After a good but expensive meal last week at La Brasa, we thought it would be interesting to take a chance and eat like a true local.
Eating out is popular with Tinerfeños but price is often a factor in the places they choose. We decided to follow the trend as our criteria this week was based around cost so it meant finding somewhere completely different. I don’t mean one of those quaint off the beaten track places but somewhere urban. This meant staying away from the trendy tapas bars that are scattered throughout the resorts because by no stretch of the imagination are they the sort of place to find authentic Canarian folk or food and they certainly aren’t cheap.
We were heading for somewhere that would probably not have a view to rave about and would more than likely not look inviting from the outside, maybe not even the inside, but as long as it was clean.
We had been told numerous times that the food is generally good and cheap which is why they are frequented exclusively by locals and are not on the tourists’ radar unless they are putting petrol in their hire car. Yes, that’s the clue. We were going to eat in a petrol station!
Most petrol stations on Tenerife have a good cafe/restaurant attached and some are even great. (The one opposite Las Americas police station has a superb reputation), which is why they are always packed, yet none of us had tried them, even for a coffee.
We decided on the BP station on the Buzanada-Guaza road as somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard it was one of the really good ones. Or maybe I had dreamt it, only time would tell.
Looks, well it is a petrol station and it is green and the view is of a busy road with cars tearing up and down. Just that morning there had been a horrendous smash as two cars had fought for the same few inches of road. Nevertheless once through the door, the first thing we noticed was it was bright and noisy because it was busy with people of all ages who had just finished work.
The next thing we noticed was the food on display, it was the type of tapas you find in many Spanish towns and it looked fresh and inviting.
We got a few smiles and nods as we pushed two plastic tables together, then the waitress came across and gave us the menu. She also gave us a small plastic wallet that contained the Menu del Dia. This was made up of three starters, four mains and three puddings.
We placed our order for a vodka and cola, a cola lite, a pint and an orange. It was when she brought our drinks we noticed just how clean it was, the glasses sparkled. We were then given a basket of fresh warm bread and several butter pats. At this point, the waitress explained that the item we didn’t understand on the menu – Rancho – is a Canarian stew of sausage, chickpeas, potatoes and various other vegetables. Despite it being a cold night, I chose the tomato and onion salad with balsamic dressing, the others had the chicken and pasta soup. I expected a sliced tomato and a couple of onion rings, you can see the size of it below as well as the overflowing bowls of soup. Our verdict on both was they were good.
We then all had the chicken and chips that came with salad and the portions were enormous, even Andrew and Jim couldn’t finish them. They were also really tasty and for the price we were paying, exceptionally good value. We ordered more drinks, checked out the loos which were spotless and the waitress told us we were ‘beautiful’ and that the customers were surprised to see four, crazy Brits sitting at plastic chairs and tables and laughing and joining in like locals. We then ordered strawberry cheesecake with a dollop of aerosol cream. It wasn´t outstanding but it was no different to what we have eaten in hundreds of cafes and cake shops that generally costs €4 or €5 a portion.
There were two waitresses and both gave excellent service, one, according to the guys had a stunning bum!! They couldn’t have been more helpful despite working in a place where they never had a chance to slow down due to the turnover of people coming and going 24/7. Yet they remained calm, polite and joked with everyone as though they were family or friends.
By the time we asked for our bill (we had been there almost 3 hours) we could hardly move and then for all the food and drink we had enjoyed we could hardly believe our eyes. €50 which was why we decided to leave a really decent tip. I handed this to the waitress and told her to share and they were both overwhelmed. They obviously are only used to getting the odd coppers from regulars rounding up the bill, but we were more than happy as we had had a lovely evening and a decent meal for 1/3 of what we had paid the previous week.
To round off our night we stopped at the pizza cafe by Buzanada roundabout for coffees.
Our cheepo night out had turned into an interesting experience, simple food, basically presented in a clean environment without even the hint of a frill to tart it up. It was a great place to spend time people watching on a chilly November night and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
As there are plenty of petrol stations in towns and along the motorway, we would happily eat this way again as we realised just what we had been missing 🙂