[Los Cristianos, Tenerife] Casas Tagoro

It’s a couple of years since we last ate here, so worth a new review.

We visit Tenerife for three weeks each year and, once a week, like to visit a restaurant more “upmarket” than the other nights. Casa Tagoro was our choice for Week 3. Now, to be fair, it’s not as upmarket as the places we visited in the earlier weeks (Sucas and La Cupula, both in Costa Adeje) but it’s pretty good. Along with those two in Costa Adeje, there used to be some recognition of its quality by its inclusion in the Michelin Guide. But unlike those two which are still in the Guide, Casa Tagoro hasn’t appeared there for a couple of years. By the by, don’t confuse an entry in the Guide with having a Michelin star. Like the other two, Casa Tagoro has never had a star and, to be frank, doesn’t cook at the level that would get it one. But that’s not a reason to discount it.

There’s good bread to start – a little white roll and another studded with olives. And there’s oil for dunking, butter and a lovely homemade crab mousse for slathering on to it. That’s followed by a freebie shot glass of chilled beetroot soup, enhanced with a hefty hit of horseradish. Very North European, staking out a position that the chef is Austrian.

Tomato soup was excellent – my companion in life jokingly saying it was almost as good as a tin of Heinz. At least, I think it was jokingly. For the other starter, pieces of tuna had been just seared on all sides and coated in black and white sesame seeds. Also on the plate, a dab or two of a very mild, perhaps overly mild, wasabi and a dab or two of a sweetish teriyaki sauce. There’s long cooked onions and a slice of pickled sushi ginger, which lifted the whole plate. It looked spectacular and tasted really good a well.

Their take on fillet steak “Rossini” was, perhaps, even an improvement on the classic. Instead of the often overly rich foie gras pate, they just use a piece of goose liver, very lightly cooked. It adds flavour, without overpowering the beef. The meat sits on mashed potato which includes a grating of earthy truffle. And there’s a heavy duty red wine sauce and a very fine dice of mixed vegetables.

Cod was a clever bit of craftsmanship. It takes skill to cook the fish, wrapped in angel hair pasta, so it’s perfect at the “just flaking” stage, yet the pasta has become crispy, giving a lovely texture contrast. That’s accompanied by cubes of fried aubergine and a red pepper sauce – they both work.

Dessert was a no brainer. Austrian chef and a classic Austrian dessert on the menu. That’ll be two apple strudels , please. It’s a tasty apple, quite sharp, with a hint of cinnamon. And a blob of cream and another of ice cream. They serve it warm and, in that, is a minor criticism – reheating it, possibly in the microwave, means you do lose the crispness of the pastry. But it really is a minor quibble when it tastes so good.

Service is spot on. The guy who served us has also done so on our previous visits. Everything happens just as it should do, without you really realising that it is happening. Nothing rushed and no finger tapping delays either. Just as it should be.

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― Jonathan Gold