What’s your average Canarian’s favourite food? Well, considering their position in the middle of the Atlantic, they are rather partial to the fruits of the sea. Especially at the likes of Gran Canaria’s oceanside Grill Costa Mar.
We’ll begin by explaining how you reach Grill Costa Mar and then tell you a little about what you can expect upon arrival. Before going through the drinking options. Finishing with an overview of what you can eat there.
1. Grill Costa Mar: where it’s at
Go west on Gran Canaria to reach Grill Costa Mar, located, as it is, within the Mogán municipality. A Puerto Rico postcode makes it appealing for expats, natives, and tourists alike. We headed down from our Las Palmas de Gran Canaria base on Global’s 91.
It’s a 10-minute walk from Puerto Rico‘s bus station to Grill Costa Mar. The restaurant’s situated in Puerto Base, one of two PR ports. We had a lunch date there, following our parasailing adventure with Canary WaterSports in nearby Puerto Escala.
Front of house you’ll inevitably find Dessi. Hailing from Bulgaria, she previously worked for the Gloria Palace hotel group and ran a coffee shop elsewhere in Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, slaving over a hot grill in the Costa Mar kitchen, is partner Jimmy; a Basque chef who in his spare time likes to fish (combining work and pleasure in the process).
Dessi and Jimmy’s restaurant opened in 2010 on a site previously occupied by an Argentinian restaurant which the former still can’t believe shunned advantage of its harbourside location to offer fish and seafood along steak. Not that all “catches of of the day” are fresh in Gran Canaria restaurants, with Dessi admitting the higher-than-average prices at Grill Costa Mar owe a lot to their decision to eschew the cheaper, freezer-filling way of sourcing ingredients. A word-of-mouth success, they prefer to let customers tell other people about Grill Costa Mar rather than tout for business like rival restaurants in the area.
2. Grill Costa Mar: what to drink
Celebrated restaurant critic Jay Rayner‘s loath to praise the cheese he chomps on in eateries too much. Reasoning that it’s a triumph of good shopping over kitchen knowhow. You could say the same about wine (and other beverages).
Rayner would appreciate Grill Costa Mar then, where the emphasis is very much on the food. Although there are some very quaffable vintages on their wine list. Including wry, dry Lanzarote and Shakespearian favourite Malvasia Seco (€22,50), Tenerife’s semi-sweet Brumas de Ayosa (€18,50), and Spain’s original cava, Anna de Codorníu (€22,50).
3. Grill Costa Mar: what to eat
Grill Costa Mar feels like a cafe by day and a restaurant by night. They offer a full English breakfast for €4,95 and oven-made lasagne (as opposed to a microwave-warmed one) for €6,90. When the sun goes down, the cloths go on the indoor and outdoor tables.
A Gran Canaria Local trio (Mr GCL, 16-year-old Dani, and Alex aged 13) shared an impromptu tasting menu put together by Dessi after she quizzed us on our culinary preferences. The star of the show (cooking) for veggie Mr Gran Canaria Local was grilled Manchego cheese with a tomato marmalade (€4,90) which he unsuccessfully begged the recipe for. The other meat-free option (a tomato, avocado, basil, and cheese salad priced at €6,90) would have worked better with basil leaves rather than the ground variety and a softer cheese than the hard Greek type (mozzarella, say, or even a local queso tierno).
The boys enjoyed the sizzling ham, mushrooms and prawns (€8,90), gleefully raiding the bread basket to mop up the oil seasoned with a fiery Basque guindilla (txistorras, garlicky, paprika-flecked sausages from the Basque country cooked in red wine, also turn up on the menu for €6,90). The sailor-style mussels (€12,90) were the most photogenic dish Alex and Dani tucked into, however. And just about the most moreish too.
Disclaimer: Mr Gran Canaria Local and sons were invited to a free lunch at Grill Costa Mar. They’re open from 8:00am to 10:30pm. Every day of the week.
Blue skies at Grill Costa MarInto the blue at Grill Costa Mar
Grill Costa Mar ManchegoCheesy does it at Grill Costa Mar
Grill Costa Mar musselsMussels with plenty of tone at Grill Costa Mar
Grill Costa Mar saladSalads are sexy at Grill Costa Mar