Good value doesn’t always mean cheap on Tenerife

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).

Euro a pint

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.

Quality Burger, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

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.

Not good quality meat

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.

Menu del Dia

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.

Good value at Solana, Santa Cruz, Tenerife

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.

Bill

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+

6 Comments

  1. One of my favourite hobby horses, that some people cannot seem to grasp – The difference between Price and Value!
    Great post, Jack!

  2. I think the “menu del dia” are often good value. Some are obviously better than others, you know you’re going to get “basic” meals, but they’re exactly what they say on the tin.
    We’d all love to eat out at the best restaurants every evening on our holiday, but most of us can’t afford it. A few “menu del dias” can mean saving a bit of cash, then the money saved can go a big meal at a really good place another night.
    Also, if you’re a family, the menu del dia is much better value and is often simple, so the kids would like it.
    I’m not much of a beer drinker, and wine is my tipple. The wine is often excellent value in the restaurants. The prices you pay in Lanzarote/Tenerife for wine is something I wouldn’t even consider in the UK, as at the price point, it would be cheap and nasty.
    I’ve never faulted a Tenerife (or Lanzarote) chicken before. They might be simply cooked, but they’re usually cooked well.

    • Completely agree the menu del dia is great value and mostly, like you say, you know you’re going to get good, basic food at low prices. Mind you, that’s what you get in most traditional Canarian restaurants anyway, even if you pick from the menu rather than opt for the menu del dia. The example used was one where they’d gone a bit too low with their prices and it showed. But it wasn’t in an area where there was a big Canario population.

      The great thing about islands is in traditional areas, on Tenerife and the islands with a sizeable Canarian population especially, you can eat at what might be considered posh restaurants for the same price you might pay in a mediocre restaurant in some popular purpose-built resort areas. For example the Mags Bistro in the Tenerife Auditorium in Santa Cruz has a menu del dia option for €12.95 which includes 3 courses and a drink. €12.95 for a meal overseen by one of the best chefs on Tenerife in a unique setting in the capital is quite exceptional value. Simply put, it’s easy to eat well and not pay a lot in the islands whether it involves basic or more sophisticated nosh. That equals good value.

  3. We are visiting Santa Cruz for Christmas and New Year, so will have the pleasure of checking it out. We live in mainland Spain, so can compare prices.

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