Top 5 Gastronomy Or Why Lanzarote Is An Indie Destination
21 January, 2016
“The moon? Mars? Iceland? No, it’s Lanzarote!” You will often catch yourself thinking this as you roam this fascinating island along roads traversing uninhabited places, without anyone for miles around you. You will also wonder what it might be like to live in this pleasant land of disturbing beauty, surrounded everywhere by raging Atlantic waves relished by surfers from all over the world.
Tracts of lunar land alternating with stretches of desert, and others carpeted in vegetation, where palm trees stand side by side with lava fields, wild beaches, small fishing villages and, of course, the ubiquitous seaside developments catering to mass tourism.
And, as you contemplate the impossible patterns forged by centuries of intermittent lava flows in the rocks, and you hear the roar of the waves while munching on papas con mojo,you regret that the incomprehensible tourist dynamic should have earmarked Lanzarote as the almost exclusive preserve of family holidaymakers and honeymoon couples. That is when you wish Lanzarote would bare its Indie streak, without renouncing its conventionalism, and that we “Peninsulars” – that is what we have been dubbed by the witty locals – would make the trip at least once a year to this island overflowing with charm, which also has its less predictable side. And this chart of rankings proves it.
1- El Chupadero. Its owner, Barbara, is a former model and erstwhile German New Yorker. One day in the eighties, she came across a derelict building in the middle of the island and fell prey to its charm. She decided to refurbish it with her own hands and settle there permanently, along with her two small children. That was how this restaurant was born, unwittingly hipster to the marrow, where every corner is a marvel of good taste and the menu the epitome of indigenous cuisine based on excellent produce.
2- Bar Stop. At the other end of the island, in Yaiza, lies this legendary establishment, which dates from 1890. It has a homely feel and more than reasonable prices and appears not to have changed one jot since its beginnings. Bar Stop is a place where you can enjoy deliciously rustic home cooking any time of the day while you eavesdrop on the locals chattering away – they also seem to have come fresh from 1890, brimming with friendliness and hospitality.
Plaza Ntra. Sra. de los Remedios (Yaiza).
3- La Lupe. Going to Lanzarote only to end up eating in a Mexican, considering the oodles of papas arrugadas that are shouting to get our attention, may seem rather reckless. But, once you’ve tried La Lupe’s delicatessen and sense that it comes hot from the heart of Mexico City, you realise that you have found an exceptional Mexican cuisine. Carefully crafted tacos, enchiladas, moles and other delicacies in a highly recommendable Mexican restaurant. Ideal for dining to a Tequila rhythm before lighting up the night at Noise.
4- NoiseClub Lanzarote. This is what we might term Lanzarote’s underground concert venue, whose owners fight daily to create an Indie atmosphere in the very heart of the capital, Arrecife. Noise is a small, inviting venue featuring live performances on Friday and Saturday after 11.30 p.m. Performers are often musicians from the Peninsula, in line with the open-minded approach of the artificers of Noise and their urge to bring out a less conventional side of Lanzarote. Performances are variegated, ranging from funk to techno.
5- Lagomar. One of the world’s greats who succumbed to the charms of Lanzarote was Omar Sharif. Indeed, he ended up building a formidable house at the seaside, by way of a large, stunningly beautiful fortress, now turned into a restaurant and wine bar. Every nook in the maze-like interior of Lagomar is a fiesta, from the elegant dining-room to the small bar counter surrounded by armchairs, the beautiful gardens and the pool crowning the patio. It is the ideal spot for having a well crafted glass of wine and for enjoying, any day of the week, the pleasant temperatures of Lanzarote and the anachronistic aura – in the best sense of the word – which still pervades this legendary precinct.
Where to Sleep
Sands Beach Lanzarote: This stunning, four-star resort on the Costa Teguise, just 15 minutes from the airport, will play havoc with those who have difficulty getting their bearings. Six huge swimming pools – one of which is heated – a spa, gaming hall, supermarket, activities at all hours and enormous rooms with a kitchen make up this complex with its private beach, where guests are treated like kings and prices are actually affordable.
Text and photos by Laura Conde of Gastronomistas
21 January, 2016