Of all Tenerife attractions, it's traditional cooking is one which is still little known to the visitor. There are so many good restaurants with international cuisine in the tourist areas that simple island cooking based on fresh local produce (excellent fish, meat, vegetables and fruit) becomes difficult to find.
For the first course mixed vegetable stews and fish casseroles, both accompanied, if one wishes, by the traditional toasted Canary flour (El Golfo) and chickpea dishes are the most typical.
The most apprecited fish is an island species, "la vieja", which has fine white meat like the Sama and the Cherne. The Sardine and the Chicharro are among the most popular fresh water fish. The
king of the meat is undoubtedly pork, one of the most requested dished being pickled pork, here called "festival meat" and also "Conejo en Salmorejo" served mainly in the countryside.
The "Papas Arrugadas" with green or red garlic sauce stand out above the rest as a side dish. The small and buttery potatoes that the island produces, have an extraordinary flavour and by
themselves are a delicious dish.
The young wines of the north of the island of Tacoronte-Acentejo origin are an excellent accompaniment to Tenerife cuisine.
A good way of tasting the traditional dishes with a glass of the local wine is to follow the island custom and visit the "Guachinches". These are typical establishments to which the people of Tenerife flock like pilgrims at the weekend. Most of the Guachinches are found along the roads in the regions of Geneto, la Esperanza, Tacoronte and Acentejo on the outskirts of La Laguna
Whether one is a resident or a tourist there is never a shortage of choice for whichever types of restaurants or bars in Tenerife you desire. From the internationally known fast food joints, without which some people can't seem to exist, through the whole range of eateries right up to the very best gourmet restaurants, everything is available in Tenerife . Statistics show that in Tenerife there is one bar or restaurant in Tenerife for every seven residents, yes that's right- one for every seven! Of course the millions of tourists that flood in to Tenerife every year help to ensure that each establishment has potential clients to fill their seats.
One of the favourite methods of eating in Tenerife is in a 'Tapas' bar; this can be anything from a small local bar with a cold cabinet housing a selection of half a dozen different snacks such as Russian salad, meatballs, octopus, sardines, stewed meat and potatoes or huge local potato omelettes right through to a beautifully decorated restaurant specialising in cooking small amounts of freshly prepared food usually in interesting, unusual combinations. Most of these local restaurants will proudly offer local wines from Tenerife, often produced by some member of the family, and sold in large sixteen litre 'carafons' from which they will draw your wine.
Of course there are many 'British' restaurants and bars in Tenerife catering to the tourist afraid to try the local food; one can see them in the tourist resorts, many sporting signs offering English breakfasts and traditional Sunday lunches. Personally it seems such a shame to visit foreign countries and not to at least try the local specialities. There are of course the usual array of Chinese, Indian, Italian and other ethnic varieties of restaurants that the Brits have accepted as part of everyday life.
Equally bars come in a similar vast range of shapes and sizes offering everything from island beers and wines in the local bars to the most exotic establishments serving imported wines and spirits and the most incredible concoctions of cocktails, many with their own outrageous names. Entertainment in bars has become a large industry in Tenerife, from the small bar with a karaoke machine operated by the owner to fully fledged cabaret shows with resident comperes encouraging audience participation and hiring artistes of quite good levels of talent.
All in all it's not difficult to find restaurants and bars in Tenerife to suit just about any taste, style or pocket.