[Playa de las Americas, Tenerife] Meson Castellano

It’s a couple of years since my last review of the place, so worth an update.

We go back years with this restaurant – back to the times before they had a menu and you decided what you were going to eat in discussion with the server over what was available and how they would cook it. Ah, those were the days. And we’ve never had a bad meal here (although, on occasions, we’ve not chosen well).

I worried a bit about whether the standards might have dropped with there no longer being direct competition from the now closed Fresquera. I needn’t have worried. Food continues t be classic traditional Spanish – take good ingredients and cook them without mucking about too much. That’s probably why it continues to be popular with locals a well as ex-pats and tourists. And service continues to be as on the ball as it’s ever been – professional but with humour, although don’t expect every server to have a good command of English. But why would you?

I started with a dish I’ve had here before – beans and ham. They take tiny broad beas (presumably dried or frozen) and cook them till tender and mix with them with shreds of crisply fried ham. Simples. The other starter was prawns in garlic oil. You’ll see this as “gambas pil-pil” in parts of Spain. You get prawns, in hot oil with lots of garlic and a little chilli. The bread that had also been provided was ideal for mopping up the flavoured oil.

Sea bass was served whole and had been simply grilled and served with half a lemon. It need nothing more than the carbs in the form of a few Canarian potatoes. Pork fillet had been roasted to “medium”. Nice and juicy and just to the point where you wouldn’t want it any rarer. The slices sat on fried potatoes, onions and peppers - these often appear as accompaiments here. Again, a very simple dish and all the better for it.

Desserts are not that great here, so we passed in favour of getting pancakes and coffee at Ricco - the ice cream place at CC City Center, across the road from Parque Santiago 2.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold