[Los Cristianos, Tenerife, Spain] Rincon del Arroz

spanish
spain
tenerife
(John Hartley) #1

If we awarded a “best cuisine of the trip” prize, Rincon del Arroz would probably have clinched it – again. It never fails to please. It’s a nice space, with an interesting non-touristy menu and great service in that semi-formal style at which the Spaniards can excel. It attracts many locals as customers, as well as a few tourists like us.

We both ordered scallop starters. One plate had six scallops coated in the lightest of tempura batters and then deep fried. Real skill in the kitchen here, with the batter perfectly cooked to crisp and the scallop just barely cooked so still a little translucent in the centre. Served separately was an intense seafood sauce, based on prawns. It was just fab.

The other plate was a single scallop, presented on the shell. It had been very thinly sliced and covered in a cava sauce, then finished under the grill. At a guess, the time under the grill was the only cooking of the scallop but no more was needed.

As suggested by the restaurant name, they major on rice dishes, of which there must be around fifteen. Unfortunately, we were only given an English translation of the menu so were not sure what several of the dishes actually were (must remember to ask for a menu in Castilian next time). That said, our default order here is paella and we picked the seafood one. It’s a large portion – enough for “seconds”. The rice is excellent, although there was none of that delicious crusty bit you often get at the bottom of a paella pan. There’s white fish and squid stirred through and, on top of the rice, mussels, clams, shell-on prawns and a couple of langoustine. Perhaps needless to say, I did have “seconds”, but couldn’t finish it.

To full for dessert, we just had café solo.

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(John Hartley) #2

RETURN VISIT

Over several trips to Tenerife, we’re reckoned the food here to be the best we’ve eaten in the PDLA/Los Cristianos area. But, on this visit, things felt different – and not really in a good way. In the past, most customers have been locals and you felt you needed at least some basic Spanish to communicate with the waiters. But everyone seemed to be a tourist this time. And the staff were being friendly and speaking English – both of which are changes. And we were given a menu that was solely in English – we find it better if there’s also a Spanish version so we can check the translation to be sure what we’re ordering. Now, you might think this is a good thing, but if the cooking has been dumbed down to attract tourists, then it isn’t.

Good bread and olives were brought quickly. And the staff cocked up another table’s order – leaving a plate of pate on our table. Now, we just got stuck in, thinking it was another freebie, albeit a large portion – which was a tad embarrassing. Bloody good pate, mind you.

As for our real starters, one of us had scallops. They were served in the shell, diced up and mixed with a cava & cream sauce. And very nice it was too. The other starter was tempura king prawns and courgette batons. Lovely crisp batter. House made tartare sauce for dunking. A fine plate of food.

Now, we get to the bit where we reckoned the food had deteriorated. Bear in mind that we started from a very high point, so this was still about to be a decent dish. But no longer a great one. As suggested by the name, the restaurant specialises in rice dishes and we’ve always ordered one. This time, it was a seafood paella. There were mussels, clams, king prawns and a langoustine with a shell so hard it was difficult to break into. But the really tasty bit of any paella should be the rice. You’d want it packed with the flavour of saffron and seafood stock. You’d want lots of bits of fish in it. You’d want some vegetables. But this was quite boring. OK, it had a few bits of squid in it but it was really disappointing. Neither of us could be bothered having the “seconds” that were still in the cooking pan.

We’ve had dessert here in the past and they’re never great, so we just had coffee. Good coffee.

The restaurant will stay on our list to try again next trip, in the hope that we just caught the kitchen on a bad night. We’ve no problem paying premium prices, so long as there’s a premium dinner to go with it. And, while we’ll give favourite places a second chance, we wouldn’t give them a third.

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#3

Still the same owners as before, I wonder…

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