Tenerife’s Top Five Tapas

These days, it seems like there’s a tapas restaurant in every city in every country on earth—we even found one in Iceland a few years ago—but when I asked my fellow passengers on our way to Tenerife (in the Canary Islands) for recommendations for tapas restaurants, I got a resounding “Qué?”

This is because traditionally, tapas are not considered a Canarian dish, even thought the Canary Islands are technically part of Spain. Visitors travel to the Canary Islands in their droves, thanks to the abundant cheap flights to Tenerife and Lanzarote, and they have always been presented with plenty of delicious traditional local dishes such as fish casserole to enjoy along the beachfront.

But in recent years tapas have become more common here, as it is in mainland Spain. So with this in mind, here are my top 5 tapas dishes that have a Canarian twist…

1. Pimientos de Padrón

One of the most simple tapas dishes, pimientos de padrón is a special variety of pepper, cooked in oil and sprinkled with rock salt. However, beware the sting in the tail, as while most pimientos are very mild, you get the occasional surprise spicy one that will knock your socks off, so be careful!

2. Croquetas Caseras

(Photo: Pincas Photos)

(Photo: Pincas Photos)

Croquetas caseras are small fried balls of almost any filling, usually white fish or ham mixed with potato, but many fillings are possible. We found croquetas caseras that were filled with chicken, tuna and spinach as well, and not only are they delicious, they are also very filling.

3. Carne Fiesta

(Photo: Pamela Stocks)

(Photo: Pamela Stocks)

A dish that will tingle your tastebuds, carne fiesta is the name given to small cubes of pork that has been marinated in garlic, thyme, oregano, spicy peppers, salt, paprika, wine vinegar and white wine. The cubes are then fried to make deliciously tender and moreish meat treats.

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Small Plates Get Smaller: Pinxto in Basque Country


San Sebastian

Ed Note: Our friend Jake recently returned from the Basque Country, eager to tell me about his love affair with food from the region. I think he might have even said it was his favorite cooking from around the world. 


Baby Eel

And Jake’s been around, growing up in Philly, living in Boston, DC and Portland and traveling through Asia and India and many more places.  Especially, Costa Rica, where he toured with teenagers around the hills, farms and lakes of the country. He also wrote about it on Simmer a few years ago. Here are a few highlights from his taste of the Basque Country. 


Beans, Jamon and Olives

Basque Country (Pais Vasco) claims to be neither a part of Spain nor France, rather an independent region with its own take on how eating should be done. I like.



I’m pretty sure everyone knows tapas, you sit down to eat with a few friends, share a few small plates and leave hungry and feeling like you overpaid. I get it.


Oxtail, Mashed Potato, Pepper Guernika

Enter pinxtos (pronounced pinch-os).

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