Short after leaving Tarifa the weather quickly changed. We needed to find shelter in Santa Cruz, Tenerife’s capital and home to the island’s biggest port. We waited for 6 days before starting our next leg to Mindelo in Cape Verde. I’ve visited Tenerife 4 or 5 times before because it’s a regular stop for fuel and provisioning. This time we had a few days off to explore and enjoy the island. We really enjoyed ourselfs! Spectacular views, beautiful hiking trails, fine dining, delicious food, Tenerife has it all!
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands with approximately 900k inhabitants. Some five million tourist flock to the island yearly. The climate is subtropical and very pleasant year round. Tenerife is a beautiful island with amazing landscapes and views. If you can, rent a car and drive around the island for a day (or two). There are some amazing activities to be done but plan ahead if possible.
The highest peak of Spain (3718m), volcano Pico del Teide, is located in the centre of the island. It’s part of a national park, which is home to the planets largest observatory. Many countries have their space peeking telescopes stationed in this observatory. It’s open to the public on certain days and can be booked here. They organize guided hikes as well. You can obtain a special permit to visit part of the crater and the summit of El Teide. I absolutely love to hike and climb mountains and was so excited to do this! Unfortunately for me there are very few permits. The guided trek only runs once a week and is always fully booked weeks in advance.
So my only option to reach the summit of El Teide was by cable car. (If you wish to do the same, keep in mind that it can be very busy in high season. It’s advisable to book a time slot ticket in advance.) The cable car is located some 1,5 hour drive away from Santa Cruz (sea level). It takes you up from 2356 meter to 3555 meter in 7 minutes (we timed it). It’s the perfect recipe for altitude sickness. I felt very light headed and even a bit drowsy. Drink enough water and don’t over exerted yourself! The views are really amazing. They are out of this world and totally worth it. I only wished I hiked it. I felt a bit like cheating, standing on top of a mountain without breaking a sweat to get there.
Luckily for me, Tenerife has many more nice hiking trails to enjoy without requiring a permit. The Masca walk is very famous and highly recommended. It’s an adventure hike of approximately 2,5 hours. You start in Masca and hike to the beach at Los Gigantes. It’s another 3 hour walk to get back up to Masca, but you can also take a bus. It requires a good physical condition though. Proper hiking shoes are necessary, as some parts of the path are quite slippery. The scenery is very beautiful, so bring you camera!
I’ve heard about another famous hiking trail from Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada. It’s supposed to be the best walk on Tenerife. The walk takes you through ancient forests and steep mountain ravines, to a hamlet where the locals live in cave houses. I haven’t done this hike but it’s on the bucket list for my next visit to Tenerife.
Tenerife has an amazing cuisine. The soil is rich and it’s surrounded by water. The seafood is readily available and of top quality. The local cheese is world class and very famous, and they produce really good wines. The Canaries are home to 4 Michelin starred restaurants, carrying 5 stars in total. Enough reasons for me to dine out as much as I possible can!
When we just arrived in Santa Cruz, we went out for some wine and a late night snack. The wine and cheese bar we chose is close to the port. They serve the islands local cheeses and a small tapa menu, all very reasonably priced. We enjoyed a couple of glasses Rioja and Rueda, as the attentive waiter recommended. Being a bit peckish but not overly hungry, we opted for some local cheese and a tapa. The cheese was delicious, you should definitely try them!
Our second night we went out for a crew dinner in Santa Cruz at “la Tasca el Callejón”. The Tasca (which means bar or bodega) has a very extensive wine cellar, with more than 100 different bottles on offer. The bottle prices range from 6 to 35 euro. They charge a small corkage fee if you wish to drink them in their restaurant though.
Tasca el Callejón serves delicious traditional Canarian fare with a modern twist. We ordered almost the whole menu and shared everything. Our absolute favourites are their Octopus (which was the inspiration for this recipe) and the lamb roast. I would highly recommend you to dine here if you have the opportunity. Prices are very reasonable (mains 14 euro) and the quality of the food is outstanding!
The last night in Tenerife we managed to get a table in one of the restaurants of the Abama Ritz-Carlton Resort. It’s one of Europe’s most exclusive and luxurious resorts. They have five restaurants, two of them awarded with Michelin stars. Kabuki serves Japanese Fusion cuisine and has one Michelin star. The flagship dining room of the resort is called MB restaurant after Chef Martín Berasategui, and holds two Michelin stars!
Martín Berasategui is a world-renowned rockstar chef, who holds a total of seven Michelin stars. His flagship restaurant in Lasarte-Oria, is awarded with the highest honour of three Michelin stars.
We had a birthday celebration, so we went all out and booked a table at the two star MB Restaurant. A la Carte prices are steep, which off course is expected in a two Michelin star restaurant. MB’s tasting menu is good value for money at 140 euro’s for a 12 course meal. The wine paring at 70 euro is also not that bad. We ordered the tasting menu. We changed the main course from duck to wagyu beef and added a cheese platter with 10 different cheeses.
The food is beautiful presented and very creative! Their bread is amazing and the (3!) desserts are to die for! My favourite dishes are the first two starters of the tasting menu. First a Lukewarm, slightly pickled oyster with cucumber sake slush, pickled shallot and sea mist. Second a truffle gelatine on a bed of smooth foie-grass cream. WOW! The main course we chose, the wagyu short rib with shallot jus is out of this world as well!
The meal was delicious but very rich, I felt miserable and bloated afterwards. I never experienced a food hangover like this. It was probably because of my greed to add the fatty wagyu beef and all the extra cheese. On top of that I ate a slice of the (free) birthday chocolate mirror cake, after already having 3 desserts.
There’s a lesson to be learned here for me! Stick to the tasting menu. It’s designed, balanced and well thought over by the master himself. Sometimes less really is more!
It was a very nice but long evening, we ate and drank for nearly 5 hours and the bill was quite hefty. We were celebrating a dirty thirty, so it was a good occasion to splurge. But hey, if I’m real honest with you guys, I grab every opportunity to dine in restaurants like this. As a chef, to me dining in Michelin star restaurants is like going to church, where I worship and get inspired!
Next stop, Cape Verde!!! Read all about it in my next blog. To stay updated Please, give me a thumbs up on Facebook and follow me on Instagram.