Mention Tenerife to anyone in the UK and the chances are they aren’t going to imagine a wonderland of marine inspired gastronomy.
Yet here we are, a subtropical island surrounded by the Atlantic near the coast of Africa. The fact that there’s an abundance of fish and seafood is often overlooked.
For lovers of fruits of the sea, Tenerife is a treasure chest filled with all sorts of goodies.
Every town by the coast has access to fresh fish, which means no matter where you stay on Tenerife you should have a choice of restaurants in which to get to eat the cast of characters that populate the surrounding waters. Places that have a fishing community are best (Bajamar, Los Abrigos, Las Galletas, Puerto de la Cruz, San Andrés, Los Cristianos, Playa San Juan etc.) but you won’t struggle to find seafood restaurants in purpose built resorts like Costa Adeje and Playa de las Américas.
The list of what turns up on Tenerife menus is a long one; this is an abridged version of the best Tenerife fish and seafood choices.
Fish on the Menu
For people who like white, chunky, flavoursome fish without bones it has to be cherne (stone bass/wreckfish). Every traditional restaurant has cherne on the menu and it’s cheap – unless you’re in the posh end of Costa Adeje. Another good value choice is sea bass (lubina), but if looking at an English menu check before ordering as sometimes dorado is called sea bass when it’s bream. Bream comes under a number of guises – sama, sargo, parga, chopa, bocinegro.
Moray eel (morena) is popular in some areas, Bajamar especially. It’s a tasty, meaty fish but can have a lot of little spines.
Cod (bacalao) is widespread and a traditional dish is bacalao encebollado (cod in onions) but don’t expect the type of cod you get encased in crispy batter. This is salted which can lead to some folk complaining their fish isn’t fresh. Hake, sole, tuna and sardines are regularly on menus.
It has to be parrot fish (vieja) or the dish that residents of Santa Cruz are named after – chicharros, small whole fried mackerel.
Seafood on the Menu
Squid (calamari) and octopus (pulpo) turn up in various forms. Chipirones are wonderful, whole small squid whilst chopitos are fried tiny squid. Octopus comes whole, as tentacles only or in discs with potatoes (pulpo a la gallega). A popular alternative similar to squid is cuttlefish (choco).
Limpets (lapas) drizzled with olive oil, garlic and cilantro served in a frying pan – absolutely delicious if cooked perfectly.
Prawns (gambas) are found on just about every Canarian menu as gambas al ajillo – prawns in mouth-searingly sizzling garlic oil.
Camarones (shrimps). Scratched on blackboards outside restaurants in the most traditional fishing communities you’ll often see ‘Hay Camarones’. These are small shrimps in their shells. Order a plate and you’ll find yourself with a mini mountain of pink crustaceans.
One way to try a selection in one go is to order a fish or seafood parillada (mixed grill). All seafood restaurants have these and they are usually excellent value.
Category : food and drink
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