Now, there’s Castilian Spanish and then there’s Canarian Spanish. These linguistic differences make their way into the kitchen on Gran Canaria. We don’t eat patatas (potatoes) on the island but papas (confusingly the same word also means popes).
And so you were more likely to tuck into the likes of papas arrugadas con mojo (wrinkled new potatoes with spicy sauce) than patatas bravas on GC. Until Hotel Riu Palace Meloneras decided to open a second thematic restaurant, Español. Meaning that guests and non-guests’ choice of á-la-carte restaurants doubled from the pre-existing fusion offering, Restaurante Krystal.
We’ll let you know how to reach Español. And then offer you a window into their tapas-based menu. As always, our three-part guide provides with you a lowdown more comprehensive than any other site covering the island.
- Español: how to get there
- Español: what to drink
- Español: what to eat
1. Español: how to get there
Español is part of the Hotel Riu Palace Meloneras complex. Located at the most south-westerly tip of the resort, in the Ocean’s View venue. This remains a snack restaurant at lunch but transforms into a speciality eatery in time for dinner.
550 metres, around a six-minute walk, separates the Faro Maspalomas terminal of Global buses and the front entrance of the Hotel Riu Palace Meloneras. Make your way through the lobby and past the buffet restaurant. Continue through the pool area and you’ll find Ocean’s View on your right-hand side.
Mr Gran Canaria Local chose the earliest 6:30pm sitting to eat. He was rewarded with the perfect sunset from his windowside table. Indeed, the only blot on Mr GCL’s landscape was the view of El Pajar’s unlovely cement factory.
2. Español: what to drink
As you walk into Español, you can’t help but notice a table with pre-poured drinks. These are glasses of sherry, conjuring up images of Andalucia’s Jerez de la Frontera. Help yourself to a glass, they’re complimentary.
The Spanish theme continues on the wine list. Where cava, Spain’s champagne, takes pride of place. The top-priced bottle is Freixenet Reserva Real, which will set you back 54,50€ (£53).
Reds hailing from the eastern chunk of the Iberian Peninsula start at 13,60€ (£11) for a bottle of Navarre’s celebrated Viña Irache. The cheapest white is also the Viña Irache, with an identical price tag. Moving on to the rosés, you’ll be able to pick up a bottle from 12,00€ (£9.50) for a cheeky Conde De Caralt.
3. Español: what to eat
Half-board guests at the Hotel Riu Palace Meloneras dine for free at Español. If you’re not staying at the hotel or are booked in on a bed-and-breakfast basis, the tariff is fixed at 50€ (£39.50) a person. Both guests and non-guests have to pay extra for their drinks, however.
The menu at Español is of the tapas tasting one. There are cold, such as tosta de pan, tomate y jamón ibérico (toast, tomato, and Iberian ham) and hot starters, like capucchino de pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus cappuccino) followed by a non-tapas main course and dessert. You take your pick for your main, from a range including lomo de merluza a la cazuela con almejas en salsa (hake casserole with clams in green sauce) and pudding, such as ensalada de cítricos y miel (citric fruit salad and honey), with the starters and a moreish pre-dessert queso majorero, crujiente de gofio y mermelada de ciruela (Fuerteventura cheese, cornmeal cruch, and plum jam) fixed.
But the Español kitchen will improvise for vegetarians. Mr Gran Canaria Local savoured a poshly-presented revuelta (essentially scrambled eggs with exra veg) as one of his hot starters. And instead of the listed paella de marisco (seafood paella) usually only available for two people minimum, he enjoyed an individual vegetarian version.
The paella was authentically Valencian with saffron used more, as many cheap imitators don’t realize, to flavour the rice than colour it. Riu Hotels operate out of Mallorca. And Mr GCL enjoyed combining the fragrant salts from their home island, flecked with various herbs and spices, with olive oil to create the perfect dip for the freshly-baked bread.
Disclaimer: Mr Gran Canaria Local was invited to dine for free at Español. He was actually meant to visit during his earlier stay at the hotel. But couldn’t stay for dinner then as he had to leave to review another hotel for Telegraph Travel.