I really wanted to like Las Tres Casitas. It’s a beautiful little restaurant between La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz which consists, as the name spells out, of three little buildings set around a courtyard so idyllic it makes your heart sigh. It’s one of the prettiest looking restaurants that I’ve been to on Tenerife. One building houses a super cool little bar whose wooden counter demands the presence of your elbow; another building is the attractive rustic dining room. The owner chef from La Palma uses ingredients from the restaurant’s kitchen garden and, as a bonus ball, Las Tres Casitas is conveniently located within walking distance of our house.
I really wanted to like it… and yet one silly little thing prevented me from doing so. It was February, the door leading from the dining room to the outside road was open and a cool wind made the temperature inside not very pleasant. A request to the waitress to shut the door brought a frown but she did as requested, then immediately opened another door leading to the courtyard, thereby undoing the good work gained by shutting the first door.
I really wanted to like Las Tres Casitas but feeling cold and uncomfortable whilst eating made it very difficult.
The menu is Canarian, but La Palma Canarian rather than Tenerife Canarian which means there are some menu items that are different from the norm (strawberry salad, salmon in papillote). For starters we ordered a mix of huevos estampido (my choice… once again forgetting that huevos estampido is egg and chips with chunks of chorizo), grilled goats’ cheese drizzled with mojo rojo and the dish that turned out to be my favourite, flores de calabaza (deep fried courgette flowers).
Whilst the first two dishes were tasty enough, the flores de calabaza excelled, being crisp on the outside with a delicate and savoury, perfumed centre. Fried courgette flowers are a revelation and anyone who hasn’t been privy to their fragrant charms should rectify the situation at the first opportunity.
In all honesty, the main courses disappointed. There was nothing wrong with the cherne (grouper) and potatoes or pork fillet with chips. Both were nicely cooked with pleasing flavours and the portions were generous enough but they didn’t have any wow factor. There was nothing that made them stand out from every other traditional Canarian restaurant on Tenerife.
It might seem harsh being critical but Las Tres Casitas is such a stunning looking little restaurant that maybe we expected the food to display as much creativity and charm as the décor. Our lack of comfort didn’t help the cause either. Funnily enough we visited La Palma shortly afterwards and found the restaurants on La Isla Bonita to be on the cool side as well, so maybe the Palmeros are just a hardy lot who like natural air conditioning.
We’ll try Las Tres Casitas again… in the spring or summer. It’s a dream of a location for a long lunch and next time we’ll also opt for the dishes that are slightly different from the norm – like the strawberry salad and the blue cheese and mushroom quiche.
I really want to like Las Tres Casitas… maybe next time I’ll warm to it.
Camino del Torreón 80 (La Rosaleda Campo de Golf turn-off), La Orotava; +34 922 33 06 05, main courses average €10, open Monday to Friday from 7 to 11.30pm, Saturday from 1pm to 11.30pm and Sunday from 1 to 5pm