Have You Tried Goat on Tenerife?

Travel around the old roads of Tenerife and it soon becomes obvious that the island tends to be lacking somewhat in farm animals. What fields exist are devoid of cows, sheep or pigs. You might spot the occasional hen, usually given away by a rooster who’s forgotten to set his clock, but that’s about it… except for goats.

Goats have been the dominant farm animal on Tenerife since way back when the Guanches ruled supreme and they get priority when they move about from pasture to pasture on Tenerife. In the north of the island especially, don’t be surprised to find that traffic jams on country roads are caused by goats loitering whilst they make short work of the verges.

Goats and Tomatoes, Tenerife

Goats are handy for getting rid of excess fruit and sometimes you can come across the wonderful sight of  goaty al fresco fine dining – a field carpeted by scarlet tomatoes.

Given that goats are commonplace, it should come as no surprise to learn that they’re equally common on menus in traditional Canarian restaurants across Tenerife.

Carne de cabra (goat) on Tenerife isn’t a sophisticated dish, often being served simply in chunks with papas fritas (French fries).
The way it’s prepared is that the goat meat is usually flavoured by herbs and spices such as thyme, cumin and paprika; fried with onions and chillies and then stewed, occasionally supported by assorted vegetables.

Carne de Cabra, Tenerife

However, most of the times I’ve eaten cabra, there has been an absence of vegetables.

I’m a big fan of goat meat and would choose it over steak any day of the week. It has a stronger flavour, but not as intense as game meats. It’s also very good value, averaging around €8 and under for a main course.

Some people are a bit hesitant of trying it, I’m not really sure why. The same people happily order lamb, pig and cow.

If anyone likes to try out good, authentic local dishes when they travel, then seeking out carne de cabra on Tenerife is a must.

If trying it for the first time, make sure it’s in a restaurant that specialises in carne de cabra; there are plenty of good ones about.

Our restaurant tip for good carne de cabre – Meson del Norte, Buenavista del Norte.

5 Comments

  1. Goat cooked well is delicious; my Zambian DIL cooks a really yummy dish , it is always on the menu at one of the family gatherings and I have really never tasted anything so good …To go with it there is a vegetable dish that looks just like chopped up cabbage but I can honestly say there is a bit more to it than just plain old cabbage, but I don’t know what as I have never got round to asking !

    Yes I have seen a herd of goats in the barranco by the side of Hotel San Felipe ….and a beautiful little grey bantam chicken in the avenue that leads to the shopping center !

    • You must ask. It would be interesting to know what it is. I once ordered a speciality breakfast in Jamaica (another place where goat is popular) without knowing what it was. I was expecting the full Jamican works – ackee, saltfish, dumplings etc. It turned out to be something called callaloo which looked like a steaming mountain of cabbage.

      I wonder if it’s a relation of your Zambian dish 🙂

  2. I have tried Goat in many parts of this island and it varies quite a lot.

    Amongst the best are the restaurants at Chinamada (anaga mountains), Teno Alto (the larger one)and the restaurant on the Ifonche road (on the left side of the road).

    Another quite good one is at Vera de Erques (just off the square).

    Hope this helps.

    • The best I ever tasted was at the tasca at the Señorio del Valle in Santiago del Teide. Unfortunately that’s gone. But you’re right, it does vary enormously, I’ve had some tough old goats that tested my jaws and a memorably insipid, tasteless offering in Garachico.

      Always useful to hear tips for other good goat places 🙂

      Thanks.

  3. I will get round to asking ! it’s just that there is so much more going on and so many more tasty dishes !

    Another Canarian dish I love is Rabbit ! San Felipe Hotel do a good one .

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