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Racimo16: vegetarian restaurant in Las Palmas

March 12, 2017
Outside Racimo16

Are you vegetarian by chance, vegan maybe, or possibly Venezuelan? Heading to or already in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? You need to check out Racimo16.

We’ll start off by outlining how to reach Racimo16 and then elaborate on the restaurant’s concept. Then we’ll explain what you can drink there. Before concluding with a summary of what you can expect to see leaving the kitchen and arriving at your table.

1. Racimo16: where it’s at

Located off Calle Tomás Miller, Racimo16’s close to the north of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s holy trinity of Las Canteras, Mesa y López, and Parque Santa Catalina. It’s more or less directly opposite ReStation. Typing the name of the restaurant into Google Maps will reveal Racimo16’s postal address: Calle Lucas Fernández Navarro 55, 35007.

In terms of where it’s at food-philosophy wise, the clue’s in the name. Racimo means both bunch and root, so fruit and veg are the major ingredients. Venezuelan owner Karla, an accountant by trade, explains that everything served at her restaurant (which she acquired and then reopened in December 2016) is bought market fresh. Karla’s assisted in the kitchen and front of house by her waiter brother Luis, himself a trained dentist, and a Moroccan chef.

With a Spotify playlist that goes big on Brazilian bossa and an interior that’s stylishly casual, you could easily wile away a serious amount of time at Racimo16.  We loved the jar of crayons and tablemat which doubles as doodling space. So do the rest of the clientele if the DIY artwork shared in an eyecatching display is anything to go by.

2. Racimo16: what to drink

Karla explains that they don’t sell bottled juices at Racimo16 but zumo prepared with the help of her trusty blender. Nevertheless, when Mr Gran Canaria Local enters; he opts to beat the heat(wave) with a thirst-quenching Aguavia (1,50€) drawn from the abundant springs of Firgas’ Barranco de la Virgen. Before moving on to a cheeky craft beer in the form of the locally-produced Cream (3€).

You might not be aware that Gran Canaria’s home to the most northerly coffee plantations in the world. They’re predominately located in the Valle de Agaete, Agaete’s beautiful valley. And Mr GCL enjoys the perfect end to the perfect meal with a Racimo Moka (1,50€), not quite homegrown but not far off either, taking it with cow’s milk although vegans will appreciate the almond, oat, and soya alternatives.

3. Racimo16: what to eat

Racimo16 open Monday to Saturday for breakfast where they serve arepas, considered the world’s best brekky by Thrillist. Venezuela’s stunning take on the humble sarnie’s essentially a cornbread pitta filled with anything and everything from avocado to melted white cheese. They’re ideal for brunch too.

Monday to Friday, there’s a menú del día (set lunch). This costs 9,90€ but is available as a takeaway for an extra Euro. Karla estimates that with a stable of around 75 starters and 80 main courses, it’s almost impossible to eat the same set lunch unless you’re a very regular customer (which Mr Gran Canaria Local has committed to becoming).

However, Mr GCL visits on a Saturday. Where soups are priced at 5,50€, non-liquid starters 7,50€, main courses 8,50€, and desserts 3,50€. For the purposes of tasting as much of the menu as possible without (literally) busting a gut, Mr Gran Canaria Local’s lunch companion, Karla, instructs the kitchen to prepare more modestly-sized portions of a variety of dishes.

So Mr GCL starts with a colourful plate of Emirati Samboosas de Vegetales which are as satisfyingly crispy as the samosa which they also resemble in triangular form and pungent flavour, Barquetas de Endivias Rellenas con Salpicón (endives lined with diced seasoned vegetables dressed in a feisty vinaigrette), and Tabouli de Quinoa; hipster fayre which thankfully tastes as good as it looks.

On to the Platos Principales and Mr Gran Canaria Local’s brought a plate of Albondigas de Zanahoria con Salsa de Ciruela y Arroz Basmati. These non-meatballs are partnered superbly by a sauce that’s plum as both adjective and noun. The Falafel Con Salsa de Yogurt y Enslada are epic discs of patties which on first bite reveal a chickpea filling which is, well, little-fluffy-clouds-fluffy accompanied by a creamy raita/tzatziki sauce Mr GCL wastes no times in spreading on bread when he runs out of falafels to dip in it.

Whilst born and bred in Venezuela, Karla’s moved around a fair bit. Including to the United States where she converted to Islam (making Racimo16 a rare pork-free zone in this corner of ham-loving Spain) and the UK. Her nomadic adventures flavour the menu with nods to America (both North and South), Europe, and the East (Middle and Far).

You can guarantee English-speaking waiters in the southern resorts. That’s not always the case in capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. However, Karla and her team are fluent in Mr Gran Canaria Local’s native tongue which can, fussy eaters alert, also help them create a dish of your liking in the unlikely event there’s nothing you fancy on the menu.

Mr GCL finishes on the food front with a happy ending via the Tarta de Zanahoria. This carrot cake is deliciously fruity despite there being no actual fruit in it. Unless you count the chunks of walnut which provide a textural contrast by way of crunch.

Disclaimer: Mr Gran Canaria Local ate at Racimo16 as a guest of Karla in exchange for a review. They open from 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, their hours are from 10:00am to 11:00pm.