Over the Easter break, we had a friend from the UK come to visit. While it is lovely to see them, I would rather take them to explore the island and spoil them with authentic Canarian cuisine that can be found in the bodegas, tascas and guachinches than spend time in the kitchen cooking. If you know the right places to go you can find absolutely the best food on the island. So last weekend, we did exactly this, eating out most nights and spending the days visiting the hillside villages.
One afternoon when the weather was not particularly good, we headed for the mountains. In the village of Vera de Erques, near Guia de Isora (about 20 minutes from Las Americas) there are two restaurants. Juan Luis a guachinche, tiny and basic, my preference, but friend doesn´t do spartan and I think she may have been put off by seeing the owner, who looks about 90 years old, standing at the door in his pompom slippers. There is also the pretty Bodega Vargas with its covered terrace and bar as well as restaurant.
OH and I have been to both of these restaurants on several occasions, the food is always good and the prices unbelievably cheap. On this particular afternoon, the Vargas was packed with Canarians enjoying traditional home cooked food. A couple of the restaurants specialities are fried goat and rabbit along with homemade soups.
We chose a table by the window that has spectacular views down to the sea and beyond to La Gomera. The service in the restaurant is wonderful so when we told them we didn’t want a meal just a plate of queso de cabra y morcilla dulce, this presented no problems. We were treated as if we were having the most lavish lunch and our simple plate of Canarian goats’ cheese and sweet black pudding was fantastic!
As we were paying friend spotted a cabinet full of handmade jewellery and spent another half hour checking it out. Two rings and a bracelet later we paid our bill that was tiny and walked to the car that we had had to park by the church, as the car park was full.
It is always nice to show people another side of the island away from tourism and spending time in the mountain villages is like getting away to another world and if you’re looking for a bit of authentic dining, head to the hills.