After fine wine and good food on a visit to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? We recommend Enoteca El Zarcillo. An excellent wine bar in the Gran Canaria capital’s Tafira Alta.
We’ll first tell you how to get to Enoteca El Zarcillo and then expand on the eatery’s philosopy. Next we’ll explain what’s on the wine list. And, lastly but by no means leastly, we’ll offer a gateway to the restaurant’s menu.
1. Enoteca El Zarcillo: where it’s at
Situated in posh Tafira Alta, home to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s rich kids (and their parents), Enoteca El Zarcillo attracts a moneyed crowd. It’s also just below the church Mr Gran Canaria Local got married in, Parroquia de la Concepción. Dating back to 1848, historian José de Viera y Clavijo raved about the views found at the top of the black stone steps leading to a mirador where one could contemplate the sheer drop of a ravine.
It’s an 11-minute drive (cheers, Google Maps) along the GC-23 from the heart of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to one of the capital’s most southerly suburbs and Enoteca El Zarcillo in Plaza de Tafira Alta. Double that journey time if travelling on Global’s 303 bus. Another option is to catch Guaguas Municipales’ number 25 from LP to the main university campus and walk on up.
Owner Mario Reyes is also a sommelier. With Enoteca El Zarcillo, he wants guests to replicate the experience of visiting a hotel restaurant such as Bohemia Suites and Spa’s 360. Albeit in altogether homelier surroundings (albeit with stylish stone walls and a cleverly-created ceiling fashioned from wine bottles) which previously housed a deli and post office amongst other businesses.
2. Enoteca El Zarcillo: what to drink
Mario imports wine from the Spanish penisula and other Canary Islands as well as offering vintages produced on Gran Canaria. He will recommend three half glasses of wine from different vintages to pair with your order plus supply a glass of dessert wine for 7,50€ (12,50€ for higher-end wines). Mr Gran Canaria Local, however, starts off with a prim and proper red, Valencia’s Madame Bobalú (2,50€ a glass).
Then waitress Yessica suggests Mr GCL go native with an altogether earthier Tinto Joven from Bodegas Bentayga’s Agala line (2,50€ a glass). Poured out of a bottle emblazoned with 1050, this figure denotes the altitude the grapes are grown at. For Tejeda is located in Gran Canaria’s hilly country.
You can get wine to go at Enoteca El Zarcillo which has been open for business since 2002. As Mario Reyes is also the proprietor of Vinófilos. Tag line? The Barça-aping: más que vinos.
3. Enoteca El Zarcillo: what to eat
Yet Enoteca El Zarcillo’s as much as place to eat as it is drink. The menu’s inventive, riffing on Canarian traditions. So, the La Gomera classic of almogrote (essentially spicy cheese paste) arrives to the table with a smokier aftertaste and a more moist consistency than normal, courtsey of the kitchen substituting the traditional dry queso curado with queso ahumado.
Another appetizer comes in the form of warm matalauva (aniseed-flavoured bread) paired with 8-year-old aceite de arbequina from Spanish mainland’s Navarre. This prompts Mr GCL to query why the restaurant don’t source their olive oil from a more nearby reserve, the likes of the island’s Temisas, say. Before he combines the bread with the oil and sea salt (probably from Maldon), sighs in wonder more than exasperation and contemplates whether he’ll every truly enjoy pan con mantequilla again.
The menu’s divided into sections such as Nuestros clásicos featuring the likes of Cucurucho de papas antiguas bien arrugadas con mojo palmero (5,50€). Vegetarian Mr Gran Canaria Local is duly bought a stone beaker full of these old (as opposed to the classic new) potatoes as round as pebbles which have been wrinkled by being boiled in salty-as-an-ocean water served with a La Palma mojo (piquant sauce) that is more evocative of a Lahore curry than your average mojo.
Vegans and vegetarians will be relieved to hear that the kitchen can adapt dishes containing meat and fish. And that means preparing them from scratch rather than picking out the flesh from the original. So, Mr GCL tucks into a prawn- and chicken-free Salteado de verduras al wok, con gambas o pollo (10,50€) from the Originales section of the menu with the steel of his cutlery meeting the silk of the vermicelli.
Mr Gran Canaria Local enjoys the perfect balance of delight and nutrient in this taste of the Orient. As well as the contrasting textures. Which includes raw beansprouts to give your gnashers a good workout.
Next Mr GCL willingly finds space for Queso a la plancha con dulce de calabaza y mojo de cilantro (9.50€). This El Hierro-staple cheese, decorated with a stripe of coriander salsa, floats on a sea of thin pumpkin jam. Mr Gran Canaria Local’s only regret is the jam is too fine for the fork he tries but fails to devour it with.
Mr GCL’s sweet tooth however is satisfied by dessert. He opts for Huevos mole (4€): the Canary Islands’s take on Italy’s famous zabaglione. Gleefully stirring in a spoonful of the accompanying gofio, the cornmeal which divides opinion like Marmite but which is a firm favourite (along with the yeasty spread itself) in the Gran Canaria Local household.
Disclaimer: Mr GCL dined at Enoteca El Zarcillo as a guest of Mario in exchange for a review. Their opening hours have recently changed. You can now lunch from 1:00pm to 4:00pm and (wine and) dine 8:00pm to 11:00pm on weekdays only.