After spending 3 weeks on the Canary Islands, we cannot move on without dedicating an article to tasting Canarian Gastronomy. Overall the Canarian food is made up of a variety of exquisite ingredients that are part of its traditional dishes. In the below list you can find our favorite typical Canarian dishes & drinks along with some recommended places to taste them. Enjoy! 😋
Papas arrugadas – Wrinkled potatoes
This recipe is one of the most known dishes of Canarian Gastronomy. The potato is a vegetable of South American origin, introduced in the Canary Islands during the conquests. The usual recipe includes special, locally produced small boiled potatoes, without peeling, only seasoned by salt and a tiny bit of butter. Always served with some kind of mojo (sauce). The salt has to be added to the boiling water in order to result in the effect of the wrinkled skin. Wherever you go, in every restaurant you will find this dish as a starter or tapas, or you can order as a side dish too. Not to mention that in every supermarket you can buy these special small potatoes that you can buy and boil even at home.
Queso Majorero – Majorero cheese
This goat cheese is a specialty from Fuerteventura island. You can find its selection in every supermarket, you can visit the cheese factories, and in the bars, you can order even your breakfast tostada with it. In the restaurants, one of the most popular recipes is the roasted or grilled goat cheese with some kind of mojos.
Mojo picon, mojo verde & mojo rojo
Mojo is a typical sauce that is used as an accompaniment to a wide variety of recipes. The different kinds of mojos are varying in spiciness, consisting primarily of olive oil, local pepper varieties, garlic, paprika, cumin or coriander, and other spices. Mojo originated in the Canary Islands, where the main varieties are red mojo (mojo rojo) and green mojo (mojo verde). It is served basically with every dish or at least as a starter with fresh bread. 😋
Bocadillos de carne mechada o pata
On the Canary Islands, the most popular kind of heavy breakfast is sandwiches. They are huge and awesomely tasty. Order them only in very local looking like places. Probably the most popular kind of sandwich along Fuerteventura and Lanzarote is the sandwich of goat thigh (pata). In my opinion that is nice if it’s not very dry. However, my favorite is definitely bocadillo de carne mechada: out of stewed cow meat. They can even add some cheese but you will be in danger of dying by pleasure.
Canarian goat meat stew
The Canarian goat meat stew is a traditional recipe, highly valued by the inhabitants and the tourists too. As its name says it is a stew made with goat meat that needs a slow cooking process and a lot of treatment, in order that all the ingredients are melted and the flavors fill every corner of the pot.
Potaje o Puchero Canario
This typical dish from the Canary Islands is not only delicious, but it is perfect to warm you up during colder evenings or when your stomach desires something very comforting. Its ingredients have varied over the years, but meat has been kept as its basic ingredient, along with vegetables. Ingredients include beef, pork, chicken, corn, beans, leek, carrots, potatoes, garlic, saffron, zucchini, and parsley. But it can be done with and without meat too, so potentially can be enjoyed by vegetarians too.
If you order a daily fresh fish selection in any of the better restaurants, most likely you will also receive a piece of fresh grilled calamar on your plate. Once you taste it, you don’t want to eat anything else, believe me. And from that moment we also started to look only for fresh grilled calamar on the menus – usually it’s available everywhere! Just order only this, accompanied by some wrinkled potatoes and you have the perfect dish. Note, that the portion are gigantic, we usually shared one grilled calamar and was more than enough for both of us.
Canarian fish soup
It’s always recommended to try the local fish soup recipe in every coastal place. Ingredients can be surprisingly different and result in a very unique taste. The Caldo de Pescado (Canarian fish soup) is cooked out of the daily fresh fish and seafood selection, with using only a moderate portion of herbs and spices that do not disguise the taste of the main ingredients, rather they enhance them. The portions are huge, and the soup is very rich, so it’s better to treat it as complete dish, especially if it’s served with fresh bread. 😋
Daily fresh fish selection
Whatever you will find on the menu of the daily fresh fish selection, just go for it. We are fish and seafood fans, so being in the Canary Islands is a bit like being in heaven for us. The fish counters in the big supermarkets are filled with well-known, instantly recognizable fishes and as well with less-known specimens. Not to mention in the restaurants when the waiter is listing their chef’s recommendation and almost every second one has a never heard name. Here’s a list of our favourite ones and definitely recommended for tasting:
- Bacalao – Cod
- Bocinegro – Sea Bream
- Cherne – Wreckfish or Stone Bass
- Chipirones – Small squid
- Dorada – Gilthead Sea Bream
- Pez Espada – Swordfish
- Rape – Monkfish
- Raya – Ray
- Vieja – Parrot Fish
Its name literally translates as “tastes good to me”, how cute is that already! It’s basically a sweet, soft puree made with ground almonds, egg yolk, sugar, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Bienmesabe by itself can be both in supermarkets and ice-cream stores too, but in the restaurants, it is usually served with ice cream or cream on a layer of biscuit. Just look for “bizcocho con bienmesabe y helado“!
A popular local food product is gofio, that used in many varieties in Canarian Gastronomy. It is kind of a flour made with toasted grains. It can be useful as a base for making sauces or by adding it to the fish soup. In addition to being used as a main meal, gofio can also be consumed as a dessert. We can find delicious desserts such as gofio mousse and custard. We would highly recommend tasting the gofio mousse, such a smooth, tasty dessert!
Platano de Canarias
The Canary Islands have grown bananas for export for almost 100 years and everyone who tries them agrees that they are the sweetest and tastiest in the world. They are smaller than the average bananas, but the combination of the sunny climate, the warm temperature, and the fact that they stay on the plant for much longer than most bananas let the plants grow in perfect conditions.
Almost in every restaurants, after your meal you are nearly always offered a complimentary drink. This can be in most of the cases the Canarian Honey Rum (Ronmiel) or of course other spirits by your choice. Ronmiel is also available in every supermarkets, so you don’t need to take a long tour to get it. They are either served with cream (nata), lemon slices or just by itself. It’s a very smooth, easy-to-enjoy drink. Worth to mention, that outside of the Canary Islands it’s not that easy to find it, so it’s better to take a bottle or two with you from the airport duty-free if you like the drink.
A great way to get to know the island’s wine culture is to visit its wineries and wine cellars and try their delicious Malvasia wines. So special that they have their own Designation of Origin (DO). Don’t forget to visit the famous bodegas. Our favorite ones were: Bodega La Geria & Bodegas Rubicon.
This liquor is made out of the most traditional product of the Canary Islands: bananas. The best is to taste it on the rocks. It’s a very light drink with a low alcohol percentage but as well super tasty and nicely sweet in the meantime. Perfect for a summer afternoon or after lunch. You can also buy it in supermarkets and create excellent cocktails with it at home. Tip: Try to look for the less yellow ones, some industrial products can have very weird artificial neon yellow colors, these ones are better to avoid.
You cannot miss out on this red liquor! It is originally produced on Lanzarote island, but available on all Canary Islands. Much less popular than Ronmiel though, and since we didn’t have an idea how it could taste, and honestly we didn’t want to buy a whole bottle, as what if we don’t like it… we were delaying to taste it. But finally, during our visit to the Jardin de Cactus we knew, that’s the moment. It’s super tasty, and a very light liquor with a very similar taste to different kind of plums. Definitely recommended! You can also buy cactus jam in most of the supermarkets, it is worth to try too. 😋
Wherever we travel we always look for the most typical local beer, ideally with a long history. It was not different for us in Fuerteventura either. After spending a night in the airport, arriving with an early morning flight finally to the island, queuing for our rented car for an hour, driving up to our first destination, to Corralejo, and sitting down at the first terrace super exhausted, while we were still waiting for our apartment to get ready…. of course, we have ordered two Tropicals… 😉
“La Tropical Brewery was originally founded in 1924 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but soon went bankrupt. A group of local entrepreneurs bought the company and founded Sociedad Industrial Canaria (Sical). Tropical is served in a green bottle / can with the image of the head of a ‘Perro de Presa’ (a large Canarian dog) surrounded by laurel leaves. Bottles of Tropical now have a very useful optimum drinking temperature indicator; the dog’s head will turn blue when the lager is ready to drink, thanks to thermochromic paint.”
Another trendy beer is called Dorada Especial, and this one is more likely to find on the Peninsula Iberica too. “Dorada is served in a brown bottle with a red label (or red can) with the image of Mount Teide in Tenerife as its logo. Despite their long-standing rivalry in the Canaries, the Sical (Tropical) and CCC (Dorada) companies merged in 1994. The joint Canarian company then became part of the SABMiller group.”
Our favourite restaurants & bars on Lanzarote for tasting Canarian Gastronomy:
- Puerto del Carmen: Sal y Pimienta, for the best Fishsoup and Bienmesabe
- Caleta de Famara: Restaurante Sol, for the best view
- Arieta: Marisqueria el Charcón, for the best seafood
- Nazaret: LagOmar, the place that Omar Sharif owned for 1 day
- Jardin de Cactus: A lovely garden with an upper terrace to try cactus liquor
- Geria: Bodega La Geria & Bodegas Rubicon to taste Malvasia Volcanica
Our favourite restaurants & bars on Fuerteventura for tasting Canarian Gastronomy:
- Puerto Lajas: Bar Diferente, the best beach bar on the whole island
- Corralejo: Avenida Restaurante, for perfect service and good prices
- Tindaya: Bar Gonzalez or Pollo Gonzalez for yummy sandwiches and tostadas for breakfast
- Morro Jable: Saavedra Clavijo Restaurant for fish and seafood
- Giniginamar: Olas del Sur, lovely bay restaurant
- Puerto Rosario: Hostal Roquemar, for the best breakfast and superb coffee