If someone was to ask me to list ideal ingredients for a hopelessly romantic setting for a restaurant I’d reply ‘somewhere intimate that served sexily seductive cuisine on a terrace overlooking the ocean where sunsets turned the skies velvet and the soundtrack was provided by the waves crashing passionately against rocks”.
Or, in other words, Las Rocas on Costa Adeje’s coastline. When compiling lists of romantic places to dine on Tenerife, the Hotel JardÃn Tropical’s delightful thatched roof restaurant jutting out over the Atlantic is almost always the first place to spring to mind.
Its location, between Puerto Colón and San Eugenio, means that it is perfectly positioned for a romance soaked gastronomic liaison for the millions of holidaymakers who visit Tenerife’s main southern tourist resorts every year.
Everybody who strolls past Las Rocas can clearly see that it’s a special venue in the looks department, but what about the cuisine? Does it also arouse sighs of delicious pleasure? Tenerife Magazine arranged a sunset assignation to find out.
The Main attraction, the Menu at Las Rocas
Deciding on what to order from the selection of sumptuous sounding goodies on the menu wasn’t helped by the fact that the sunset was putting on a distracting ‘hey, look at how gorgeous I am’ display over La Gomera on the horizon.
Around us were a mix of couples and groups of friends (Las Rocas isn’t solely a gastronomic venue for romantic dinners for two) enjoying the experience of watching mother nature do her show-stopping routine. It was a coolish March evening and although Las Rocas” interior dining area is stylishly inviting we, like most other diners, opted to eat al fresco on the restaurant’s wonderful terrace overlooking the sea.
After much humming and hawing we finally ordered chicken brochettes marinated in a satay and pineapple sauce and octopus with paprika potatoes followed by Cherne (grouper) in a Bilbao sauce served with papas arrugadas (Canarian wrinkled potatoes) and sirloin of Aberdeen Angus served with dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and a pumpkin tart.
We took the head waiter, Julio’s advice when it came to choosing the wine; Ribero del Duero – a full bodied crianza from Burgos.
The starters got us off to a promising…well, start. The chicken brochettes were smoky and the nuttiness of the satay combined with pineapple created complimentary sweet & savoury flavours. The octopus was satisfyingly crispy in parts and as tender as octopus can be in others. Its white flesh had a flavour and texture that tasted like pork of the sea. Octopus and potatoes are a surprisingly winning combination and spicing them up with paprika upped the yum factor a few notches.
The main courses had a lot to live up to, but they were up for the job. Cherne is usually pleasantly tasting but it doesn’t always have much of a personality. The roasted garlic and olive oil dressing at Las Rocas brought it completely out of its shell, unlocking a vibrantly tasting side to this popular local fish.
The Aberdeen Angus sirloin was exactly as ordered; dark and succulent on the outside and pink inside. It melted beneath the path of my knife and was as tasty a steak as I’ve had for a long time. When introduced to one of the four varieties of mustards that came with it, new flavours were unleashed and the meat and the mustards proved to be exciting and adventurous dance partners in my mouth. With the Aberdeen Angus as an adversary, the wine really came into its own, teasing even more flavours from the beef as though it were a matador taunting a bull.
By this point we were too fat and happy for dessert, but research is research so a slice of huge strawberry cheesecake, topped with lashings of cream and swirls of chocolate sauce and a portion of quesadilla (Canarian variation of cheesecake) finished off the meal and nearly us with it.
Once those were despatched it was a case of sitting back in our chairs to relax, sigh and enjoy the vistas and the rest of the wine as deep tangerine streaks on the horizon gave way to intense midnight blues.
The Sunset Summary
So what’s the overall verdict? Does Las Rocas live up to its promise of a romantic place to dine? The cuisine is top quality and beautifully presented in a stunner of a location. It really does feel like a special place to dine. Eat here and it’s pretty much assured that it”ll be a case of love on the rocks.
Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for Las Rocas
Décor ““ 5 stars. Las Rocas looks exquisite and the scenery provides a perfect, sparkling finishing touch.
Menu ““ 4 stars. One of those menus where you want to try everything…unless you happen to be vegetarian.
Food ““ 4 stars. Looks beautiful, tastes divine. Desserts Didn’t quite live up to the starters and main, but then I”M not a pudding person.
Service ““ 4 stars. Professional and friendly with no stuffiness. Made us feel completely relaxed.
Where, when and how
Hotel JardÃn Tropical, C/Gran Bretaña, near Playa Bobo, Costa Adeje; +34 902 25 02 51; open 10am to 11pm daily.
Considering its location, fabulous good looks and excellent cuisine, Las Rocas isn’t as expensive as you might expect. Main courses average €18.