Written on: 02/05/2011 by DJM (21 reviews written)
Los Cristianos - Great out of season
TOWN - Los Cristianos is no stunning beauty with heaps of history. It is what it is, a small harbor town which has grown into a tourist centre. Los Cristianos mainly serves the holiday makers, but unlike Playa de Las Americas it does have a heart and feels like a real place that people other than tourist actually live. The whole town is looked after and the central church square particularly is a nice place to sit and watch the locals go by. There is also the local petanque club which helps to give the place a feeling of reality amongst the tourist paraphernalia. It is better that Playa Las Americas in every way. Just remember out of season the average age is nearer 3 figures than 2 and the motorbility scooters are out in force. OK, so that risks sounding like it's a home for the elderly with constant sun, but that's far from the truth. Strangely, as long as hard core nightclubbing is not what you want then this doesn't really change the character of the vibrancy of the place - there's still plenty to do.
BEACH - There are two white sand man made beaches either side of the harbor. Joining the beaches and in fact around the whole coast line joining Los Cristianos to Play Las Americas is a smart, well maintained pedestrian promenade. There are numerous seats along the way to sit and rest, people watch or gaze the hours away looking out to sea. And of course there are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants fronting the prom to tempt you in case you are feeling peckish or thirsty.
The town beach Playa Los Cristianos is the typical night time photograph, is well looked after and looks out to the harbor. There are plenty of sunbeds and parasols at 9 Euros a set, all in good condition and properly controlled. But, there is also enough space set aside for those who want to sit directly on the sand or bring their own seats. There are numerous bars and eateries behind the beach if you want a drink or snack, as well as the couple that are actually on the beach.
Further around heading toward Playa de Las Americas is the second beach - Playa Vistas. This is the more regularly photographed in the daytime with the large fountain set just in the sea in the centre of the curved bay. It's both the most traditional - standard curve of sand with fairly calm blue sea - and unusual - the tall spray fountain in the sea - of the beaches in the area. Again, lots of sunbeds and parasols, well maintained and in good condition, as well as plenty of space for those who can't afford or don't want sunbeds. This was the beach we spent most time on, both because we liked the view and because our favorite bar overlooked the fountain. However, there are a couple of downsides; when the fountain is on, the spray does drift across the beach - ok on hot days; and secondly the old problem of thefts. After many, many years of holidays where we have taken chances and left bags, cameras, money, we got a bag stolen. It can happen anywhere, but it does seem to be a particular problem in Tenerife. That said, we still went back, we were just more careful.
FOOD AND DRINK - Of course the key income is tourists and the place is set up for that. If your idea of fun is going on holiday to go to a fake English pub, a Welsh bar, a Scottish bar or even very specifically a Glasgow Rangers only bar, you can find it here. And there are plenty of places selling Full English in the mornings and full roast on Sundays so if that's your bag you're well catered for. If you are really desperate or have lost the use of your taste buds there is even a Burger King on the beachfront.
There are however lots of bars and restaurants which serve food and drink which is not British based though unfortunately not any which serve true Canarian food locally. Even so, there is plenty of good quality food and a multitude of restaurants and bars so you'll never go hungry or thirsty what-ever cuisine you choose.
The one thing you can be certain of is that good or bad, every restaurant will have sellers outside trying to entice you in. Some are more enthusiastic than others and can become wearing when they wont take no for an answer, but generally they are fairly polite and some quite humerous.
Some restaurants we ate in are given a quick review below.
Little Italy - Adva General Franco - Los Cristianos seems to have more Italian restaurants than Rome and this is another formulaic one on the main street to the town beach. At first sight it's nice enough and he food looks good and is, but - and sadly there is a but - the service is second rate.
Having forgotten our drinks and after waiting 15 mins when they finally arrived there was no apology and an attitude. The food took forever to arrive and when it did we thought they had made good recovery - because it was really good. Again the but, after the main course we asked for the desert menu more than once but it never arrived. In the end we asked for the bill and that was about the quickest thing to arrive.
All in all a disappointment. The food is good, but there are plenty of others to choose from with good food AND good service - including the restaurants on either side of Little Italy which were much better.
Rincon del Marinero - Trasera Casa del mar - If you like fish and seafood, then you will love this place. We do and we did! At first sight it's positioning between the beaches and views of a fairly scrubby square and concrete walls is not too inspiring. But, there are flower beds all around the square and when you sit down in the restaurant, what you see mostly is flowers - so not too bad. Anyway, I went there with my beautiful woman so didn't need to look outside.
More importantly is what goes on inside, and each dish is presented as a performance. They have a massive selection of fish and seafood and they know how to cook it and serve it. Service is manic but always considerate, polite and timely. We chose paella and as it's cooked fresh we knew it would take some time. Unfortunately there were 3 people in front of us and the waiter apologetically told us that it could be a very long time so would we like to choose something else or come another night. Very helpful. We chose to stay, have a stop gap dish and wait, Boy were we glad we did.
We thought the starters we had were terrific and unusual, but the paella was out of this world. I have never seen that much fish and sea food in one dish. All top quality, brilliantly cooked and served with real passion and theatre. We can't recommend this place enough- relay worth 5 stars.
Caf 5 - Calle Pablo, Abril 5 - This is a lovely little caf near the church square on a side road down to the beach. Service is brilliant, it's clean, well kept and for the cooler evenings the outside chairs are provided with blankets. There is plenty of choice and the both food and drinks are good and reasonably priced. It's a large step above the usual standard and we loved sitting outside having a late night drink before bedtime. Thoroughly recommended.
El Pincho - Play Las Vistas - Sitting in cattle class on the flight home we were already missing El Pinchos Tapas, a cold drink, the blue sea and Celly's (sorry no idea how to spell her name) energy as she whizzes around the tables dispensing smiles, food drink and holiday joy to all in the bar. Turn the plane round now we want to go back!
El Pinchos sits on a balcony half way round the Playa Vistas by the fountain looking direct out over the promenade, beach and sea. At first sight it may appear to be another clean and tidy bar on the seafront but walk past and you will miss a treat. This place is a gem with a simple formula - good local food, good selection of drinks and most of all, top drawer service. There's not hundreds of choices on the menu, but what they do is done well. The whole team work brilliantly together, but for us,
Celly is the jewel in the crown - when she is on the floor the bar has real energy.
Do yourself a favour, stop off, have a drink, make friends and enjoy - just make sure you leave us a table as we will be back. Maybe we'll bring James with us Celly :)
Las Velas - Edif.Bucanero, Avda. Maritime, Local I, 38650 - We got lucky with this restaurant. The place we were trying to go to was taken over as a bar for the European cup football and so weren't serving food that night. As a result we ended up here by chance - as it turns out a real result.
Las Velas has a dual role, one half being a gelatia which appears very popular and good ice cream. The other an aspirational restaurant where service and quality food are important. We had a very enjoyable evening eating top quality food served efficiently in stylish surroundings with views out to the beach.
We had expected it to be a fair bit more expensive - and were willing to pay the extra for the quality - but it actually was very similar priced to some lesser eateries around the resort. Certainly worth trying and we certainly go back.
Nauta - General Franco 52 - This is right on the beachfront down by the harbor with some lovely views for an evening meal. The downsides are simply poor service and very average food.
After that statement it might sound mad, but we actually went here twice. The first time we had pizza as SWMBO had a touch of sunstroke and wasn't feeling too good. Unfortunately we had to leave before really giving the place a chance. We did get to try the pizza and it was OK, but I've had better in Pizza Express. The service wasn't really that good even with that small an order.
But, we thought we ought to try it again. I really wish we hadn't. This time the service was absolutely terrible, they brought the wrong food, were close to rude when we politely pointed their mistake out and simply failed to even try and do anything to resolve the problem. My advice, go elsewhere as there are plenty of places you will get good food and good service.