I’ve just managed to have not one, not two, but three disappointing culinary experiences in Garachico in the one afternoon.
The first disappointment was that I was unable to achieve my goal of trying a cuttlefish burger at the café belonging to the Hotel Quinta Roja as it seemed to have shut since our last visit. Not Garachico’s fault – there’s a crisis, these things unfortunately happen.
But we had a back-up plan. We’d heard good things about El Lagar de Julio but on our last visit it had been shut even though the horarios suggested it should have been open.
Lo and behold once again, despite the opening hours showing that it opened at 1.30pm (it was 1.45pm), the place was shut. A Canario stood talking to a policeman outside the front door. He ignored us as we looked for signs of life in the restaurant so I figured he had nothing to do with the place. However, when the policeman moved away, he didn’t. It looked as though he was waiting for the restaurant to open as well so I asked him if he knew whether it was shut or open. He replied that it should have been open, whoever was supposed to open up was late. We decided to give it till 2pm to see if it did actually open. Meanwhile we checked out some other restaurants that we hadn’t eaten at before as back up number two.
Whilst doing this I spotted something I hadn’t seen before – only one of the menu del dia boards outside of restaurants on the seafront displayed the price. This is unusual; in most towns on Tenerife prices are splashed across the boards. It got me wondering if Garachico was maybe taking too much of an advantage of its position as a tourist draw and restaurants were being ambiguous about how much they’d charge for a menu del dia…but then I’m a suspicious bugger.
By the time we returned to El Lagar, one door had opened – a result. We wandered up just as another couple arrived. I stuck my head around the door to see a waiter laying cutlery on the tables. Surprisingly, it was the guy who’d been outside.
I asked if the restaurant was open and he replied quite curtly ‘in five minutes.’
By this point it was 2.15pm. The couple who’d arrived at the same time asked if they could see a menu and were told ‘no’ – they walked off. Then a family arrived…and left. We figured that if the guy wasn’t interested in custom, why give him any. So despite really wanting to try El Lagar de Julio, we went in search of pastures new.
The Bodegon Plaza below the square was located in an old house, the menu was typically Canarian, the staff were friendly and it was packed with mainly Spanish diners. It held promise. But the cabra (goat) I ordered was the worst I’ve ever eaten. It was watery, completely tasteless and lukewarm.
The funny thing is that the last time we ate in Garachico was disappointing as well. It got me to thinking if I have ever had an outstanding meal in Garachico and the answer would have to be no.
I’ve had good meals in Garachico at Aristides, Casa Ramon and Los Pinos but there have been a lot of mediocre meals in the town as well.
I’ve always been dazzled by this picturesque little town and wondered if its strong heart pushed me towards overlooking its culinary flaws. But the scales fell from my eyes yesterday.
The whole dining experience, from waiters who weren’t interested, to restaurants not displaying menu del dia prices, to food that wasn’t very good at all, has got me wondering if some of Garachico’s restaurateurs have grown accustomed to the golden goose arriving without fail on a daily basis and have taken their eye off the culinary ball.