Archive for the Gran Canaria Category

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Food & Drink in the Old Town

Posted in Gran Canaria, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Spain, Triana, Vegueta with tags , , , , on February 14, 2019 by gannet39

Please see my previous posts for things to see in Vegueta and Triana (the old town).

My Google map is here.

All the places below are handy for my colleagues staying at the Hotel Parque although the first restaurant is better for tourists seeking an idyllic spot. Everybody should visit the market.

Mercado de Vegueta (B+), Calle Pelota

This is a lovely market to walk around because the stall owners have put so much effort into their displays.

Does anyone know what these strange things are?

Casa Montesdeoca (Advanced B+), 10 Calle Montesdeoca, www.facebook.com

This is a higher end restaurant located in the large courtyard of a sixteenth century house in the old town. It’s not quite as stunning as their photos make it look but it is very pretty with an old well and lots of plants. It’s hard to believe the house was a ruin just a few years ago.

The tables have been placed under the courtyard porticoes and umbrellas in case of rain which was a distinct possibility when I was there in March.

The waiters, dressed in white tunics, are friendly and efficient. A soundtrack of Spanish guitar added to the relaxed atmosphere. The food is good and nicely presented but not amazing (B).

I had the Raviolis Rellenos.

And the Sama en Espejo de Trufas y Espuma de Frutas del Bosque, that is, a local fish with truffles and a foam of forest fruits.

With a bottle of Manto by La Geira, another volcanic dry Malvasia from Lanzarote, which was lovely.

The bill came to €60 which was par for the course I think.

El Herreno (Intermediate C), El Herreño Calle Mendizábal, 5 Calle Mendizábal, m.facebook.com

This is a big old place by the market with large dining rooms that were filled with big groups of locals when I went for lunch on a Saturday. It’s very cheap, which may account for its popularity, and the service is fast and efficient but not particularly friendly. It’s the Lonely Planet top pick for Las Palmas but for me the traditional food wasn’t good enough to warrant the rating.

I went for media raciones of three classic local dishes beginning with Ropa Vieja; originally a Cuban dish called ‘Old Rope’ which has bounced back to the Canaries due to their close ties with the Caribbean island. It can be made with different meats and even fish but was composed of chicken, potatoes and chick peas here. It was the only thing I polished off (B-).

Also Gofio Escaldo; a puree made of maize, originally a poor person’s dish, which I wasn’t too keen on and didn’t finish (C-).

Also a tasteless version of the local chick pea stew; Garbanzada made with carrot and only tiny pieces of jamon which was too plain to interest me and I left a lot of it (C). The version I had in La Dispensa (see my Isleta – Las Canteras post) was much tastier with the inclusion of chorizo and morcilla. With all this, a half bottle of Cune (B).

For dessert Mus de Gofio, a sweetened version of the maize puree I had above (B) and a Ron Miel brought the total to €30.

I have to say my poor old stomach wasn’t too happy digesting the food from here. Maybe I had too many chickpeas and too much maize but I think it was the quality of the cooking and ingredients that disagreed with me. It’s an experience that the budget traveller might enjoy, and there are plenty of other more common Spanish dishes on the menu besides my weird selection, but that said, I won’t be going back.

Pecado Ibérico (Low Intermediate B), 21 Calle Cebrian

This modern little breakfast place also doubles as a deli, a junk shop and a bar. I came for lunch but there was nothing lunchy on the menu so I had a wrap (erroneously called a Burrito) filled with cooked ham. It was cheap at €6.50 and included a juice and a coffee.

I’m guessing the place is run by a mum and her hipster son, neither of whom were particularly welcoming but they thawed slightly under my charm offensive.

I bought a jar of local honey here as well. It was a bit pricy at €9.90 but I was happy to pay that as it was very good (A).

El Modernista (Elementary A), Plaza de San Telmo

This is a café located in the lovely Modernista kiosk in the square opposite the Hotel Parque where I should have been staying.

I could look at this building all day. In need of a pit stop after a long walk, I had a Café Cortado, a small bottle of water and a double Ron Miel for €9.10.

And that my friends was the end of my eight days in Las Palmas.

Off to Madrid next!

Las Palmas de Gran Canarias – Historical Architecture in Vegueta

Posted in Gran Canaria, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Spain, Vegueta with tags , , , , on February 13, 2019 by gannet39

Vegueta was the first neighbourhood of Las Palmas when it was founded in the late fifteenth century. It was declared a National Artistic Historic Site in 1973. Many of the principal civic institutions were located here.

At 1 Calle Colón you’ll find Casa de Colón www.casadecolon.com which used to be the governor house and also claims to be the temporary residence of Christopher Columbus before he sailed for the Americas.

Personally I’ve lost count of the number of cities that lay claim to his name (Genoa and Barcelona spring to mind). It’s now a museum about the Castillian conquest of the Canaries as well as Columbus and pre-columbine America. Entrance fee is 4€ for adults and it’s free the first weekend of the month.

Although the rest of the building is quite austere on the outside, the entrance door is stunning.

The characters seems as sharp as when they were first carved. Click on the pics to enlarge.

The rear entrance is also quite ornate.

The carved figures here seem slightly cruder and less sharp but more humourous.

In Plaza Santa Ana you can see the Catedral de Santa Ana. Although there was nothing inside that particularly impressed me, next time I go I’ll pay the 1,50€ to go up to the roof to enjoy the views which are supposed to be very good.

One of the buildings on the southern side of the square has some nice architectural features.

Plaza de Santo Domingo is a nice square with a pretty fountain.

Another building of note is the Teatro Perez Galdos at 1 Plaza Stagno www.teatroperezgaldos.es.

It seems quite austere from the outside but perhaps there’s more to like inside.

Eating in Vegueta next!

Las Palmas de Gran Canarias – Modern Architecture in Triana

Posted in Gran Canaria, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Spain, Triana on February 12, 2019 by gannet39

Triana is the former merchants district in the old town. The adjoining neighbourhood of Vegueta (see nextpost) has governmental buildings dating back to medieval times whereas Triana has more recent residential buildings dating back to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Today it is one of the most important commercial areas in Las Palmas, particularly since the pedestrianisation of its main street Calle Triana. My map here.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my employer either uses the Hotel Astoria in Isleta or the Hotel Parque www.hparque.com in Triana in the old town. The Parque is preferred for logistical reasons as it’s next to the Estación de Guaguas (gua gua is the local name for a bus).

The hotel faces onto the Parque de San Telmo. In one corner of the square is the beautiful Art Deco kiosk (quiosco) which houses a café.

Nearby at 2 Calle Buenos Aires at Punto de Información Turística de San Telmo.

At one end of Plazoleta de Cairasco is the Art-Nouveau Gabinete Literario, constructed in 1842.

It was originally a theatre and later became a club, but nowadays it houses a literary society, as well as a restaurant and a cafe.

I only managed to snap a couple of shots inside before the concierge threw me out.

At 6 Calle Cano is the Casa Museo de Pérez Galdós www.casamuseoperezgaldos.com.

On Calle Pérez Galdós is the Modernista Palacete Querego Rodríguez Quegles.

At different times it has housed the Conservatory of Music, the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of the Canaries, the Direction of Universities and Research, and the Canary Academy of the Language and is now used as a cultural space.

If you sneak through the front door you can catch a glimpse of one of the beautiful stained glass windows.

Modernisme is my favourite style of architecture and this blue and white confection was my favourite building in the area.

This is another beautiful example of Modernisme.

And here’s another fine Modernista house on Calle Cano.

And there are many more, especially along Calle Triana. Click on the photos to expand them.

I also like more traditional Spanish houses with their balcones cerrados; enclosed balconies that regulate heat and noise from the street.

Some buildings have a Neo-Mudéjar (Moorish revival) features but they don’t seem to be as common as in other cities in southern Spain.

Plaza de las Ranas has a Neo-Mudéjar kiosk…

…and a nice statue with a fountain.

Plaza Alameda de Colon is another pleasant square.

There are a few examples of art deco around.

A more recent building is the Rationalist Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria, built between 1932 and 1942, on the corner of the Bravo Murillo and Pérez Galdós streets.

And there is the odd Postmodern building in the neighbourhood but they are few and far between.

So Triana is an architectural paradise for building spotters. There’ll see some more in Vegueta, the oldest barrio, next.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – a walk through Ciudad Alta

Posted in Ciudad Alta, Gran Canaria, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Spain with tags , on February 11, 2019 by gannet39

Ciudad Alta is the barrio on the hill between Isleta (see previous posts) and Triana (next post). One day I walked through the neighbourhood towards the old town along Paseo Chil (the main artery). My map is here.

This is where the well-heeled locals reside now that Triana, once the poshest part of town, has become an outdoor architectural museum.

There are some fantastic homes up here but I stopped taking photos of them after getting being told off by a security man. In the UK you can take pictures just about anywhere you like when you’re outside but it might be different in Spain. Better safe than sorry anyway.

However, I did get a few snaps of the wonderful Neo-Mudejar monster that is the Hotel Santa Caterina www.barcelo.com. Next time I come back I’ll try and get to the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant.

The hotel overlooks the lovely Doramas Park (at 227 León y Castillo) which was designed by the British in the 19th century.

It’s an oasis of tranquility with all kinds of exotic plants and flowers that I had never seen before.

There are a few whacky statues and water features dotted about as well.

By way of contrast I also came across this brutalist staircase which I adore. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

The lovely neighbourhood of Triana next!

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Isleta – Eating and Drinking around La Puntilla

Posted in Gran Canaria, Isleta, La Puntilla, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2019 by gannet39

La Puntilla is the area at the far north eastern end of Playa de Canteras. See also the previous post on places to eat around Playa de Canteras for the rest of the beach area. My map here.

The best place to go for tapas in Isleta is the old market, the Mercado del Puerto de la Luz at 76 Calle Albareda mercadodelpuerto.net, which has been renovated and turned over completely to tapas bars.

This first one was my favourite but the others were good too.

Skandi Tapas (Elementary B+), inside the market, is run by a lovely Swedish lady. She’s a former SAS airhostess so she knows a thing or two about hospitality. We had a tapa of Caballa Ahumada (smoked mackerel) with crispbread…

…and three different tapas of Salmon; smoked…

…marinaded (gravelaks) and in rolls with Polar Bread, a northern Swedish flatbread (recipe here) and served with a traditional mild mustard sauce.

All these scored an A with me but then I’m biased as I’m half Norwegian. It was really nice to have something different from the usual Spanish tapas. With three glasses of wine each the bill came to a reasonable €32.

At Cachuk (Elementary B+) there’s an Italian vibe with dishes like Mejillones Relleno alla Livornese.

My friend Tina and I also had the oysters…

… and a nice glass of Ribera del Duero.

At El Camaron (Elementary B) on the outside of the market we had some good grilled prawns and razor clams (B+). With two glasses of Albarino the bill came to €18.80.

Whereas La Barra del Puerto (Elementary B+), next door to El Camaron did some good octopus with a green mojo, made with coriander, recipe here.

As for restaurants…

La Marinera (Intermediate B+), Calle Alonso Ojeda, Plaza de la Puntilla

This is a big, famous restaurant on a promontory at the end of the strip in Puntilla.

It’s right next to the sea and has great views over the sea.

The food is good, the service less so.

The Canaries have a good rep for cheese I had a media of local Queso, both fresh and semi-cured, to begin (B+).

For the main; grilled Sama a common local fish you’ll see on many menus. Opinion seems to be divided as to whether it should be translated as Red Sea Bream or Pink Dentex but either way it’s a new one on me.

To finish, a stunning sweet called Polvetos de Uruguay which I raved about in the previous post (A). Again, it’s something you’ll see it on the menu of a lot of restaurants here.

With the dessert a shot of best quality Ron Miel, Canarian honey rum, by Aldea. The was my first experience of this nectar and I fell for it straight away (B+).

With a jarra (large beer) the bill came to just under €28, not too bad.

I would recommend coming here for the views and the food is good but you get the distinct impression that the grumpy waiters don’t like tourists. When I requested the Canarian classic grill dish called Casa Carmelo (as recommended at this restaurant by Culture Trip) I was told in a very patronising way that it had never been on the menu but when I finally found it (it’s a big menu) and proved him wrong, the waiter stopped serving me! I didn’t let his lack of professionalism bother me though and I still enjoyed myself here.

By the way, if you want to try Casa Carmelo, whatever it is, it’s served at a restaurant of the same name just a few doors away at 2 Paseo las Canteras, www.restaurantegrillcasacarmelo.com. Sadly I never got the time to go and give it a try.

Amigo Camilo (Intermediate C+), 1 La Caleta

A waterside restaurant in Puntilla that looks lovely from the outside but with plastic furniture and poor service once you get in.

The high parapet makes it hard to see the lovely view.

The exception was the friendly manager who took me to see their fresh fish display and helped me choose one.

I had a very nice grilled Sama again (see notes above) and media raciones (half portions) of Ensalada Mixta and the quintessential local dish Papas Arrugadas, new potatoes served with mojo (see above).

To drink, a Canarian volcanic wine, a dry Malvasia from Lanzarote, called Bermejo for €16 which was really nice(B+), as was every other local white I tasted.

To finish another glass of Ron Miel but an inferior version this time by Artemi called Indias (C).

The total bill came in at just over €42.

La Oliva (Intermediate B), 17 Prudencio Morales

Recommended by a blogger who reckoned they do the best Calamares Fritos locally.

With a G&T each the bill came to €23.50 which was a bit pricey but the Calamares were good (B+).

Ginger (Intermediate B+), 2 Paseo las Canteras

This was my friend Tina’s local as it’s very good for G&Ts (B+). Look at the size of those glasses!

A walk through the neighbourhood of Ciudad Alta to the old town next!

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Playa de Las Canteras – Places to Eat and Drink

Posted in Gran Canaria, Isleta, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Playa de Las Canteras, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2019 by gannet39

One thing that pleasantly surprised me about Las Palmas was how multicultural it was, as can be seen by the wide variety of restaurants from every region of Spain and every country in the former Spanish empire, as well as many other national cuisines. During my eight night stay I ate Canarian, Galician, Uruguayan, Peruvian, Swedish, Japanese, Korean and Indian food. Here are my favourites in order of preference.

Google map here.

See also the following post on places to eat around La Puntilla, the area at the northern end of the beach, including the market.

Novillo Precoz (High Intermediate A), 9 Calle Portugal, www.novilloprecoz.es

This was one of my favourites during my stay; a completely authentic, old school Uruguayan steak restaurant which has been around a long time judging by the age of the owner; a frail old lady guarding the till.

To begin a Chorizo Parrillero and a Morcilla sausage…

…followed by grilled Provelone.

For the main a medium rare Bife Ancho steak (A) with Papas Fritas (A) and a big Ensalada Mixta (B+).

On the waiter’s recommendation I had this with a local red wine called Caldera (B).

For dessert I again put myself in the hands of my helpful waiter who surprised me with a mixed dessert of Polvitos Uruguayos (a kind of cheesecake with a biscuit crumb base, whipped cream, filled with dulce de leche and topped with pieces of meringue) which in Uruguay is known as Polvitos de Novicia, paired with a Panqueque con Dulce de Leche which combined were heaven on a plate (A+), especially when supported by a glass of PX.

After this excellent meal I had to finish things properly with a balloon of Gran Duque de Alba brandy in a warmed glass (A).

The total came to a greedy €71 which I was happy to pay for such a comprehensive blowout.

Ribera del Rio Mino (Advanced B+), 21 Calle Olof Palme, www.riberadelriomino.com

This is a high end Galician restaurant recommended by Michelin and the Guia Repsol. It’s very popular with posh locals and I was lucky to get a seat at the bar for Sunday lunch, despite arriving early. Reservations definitely recommended at peak times.

My waiter at the bar was very hard-working but he should have had someone else on with him because he was often too busy to serve me as the place started to fill up.

I began with a media of Croquetas de la Casa (B+).

The Gambas a la Plancha were pricey at €21, but they were just what I wanted (B+).

With these I had three glasses of an excellent Albarino (A), called Altos de Torona, at €3 a glass.

For the next dishes I swapped to red which was more pricey at €4 a glass but the first glass of a Ribera del Duero called Pago de Valtarreña was totally worth the money (A).

However the subsequent glasses of Celeste and La Planta, both Riberas, were less so (B).

The Chistorra sausages with chips were good (B). However I felt the local Queso Duro (B+) was a bit pricey at €10.60 and the cheesecake (C) wasn’t worth €7.

But the glass of Carlos I brandy was good value at €6.40.

The total bill for this little lot came to €80. Many things were overpriced in my opinion but there were bargains to be had and I was glad to have experienced their top notch wines.

La Despensa (Low Intermediate B+), 8 Calle Diderot

A place to have Canarian food near the Hotel Astoria. I had the reasonably priced Menu Degustacion for €21 which scored a B overall. This kicked off with Tomates Aliñados, a dressed tomato salad…

… and continued with Garbanzada, a local chick pea stew. Next came a very unusual dish, particular to the Canaries, of Croquetas de Morcilla de Teror which contained sugar, ground almonds, raisins nutmeg and spearmint. While I love black pudding, I’m not sure if I’m a fan of this sweet version (C+) but it was interesting.

The meal concluded with Secreto Iberico, a pork cut with chips. Very good value and nice rustic food.

Bodegon Don Juan Pachichi (Elementary B), 51 Calle Martinez de Escobar

A very popular tapas bar located in an old garage! It has been around for 70+ years apparently. The food scores a B/C with me but the atmos is B+.

I had two glasses of mediocre red, some Queso Semi-Curado con Mojo (in the Canaries mojo means a ‘sauce’ containing olive oil, peppers, garlic, and paprika) and some Jamon Serrano.

Of note is the Chorizo al Inferno, which you get to grill yourself.

It’s fun to do but the results aren’t great and there’s a slight aftertaste of lighter fluid.

To finish; Pan Bizcocho a kind of local cake which I wasn’t too keen on (C-).

The final bill was €11.30 which is very reasonable. A fun place which I’d go to again.

Nomiya (Intermediate B+), 34 Calle Rafael Almeida

A bright, modern place selling Korean and Japanese food, run by Koreans, that has a strong local following. The waitresses were lovely and very efficient and hard working. Two of them were sisters who had lived in Manchester and Belfast but where currently sporting strong US accents as they attended the local American school.

One told me how much she missed the friendly people of Manchester who were quite different in their attitude towards people of other ethnicities in comparison to the Canarians who she felt weren’t very welcoming. Unfortunately I’d have to agree with her due to my general experience. Some locals (not all by any means) don’t seem to like foreigners much.

Anyway, about the food. I had a portion of Kimchi; pickled Chinese cabbage with chilli (B), Bibimbap, a hot rice dish (B+) and feeling greedy I followed up with Pa Jun, a seafood pancake (B).

With a couple of local Tropical beers (C+), the bill came to just over €25.

A good spot if you fancy a change from Spanish food.

Fuji (Intermediate B-), 56 Calle Fernando Guanarteme, www.restaurantefuji.es

Spain’s oldest Japanese restaurant apparently (founded in 1967), but as someone who lived in Japan for a while, I can’t say I was particularly impressed.

I had the Misoshiru (beanpaste soup), the Sashimi de Sama (a common local fish, raw)…

…and the Norimaki Variado (mixed seaweed rolls).

It was all perfectly edible but uninspiring and I was given a replacement for the tuna norimaki without being asked if it was okay, which it wasn’t.. With two Kirin lagers the bill came to €37.50.

Nawabi (Intermediate B), 7 Calle Jesus Ferrer Jimeno

A fairly posh Indian restaurant with tasty, authentic curries (B). Another good place for a change of cuisine.

La Bikina Cantina (Intermediate B), 63 Paseo de las Canteras

I had the Ceviche and a Margarita for €12.50. The ceviche wasn’t very nice C- but maybe other things on the menu are okay.

For more places to eat and drink in the area, seen my next post on La Puntilla.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Isleta – Walking Around Playa de Las Canteras

Posted in Gran Canaria, Isleta, Las Canarias, Las Palmas, Playa de Las Canteras, Spain on February 8, 2019 by gannet39

This trip in March 2017 was the first time I’d ever been to the Canary Islands but they are definitely somewhere I’d like to visit again, ideally as a cheap escape from the miserable British winter. While not the hottest month by any means in the Canaries, the March weather was usually bright, sunny and warm most days.

Las Palmas is the capital on the biggest island, Gran Canaria and ranks as the tenth largest metropolitan area in Spain.

It’s famous for its urban beach, Playa de Las Canteras which runs for three kilometres along the city’s northern shore.

The neighbourhood is known as Isleta. Please see the two following posts for restaurant suggestions.

Webcam here. Google map here.

The shoreline street, Paseo Las Canteras makes for a very pleasant walk although it can be a bit windy at times.

This statue of a fisherman descaling fish was my landmark on the waterfront that told me to turn inland to my hotel, the Hotel Astoria, www.bullhotels.com. The Astoria, with its small poky rooms and a very mediocre breakfast, is not particularly recommendable but its location near the beach made it preferable to the usual hotel my employer uses; the Hotel Parque en Las Palmas, www.hparque.com which is better located for Veguera and Triana in the old town on the eastern side of the city (see later posts).

Veguera has some fantastic architecture (see future posts) but there are a few nice buildings around Las Canteras as well.

There are some examples of simple Art Deco…

… as well as some interesting post-modern designs…

…some of which have some lovely tiling…

…and others less so.

There’s much more architecture in later posts but Las Canteras restaurants are next.

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