Looking for the new wave of Canarian cooking? We’re the only English-language Gran Canaria blog to review the latest and greatest restaurants on the island. Such as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Monóculo.
We’ll start, as is traditional in a Gran Canaria Local restaurant review, by telling you how to get to Monóculo before offering a rough guide to the history of the eatery. Next we’ll highlight their drinks list. Concluding by offering you a taste of what you can expect to find on their menu.
1. Monóculo: where it’s at
Whether by accident or design, Monóculo occupies the number-one position on the avenue. As in its postal address is Avenida Mesa y López 1, closer to Parque Santa Catalina bus terminal than Triana’s if you’re travelling into the Gran Canaria capital by guagua. And in pinning their faith on a Young Turk of a chef, twentysomething Óscar Dayas Rodríguez, Monóculo look like they aim to be number one in the Mesa y López restaurant rankings too.
In a past life, Monóculo was El apartamento which wanted punters to feel at home in their comfort zone of cafe/restaurant/club. Although owners Ciro Marrero, Jorge Peris, and Sergio Miró remain the same, there’s been a shift in focus from an open-all-hours neither-fish-nor-fowl establishment to a conventional restaurant with defined lunch and dinner times. Señores Marrero and Miró joined Mr Gran Canaria Local for lunch with the latter turning up wearing the headphones he uses for his day job as DJ with nearby radio station, Ondacero.
Monóculo open Tuesday to Saturday from 1:00pm-4:00pm and 8:00pm-11:30pm (1:00am Fridays and Saturdays). There’s seating inside and out. You can reserve a table by calling +34 828 014 331.
2. Monóculo: what to drink
The wine list at Monóculo is split into reds, whites, and cavas and champagnes. Reds start at 15€ for a bottle of Losada’s El Pájaro Rojo, described by the New York Times as a “juicy, fruity, structured wine with spicy, herbal notes unburdened by flavors of oak, unpretentious and pleasurable.” Going all the way up to the rather more refined Vega Sicilia’s Valbuena 5°, which will set you back 137€, with “flavors of mocha, blackberry, espresso and toast” according to Wine Enthusiast.
There’s less of a gulf between the cheapest and most expensive whites. Bodegas LAN‘s Duquesa de Valladolid, fresh like a just-mown lawn, retails at 15€. At the other end of the spectrum, at 21€, Bodegas Tunte‘s Oro Blanco is as exotically volcanic as the Gran Canaria terrain in which its vines grow.
You can celebrate on the comparative cheap with a bottle of G.H. Mumm‘s Brut for 45€, although if a special occasion is being commemorated, there’s Dom Pérignon priced at 185€. If you want to try a glass of the purest vodka in the world, order a Blat (7,20€) which is produced in the south east of the island’s Ingenio. Mr GCL washed down his meal, however, with a couple of bottles of Mahou‘s nutty Maestra lager (3€) although there are cañas (draught near-halves) available for 1,80€.
3. Monóculo: what to eat
But as any restaurant critic worth their salt knows, a wine list etc. is all about good buying. It’s the food menu which allows an eatery to show its creative side. And at Monóculo, they’re all about the culinary version of reinventing the wheel.
From Tuesday to Thursday, there’s a 15,90€-menú del día for lunch which remains the same for the duration of the three days. The latest menú #bajootroprisma featured a choice of starters including Crema parmentier con huevo a 65ºC y polvo de bacon (a creamy soup garnished with potatoes, egg boiled at 65 degrees Centigrade, and bacon dust), mains such as Bacalao gratinado con alioli y mermelada de piquillo (cod au gration with alioli and sweet chilli jam), and the one dessert of Brownie de chocolate con sorbete de naranja (Chocolate brownie with orange sorbet) which you can substitute for a coffee. Whilst bread is included in this set lunch, you have to pay extra for drinks.
With it being a Friday, though, Mr GCL and the two co-owners ordered from the á-la-carte menu. Spreading red wine butter on pan de puño which is bread made with the baker using his fist to knead the dough (another acclaimed product from Ingenio), Mr Gran Canaria Local let out his first but far from last impromptu impression of Meg Ryan’s Sally. Then came the 8,50€-Papas monóculares (ecological potatoes topped with a spicy mango mojo, smooth garlic mayonnaise, and flecks of paprika) and more orgasmic sighs of genuine delight from Mr GCL.
What Monóculo specialize in is deconstructing classic dishes. And chef Dayas offered a masterclass with a caprese en texturas (11,90€) which playfully riffed on the Italian staple of basil, buffalo mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes with the bread coming in the form of rocas with as much crunch as your average rock cake. Mr Gran Canaria Local finished with another old favourite reimagined for the new millennium, torrijas (6€): French toast served with a cinnamon and lemon peel ice cream and pistacho praline.
Disclaimer: Mr GCL received a complimentary lunch in exchange for this review. He admired the arresting artwork of Elena Márquez Bonny. And appreciated the focused service of hostess Jearim Pierina Linares Zanotti.
Monóculo MaestraThe beer’s to cheer at Monóculo
Monóculo saladCaprese made breezy at Monóculo
Monóculo lasagneVegetarian Mr GCL looked at but didn’t touch Monóculo’s meaty lasagne
Monóculo dessertIt’s never just desserts at Monóculo