Looking for a vegetarian-friendly menu with authentic Canarian dishes alongside more international fare? We know just the place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Las Canteras’ La Oliva restaurante.
We’ll begin by letting you know how to get to La Oliva restaurante before offering the briefest of histories of the establishment. Then we’ll outline their drinks menu. Finishing off with a summary of what you can eat there.
1. La Oliva restaurante: where it’s at
La Oliva restaurante’s one of many, many restaurants on Las Canteras promenade. It’s just around the corner from our favourite Chinese in the area, Restaurante Puerta del Oro, and literally next door to the ever-inventive La Macarena. Mr Gran Canaria Local’s no stranger to La Oliva as he’s often taken our Harlow-born Alex there to reacquaint this Essex boy with his Estuary roots via the medium of an English breakfast.
You’ll find this restaurant in La Puntilla. Calle Prudencio Morales 15, to be precise. Avoid the queue risked by a walk in with a call to +34 928 469 757 in which you can reserve a table.
La Oliva restaurante opened in 2003, although we can’t remember what is was before as it’s become such a staple of the Gran Canaria capital’s gastronomic scene. From one La Puntilla unit, it became two and now occupies three. There is indoor seating but we recommend you take your time on the terrace, with a book from the restaurant’s very own library if anything takes your fancy.
This is a family firm with the proprietors of the restaurant being Lola, María José, and César Gómez. The latter looked after Mr and Mrs GCL during their meal. He revealed that his mother used to prepare dishes in the kitchen and that the emphasis remains very much on home-cooked cuisine.
La Oliva take their name from the family’s La Mancha roots. They’re a mix of tradition and modernity, however. With a recent refurbishment refreshing the decór and ensuring that nobody can ever accuse them of standing still.
2. La Oliva restaurante: what to drink
There’s a pretty full drinks menu at La Oliva, but we stuck to the wine list. Which comprises 16 whites (six of which hail from the Canary Islands), 14 reds (two Canarian ones), three cavas (Spanish champagne), one róse, and one sangria. Mr Gran Canaria Local counted.
We hopped over to neighbouring Lanzarote with our choice. Sipping on a chilled Bermejo (19,50€), we were transported to the volcanic terrain of La Geria where semilunar zocos (low lava stone walls constructed to protect the vines from the wind) dot the jet-black landscape. This semi-sweet Malvasía is as sensual a vintage as its distinctive bottle is voluptuous.
3. La Oliva restaurante: what to eat
Of the 61 savoury dishes on the post-breakfast menu, 19 are vegetarian. Yes, it’s the return of Mr GCL, the human abacus. On a more serious note, the almost one-in-three choice will please those with a veggie in the family (like the Gran Canaria Local family themselves).
So Mr GCL happily tucked into some vegetarian miniaturized tapas to share. César explained that we would be tasting reduced portions in order to enjoy a wider spectrum of la carta. And Mrs GCL didn’t mind, knowing she had a meaty main course to look forward to.
We began, as you often do in a Canarian restaurant, with papas arrugadas con mojo (4,90€). What can we say about these traditionally prepared new spuds wrinkled by salty boiling water served with piquant sauce? We’ve had few better and considerably more far worse; with a gloriously tangy orange mojo only slightly let down by not-quite-fluffy-enough papas.
Back in our London days, there was a time when we found balsamic vinegar just became a little too ubiqitious on restaurant menu. In Mr Gran Canaria Local’s humble opinion, he thinks we’ve reached peak miel de caña on the Canary Islands. This sugar-cane honey, a treacle-like substance, turns up here, there, and everywhere on the Canaries.
And so aubergines in tempura came with the Canaries’ version of molasses (8,80€). The bitter berenjena would work better with a sweeter honey as its partner for a less samey flavour combo. The same was true of the grilled nutty asparagus (7,20€).
Thankfully, artichokes arrived sauteed and sprinkled with fine herbs minus any trace of anything treacly. This 8,20€ starter was arguably our favourite. As both Mr and Mrs GCL like to top their pizzas with an alcachofa or five.
On to the mains and Mr Gran Canaria Local appreciated the texture clash between the smoky crust of queso herreño (cheese from El Hierro) and the succulent rice of the vegetable risotto (12€) below. Mrs Gran Canaria Local, meanwhile, ensured her fillet beef steak (12,50€) was as juicy as she likes it by ordering it poco hecho (rare). We just about found room for desserts with Mr GCL’s otherwise delicious apple tart (4,30€) marginally marred by the aforementioned miel de caña and Mrs GCL’s towering flan (3,60€), a cremé caramel elevated in both height and flavour.
Disclaimer: Mr and Mrs Gran Canaria Local received a complimentary dinner in exchange for this review. La Oliva restaurante open Sunday to Thursday from 8:30am to 12:30am. Their hours are extended on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30am through to 1:30am.
Artichokes at La Oliva restauranteArtichokes at their most arty at La Oliva restaurante
Wine at La Oliva restauranteWining and dining La Oliva restaurante style
Apple pie at La Oliva restauranteGet your apple a day the fun way at La Oliva restaurante
The terrace at La Oliva restauranteFeel the buzz at La Oliva restaurante’s terrace