Dear owner, the food in your Tenerife restaurant is just average

We have a mental list of the restaurants in Tenerife we want to visit. Restaurants go on that list for all sorts of reasons. One of those restaurants is Oliver’s With A Twist in Los Cristianos. The restaurant has mainly rave 5 star reviews on Tripadvisor where it’s classed as the number one restaurant in the resort and the number two restaurant on Tenerife.

As number five on that list is a Brit Bar I don’t take the list very seriously, but Oliver’s intrigues. However, it’s unlikely we’ll ever eat there as, apparently, you can’t just roll up and grab an empty table. The place is booked months in advance. We can’t say what we’ll be doing next week let alone in a couple of months. It’s incredible, the sort of thing you expect from Michelin star restaurants, except a few months ago I was able to book a table at Kazan, one of of the island’s Michelin star restaurants, a day in advance.

Food at Lucas Maes, La Orotava, Tenerife
Classy looking and exquisitely tasty, food at Lucas Maes

I’d love to find out for myself if the food was as good as the restaurants we’ve eaten at which we consider rank amongst the best on Tenerife we’ve tried so far. I know there are people who say it’s the best on the island in their reviews, but that’s something people often say without thinking it through so I don’t take them seriously either. If those folk have eaten at the likes of El Rincón de Juan Carlos, Kabuki, M.B, Kazan and Lucas Maes before making such a claim then I’ll bow to their judgement and eat my molecular hat. My money’s on my metaphorical hat remaining on my head rather than in my stomach.

Mediocre food 1
As mediocre as it looks at a Spanish restaurant on Tenerife

Whenever I check out a restaurant I always have a look at the less than glowing reviews as well as the rave ones. Sometimes these can be clear nonsense, but at other times they provide valuable insights. The devil is always in the detail. Oliver’s don’t have many average to poor reviews but some of the ones they had got me thinking about our approach to writing Tenerife restaurant reviews.

Mediocre food 3
Found in cafés all across Tenerife – the burger with a floppy piece of meat in the middle

Unfair negative online reviews are the scourge of businesses, especially in these times where there seems to be a plague of people who get a kick out of leaving unpleasant and potentially destructive comments, be that on forums, newspaper articles or reviews. I applaud owners who fight back and challenge those who are being unjustly unreasonable. Oliver’s do this. But they also challenge reviews where diners have judged the food as being only okay and this is what got me thinking.

Mediocre food 7
At a Canarian restaurant this looked as though it had been cooked in the washing up water

Replying to a 3 star review where the reviewer classed the food as being average the owner questioned why they hadn’t complained at the time. This is what had me pulling at my chin and pondering.

Would I complain if I’d just eaten a meal in a restaurant that I felt was just okay? The answer is a clear no, of course I wouldn’t. What is there to complain about if there’s nothing actually wrong with the food? We often eat in restaurants on Tenerife, and in other destinations, where the food is just ‘fine’. And we don’t usually review them.

Mediocre food 4
Not bad, just bland at a Tenerife pizzeria

You might think it odd not to give people the ‘heads up’ when we rate a restaurant as being mediocre, but we have our reasons.

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so why draw attention to somewhere which is just run of the mill? There are lots of restaurants in Los Cristianos, Las Américas, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes, Playa de la Arena, Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz etc. which we consider fall into the ‘mediocre’ category so simply never mention them. We generally only write about those where we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the food and the experience, or where there’s been something which makes the restaurant a bit different from the norm. We also will write a review where the experience was poor, such as with the Parador on La Gomera.

Mediocre food 2
Not bad tasting, but it was Chinese trying to pass itself off as Thai

So next time we eat at a restaurant and the food falls into the okay bracket, we still won’t be replying with a variation of “actually it was only average” when asked if we enjoyed the meal. There might be a mumbled “it was fine” – that magnolia of words. But neither will we write a review.

Unless, of course, the average food is being served in any restaurant which is classed as amongst the island’s best restaurants by Tripadvisor reviewers.

 

Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

About Jack 488 Articles
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

12 Comments

  1. Coincidentally, I have been fascinated by the popularity of ‘Olivers with a Twist’ for a long while but like you, couldn’t be bothered with their ‘bookings only’ system. Recently, we were invited by friends who had a table booked so we went to see what all of the fuss was about. I have to say that while the service and presentation were both very good, the food in my opinion was average and over-priced. The menu has British standards on it that you will find on most Brit restaurants and pubs. From memory, the menu when we were there had dishes such as pork belly, fish & chips, steak & ale pie, roast dinner etc. There was nothing wrong with it at all but the best restaurant in Tenerife, I doubt it.

    • That’s really interesting Gary, cheers. I suspected it might be like that. There have been a few times we’ve read rave reviews about restaurants and then wondered what the fuss was all about when finally managed to eat in them.

  2. You must consider most who go to restaurants here are not food critics, rather just average Brits abroad . The UK consumer is notoriously poor at food quality and generally eat from a a pile it high sell it cheap stance. If you usually eat in hungry horse then OWAT (not being singled out as I have never dined there either) will by default considered fine dining.

    When the request for a Thai restaurant is asked on FB , often the first back is Thai Botanico. That says a lot to be about diners visiting here. TB food quality is very good (for a Chinese restaurant which IMHO are mostly absolutely dismal here),but Thai it most certainly isnt

  3. I have just been researching restaurants in Los Cristianos for an upcoming holiday. Oliver’s with a Twist came up as the top rated so I looked at some of the five star reviews which clearly gave a very positive perspective and then at some of the one stars. Now in fairness to the owners, a number of the negative reviews were from people who had not eaten there – it’s harsh to give just one star simply because you couldn’t get a table. Some of the one stars were however from people who did eat and didn’t rate the experience – fair enough. What astonished me however was the attitude of the owner in responding to the one star reviews. She mentions ‘being professional’ by providing a response on a couple of occasions and then goes one to provide a rant which is far from professional. Unfair one star reviews are clearly frustrating to a business and it is absolutely fair to address any inaccurate statements made by the reviewer. Its reasonable that the owner explains her ‘bookings only’ approach and rationale behind it – of course she is entitled to run her operation as she sees fit and however it works best for them. However, the very poor attitude and even personal sleights she makes towards reviewers are unnecessary and very unprofessional. Having read a good sample of good and bad reviews I am minded to think that the food would be OK (nothing extra special but an enjoyable meal)but I will not now be able to verify that impression as the attitude displayed by the owner in her responses has convinced me to spend my money elsewhere!

  4. So you’ve not eaten there Jack but respond enthusiastically to negative reviews?
    Nil credibility from me given your heading and selective images.
    Poor “journalism”.

    • Considering reviews which aren’t glowing as well as the rave ones isn’t really responding enthusiastically to negative reviews. I’d describe it as taking a more balanced, questioning approach to deciding which reviews might be valid before deciding to eat somewhere. I say in the piece I applaud restaurant owners who challenge unfair criticism on TA but I wasn’t keen on how OWAT challenged 3 star reviews at that time. I notice in the most recent responses there has been a softening in the tone of replies, and they come across better for it. As for the ‘selective images’, the article is about mediocre restaurants on Tenerife we’ve eaten in and, apart from the first image which was from an excellent restaurant, the photos come from those experiences.

  5. I haven’t eaten at Olivers yet in spite of trying well in advance for two years. I have however managed to book a table for next month and am really looking forward to it. I do find it rather strange that “Jack” has the temerity to imply criticism when he hasn’t actually tasted the food, or that a numpty called Richard Bartlett is able to pigeonhole the culinary preferences of an entire nation. Many Michelin star restaurants serve traditional English food using quality ingredients beautifully cooked and presented. We have had some appalling expensive meals and some superb 3 course taster menus for 12 euros. The most important thing for me is to judge as you find rather than be tainted by snobbish preconceived ideas. I’ll use that when I review Olivers next month.

    • I’m not sure where the ‘implied criticism’ is John. I wouldn’t dream of judging how good a restaurant’s food was when I’ve never eaten there. However, I make no bones about being sceptical regarding claims it’s the best restaurant on Tenerife. I do agree about judging as you find. But how restaurants are judged is influenced by the experiences of the person that is doing the judging, and that can be quite limited in some cases. I’ve seen folk get up in arms about food at Oliver’s being described as pub grub, saying ‘you won’t find pub grub in Britain like that’. I don’t know what pubs those folk eat at, but we’ve had some cracking, gourmet pub meals in Britain. We enjoy good food whether it’s served in a makeshift shack in the hills or an avant-garde Michelin place. But I’ve eaten at too many restaurants on Tenerife which had glowing Tripadvisor reviews and which turned out to be mediocre to take the mass opinion on Tripadvisor reviews at face value. I hope you enjoy your meal at Oliver’s and will look out for your review on TA.

  6. We eaten at Olivers with a twist a while back,can honestly say from the moment we entered it was superb,your table is yours for the evening,no ones rushing you to finish,they even turned a couple away late on as they hadnt booked..3 of us went food was delicous,wasnt overpriced and most probably the best place we have eaten in tenerife on 10 visits over the years

  7. You “wouldn’t dream of criticising a restaurant you hadn’t eaten in”.
    Header:
    “Dear owner, the food in your Tenerife restaurant is just average”
    Immediately you refer to Oliver’s and litter the “piece” with images of unpalatable dishes.
    You refer glowingly to other restaurants that you may not have yet dined at as with Oliver’s.
    The nuances are so obvious and then you vainly claim that you notice the responses from Oliver’s to poor reviews have been “softened and they come across better for it” thereby smugly inferring that you are influential.
    You’re just a blogger Jack and capable of as much damage as malicious “gimme a discount or I’ll TripAdvisor you” diners.
    You just attempt to be more subtle to set yourself apart from them.
    Have the guts to book a table, meet the owners, try their dishes and discuss your opinions with them.
    (Don’t ask for the usual bloggers discount, that’s crude).
    If you really understand and respect restaurateuring you should at least do that.

    • Hi Brian,
      Apart from MB, I’ve eaten at all the restaurants I mentioned which is why I referenced them. If someone has eaten at these and says Oliver’s is as as good, then I’d respect that opinion as the restaurants mentioned are widely considered to be among the best on the island (maybe not on Tripadvisor but by folk in the gastronomy business on Tenerife and beyond). MB was included as it’s got two Michelin stars. I take offence at any suggestion of “gimme a discount or I’ll TripAdvisor you” or ” don’t ask for the usual bloggers discount”. That’s so not the way we work and any suggestion otherwise truly pisses me off as integrity is something we value highly. We don’t mention to restaurants what we do for a living as it can influence the experience. You might not have spotted it, we don’t accept adverts on our sites so we can maintain an independent and honest voice without influence from anywhere else. Something that folk don’t always like, but we’re not doing this to please the masses or promote anyone for financial gain. When we dine at restaurants we mostly do so like everyone else. If the food’s good we’ll say so, if it’s just okay (partly the point of the article) we’ll probably not say so. If it’s poor, we’ll also say so. Hopefully we will get to dine at Oliver’s in the not too distant future and will give honest feedback about the food and experience, just as we would anywhere else. I have absolutely no problem telling anyone face to face what I think.

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