Want a very different eating experience, in a setting which is both quirky yet traditional? This is what I found in south Tenerife, close to Reina Sofia airport last week. Not only that, but I am talking healthy eating, as a bonus!
I’d intended to visit Restaurante Avestruces for a couple of years, but was surprised to realize that they’ve been open on the hillsides between San Miguel and San Isidro since 1999. Here I should explain that avestruce translates as ostrich, a meat which has been hyped in the British press as the meat of the future, low in both fat and cholesterol.
For three years before the restaurant opened it was a farm. Owner, Juan happily boasts about the health benefits of regularly eating ostrich meat when he greets you at the restaurant entrance, the door of which is guarded by an impressive metallic sculpture. Probably the worst thing about this eatery is getting there. In an area which is not much frequented by anyone other than those who live or work there, you feel almost lost in an “alternative Tenerife,” where dusty greenhouses and scattered crops line the narrow roads. In fact, it’s quite simple, turn off TF1 at the airport, take the road signed to Casablanca, and from there follow the colourful signs to the restaurant. It was a little further than I expected, probably about 5 km, within easy reach of my home in El Médano, or for those holidaying in Golf del Sur. From the main resorts of Los Cristianos or Costa Adeje, allow a good half hour to get there. Unfortunately, plans to run a pick up service petered out, so you do need a car.
On a hot day, all was cool inside the ample, wood-ceilinged building when I entered. So much bric a brac and ostrich-related stuff lines the walls I felt as if I’d walked into a museum. There is a shop selling ostrich products. These flightless birds have been bred in captivity for many years now, being valued for their feathers and skins before the meat became fashionable. Gaily coloured feathers are abundant (think traditional showgirl costumes), and the bar stools are made from skins, which felt exactly like normal leather. In fact, the meat, likewise, tastes very much like steak too, but without the implied dangers to health we are too well aware of these days.
If you are eating in the restaurant, a tour of the farm is included, if not, you have to pay. It’s quite the experience, seeing the young, beige-coloured birds, and the mature ones towering over you (they can grow up to 9ft). It turns out they are naturally curious in captivity, rushing over to the fence to see what you are doing as you snap away. In the wild, they would turn and run away from a suspected predator at speeds of around 70 km per hour. They are the fastest thing on two legs. Their eggs, of course, are legendary, enormous and weighing up to 3 lbs.
The restaurant caters mainly to large groups. I have to say it’s not a place for a cosy twosome, but a fun place to dine with a group of friends, especially if you are looking for something out of the ordinary.
The restaurant is open seven days a week from 10 am to 8pm. A 7 course all things ostrich banquet will cost you €29 including unlimited wine, and a tour of the farm. If you are not eating a farm tour will set you back €10 and half price for children.
Category : days out
Subscribe : RSS 2.0