjoyed some epic three hour lunches in Spain. Don’t go anywhere near a restaurant before 2pm if you want to go Spanish. This is the time to try the menú del día which is usually cheap and generous, consisting of 2-3 courses with a drink for under €10.

8pm onwards: Dinner (Cena)
Forget thinking about eating dinner before 8pm. Going out to dinner after then and you’ll notice your fellow diners are more likely to be Canarios than northern European holidaymakers. Still feeling stuffed from a long, hearty lunch, cena is a significantly lighter affair and subsequently it’s a good time to try out some of Tenerife’s tasty tapas.


Nightlife in North Tenerife

Midnight – ZZZ time (Party time)
Like lunch and dinner, hitting the bars Spanish style means doing it a bit later than you might be used to. The liveliest Spanish bars don’t hit their stride till after midnight with around 1.30-2am being the peak. Many bars stay open till about 3am when night owls move on to a club.

We were mistaken all those years ago when we went back to our hotel thinking that Puerto de la Cruz was closing down for the night; the best bars hadn’t even woken up.

Posted : Friday, November 23rd, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Category : about tenerife
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