Why We Won’t be Trying all the Best Restaurants on Tenerife

I didn’t plan to write about the best restaurants on Tenerife. This started out as research after we realised we hadn’t eaten in either of the top two restaurants in our own town. The top two according to Tripadvisor reviews that is.

How could we have missed eating in the best restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz? Especially as we dine out in the town a lot.

I decided I’d research the top restaurants in a number of locations around Tenerife and, over the coming months, we’d eat in them so we could compare and contrast.

That’s not going to happen. Not with all of them at least.

Reviewers’ choices are an eclectic mix to say the least and it’s quite illuminating to take a closer look at some Tripadvisor top 10 restaurants across Tenerife.

Bodega Julian, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

The Best Restaurant in Puerto de la Cruz
The small Canarian menu at Bodega Julian is a big hit, gathering rave reviews.

The praise according to reviewers
“Following a recommendation for the Bodega Julian I can honestly say it did not meet my expectations …..it totally exceeded them and it was not only the best dining I had in Tenerife it was one of the best ever.”
Any criticism?
There weren’t many complaints but there was one which brought howls of protest from other reviewers.
“Starter salad was awful – tomatoes unripe, avocado unripe, White asparagus tasteless, croquettes were fine, lamb was just about O.K., cake served as dessert was terrible – dry and unappetising.”
Our view: Despite passing Bodega Julian countless times, the menu has never enticed us through the door simply because it didn’t seem any different from hundreds of others in the traditional parts of Tenerife. We’ll be reserving a table soon.

The Best Restaurant in Los Cristianos
The British fare on offer in Olivers with a Twist gets the TA vote in Los Cristianos.

The praise according to reviewers
“Deservedly the No1 restaurant in Tenerife, offering superb value for money and Cathy, Chris and team offer an awesome menu and experience from their intimate and bijou restaurant.”
Any criticism?
Like other top choices, less than glowing reviews were rare but there were the occasional ones including – “Is a restaurant with English food , so normal, just for tourists.”
Our view: We haven’t eaten at Olivers with a Twist for one reason, mostly we don’t head for British restaurants when we dine out anywhere on Tenerife. But when a restaurant has a good reputation and sounds as though there’s a bit more to it than the norm we’re happy to give it a go. It’s now on our list to try.

Empire, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife

The Best Restaurant in Playa de las Americas
Numero uno in Playa de las Americas is Empire, serving upmarket British pub grub.

The praise according to reviewers
“British food at its best. A busy restaurant in an evening with a wide choice of meals. Sometimes the waiter service was a bit slow but the food seems to make up for it. The portions are a bit on the ‘huge’ size so watch out!”
Any criticism?
Rare, but a couple of reviews weren’t happy with the quality of the meat: “steak was very fatty and there was more pasty in my stemmed pudding than steak , very disappointed…”
Our view: We decided to give a Brit restaurant a try after hearing good reports from a friend. It does what it says on the label – upmarket and good quality pub grub. We thoroughly enjoyed the  food at Empire.

The Best Restaurant in Costa Adeje
This one chops and changes on a regular basis. At the moment it’s the Italian flavoured Antico Caffe which gets the vote.

The praise according to reviewers
“Excellent all round. Friendly staff; dine inside or out; lovely food and good size portions. Nothing negative to say at all.”
Any criticism?
Yes, including:- “We ate here on the basis of the TA reviews, but it just didn’t do anything for us. There was nothing actively bad, but food and service were average and the surroundings extremely uninspiring.”
Our view? The comment about the food and surroundings is something we regularly feel when we eat out in Costa Adeje. Last time we ate in a restaurant in the area which was top rated by TA reviewers, it was a mediocre experience. We won’t be in any rush to check it out. The best food in Costa Adeje we’ve eaten has been in restaurants in the resort’s 5 star hotels.

Pub Grub, Empire, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife

The Best Restaurant in Los Gigantes
If it was any other choice, Tripadvisor reviews would lose all credibility whatsoever. It is the Michelin Star culinary palace which is El Rincon de Juan Carlos.

The praise according to reviewers
“This the most wonderful little restaurant in Los Gigantes. The food is sublime and on a par with any world class top restaurant. Not only is the food delicious but the way it is presented is both sophisticated and elegant.”
Any criticism?
You have to search back over pages and pages to find this little gem: “Over-elaborate, over-priced and a somewhat pretentious menu.” Yup, Michelin Star restaurants often are pretentious (aka imaginative). Being unique is partly why we love them.
Our view? Simply the best restaurant on Tenerife we’ve eaten in. We happily undertake a 300km round trip to dine there.

The Best Restaurant in Golf del Sur
Number one on the golf is the ‘international’ menu at Rendezvous.

The praise according to reviewers
“The meal I had was superb, beef medallions cooked with mussels and prawns in a port wine jus. The side dishes of roast potatoes and veg were excellent too.”
Any criticism?
Again, not much but there were dissenters amongst the fans. “It was the worst dinner in a week in Tenerife. If you stay at the golf maybe you will like it, but if you tried the food in the cities and villages, it just doesn’t taste anything…”
Our view? None of the pro comments convinced us there was anything different enough about it to go out of our way to eat there.

Cochinillo, Taster menu, El Rincon de Juan Carlos, Tenerife

The Best Restaurant in Playa de la Arena/ Puerto Santiago
The pick for this part of the south west is Cappuccino Maria which sounds more like a café than a restaurant.

The praise according to reviewers
“Not a fine dining place ,but great for breakfasts brunches & all types of fast food ie burgers salads snacks etc and a variety of great coffees and ices…”
Any criticism?
Most people enjoy snacking there and the biggest recent complaint was more that it was average than there was anything not good about it – “Nice coffee with fab view over sea. Food was normal Brit stuff.”
Our view? Again, there just didn’t sound as though there’s anything unique enough to warrant a special visit. If we pass, we’ll pop in.

The Best Restaurant in Garachico
Favourite with TA reviewers at the moment is the creative Canarian cuisine at Cañada de Garachico Espacio Gastronomico.

The praise according to reviewers
“An excellent unexpected find for our late lunch. The menu is varied and the food is first class. The welcome and service from the owners could not be faulted.”
Any criticism?
Most people love the place. Most, but not all: “Canada de Garachico wasn’t the most expensive meal we had in Garachico, but it was certainly not the cheapest or most memorable. All in all, I would say, a fairly unspiring place.”
Our view? We’ve eaten at Canada de Garachico and we enjoyed the food and their attempts to try something different. We don’t agree it’s the best restaurant in Garachico though.

Canada de Garachico, Garachico, Tenerife

The Best Restaurant in Santa Cruz
After receiving a Michelin Star it’s no real surprise that the current top dog in Santa Cruz is the Japanese fusion fare at Kazan.

The praise according to reviewers
“Sushi will never taste the same after my dinner at Kazan. Great dishes, fantastic service, amazing flavors and great variety.”
Any criticism?
Michelin Star restaurants are always going to attract some criticism, Kazan is no exception:- “This is suppose to be the best Japanese Restaurante in Santa Cruz….we expected so much but the food was quite average…”
Our view? It’s near the top of the list of ‘ones to try’.

The Best Restaurant in La Orotava
The biggest surprise of the ten is that Bar Los Castillos is the number one choice for La Orotava. It is a bog standard traditional Canarian bar. I like these a lot but they are ten a penny in the north of Tenerife.

The praise according to reviewers
“The owner of the place shows photos of food to make it easier for a foreigner to understand what they offer and the prices were VERY reasonable.”
Any criticism?
Ironically, the first complaint amongst reviews wasn’t a million miles away from the comment praising the bar:- “Atmosphere was poor, dirty, filthy, cold. The waiter did not want to give à menu, but showed some pictures on a mobile phone…”
Our view? The criticism is unfair, Canarian bars can be rough ‘n’ ready and hardy locals seem immune to draughts. But the best restaurant in La Orotava? TA reviewers are having a laugh, it’s possibly not even the best restaurant in that street.


From the list above, La Orotava illustrates a major problem with Tripadvisor reviews – volume is king.  Bar Los Castillos, an ordinary Canarian bar, had 100 ‘excellent’ reviews whereas one of the best restaurants on the island, Lucas Maes, had 85.
Bar Los Castillos is on a route through the town which is passed by coachloads of tourists every day. Lucas Maes is hidden away and never going to attract passing visitors.

At the time of writing, the 11th rated restaurant in La Orotava had exactly the same number of poor reviews as the top rated place in Costa Adeje. It can be easier for a mediocre restaurant in a busy resort to pick up far more 5 star reviews, deserved or otherwise, than a top restaurant which isn’t in a resort area.

Ravioli, truffles,Taster menu, Lucas Maes, Tenerife

This arbitrary nature of Tripadvisor reviews means the top choices on the travel site and our pick of restaurants, as well as those we want to try, on Tenerife are rarely going to match up.

However, we will be tucking our bibs in at Bodega Julian as soon as we have the time. Can a restaurant which serves lamb, lamb or lamb really be the number one in Puerto de la Cruz?

Vamos a ver as they say here (we shall see).


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+

About Jack 434 Articles
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 Facebook

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