The Guachinche of Tenerife

The authentic gastronomic heritage of the island!

More than a Tradition, an Institution!

Guachinche: Origin and Singularities

Officially the guachinche is “that establishment where the activity of temporary commercialization of homegrown wine regulated by Decree 83/2013 of August 1 is carried out”.

Whether you just confirmed or discovered here, the origin of the guachinche has nothing to do with catering or food but ….. with wine!

The guachinches are informal -and very economical- restaurants of home cooking located in the north of the island of Tenerife. More specifically, you will find most of them between La Orotava and La Esperanza in the municipalities of Santa Ursula, La Victoria and La Matanza.

And the fact is that the guachinches are much more than simple country restaurants where you can go to eat. Beyond what you can eat there, the atmosphere is perhaps the most characteristic of these places that are the envy of all Spain!

The guachinches were initially created to provide an outlet for the malvasia wine produced in the north of Tenerife.

What is an Authentic Guachinche?

The fact is that order has been put in this matter since many establishments did not respect the regulations, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of the Canary Islands has recently regulated (2019) through the new law of agri-food quality to determine who can use this denomination.

Below we detail the requirements to be officially recognized as a guachinche in Tenerife, surely you know some of the criteria, but surely some of them will surprise you!

Don’t be surprised to see the most regular customers of the place will end up taking out the guitar or the timple to enjoy the after-dinner conversation and pour the last glass of wine!

Requirements to be an “Official” Guachinche

The fact is that anyone who wants to be a guachinche cannot be a guachinche, but the minimum requirements that must be met in order to enjoy this appeal are the following:

-have own wine production demonstrable by means of harvest and production reports;

open a maximum of 4 months a year or close the establishment as soon as the wine runs out;

– only a maximum of 3 elaborated dishes can be offered, the rest must be pickles, natural preserves and fruit and vegetables from the area;

– beverages offered to customers should be limited to water and wine (no soft drinks or coffee, for example).

The authorities intend to carry out more controls -they should have started in the middle of the pandemic, so we understand that they will have been somewhat delayed- to prevent any restaurant from self-proclaiming to be a “guachinche” when it is not.

Tenerife’s Guachinches: A Marketing Tool on the Peninsula

There are some cases of fraudulent use of the denomination that we obviously find in Tenerife, where locals located in the center of Santa Cruz or La Laguna, have self-proclaimed “guachinches”. It appears that the days of these premises are numbered.

But what is really surprising here is to realize that the very name of this type of restaurant has been exploited beyond the Canary Islands for marketing purposes.

In both Madrid and Barcelona – and other Spanish cities – we find a couple of restaurants like “El Guachinche” in Madrid, where the advertising claim is precisely to have managed to transfer to the peninsula the traditional culinary flavors of Canarias…..

In this particular place you will find your usual papas arrugadas with 2 mojos and much more…. but neither the environment nor the prices can compare with what we are lucky enough to have here in the Canary Islands.

  • Potatoes with Mojo in a guachinche in Tenerife

    papas arrugas con mojo guachinche
  • Guachinche de Tenerife North

    escaldon en guachinche tenerife norte
  • Fried octopus served in Guachinches de Tenerife

    plato combinado en un guachinche
  • Guachinche serving grilled chicken

    pollo con papas fritas en guachinche

A specialty of the North…

Guachinche Tenerife

All very nice… but what do you really eat?

It would be impossible to give you the details of the menus of each establishment on the island but in this section we try to give you an idea of what you will find in most cases.

Generally, the guachinches of Tenerife usually offer a traditional Canarian cuisine that focuses on the following outstanding dishes:

Appetizers and Starters

Many times appetizers are focused on the “chorizo dog” which is a chorizo whose skin is burned just at the moment of consumption and which is a kind of sobrasada.

Another dish that is not usually missing in season is limpets ( from May to November, since their capture is forbidden the rest of the year), which are usually cooked grilled and with green mojo on top.

On the other hand, the white cheese is not usually missing either. It can have more or less cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk, but its main characteristic is that it is a very tender and fresh cheese.

Spoon Plates

The most traditional dishes that we find in a guachinche are usually based on chickpeas. Call yourself  “ropa vieja” or any other name, the dish consists of a mixture of chickpeas with carrots, larded meat, chicken or rabbit and potatoes, regardless of cooking variations.

Carne a la Brasa

Although it is not always the case, it is very common for the restaurant to have a barbecue outside where all kinds of grilled meats are cooked, and in particular you should almost always find: chicken, rabbit, ribs, chops and chops of pork or beef.

Always accompanied by their papas arrugadas con mojo or, of course, french fries!

An alternative to these grilled meats are the “papas con costillas” (potatoes with ribs) “which are pork ribs steamed with boiled potatoes and corn and lined with a quantity of mojo.

La Dolorosa doesn’t hurt so much!

Another characteristic of the guachinches is that they are very cheap. The quality-price ratio is usually excellent and it is normal to eat well for 10 euros and very well (or a lot!) for about 15-20 euros per person more or less, depending on each establishment.

Logically, if you need a couple of steaks to feed yourself, the bill will go up, but in general, the approximate range of prices you can expect is the one we indicate.

Anyway, if you want to avoid surprises – and although it sounds like cheap propaganda – we recommend you to look for offers of closed menus in our gastronomic section.

  • Gastronomy

  • In Family

  • Relaxed

  • Various Locations

  • Difficulty level: Easy

  • Between 1 and 2 hours

  • Economic (€)

  • Dish of garbanzas from a traditional guachicnche of Tenerife North

    ropa vieja de guachinche tenerife
  • Fried octopus Canarian style served in guachinches

    guachinche pulpo con papas arrugadas
  • Grilled coconuts from a guachincche of Santa Ursula

    choco en los guachinches tenerife

The best options for …

Guachinches You Must Try Without Failure

Our Favorites

Here is a list of places that we like in particular, and as always in Tenerife Pass, we recommend you because we have already tried them and we liked them a lot, and that regardless of whether we work or have worked directly with them:

  • La Huerta de Ana & Eva
  • El Cubano
  • The First
  • The Gomez
  • La Granja

“Don’t ask what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”
Orson Welles

Highlights of the experience

Last details to take into account

Reserve a Guachinche

Please note that in most cases it is impossible to make a reservation as the family infrastructure of the guesthouses and the shortage of staff often make reservations unfeasible.

Some final advice

Try to arrive early (before 13:30) or late (after 15:30) to avoid queues that can sometimes be very long and heavy, especially for the older and younger members of the family.

As we always say from Tenerife Pass: the important thing is that you can enjoy the experience to the fullest, so do not hesitate to contact us in case you need any clarification.

¡Buen Provecho and be Scandalously Happy…with a full belly!

  • Example of a Guachinche meal: Grilled cuttlefish

    queso blanco y vino como aparitivo en un guachinche
  • Ropa Vieja served in a guachinche in Santa Ursula

    fabada canaria de guachinches
  • Octopus with wrinkled potatoes served in a “guachinche” in Tenerife.

    biftek con guarnicion servido enn un guachinche del norte de Tenerife