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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

RESTAURANTE MESON CASTELLANO
PLAYA DE LAS AMERICAS
TENERIFE, CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN

Of all the places we tried while in the Canary Islands, this was--by far--the biggest hit.

We asked the hotel desk to suggest a good place for native food where the locals dine and this place came up.  We were told that it was about a 15 minute walk from the hotel and on roads where we couldn't get lost!

As we approached the place there were some other restaurants all gathered together and they were not busy.  Meson Castellano was jumpin', however, even though it was only about 7:30.  Most folks in Spain won't even consider going out for dinner until at least 9:30 or 10pm.

We entered the place and a server quickly asked if we had made a reservation.  We had not.  But he was able to seat us immediately on a little covered and enclosed patio outside the main restaurant.

I ordered a bottle of wine and it came with lightening speed.  Then, after probably 15 minutes. a waiter came and asked us if we were ready to order.  I explained that we hadn't even gotten a menu yet.  His reply?  "Senor, we do not have menus here.  We have tapas and we have nice steaks, shrimp and rabbit."  I asked him how the tapas deal worked at this restaurant and he told me that all we had to do was say the word and that they would start bringing the tapas directly from the kitchen as they came out.  He told me they'd stop the food parade when we asked them to stop.

Tapas are delightful.  They come out in small to medium plates.  Each item costs a different amount.  For instance, small roasted peppers might cost one and a half Euro.  A plate of Iberian cured ham might go for 13 Euros.  At most tapas bars instead of waiting at your table for an assortment of tapas, you simply order what you want while sipping a beer, glass of wine or cocktail. You could order one, two, five, etc. They keep Spaniards going until the late dinner hour arrives.


Iberian Hams Curing Inside the Restaurant

We had seen fellow diners digging into wonderful looking, thick, rare filet mignon steaks but the tapas sounded great so we asked our server to "bring 'em on."

They came quickly and here's a look at some of the items that were brought to the table in small to medium proportions:

SMALL GREEN PEPPERS ROASTED IN SALT
They looked and smelled like our North American jalapenos but had no heat whatsoever.  There were probably 20.
IBERIAN CURED HAM
A generous portion of this razor thin, air cured ham along with some cheese.  The ham melted in your mouth.
SAUSAGE WITH A MAJOR GARLIC KICK - AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!
This came like a curled up fire hose on a plate.  We burped garlic for the rest of the night!
A MEDIUM BOWL OF SALAD WITH LOTS OF TOMATO WEDGES
A simple presentation served with bottles of oil and vinegar on the side.
SAUTEED PRAWNS IN A GARLICKY BUTTER WINE SAUCE
Probably the best shrimp we had during our Canary visit.  These actually had flavor, thanks to the garlic!
FISH CROQUETTES
Great little balls of fish and mashed potatoes deep fried to a golden perfection.
FRENCH FRIES
This one surprised us.  They were topped with peppers, onions and sautéed mushrooms.
RABBIT RIBS
Yup - rabbit ribs!  They were small, battered and deep fried. They were excellently seasoned with various spices.
GRILLED BABY SQUID
Simple, grilled squids about 2 inches long.  There were probably 12 of them.

This is when we waived the white flag and surrendered.  We were absolutely, positively stuffed.  If you'd like to see some of the tapas we enjoyed, click here for pictures.


A Popular Place - Even at 7:30pm

We liked this place so much that we came back a second time.  This time we started with just two tapas--the fish croquettes and a plate of large grilled prawns.  Then we moved onto some steaks.


Some of the excellent fresh meat awaiting diners.

After our two tapas were tackled, I ordered a sirloin steak cooked rare and my wife went with the filet mignon.  And we shared a simple salad.  My steak was quite good but my wife objected to the flavoring on her hunk of meat.  So we switched.  I saw what she meant about the flavor but it wasn't bad and we both enjoyed our nice, rare steaks.

Folks, this is a great place with fast, efficient and friendly servers.  We highly recommend it to you.

There are several restaurants on Tenerife with similar names.  But be sure to get the right place - Meson Castellano.  Their phone number is 922 79 63 05.

OTHER RESTAURANT REVIEWS FROM SPAIN:

Al La Carte - Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Restaurant Bajamar - Madrid
Cafe Balear - Madrid
Casa Paco - Madrid
Dayana Restaurante - Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Meson Mojo Pincon Restaurante - Playas de las Americas - Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Rias Bajas Restaurante - Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Rincon Del Marinero - Los  Cristianos, Canary Islands, Spain