I can hear you – Lanzarote of all places! Yes, we were in urgent need of a break after a long and busy January and since a friend of ours owns an apartment in Puerto del Carmen, the decision was made quickly.
Lanzarote is not for people who are looking for the ‘real’ Spain. The main industry of the island is tourism (the other being agriculture, wine in particular) and it becomes obvious straight away as the businesses are trying hard to give the tourists what they want. And what they seem to want is food they know and drink – and
Every restaurant has menus in Spanish, English, German and Scandinavian. And apart from a few exceptions, all menus cater for tourists with the full Irish breakfast and tapas include chicken wings. So not exactly what makes a food lover’s heart flutter.
But luckily there were a few highlights. In Puerto del Carmen, La Lonja is a traditional tapas and seafood restaurant, near the port with a fishmonger attached to it. The menu states that locally caught fish is used in all their dishes. As in traditional tapas bars, the tapas dishes are displayed at the bar and reheated if served hot. This can lead to soggy coating of croquettes and fritters but doesn’t affect the flavour. The place looks a mix of traditional Spanish eatery and an American diner with the metal bar, high ceilings and open doors.
The food was good – we had a selection of dishes: Fried fish in batter, served with lemon (this is where the soggy coating comes in but it was great fish), Padron peppers (one of my favourite snacks) was nice enough but I prefer them more roasted. Avocado with prawns was served with a Marie-Rose sauce, looked a bit like a car crash and was one of the best I have ever eaten while the Canarian cheese was slightly charred and served with a delicious mojo sauce. We chose a bottle of Faustino VII Rose and the dry crisp wine was a perfect match.
Porto Mar is located on the promenade in the New Town. As with most restaurants, a person is standing in front of the venue inviting you in – competition is high. Service was excellent with a waiter who had a great sense of humour. Again, we chose several dishes – my garlic prawns were fantastic but not all were de-veined (that is a re-occurring thing in all restaurants) in sizzling garlic oil. The garlic and cheese bread was a bit of a disappointing and nachos with guacamole looked like it was plated about a day ago and was a not enticing at all. Mr T went for Canarian potatoes, salt baked and served with mojo sauce and fried sardines. Both were big portions but well cooked and tasty.
Street Food – we visited this place on the first night when we just arrived. Mainly because we were starving and it was the only place that was still open at that time. We couldn’t have chosen better (we returned twice) – the nachos came with guacamole that was out of this world. Mr T ordered Bao Buns with slow-cooked lamb – flavoursome, succulent and delicious. We should have ordered two portions as it went down just too easy. The local Tropical beer went nicely with it and we knew we had finally started our holiday. Funny thing: they re-named the place while we were there and it’s now called Steak Burger. This is the little (and more casual) sister of La Cascada next door (also worth a visit). On our second visit, we had a pizza and
Taberna de Nino – here I had the best and not so good meal. Mr T was out cycling one day and I was on the lookout for a lovely lunch. I liked the look of Taberna de Nino and they had a lovely terrace so the decision was easy. I didn’t want to stuff my face with a full-blown menu so opted for the tapas menu – vegans would have been very happy as they had a few interesting options available. But the tempura langoustines were smiling at me. The menu read that they were served with an orange tartar sauce. Now, I was intrigued by how an orange flavoured tartar sauce might taste – I still have no idea as the orange the menu referred to was the colour and not the fruit. Apart from that, it was one of the most delicious tartar sauces I had in a long time with a perfect balance. As stunning as the colour looked, I have no idea why they serve it that way. The langoustines were
And because of that amazing experience (in my eyes the best I had so far in
We had heard so much about the Sunday Market in Teguise – and since I love markets, the decision was made. We took the bus no. 12 only operates on Sundays for €1.70 (a taxi will set you back about €25-30). Teguise itself is a beautiful village with a lot of the original buildings and was the capital o the island before
Our disappointment in the market was soothed by El Chiringuiti – a traditional tapas eatery, loud, lively and basic. Again, food was displayed at the bar and after a few funny explanations in a mix of English &
The island is small enough to get around in busses (you can also book taxis and coaches to a much higher price) and we took the bus to Arrecife – the capital of the island. It is also the only town that doesn’t make the main income from tourism. A small beach is accompanied by a promenade, lined with restaurants. As we skipped breakfast, Mr T was in urgent need of his morning coffee. Lolita is a bakery-cafe and we were encouraged by the long queue and we weren’t disappointed. The coffee was freshly made, strong and of high quality while the pastries were very tasty indeed. For lunch we chose Moet as our destination – when we did so, we just liked the look of it but the €10 for three courses made the choice even sweeter. I normally don’t go for cheap offerings as I am always worried about the quality of the ingredients. Mr T had a bowl of fish soup for starters – not the creamy version but bisque based with good fish and seafood. I tucked into some utterly tasty spinach croquettes that came served with a honey drizzle – unusual I thought but it worked so well. My main was black rice – flavoured and dyed with squid ink, it was perfectly seasoned with green chilli – while Mr T had a salad (I had more fun with my dish). Dessert was lovely vanilla ice cream.
- Taberna Reina Sofia – has the best espresso. Mr T went there almost every morning for his coffee fix
- Fantastico – located down the promenade. Great service, food is so so but the nicest toilets (seriously)
- Kentia Gourmet Club – we didn’t visit at this occasion but the menu looked amazing
- Best Sangria – Izaro Club Hotel. They have Happy Hour on a Sunday evening (2 drinks for the price of 1)
- Be aware that you might get charged for bread even if you haven’t ordered it but get it anyway.
- Some might find Spanish people rude – I call them efficient. A question to a bus driver ‘Is this bus going to Teguise?’ might get answered with a simple no and the doors to the bus closed. The question was answered, so moving on. I found the service in restaurants very good – and most menus are available in English, so pointing this out, makes it easy to order.
- Try the Caramel Vodka that some restaurants are offering after you asked for the bill. I love it so much that I took a bottle home with me and I am now trying to replicate it.
- Temperatures are pleasant at this time of year with a nice breeze. We had rain (light rain) one evening but it was still warm.
- We stayed in a lovely apartment in Loma Verde with a beautiful swimming pool. It is near the old town but it is a bit of a walk – great going out as downhill but tough on the way home.
- You will find a couple of Irish pubs in the old town. In one of
themwe met Gabi who came for a holiday and simply stayed – she works now in the Shamrock. Watching Irish matches was never easier.
- Rent a car and go inland to the vineyards – you will find some amazing bodegas on the way with tasty pintxos (Spanish sandwiches) and utterly stunning wines. Worth the trip – not so much in February as you won’t see the wines but they are growing within stone surrounds to protect them from the strong winds.