Whenever I'm in another country I always like to try some of the local cuisine. I'm not a hugely adventurous eater but I like to try what the locals would eat.
I love Spanish tapas restaurants at home so as I was heading off to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands I wanted to eat like a local and went in search of some tapas in the main tourist resorts on the island.
The main beach curves around from the town and is bookended by hotels at one end and the shops and restaurants at the other. Approaching from the shop end we came across the restaurants that have great views out over the sea and the beach. The first few we came across were Irish bars and one with a giant Birmingham City flag draped in its window.
Hoping for something different around the corner we were disappointed to find more of the same. We were approached as we passed each cafe by employees trying to tempt us in with offers of toasties, beer and the Formula One Grand Prix racing from Monaco.
It was with the lack of choice that we turned into on of these and snacked on a 'Hawaiian' sandwich. I've never been to Hawaii but do they have pineapple with everything as everywhere else seems to add the fruit and called it Hawaiian?
Puerto Del Carmen
The main beach of Playa Grande is wide and long and dotted with blue and orange umbrellas and hundreds of sunbeds. The pedalos for hire reminded me of Noddy's car in red and yellow.
Surprisingly for me though there are a wide selection of restaurants from Chinese to Indian to a Mexican. However yet again the food is tailored for the tourists and burgers and chips adorned many of the menus and from the few restaurants I passed none seemed to offer tapas.
Smaller and a lot quieter than Costa Teguise and Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, in the south of Lanzarote, has a promenade lined with cafes and restaurants. The 'Old Town', which is a level up from the promenade, houses the usual tourist shops plus a couple of restaurants whose balconies overlook the sea and across to the nearby island of Fuerteventura.
The majority of the restaurants still cater for the tourist by offering the usual hamburgers, chips and hot dogs. For an excellent Indian meal, try Spices restaurant, which prepared some excellent Pasanda, Tikka Masala and Kashimiri dishes. Yet even Spices turned into a hamburger vendor during lunch and offered English Breakfasts for early diners.
Yum Yums have two cafes towards the harbour end of the promenade which serve salads and more variety of baguette fillings than the normal ham, cheese or tuna. Other than this the choice was very limited, that is of course unless you love your greasy food.
Heading away from the main town along the shore is the more modern Rubicon Marina which is home to a few eateries and more upmarket retailers. On a Wednesday and Saturday it also holds the Playa Blanca market, of around 50 stalls selling jewellery, clothes and handicrafts.
It was here that we finally found the tapas we craved. Overlooking the harbour La Taberna had a board outside listing the various dishes on offer. We opted for four dishes of anchovies, Argentinian sausage, Canarian potatoes in mayonnaise and tomato bread. The sausage was piping hot and a little chewy but the potatoes were delicious as were the anchovies but we had finally found what we had set out for.
Seeking out Lanzarote culture
Lanzarote is a tourist destination, and as such has to cater for the tourists. For me it seems to have lost itself in this and seems a shame that to taste a part of Lanzarote culture you have to seek it out amongst the proliferation of burgers and chips rather than the other way around.
Have you been to Lanzarote? Did you find traditional Spanish and Canarian food easier to come by?