Tapa Thursdays: Eating at a Guachinche on Tenerife

Julie’s plan had only three itinerary stops on my only full-day on Tenerife: Rental car. Teide. Guachinche :)

Eager not to ruin my own surprise, I refused to give into sneaking a peek at what this oh-so-tenerifeño dining experience was. I actually didn’t know it had anything to do with food until after we’d climbed to the peak of Teide on empty stomachs and was promised a mountain of raciones.

Zigzagging down the face of the active volcano through rollercoast roads, I actually think I heard my tripa gurgle. But the excitement in which Julie told me about these temporary, family-run restuarants blew my expectations (sorry, done on the volcano expressions and puns).

“Si esto se llama La Salú para mi madre, que descanse en paz!” 

The small restaurant’s owner, David, was showing us around the various dining rooms, all set around a humble kitchen where family members were peeling Canarian wrinkly potatoes (papas arrugás) and preparing meat at a grill. His mother, a sevillana by birth, married a Venezuelan before moving to the island. When she passed away, her family, who had always loved wine, planted a small vineyard and the guanchinche was born. The name, La Salud, is a homenage to the family matriarch.

We chose seats on the covered patio, watching the clouds roll in over Puerto Cruz. 

Guachinches began to spring up on Tenerife as humble restaurants from which small producers could sell their product. The island’s volcanic landscape lends well to producing young, fruity reds, so we ordered a half liter to begin with. The restaurants operate so long as there is wine to sell – it’s common to find guachinches closed late in the season. 

There were just five dishes on the menu, guaranteeing that everything we tried was fresh – eggs, sobresada and fries (huevos estampidos); garbanzos with a spicy tomato sofrito; chistorra sausage with fries, steak and cheese produced on the island. We ordered all but the steak and an extra half litre of the family’s fruity, fresh wine.

What I loved about the experience (aside from the price – 25€ for everything!), was the personal service we received. Everything was served hot and tasty, and we left satisfied.

Guachinches have started to pop up on nearby Gran Canaria, but the real thing is as tenerifeño as Teide itself.

If you go: La Salud is located in the town of La Orotava on the western side of the island, just east of tourist town Puerto Cruz. The address is Camino de Los Gomez, S/N. They’re typically open from 1pm until 11pm, though may be closed if the wine is depleted. You’ll need a rental car to reach many of them, or a reliable taxi service, as the guachinches tend to be set away from major cities in the north.

Have you ever been to a guachinche, or something similar? Would you eat with locals?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Jack says:

    Great that you got to experience a proper guachinche. There are people who live on Tenerife that don’t know they exist. There are lots of restaurants cashing in on using the name but the real thing is an authentically rough and ready eating experience as you’ve seen.

    Did you know that the word comes from English?
    Jack recently posted..The Best Fiestas, Festivals and Events on Tenerife in April 2014My Profile

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Hi, Jack! Luckily, I had a local showing me around, and this made a big difference. I really enjoyed Tenerife, and am hoping to make another visit before my friends move back to the US. Not too keen on seeing the South, though!

  2. What a lovely peek into authentic Tenerife culture. I’ve always been curious what the Canaries are really like behind the huge façade that’s been put up for mass tourism…and I like what I see here!
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Confession: Why I’m Renewing for Another Year in GaliciaMy Profile

    • Cat Gaa says:

      It’s easy to get swept up in all of that, but have found that the North of Tenerife and the city of Las Palmas was less touristy than I expected. If you get there, you must rent a car to get away from the crowds!

  3. Kay says:

    Ah, this looks delicious. Booking my next flight now! :)
    Kay recently posted..Drifting Above Cappadocia’s Eerie LandscapeMy Profile

  4. YUM!!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Travel Writers’ Guide: 110 Street Markets Around the WorldMy Profile

  5. This looks like a spectacular way of eating and my idea of a perfect meal. Now, I will have to come visit Tenerife!!
    Valen-Eating The Globe recently posted..How To Eat Like A Local In Italy-Including One Specialty Inspired By A Seductive DanceMy Profile

  6. ¡Ñam ñam! The cheese, olives, and wine look a great combo. Great you went local, Cat.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..Lago TauritoMy Profile

  7. Penny Sadler says:

    The cheese and olives yes please! I had some of the best food anywhere in Spain. Particularly in Alicante, but I’m sure that had to do with visiting someone who lived there. They do some really tasty things with eggs!
    Penny Sadler recently posted..Postcard From A Vineyard in Napa Valley, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Spanish food was underrated when I came to study here, and thanks to living with a girl who had a ton of food allergies, I didn’t get to experience it to its fullest. So glad I came back, and that Spanish cuisine is getting more attention!

  8. Five items on a menu to choose from and the family makes their own wine? Sign me up! This place sounds like a gem.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Hassan Hakmoun on Morocco’s Gnawa Music & CultureMy Profile

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  1. [...] lunch, we stopped at a guachinche, or a family run restaurant and winery. For the bargain price of 25€, we feasted on local cheeses [...]

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