On Friday night, we decided to follow part of the Ruta Gastronómica as it was very close to home covering the villages of Chayofa, La Camella, Buzanada and Valle San Lorenzo in the south of Tenerife. There have been several of these across the area but this is the first we have been to. It advertised a tapas (a variety of appetizers or snacks) and a drink and we wondered what you actually got for your €3.
We started in Valle San Lorenzo at the Tasca El Puchero but despite the fact they have been advertising as taking part they were closed for the holidays! We therefore went a short way down the road to the ASADOR EL ALMUD. I have been to this restaurant several times firstly when it was Asador La Hornera at one time one of my favourite places, it then changed hands to the Fragua which specialised in pork and so we wondered what it would be like under the new owners.
We showed our Ruta leaflet which was greeted with a warm smile and were shown to a table. The decor had changed but was still very welcoming. It is a large restaurant that the new owners have split into several areas with the use of screens making each section feel cosy. It is obviously popular as several tables were occupied by local families that included everyone from grandma to toddler and there were also tables in use outside.
We ordered the Montadito de cerdo canario ecológico (Canarian organic pork) and the Montadito de pulpo salteado con gambas (Octopus with fried shrimp) and to drink water and red wine. These were both delicious and the wine was more than drinkable. We were entertained by a small band of locals who played and sang Canarian songs so the atmosphere was typically Spanish and laidback.
We then moved on to VERNA’S RESTAURANTE between La Camella and Chayofa. Again we have been here for a meal and knew that the food as well as the service are usually very good. This time was no exception. We were met at the door and taken to a nice table inside the restaurant.
This time we were offered Cesta de sabor y salud (baskets of salad with cheese dried fruit and honey dressing) and Un cochino diferente relleno con verduras (Pork stuffed with vegetables and served with crispy carrot and apple). Here we had a beer and a white wine again the wine was first-class. Amazing how it can be done for the price – a glass of wine as good as this would ordinarily cost you €2.50-€3 without anything to eat.
Our third stop of the night was at MESÓN EL LAJAR in Buzanada. We entered the restaurant and although it was empty when we showed our Ruta pamphlet, we were ushered outside. It was a bit dark and chilly and the seating was at a low coffee table but we thought the food would be hot. The waiter who took our order looked down his nose at us as if he didn´t want to serve someone taking part in a promotion. Still we ordered the Conejo especialidad (Rabbit) and the Buñuelos de espinacas con raspado de gambas (Spinach puffs with prawns). The white wine was horrible, tasted better from a Mercadona carton, and the spinach puffs were just warm. If it had cost more than €3 I would have complained but instead we quickly moved on to our final destination of the night.
Our last stop was at FINCA RESTAURANTE LAS GANGARRAS, a lovely place tucked away in Buzanada where they grow their own fruit and vegetables and there are several small outbuildings where you can hold private gatherings. It was 11.00pm when we arrived and the place was filled with youngsters, although they were Spanish they were singing English pop songs. Our order was taken by a traditionally dressed waiter who was extremely pleasant. We had Sancocho canario (batata, pescado, gofio y mojo) Canarian stew of fish, gofio and sweet potato, Tartaleta de carne de cabra (Goats meat tartlet and potato) and Montadito de higo con queso blanco y montadito de chorizo perro con queso blanco (Toast spread with figs and mojo and topped with chorizo and cheese).
The food was excellent, the wine again was good and like three out of four places they entered us into the draw for the chance to win a basket of local produce (no prizes for guessing who didn´t give us the opportunity to enter!)
I am now looking forward to the next Gastronomic Route – it is an ideal way to sample many local foods at a price everyone can afford.