Tenerife is the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands, attracting six million visitors each year to its black-sand beaches, volcanic landscapes, Spain‘s highest mountain – Mount Teide – and dazzling starscapes. With such diversity in the scenery, perhaps it’s no surprise that the island’s restaurant scene is also considered the best on the archipelago. While many visitors stick to the all-inclusive resorts, travellers who take time to explore will find high-quality dining options throughout the island, all oozing with Canarian charm. Here are the best restaurants to try during your next visit to Tenerife, Spain.
Cosmopolitan capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife is often skipped in favour of the beach resorts, but it would be a shame to miss out on the city’s impressive international dining scene. Ask any local diners where to get the best paella on the island and the answer will likely be El Picu. In addition to fresh seafood starters – think coconut ceviche and Andalucian prawns – popular paellas come in many varieties including one with Iberian pork cheek and artichokes, or another with black rice and aioli. The small but modern dining room has a lively ambiance and friendly service, and you can make a reservation on WhatsApp.
It’s worth the trip to Puerto de la Cruz – a town known for its black, volcanic-sand beaches in northwest Tenerife – to find this outstanding restaurant. A peaceful and minimalist setting allows the imaginative Mediterranean cuisine to steal the show, created in an open kitchen run by Seve Diaz and his sister Lily. The keywords here are seasonal, high-quality produce, on an à la carte menu showcasing items like steamed goat’s cheese dumplings and confit suckling pig. Or there’s always the tasting menu, with six mini-courses at a fantastic price.
This unexpected restaurant is a pleasant drive from the two cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristobal de la Laguna, tucked away in the vineyards with spectacular views of the countryside. Though rural on the outside, the interior feels more urban with wood furnishings, industrial light fixtures – low-lit at night – and spacious windows. The menu puts out photogenic starters from the sea, like tuna tataki and house-smoked mackerel, while big portions of meat make up the main course – like the Peking duck and rack of pork finished on charcoal.
This hidden, inland restaurant near the southeast coast took over an old locals’ haunt called Casa Fito. Thankfully, the revamped space didn’t remove the original Canarian decor of white walls and timber ceilings, but it did add tasteful updates like new fixtures and floor-to-ceiling glass coolers, showcasing wines and dry-aged meats. À la carte and tasting menus include inventive small plates, like black pig croquettes and lobster carpaccio, while deeper into the meal you’ll find juicy beef tenderloin and oxtail stew cannelloni. For a top-notch lunch – and day trip – request a table on the terrace with a lovely view, after visiting the vineyards in the nearby Abona wine region.
Drive to the lesser-visited, northeast tip of the island and you’ll enter Rural de Anaga Park, its jagged green mountains set against a deep blue sea. While only an hour from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the journey through this spectacular nature park will make you feel much further away. Another excuse to visit the area is an unassuming, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it restaurant called La Ola, featuring Canarian fare with local, fresh ingredients. Look for seafood specials like cod rigatoni and caramelised octopus, then pair them with a selection of wines. Walk off lunch by heading to the coast for more photos.
This one-Michelin-starred, special-occasion restaurant offers seasonal, three-course tasting menus that lean towards seafood, like mackerel with bordelaise sauce and trout roe. The presentations are creative, especially in the dessert course, thanks to the influence of Canarian chef-owner Juan Carlos Padron who works with local producers to get quality ingredients. The spacious dining room is located on the fifth floor of the Royal Hideaway Corales Beach. Request a table next to the large window overlooking the ocean.
Bet you didn’t expect to find Pakistani-Himalayan cuisine in Tenerife. But it’s here thanks to Sonia Garcia, who travelled to the Hunza Valley in 2011, meeting her husband along the way. The couple opened this tapas bar in the city of San Cristobal de la Laguna – a Unesco World Heritage Site with endlessly photogenic streets and an eclectic, student-friendly dining scene. Rakaposhi is a casual spot where European and Pakistani ingredients combine to create dishes like Lahore warm salad with fried pumpkin, skewers and Silk Road stews. Look out for special events, which may include photo exhibitions or travel talks.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Cristina Villadóniga.