One of the best ways to experience a new place is to try the cuisine, so I’m sharing the best foods in the Canary Islands, Spain. No matter which island you visit, I assure you that you’ll enjoy exploring the full spectrum of Canarian gastronomy.
You can try typical Canarian food on any of the islands of this beautiful archipelago. Moreover, there are excellent Canary Island restaurants on each island, and I’ll share the best ones later on.
Of course, if you’re still deciding which Canary Island to visit, you can read our guide to learn more about each island and the activities and attractions you can find there.
1. Papas arrugadas con mojo, a typical food in the Canary Islands
Papas arrugadas con mojo is one of the best foods in the Canary Islands, as well as one of the most popular. In fact, it’s considered one of the gastronomic wonders of Spain.
Most people use the papa bonita to make this Canarian recipe, although you can use other varieties of potato. The key is to leave the skin on and boil them in water with sea salt, which reflects the traditional cooking method of using seawater.
These “wrinkled potatoes” have become one of the most beloved Canary Islands foods, so you can’t leave without trying them. You can eat them alone with mojo picón, a spicy garlic sauce, or as an accompaniment to meat or fish.
2. Caldo de millo, another Canary Islands food you must try
Caldo de millo is another delicious food of the Canary Islands. The main ingredient is millo, which is the term for corn in the Canaries. You can eat this dish on any Canary Island, although it’s one of the most popular things to do in Lanzarote since it’s a very typical dish there.
With a thick broth made of corn or millo, this Canarian recipe usually includes onions, garlic, oil, salt, chickpeas, and either rice or wheat. Sometimes, hard cheese is tossed into the broth. The flavor of this dish is strong and intense, and it can make for a hearty meal depending on what you pair it with.
3. Gofio escaldado, a delicious Canarian dish
Gofio escaldado, or blanched gofio, is another typical dish in Canary Island cuisine that you should try, although it’s more of a winter dish.
Gofio is a versatile element in Canarian food, and it’s simply flour made of toasted legumes or cereals, particularly millo (corn). In this gofio recipe, a meat or fish broth is poured over the gofio and then it’s all kneaded together.
While you can taste this dish on any Canary Island, it’s a typical Canarian food in Tenerife. Indulging in this filling dish is one of the most popular things to do in Tenerife, so be sure to give it a try!
4. Queso asado con mojo, a beloved food of the Canary Islands
This traditional Canarian food consists of grilled cheese with mojo, and it makes for the perfect snack or appetizer. Also, it’s quite easy to find queso asado on just about any restaurant menu in the Canaries.
The recipe calls for slices of soft or semi-cured Canarian cheeses that are roasted in the oven and covered with another popular Canary Island food, mojo.
Although there are different types of mojo, most of them have picona pepper, which is a type of Canarian cayenne pepper. This makes queso asado a spicy and delicious snack.
5. Ropa vieja canaria, the most typical Canarian food
Ropa vieja canaria is another typical Canarian food you should try. Translated, it means old clothes, which is a reference to how this dish is made using leftovers. It’s one of those traditional foods of the Canary Islands that evokes the image of a grandmother preparing a satisfying and nutritious meal.
This dish is so popular that you can find it in any restaurant in the Canary Islands. It’s made with meat and assorted vegetables mixed with potatoes and chickpeas. As you can imagine, it’s ideal for cold days when you need to stay warm and regain strength.
6. Conejo con salmorejo, a popular Canarian dish with meat
When it comes to Canarian food in Tenerife, one of the standout dishes is rabbit with salmorejo. You can find conejo con salmorejo throughout the islands, but it originated in Tenerife.
To prepare this dish, the rabbit first marinates for an entire day in a mixture of white wine, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, thyme, hot pepper, oregano, and other spices. Once the meat has absorbed all the flavors, it is fried and typically served with papas arrugadas.
Since it takes quite a while to prepare, this is one Canarian dish you won’t find in all restaurants, even though it’s quite a popular food.
7. Churros de pescado, the best dish in Canarian cuisine
Churros de pescado, or fish fritters, are one of the most common foods in the Canary Islands, and you can find it in almost any bar or restaurant. However, if you want to try authentic churros de pescado, I recommend going to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the birthplace of this recipe.
This simple dish consists of fried fish coated in flour and battered in beer. Thanks to its easy prep and tasty flavor, it’s ideal for those moments when you want to eat something quick, but good. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular Canary Island dishes to enjoy.
8. Garbanzas canarias, a traditional Canarian dish to enjoy
Chickpeas are one of the most prominent legumes in Canarian gastronomy, and they even have their own distinct dish, Canarian chickpeas, or chickpea stew.
To make this stew, start by cooking the chickpeas while preparing the meat and sofrito in another skillet. The sofrito is made of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices, while the meat could be pork, chorizo, beef, or chicken. Once the chickpeas, meat, and sofrito are done, just mix everything together.
Without a doubt, this is one of the top foods in the Canary Islands, as well as the perfect way to warm up on a cold day.
9. Sancocho, another food in the Canary Islands to try
Sancocho is another typical Canarian food that you should try, and it’s one of the most popular stews in the Canaries.
The star of this dish is cherne, a large white fish with plenty of meat. To make sancocho, the fish is boiled and served with papas arrugadas and gofio, then covered with mojo, the typical Canarian sauce.
As with some other Canarian recipes, this dish requires quite a bit of prep, so it’s not on every restaurant menu.
10. Carajacas, one of the best dishes in Canarian gastronomy
Finally, another important food in the Canary Islands is carajacas. This is also a typical dish, but its elaborate preparation makes it a bit difficult to find in some restaurants in the Canary Islands.
Carajacas consists of liver fillets marinated in wine or vinegar, as well as garlic, pepper, paprika, and other spices. I assure you that it’s one of those traditional Canarian foods you can’t miss.
Typical Canarian desserts
In addition to all the Canary Islands foods that I’ve mentioned, you’ll also find delectable sweets on the Canarian archipelago. These are the typical Canarian desserts:
Canarian gofio is one of the key elements in many Canary Island foods, even in desserts!
Gofio mousse is one of those sweet gofio recipes that you should try. It has a mild taste that isn’t overpowering, and it’s one of the most nutritious Canarian desserts. This simple recipe calls for gofio (mijo or wheat flour), which is ground and toasted, then made into a mousse.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you’ll love the traditional Canarian dessert, Bienmesabe.
It’s made with eggs, almonds, sugar, and lemon, although more ingredients are sometimes added. While you can find bienmesabe on any Canary Island, trying it is one of the best things to do on La Palma. The bienmesabe in Gran Canaria is also very popular.
Frangollo is another food in the Canary Islands that you should try, especially since it’s a traditional dessert throughout the archipelago.
This dessert is made with low-ground, course-grained, and raw flour along with milk, eggs, sugar, lemon, cinnamon, raisins, and almonds. Sometimes, alternative ingredients are used, but these are the most traditional ones.
Frangollo isn’t an ideal after-dinner sweet since it has a strong, rich flavor, but some people eat it for breakfast or as a snack.
Another sweet Canarian dish I recommend is Príncipe Alberto, which originated in La Palma.
You can find this dessert in many restaurants and cafes since its preparation is very simple. This tempting treat is served in a glass and looks like a sponge cake at first glance. It’s made with eggs, coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and flour. As you can imagine, it’s one of the most popular dessert foods of the Canary Islands, so you can’t leave without tasting it.
Finally, gofio cake is another traditional dessert in Canarian gastronomy.
This sponge cake is made with gofio, as well as yogurt, eggs, sugar, oil, and yeast. The result is a fluffy, sweet cake that will give you an energy boost!
The best Canary Islands restaurants
While you’ll have no problems finding a good restaurant in the Canary Islands, I’m going to share some of the best places to eat on each island.
If you’re going to be in El Hierro, one of the most popular restaurants is El Refugio, which specializes in fish and seafood dishes. It’s in La Restinga, in the southern part of the island, and has its own fishing boat.
Of all the restaurants in Fuerteventura, the best is Punta Jandía, located next to the Punta Jandía Lighthouse. It’s said that the best fish stew on the island can be found there, so you should definitely stop by, especially if it’s a cold day.
La Gomera also has some great restaurants where you can taste typical Canary Islands food. My top recommendation is Tasca Telémaco in Hermigua.
As for La Palma, you can find delightful Canarian dishes at El Jardín de la Sal in the Fuencaliente salt flats.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Lanzarote, I suggest going to Casa Rafa Restaurante del Mar in El Golfo, which specializes in local Canarian cuisine.
I hope this guide helps you figure out what to eat in the Canary Islands and which Canarian dishes you’d like to try. If you want to share your experience at one of these restaurants, or perhaps your favorite food of the Canary Islands, leave me a comment below! Have a safe and delicious trip!