Casa de La Playa, Arrieta 12-2018

I had marked down the restaurant Amanecer in Arrieta. However when I spoke to the flat host Aduen (who is local and running for Mayor of the town), he thought that since Amanecer had relatively recently changed management, that he had a few complaints from guests who had been there. The more reliable option with good prices, specialising in seafood, and where he goes, is Casa de La Playa.

It has a lovely location on Playa de la Garita with views of the sun rising ahead and settling behind.

The staff are very friendly and accommodated my Spanish.

- Fideua Carabinero €29 for 2 - paella was an option, but the word carabinero drew my attention. It's been a long time since I've been searching again for these prized red prawns known in the waters off Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Considering in London they charge about £20 per prawn in Spanish restaurants, having two of these in the dish was a bargain. They were meaty with the most intense beautiful flavour. The bodies themselves were ok, soft but not very bouncy. The noodles were soft, the mussels nice, and although I was anticipating the lapas clams, they weren't as flavoursome as I hoped. The flavour of the dish was perfectly balanced, and not overly salty like many do.

They offered a chupito at the end and I discovered the delicious Ron Miel (Spanish for honey rum), a local Canarian liquor that is 20-30% alcohol and a sweet after meal shot. I nearly bought a bottle to bring home but opted for local gin instead.

A great restaurant and would happily go again, and so ended up a second time the next night.

- Morena frita €9 - after seeing an eel in a fishmonger live and staring at us, I had been meaning to order this somewhere. I expected rounds of flesh deepfried, but was pleasantly surprised to have long fries of meat instead. The batter was crisp and minimally seasoned, the fish was soft with a moderately strong flavour. Thoroughly enjoyed;
- Pulpo a la plancha €10 - the tenderness and flavour were ok, but it wasn't a particularly great version. There wasn't any char or crispness to the skin and so it lacked a little;
- Cherne €22 - this fresh fish was deemed to be 1.5 servings and was a splayed Stone Bass butterflied and panfried in oil/butter. It was expertedly cooked, excellent in buttery flavour and balanced well with a bit of lemon. The potatoes were a touch heavily salted and the salad added freshness. Ended up taking half home for another meal;
- Bienmesabe con helado €5 - a typical Canarian dessert broken down into bien me sabe ("tastes good to me"). We expected this almond meal based dessert to be more like a cake, but it was served in an icecream dish smothered in caramel and with icecream and cream. Very sweet and indulgent, although I wouldn't order it again.

Overall wonderful seafood and cooking. If I'm ever in Lanzarote again, I will stay in Arrieta and return here.

Chacho Fresh Burger, Playa Blanca 12-2018

After a lazy day at the beach, the option was between eating out, cooking at home or getting takeaway. The takeaway option won in the end, only really because the restaurants around the island are all relatively similar, but there's only one Chacho Fresh Burger in the world (that I know of). And the reviews were very good.

It's a large venue with its own bar.

They asked how I wanted the meat cooked (a great sign) and I opted for medium-rare which they cooked to a nice pink. The beef was lightly seasoned and excellent quality with a small thick mince texture. Really good patty. 200g is also a large size patty.

- El Patriota (carne 200g, jamon iberico, pimientos salteados, espinacas frescas, queso de cabra ahumado, salsa de tomato y pimiento) €9.95 - the Spanish burger with local ingredients and a good one too. Lots of flavours, colours and elements along with the perfectly cooked patty. Very enjoyable;
- Avatar (carne 200g, queso azul, queso cheddar, mozzarella, queso ahumado de cabra, cebolla caramelizada al vino tinto, espinacas frescas, bacon) €10.45 - the mega cheese burger had cheese flowing out of everywhere. It had a hint of blue, but otherwise just tasted like mild mixed cheese (not salty). The beef was 
- Chachipapas (papas fritas, salchicha, beicon troceado, jalapeños, salsa de queso cheddar, salsa BBQ) €4.8 - a great list of ingredients that made me hope it would be chilli fries. The fries themselves were soft and not crisp at all. The sausage slices were alright but looked a bit too processed. It doesn't compare to chilli beef or lamb that usually comes with these.

I received a €0.5 discount on those burger prices to not get the fries with it. That way I could order the chachipapas and not end up with a ridiculous amount of fries. Next time I think I'd just stick to the normal fries.

El Diablo, Lanzarote 12-2018

It's been a long while between volanic heat cooked meals. Even though I didn't expect to eat here again, the timing coincided with hunger (and lunch) and to be fair, after re-reading what I wrote last time (, I could easily have gone a steak again.

But my advice to my future self was the try the chicken, since there always seems to be so much of it cooling on the grill. And so I had to listen to me.

The complimentary bread was slices of rounds, not warm and not very good.

- 1/2 grilled chicken €13 - a delicious roast chicken, perhaps slightly overcooked, but pretty good (albeit expensive expectedly). I couldn't honestly say there's much difference between this and the standard oven/rotisserie chicken thought... The vegetables had some nice vinegar contrast;
- King prawn salad with fresh goat's cheese (guacamole, Canarian tomato, onions, lettuce crudite, thousand island sauce, basil oil) €10.5 - 3 prawns and a layer of avocado sitting on a circle of tomato. A fancy salad.

Next time I would order the steak or try the pork (if they are local, I don't think lamb is).

Interestingly outside the restaurant, there is a public grill where you can bring your own food to cook... that's definitely the better alternative for next time.

Restaurante La Cuadra, Playa Blanca 12-2018

As we touched down in the sunkissed island of Lanzarote, away from the cold of London, and drove south to Playa Blanca, I could only think of seafood. For a Sunday evening, the only place I had marked in Playa Blanca (Los Hervideros) was closed. I asked the Airbnb host who suggested El Pelegrino for Spanish/Canarian food. Unfortunately that was closed to.

So we ended up at La Cuadra, with it's decent reviews and surrounded by Germans and a few Spanish. It was a busy night there and the staff were almost impressed of my attempts to decipher the Spanish menu. Warm bread was served (€1.1pp)

- Croquetas de jalapeños con guacamole €6 - simple croquettes. Not entirely sure what was inside, but there was some jalapeño and the guacamole was outside;
- Crujiente de cochino negro canario €7 - black pig meat squashed into a cube and then fried. Simply seasoned and delicious. Quite tender too;
- Papas arrugadas de Lanzarote con sus mojos artesanos €5 - the island's famous potatoes cooked until dehydrated and soft and seasoned heavily with salt. Nice;
- Pulpo a la plancha con mojo verde €8 - charry, crisp and full of flavour. A definite winner;
- Caracoles con jamon y chorizo €7.75 - strange for snails. They didn't seem to have much of their own flavour and also the texture was very soft and without any bite. Wouldn't get them again.

Overall a nice meal to start the trip. A little too much food for 2. I don't think anything here is particularly special or different from the other menus around. Next time I'd try for Los Hervideros or somewhere new.

La Tegala, Lanzarote 01-2013

La Tegala is seemingly regarded as the best restaurant in Lanzarote by almost every available list. It has a location closest to Tias and Puerto del Carmen, but located far enough away from the towns that you wouldn't want to walk there. It is actually on the major highway connecting the airport to any of Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Timanfaya making it relatively easy to find and plan a time suitable to go, especially given the unrestricted opening hours (Monday-Saturday 1330-2300).

I went for a very late lunch at 4pm on a Friday and a Spanish group of 4 were finishing up leaving the place empty. I picked the best seat in the house next to the front corner window which gave a perfect sky of the evening sun. The south view is over PDC and ocean and the north-west is the mountains. I imagine sunset would be the ideal time to come here.

The menu is supposedly a "twist" on traditional Canarian cuisine with quality ingredients, skillful cooking and modern presentation.

- Chorizo Pate with Bread (bread starter) - an unusual and very nice mince of chorizo;
- Spanish Omelette (complimentary) - the smoothest potato omelette served piping hot but with a tasteless drizzle of Mojo Verde;
- “Ropa Vieja” (stew of cuttlefish & chickpeas) - typically a stew made with beef or pork in tomato base, but La Tegala does it with a flavoursome seafood stock, cuttlefish chunks (which I mistook for potato on first inspection), red peppers and two prawns to garnish;
- Lanzarote-Style Fried Kid (with potatoes and vegetables) - they describe this dish as lamb rather than actually being true kid (ie. goat). What they serve is boneless lamb meat pressed together and pan-fried. The meat is tender and mildly flavoured, the skin not particularly crispy but still nice, and the fiery-looking Mojo Rojo sauce is rich with red pepper flavour and no chilli heat;
- 70% Dark Chocolate Soufflé - a molten dark chocolate souffle served with a small piece of brownie and what tasted like refreshing apricot sorbet.

Overall the meal was great and certainly different to the standard similar dishes served everywhere else in Lanzarote. The prices are equivalent also and you get the advantage of a beautiful view and a convenient location to plan for. Would certainly recommend.

Next time I would order any of my 3 dishes again - all were good and unique for Lanzarote without any being essential. Other delicious-sounding options include Fried Goat Cheese, Seafood Cazuela, Stone-Bass Loin Steak and rabbit/lamb/beef/pork dishes,

La Cantina, Lanzarote 01-2013

Teguise is regarded as a classic town with old character charm. It is true that there is a nice church and plaza in the middle, cobbled streets with bars, cafes and shops along, but without the ocean next to it there is almost something missing compared to the rest of the island. There is a market on Sundays (0900-1400) where apparently much of the island attends and the place is jumping. Otherwise I get the impression is a much less visited place other than a drive through to Mirador del Rio way up north.

On my particular night, I was the only guest between 1800-1930. A couple of Spaniards came in for a drink towards the end but that was it. Maybe I was too early, but even the waiter confirmed it was a very quiet week.

Nonetheless I could eat and take pictures in peace.

- Canarian Stew - a very typical tasting Spanish stew of unusually tender pork cubes, chickpeas and more potent flavour from chorizo pieces and thyme. A bargain for €6.95;
- Grilled King Prawns - quite nicely cooked tail-on prawns with burnt saffron threads that I didn't feel added any flavour. They were nice on their own or with lemon or the paprika mayonnaise;
- Zoe's Famous Chocolate Brownie - an incredible dark chocolate brownie with the delicate moist texture that collapses under the palate. The caramel sauce is strong and optional and the vanilla ice-cream is standard without any vanilla seeds visible and served with 4 nice little frozen berries.

A lot of the other dishes are more international just to be aware - Uruguayian beef, Kangaroo (assumably from Australia), Spanish beef, Western-style chicken.

Next time I'd order the Chocolate Brownie which will leave you satisfaction and memories. Canarian Stew was a decent option also. Otherwise I think it comes down to reading the specials and selecting something - the Spanish Beef was the only one that appealed to me because it seemed like a more local dish.

El Lago, Lanzarote 01-2013

Driving around Lanzarote looking for food is difficult. The free map from the airport is actually very good and accurate going from town to town using the signs posted at all the roundabouts. But navigating within a town is quite hard especially given Google maps doesn't particularly work often (1 trip in 7 it could locate me).

El Lago is along the road connecting Arrieta and Punta Mujeres. Most likely you'll drive along this route going from the Jardin de Cactus and the stunning Jameos del Agua. My advice is enter the town of Arrieta and drive along the coast until you see El Lago on your left. The address lists it as Calle de Los Morros 27, but note that you'll see 26 and 28 on your right separated by nothing and get confused - just keep driving another minute until the road bends right and it is there.

The higher rated option in the area is El Amanecer (according to TA, both seem to have equivalent good mentions in recommended restaurant lists) but that is closed on a Thursday.

Also notable is that El Lago does not have a website. As per usual I've taken a picture of the English version of the menu.

- Fresh Marinated Anchovies - fresh butterflied anchovies in olive oil, garlic & vinegar. A far difference from the canned or salted kind with large chewy pieces and a light tart vinegar;
- Steamed Mussels - excellent chewy sweet mussels allowed to be alone with their own juices rather than the typical white wine & garlic. Some weren't debearded but that's the way it goes sometimes;
- Fresh Grilled Pompano - a local fish half grilled perfectly on both sides to create a salty burnt skin on one side and a tender strong pure flesh on the other. The first time I've been served proper Canarian potatoes warm in their wrinkles skin.

Lastly the Canarian typical sauces of Mojo Verde and Mojo Roja are the best versions I've tried. Especially the Verde has a punchy garlic and coriander taste which was great on bread.

Next time I would order any local seafood that they recommend. There are too many choices on the menu to select - be aware that some fish are caught immediately local whilst a lot of others are imported from Morocco (which is very common in Lanzarote and I suppose they do share an ocean) whether it matters to you or not.

Almacen de la Sal, Lanzarote 01-2013

On my one trip to Playa Blanca, choosing somewhere for dinner proved a quandary. I spent 90mins walking between my final two choices of Almacen de la Sal (recommended as the favourite restaurant on a website of someone who looked like they knew what they were talking about) and Los Hervideros (TA #4 for Playa Blanca and the highest rated Spanish entry for the resort).

I was torn between the recommendation and specials board of Almacen (although it was located right on the waterfront, which is almost always a negative for me) and the good reviews of LH (although the menu is quite plain and the restaurant seems to only be attended by middle-aged tourist couples).

In the end I chose Almacen thinking that their specials gave them an advantage. Unfortunately I regret my choice.

- Mejillones Tigre (special of chopped up mussel meat into a stuffing then deep fried) - I chose this special instead of the usually reliable Mussels in White Wine. The stuffing only had a minimal amount of mussel flesh and even less taste drowned out by the fried coating;
- Croquetas de Centollo (special of housemade croquettes of spider crab) - minimal crab meat with even less taste drowned out by the fried coating and the other filler;
- Langoustines al la Cava (king prawns in champagne sauce) - slightly overcooked, not particularly large prawns saturated in a very creamy oil sauce which did have a champagne taste but therefore there was no prawn taste.

Next time I would order from Los Hervideros or try and find somewhere else. If you are determined to eat here, perhaps the paella/rice/stew dishes (must be ordered for a minimum of 2) or unadulterated seafood would be a much better idea.

El Diablo, Lanzarote 01-2013

Cesar Manrique's architectual influence on Lanzarote is equivalent to Gaudi on Barcelona. His structures include sculptures, a volcanic cave turned nightclub/concert hall/swimming pool, a cactus garden and iconic symbols for the island's national park. Luckily he also had the brilliant idea of using a volcano's natural heat as a grill.

Timanfaya National Park is the most visited attraction for good reason. A stunning landscape of black volcanic rock, red sanded mountains, the occasional resilient shrubs, the meeting coastline of the blue ocean. Touring through such scenery is hungry work and so unexpectedly the visitor at the top has a restaurant. The attraction of the place is the volcanic grill designed to use the constant heat with intermittent bursts to cook meat and fish.

It was almost certainly designed for tourists, but who can resist a volcano steak?

- Sardines - simple whole sardines with a touch of salt. Same as a normal grill;
- Sirloin - honestly like a slow cooked steak over an indirect grill served with a meaty gravy. The outside didn't have a very solid crust (perhaps the result of not having a direct heat but more circulating hot air) but the inside was beautifully rare and warmed through, revealing a really outstanding quality piece of tender meat. Unexpectedly impressed.

The restaurant also had large pieces of chicken cooking beforehand in preparation given the slow cooking time. I've read reviews of others not liking the steak as it isn't cooked enough for them - I think this is probably a reflection of the slow cooking time for this style.

Next time I would order any of the beef (Entrecote, Sirloin or Rib Eye) and try a piece of slow-cooked Chicken. If rare beef isn't your thing, stick with the chicken, try fish, or eat elsewhere.

TJs Caribbean-International Tapas Restaurant, Lanzarote 01-2013

Looking at Tripadvisor for inspiration, I was curious at the #1 restaurant - a Caribbean tapas place with repetitive reviews stating how happily shocked diners were eating here, only choosing the place based upon the TA rankings. It seems a continuing circle of good reviews being fed by good reviews of an unexpected place. My curiosity had to know.

I ventured into the unexpectedly empty restaurant that night. One couple were leaving, one solo diner came in after me - that was it. The very friendly English female host even stated how quiet the region was that week and that just last week they were turning away people. Lucky for me then to ease nicely into dinner.

I was recommended a few of the Caribbean specialties - goat curry, jerk chicken, 5-spice beef amongst others. The bread was simple and toasted and only particularly useful to mop up some sauces. The homemade chilli sauce with scotch peppers was intensely hot on the tongue but doesn't linger.

- Curried Goat - tender goat pieces so soft you could chew them without teeth. Relatively spicy but otherwise not overly powerful curry sauce;
- Prawns & Mussels in White Wine, Coriander & Ginger - very large king prawns and sweet mussels both slightly overcooked but still nice in an oil-based white wine sauce;
- Caribbean Fried FIsh of the day - told the English name of the fish that day is Stoker. Firm and chewy in an oil-based red & yellow pepper sauce - not great all round;
- Rice & Beans - good accompaniment to soak up curry sauce and buffer the heat;
- Cheesecake - saw this recommended by someone on TA as outstanding but unfortunately I can't agree. It had a good smooth texture but the taste was very plain. Only the berry sauce to the size made it nice;
- Complimentary Vodka Caramel shot - sweet

Overall very good, but I find it difficult to agree on it being TA #1. It certainly would hold that spot for being unique in a a town littered with Spanish, British, Irish and Chinese restaurants.

Next time I would order the fantastic Curried Goat and I'd be happy to have the Prawns or Mussels again acknowledging they are cheap, tasty and large although not the best cooked. If in a big enough group, other reviews have suggested 5-Spice Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff. Lamb, Mint & Sweet Potatoes sounds like a potential winner also. The Jerk Chicken reviews have been mixed suggesting it isn't that necessary.