I have never darkened the doorstop of any bar on Tenerife which advertised they sold €1 a pint (for British visitors maybe not such a great deal the way things are going).
In marketing terms there can be a point when something can be so cheap it becomes too cheap and arouses suspicion. Experts have researched this for years, trying without definitive success to establish the point where consumers view a low price as an indication of shoddy quality rather than good value.
For me a ‘Euro a pint’ sign translates in my head to ‘watery, poor quality lager’ and I walk on by. Similarly, a while ago I saw a sign on a café near us advertising burgers for €1. My first thought was ‘they’ll be garbage.’ Ironically, there’s not a great difference in price between those Euro burgers and the delicious beefy monsters served in my favourite burger joint on Tenerife, La Oficina near El Sauzal, which are around €2.75. But I’m willing to bet there was a Teide National Park sized crater of a difference when it came to quality.
Not everyone thinks the same about some things being too cheap, which is partly what causes the headache for marketers. The Euro a pint sign draws plenty of visitors in to bars. I’ve read many online discussions about drink prices being too high in some Tenerife bars. Sometimes observations are justified, at other times I think people are being unrealistic.
In the Beehive in Puerto de la Cruz I pay €2.50 for a pint of local Dorada lager. I don’t think it’s expensive. As I get to watch Premier League football matches live it seems a fair trade to me. In another bar where we go to listen to live bands we pay €2.50 for a bottle of Dorada. At a no-frills joint in the hills I might pay as little as €1 for the same bottle. But they’re not paying for a live band to entertain me, so I think the €2.50 tag is fair enough when I to get to listen to quality live music as I sup it.
It’s similar when it comes to eating out on Tenerife. Recently I saw a photo of a dish from a dirt cheap menu del dia. I recognised the skinny fillet of chicken as being one of those which had been battered and battered to spread it out so it looked like it was a lot bigger piece of chicken than it actually was. My sister and I used to do something similar with buttered rolls when we were kids. We sat on them so that they flattened and spread out, making us feel as though we had more to eat.
That menu del dia was definitely cheap as it was under €5, but it certainly didn’t look like quality, unsurprisingly at that price.
Across Tenerife you do get good quality food that doesn’t cost a lot. In traditional areas I normally pay around €10, sometimes slightly less sometimes slightly more, for a menu del dia which actually combines quality and quantity with a low price.
There’s a big culture of eating out amongst Tinerfeños, so restaurants in traditional areas set their prices based on what locals will pay rather than visitors. Subsequently I’d expect to pay more in a resort restaurant than in its equivalent in an area populated by Canarios. But not three times as much for a bog-standard Canarian dish, which is what I’ve seen on some ‘upmarket’ menus in parts of Costa Adeje. I give these sort of restaurants a body swerve, especially as I can eat top quality modern imaginative cuisine from the hands of some of the best young Tenerife chefs at far lower prices in loads of restaurants around the north of Tenerife.
In Solana in Santa Cruz in July we paid €36 per person for a taster menu consisting of eight dishes. It’s one of the modern breed of Canarian restaurants serving creative cuisine with a local flavour. €72 for two of us for a meal that combined quality and quantity represented exceptional value.
The following night the bill was double as we treated ourselves to a birthday dinner at Kazan, one of Tenerife’s Michelin star restaurants. €140 for a meal for two is clearly a lot of money, but when talking about a special experience in a restaurant with a Michelin star, which it was, it’s also good value.
Too often, if online discussions on various social media platforms are anything to go by, people associate good value with low prices. But there have been times we’ve paid not a lot for a meal in a restaurant on Tenerife but afterwards felt we didn’t have a good value experience.
Cheap is one thing, but good value is when you’re really satisfied with what you get for your money… whether you’ve paid a little or a lot.
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+