For me it goes against the natural order to eat in a bus station. Bus stations have generally conjured up images of quite seedy places where food outlets serve over-priced, mediocre fair. The one in Santa Cruz changed my view.
For a start, the station itself is bright, clean (let’s bypass the toilets – really… bypass them) and even has a bit of a view – it sits next to Santiago Calatrava’s incredible work of art-itechture, the Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín.
The second plus is that the Estación de Guaguas’ restaurant doesn’t try to rip off the people who pass through – one of the reasons why its tapas counter is normally populated by bus drivers.
The third is that it actually sells some decent tapas and food.
Having dismissed it on numerous occasions as just another bus station we discovered what we’d been missing when a scheduled concert start meant that we were travelling into Santa Cruz just at the point we’d normally be grabbing lunch. Rather than hoof it about the city till we found a suitable place for a quick snack to wolf down before the concert started, we squeezed in amongst the bus drivers at the counter and I enjoyed my first bocadillo with Spanish tortilla filling – a wonderfully filling carb overdose if ever there was one. It was cheap, tasty and hit the spot perfectly.
The tapas on offer tends to be the usual dishes found on most of Tenerife’s tapas menus, but it’s a higher quality than some tapas bars where the handful of items on display in glass cabinets can look a bit tired and… well, ‘mature’. Last time we ate at the Estación de Guaguas the ensalidalla rusa (tuna, potato, mayo and veg salad) looked like a sweet, mini snow-capped mountain, the churros de pescado (fried fish in batter) and croquettas (fish, ham and potato balls)were crispy and tasted fresh and the albóndigas (meat balls), beefy and nicely seasoned.
Each raciòn costs around €3-€4 and we found that five dishes between three people was more than enough. As well as tapas and bocadillos, the restaurant serves paella and traditional Canario meals.
There’s a final reason why the restaurant at the Estación de Guaguas is an enjoyable place to spend some time – it’s a bus station, which also makes it a people-watching paradise if you’re as nosy as us.
The Estación de Guaguas restaurant is open from early to late daily.