Eating out in Lanzarote is usually an open air experience, with almost all restaurants offering sunny terraces on which to enjoy your food. There are a great range of of restaurants all over the island, with traditional Canarian and Spanish food being the most popular, although you’ll have no problems sourcing a pizza, pasta, steaks, Indian, Chinese and Asian style food. From cheap eats, to high class, Michelin guide dining, you will find a great selection of restaurants all over the island. Obviously, the further away from main resorts or large towns, the less likely you’ll find a Chicken Vindaloo than say Fresh fish with Canarian potatoes and a salad. Whilst you are in Lanzarote, try the following:
- Papas Arrugadas – Canarian Potatoes, cooked in salty water which makes them look quite wrinkly.
- Mojo Sauce – sauces usually homemade by each restaurant, served with Papas Arrugadas, but also on fish, steak, chicken, meats or as a side dip along with bread, the two main mojos are red and green, the red being slightly more piquant.
- Jamón Iberico – Cured Iberian ham sliced super thinly (this tastes the best when its done by someone that really knows how and where to slice).
- Puntillas de Calamar – Don’t knock them until you’ve tried them. They are small baby squid that are dipped in a light batter an fried. A wonderful snack that does down very well with a fresh cold beer and sunshine.
- Pescado Fresco a la Plancha – The fresh fish of the day (usually a choice between seabass, parrotfish, and seabream), sliced in half (gutted) and fried with garlic oil or butter. Usually served with papas arrugadas and salad. (A great choice when visiting the northern villages of Arrieta or Orzola, or with the stunning backdrop in Famara)
- Queso de Cabra: Goats cheese. This tangy cheese comes in three different styles.
- Fresco: Fresh goats cheese, best on its own, served with palm syrup or honey – or on a salad. It is sometimes battered or breaded and deep fried, served with jam or sweet chutney.
- Semi-Curado: Half-cured cheese, great in bocadillos or a wonderful complement to a glass of red wine.
- Curado: Fully cured cheese, best enjoyed on its own, with a glass of wine, or as part of a tasting platter.
- Steak – The steaks and in fact most of the beef in Lanzarote comes from South America. Prices are very reasonable indeed. Do bear in mind that Spanish chefs cook meat slightly less than in the UK, so don’t be surprised if you order a ‘medium’ steak, for it to come out bloody or pink. You can get a great fillet steak meal for as little as 13 Euros!
- Croquettas – A creamy thick bechemel sauce with added fish, chicken, mushrooms, you name it. They are rolled into little balls or tubes, breaded and deep fried – delicious!
- Pan – You might not be able to get a superb sliced white loaf in Lanzarote, but the fresh baked baguettes and small roll are delicious, or for even more of a treat, try a fresh baked croissant! Even better when they are still warm. Large shops bake their bread fresh, with smaller mini-markets still buying fresh from a nearby commercial bakery – its best to buy your bread each day, as and when you need it, as even yesterdays bread goes hard much quicker out here (less if any preservatives)
The Canary Islands has a much lower cigarette and alcohol tax rate when compared to mainland Spain, meaning alcoholic drinks in Lanzarote tend to be much cheaper than back in the UK.
Beer / Lager
Prices for a pint of industrial lager can be as low as €1 up to €4 .
Stout or real ale costing more, at around €4-7 each.
Weiss, wheat and stronger German beers are availalble although generally in bottle form. These usually cost around €4.50-8.
Local bars may have a limited selection of Cider, if any. More ex-pat style bars will usually have a selection of the bigger brands like Strongbow, Copperberg and Magners. You can buy much cheaper Spanish cider in the supermarket, although I think this is better for cooking.
Spanish wines are very reasonably priced, do bear in mind that the age of a wine can make a difference, even if its the same vineyard and year:
- Joven – This means it’s a very young wine and is usually the cheapest ‘grade’. The wine will have had little, if any wood aging.
- Crianza – aged for 2 years, with a minimum of 6 months in oak, (for white and rose this is reduced to 1 year with minimum of 6 months.)
- Reserva – aged for 3 years, with at least 1 year in oak, (for white and rose this is a 2 year minimum with at least 6 months in oak.)
- Gran Reserva – aged for at least 5 years, with 18 months in oak and 36 months in the bottle, (white and rose must be aged for at least 4 years with at least 6 months in oak).
NB: Our two recommendations would be to look for a Rioja or Ribero del Duero; Crianza or older. Bear in mind you will pay a little more for a Ribero Crianza than a Rioja Crianza. Both are heavy bodied, fruity red – worlds away from Pinot Noir territory here – both go down very well with Manchego or a good cured Canarian Goats cheese.
Keep an eye out for local Lanzarotean wines, the best, in my opinion, being the Seco (Dry) White wines made from the Malvasia grape. There are a number of vineyards, with my favourite being the Bermejo Seco or Yaiza Seco. The reds here are not overly full bodied, with less berry flavours, not as strong as mainland reds, and a little acidic for my liking, but are still well worth a try for wine lovers. Tenerife makes some pretty nice reds, so if you see one, give it a try.
Cava rather than Prosecco is the one to go for if you like bubbles. The Codorníu brand is the oldest in Spain and the developer of Cava as we know it (mid 16th Century). As a Champagne lover, I have to say the Codorníu cavas are surprisingly good and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.
Spirits are not usually measured and can servings can be up to twice the quantity you would expect at home (no need to order a double – or you’ll have nowhere to fit the mixer). Don’t worry if your drink is too strong – you can always order another mixer. Gin is the new trendy drink in Spain and there are many Gin bars offering a superb selection, serving your GnT in a goldfish sized glass with anything from shavings of cucumber, to juniper berries and swirls of lemon zest.
If However, you’re a fan of good aged scotch, you might be best purchasing a bottle from a tobacco and alcohol shop, as this is one of the few true ‘measured’ spirits that you’ll pay just as much as you do back home. If you like Brandy, opt for this instead, as good places will serve it in pre-warmed glasses or even burn of the initial pour, adding a rich caramel flavour to your brandy; the measures can be very large indeed.
Honey Rum is a sweet honey flavoured rum that is served as a small digestive at the end of a meal, usually when the waiter brings the bill. Some restaurants and cafes serve Caramel Vodka instead. Don’t worry if you don’t mike it, most places will offer you an alternative such as liquor 43 (a very sweet herb liquor) or hierbas (another sweet and even herbier liquor) or something a little more gentle like a whiskey cream (i.e Baileys).
As with most things, theres good, theres bad and theres ugly. Some cocktails bars are exemplary and make superb drink mixes for guests, however if you find somewhere offering 2 Mojitos for 5 Euro, don’t expect them to break out the Havannah 7 Rum.